The Economics of an Economics Major

By: Christopher

It’s that time of year when many students have to decide what they are going to major in to prepare themselves for a career. Registering for classes may be a daunting task for those who aren’t quite sure on what they are majoring in or aren’t confident to think they’ve made the right choice. Rest assured that I may have found the answer for some of you: become an Economics major.

Economics comes from the Greek words ‘oikos,’ which means house, and ‘nomos,’ which means rule or law. In essence, it means the study of rules of the household. In the modern realm of economics, it has been expanded to include the household’s decision making processes, to sectors of an industry, to entire economies of the world. The profession seeks to derive order from a seemingly chaotic world of spontaneity to understand not only how the world works down to the individual but also to predict the future based on the patterns of the past.

Econ major

The field of economics requires students to understand and interpret complex issues while taking into account certain variables. Here is a list of skills and interests that are characteristic of an economic frame of mind:

Research and Analysis

  • Ability to generate ideas and develop them to their fullest extent
  • Applying statistical methods i.e. regression analysis
  • Testing those ideas to find truth


  • Manipulating data to become useful
  • Developing budgets and projections to understand what the future may hold
  • Organizing data in a way that makes sense

Problem Solving

  • Understand a situation in order to define the problem and assess possible solutions
  • Evaluate effectiveness of policy
  • Transforming theory into the real world


  • Summarizing results
  • Presenting data in a concise and organized fashion

Naturally, the major will develop these interests you may have into skills that are valuable in the long run toward a career in different industries.

Career Opportunities
Because economics covers a wide range of skills, economics majors have very diverse career paths. This offers a wide range of options for someone that may feel more at home in the public sector rather than private or healthcare over banking. Here are some fields and positions within those fields that employ economics majors.

Business, Banking, and Finance: Securities Analyst, Operations Analyst, Trust Officer, Equity Trader, Hedge Fund Administrator, Cost Estimator, Investment Banker, Asset Manager, Financial Advisor

Economic Development: Regional/Urban Planner, Economic Development Coordinator, Public Utilities Manager, Redevelopment Specialist

Government: Economist, Public Affairs Specialist, Budget Analyst, Purchasing Agent, Program Manager

International Trade: Export Marketing Representative, International Sales, Export Sales Representative, Market Research Analyst, International Trade Specialist, International Business Development Manager, Shipping/Transport Clerk, Trade Finance Specialist, Export Credit Insurance Specialist

Public Policy: Program Analyst, Administrative Analyst, Government Relations Advisor, Policy Coordinator, Budget Analyst, Consultant, Public Sector, Trade Policy Analyst, Research Associate, Community Affairs Advisor

These sectors all demand people with the same skills an economics degree provides, yet for those that want to further their career within academia and also to expand their career opportunities,  graduate school can cater to those needs.

Although deciding on a career field may be a lot to think about, taking an introductory economics class can help your decision making process.

Of Possible Interest:
Career Planning in the Social Sciences
Economics at UMD
What UMD grads with Economics degrees are doing
Choosing a Major – all the posts on our blog on this topic
Turn Your Major Into a Career – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

Read Christopher’s other posts

Updated: June 2020

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s