The Princeton economics department supports students who study abroad. However, since economics courses must be completed in a particular sequence, 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.  The suggestions are just that; they are not rigid and you can construct your own variants to suit your needs so long as you keep some basic constraints in mind. These are:

[1] The three core courses of the economics major – micro (ECO 300 or 310), macro (ECO 301 or 311) and econometrics (ECO 302 or 312) must be completed by the end of the junior year; without this you will not be allowed to advance to senior standing.

[2] Taking one of the core courses abroad is hard because most places do not offer them at the standard that our department expects. 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 needs). You can search for courses elsewhere and consult the Economics Dep. Rep. 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 Please note that ECO 301 or ECO 311 are only offered in the Spring term, so you should take this core course in your Sophomore Spring semester if you are planning to spend your Junior Spring semester abroad.

[3] 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.

[4] 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, from a JIW perspective we recommend that juniors choose the Spring (not Fall) semester for study abroad.

[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 especially 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 Departmental Representative. 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: