The Princeton economics department supports students who study abroad. However, since economics courses build on each other, students need to plan well in advance if they wish to spend a semester or year abroad. The best times for economics majors to study abroad are Sophomore Spring and Junior Spring. Only Study Abroad Program participants may take economics courses outside of Princeton for departmental credit. You must seek preapproval for these courses; ex post facto approval is never granted.

Below we suggest various course plans that you can follow, depending on your mathematics and economics background, and which semester or semesters you want to go abroad. It does not cover all possible cases, but in most cases you should be able to construct your own sequence by slight variations on the cases offered below as long as you keep some basic constraints in mind. These are:

[1] Our core Econometrics course (ECO 302 or 312) must be completed by the Junior Fall term since it teaches empirical skills that are necessary for the junior independent work (JIW).  The remaining core courses of the economics major – Microeconomics (ECO 300 or 310) and Macroeconomics (ECO 301 or 311) must be completed by the end of the Junior year.

[2] It is hard to find alternatives for our core courses abroad. Suitable courses have sometimes been found at the London School of Economics, University College London, Oxford, and Bocconi University in Milan. (Note that LSE and UCL offer year-long courses in Macroeconomics and taking just one semester is not enough to fulfill our requirements). You can search for core courses elsewhere and consult the Economics Director of Undergraduate Studies about the suitability of courses, but the answer is likely to be no. It is much better to plan ahead and complete our core courses before going abroad. Please note that ECO 301 is only offered in the Spring term. Thus, you should take this core course in your Sophomore Spring semester if you don’t want to take ECO 311 in your Junior Fall term and are  planning to spend your Junior Spring semester abroad.

[3] Economics juniors also need to complete successfully a year-long Junior Independent Work (JIW) project to advance to senior standing. During the Fall term, juniors investigate a topic and write a research prospectus, due in December. The junior paper, due in April, builds on the prospectus. The department offers a comprehensive series of lectures and workshops in the Fall semester to expose students to common tools used in economics research. Moreover, guidance by a nearby advisor is especially critical during the early stages of research. Thus, it is better to be on campus in the Junior Fall and travel abroad in the Junior Spring term.

[4] It is almost never feasible to spend a semester abroad in the senior year since it can seriously interfere with your job market search and with work on your senior thesis.

[5] An attractive alternative may be to go abroad in the Spring semester of the Sophomore year (see Section E below) and then proceed with the junior and senior years’ work in Princeton in the usual way. This is highly recommended, and sometimes the only feasible route, if you want to combine an Economics major, a Finance Certificate, and study abroad. Prospective ECO majors who want departmental credit for an upper level ECO course taken abroad during their sophomore year must get the course pre-approved by the ECO Director of Undergraduate Studies. If it has not been pre-approved by the department, an ECO course that was approved by OIP as a general elective cannot be used later to satisfy a departmental requirement.

Here are our suggestions for various course plans to facilitate study abroad: