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This archived information is dated to the 2011-12 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Bachelor of Arts in Economics

The total number of units required for the major is 80. Students are encouraged to complete the core courses 1-7 below, as early as possible. Ideally, students should complete the core during the sophomore year, before taking upper division courses. Courses may not be taken before the prerequisites are completed. The required number of field courses is four. There is great flexibility in the choice of electives, including upper-division math and statistics.

Of the 80 units required for the major, at least 55 must be taken at Stanford in California. Students cannot declare Economics as their major or minor until they have completed ECON 50 with a grade of 'B' or better. All courses required for the economics major must be taken for a letter grade.

(80 UNITS)

  1. ECON 1A (5 units): micro and elementary economics.
  2. ECON 1B (5 units): macroeconomics. Prerequisite: ECON 1A.
  3. ECON 102A (5 units): introduction to statistical methods. It is recommended that students satisfy this basic statistics requirement before proceeding with the rest of the program. Prerequisite: MATH 41 or equivalent.
  4. ECON 50 (5 units, grade of 'B' or better): basic price theory. Prerequisites: ECON 1A and MATH 51 (letter grade required).
  5. ECON 51 (5 units): intermediate microeconomics. Prerequisite: ECON 50.
  6. ECON 52 (5 units): intermediate macroeconomics. Prerequisites: ECON 50 and 1B.
  7. ECON 102B (5 units): econometrics. Prerequisites: ECON 50 and 102A. Material in ECON 102B is used in a number of field courses. Students are advised to design their program of study so that ECON 102B is not taken in their senior year but early in their program.

Field Courses (must be taken at Stanford in California; 20 units)—Four courses must be chosen from among ECON 111, 115, 118, 126, 137, 140,* 141, 144, 145, 147, 149, 153, 157, 158, 160, 164, 165, 166, 169, 179 (5 units each).

Writing in the Major Course (must be taken at Stanford in California; 5 units)—This requirement is fulfilled by ECON 101. This course should be taken only after completing ECON 51 and 52, 102B, and at least two field courses.

Electives (20 units)—Choose from Economics courses numbered from 100 through 198, excluding 190 and 191. Up to 10 units may be satisfied by MATH 113, 114, 115, 136, 151, 171, 175; or STATS 200, 206, 207, 217, 218, 237.

A maximum of 10 units of transfer credit or of ECON 139D, Directed Reading, may be taken under this section. Suitable transfer credit must be approved in writing by the Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies. Advanced undergraduate majors with strong quantitative preparation may enroll in graduate (200-level) courses with permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies and the course instructor. Some courses offered by Overseas Studies may be counted towards this requirement. The department does not give credit for internships.

* Students may not count units from both ECON 135 and 140 towards their major as the courses are too similar in content.


No courses receiving Department of Economics credit under the preceding requirements may be taken credit/no credit, and 55 of the 80 units required for the major must be taken at Stanford in California.

Students scoring a 5 on both the advanced placement microeconomics and advanced placement macroeconomics exam may petition the Director of Undergraduate Studies to have the ECON 1A (but not 1B) course requirement waived. Students do not receive units credit for placing out of ECON 1A.

A grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 (C) or better must be received for all units applied toward the preceding requirements.

To use transfer credit in partial satisfaction of the requirements, the student must obtain written consent from the department's Associate Director of Undergraduate Study, who establishes the amount of credit to be granted toward the department requirements (see the Information Book for Economics Majors). Students must have completed all Stanford prerequisites for approved transfer credit courses in order to use those courses towards the Economics major.

Course prerequisites are enforced. Students taking courses to satisfy prerequisites in another department or institution must petition for Stanford course substitution or transfer credit approval in order to satisfy course prerequisites.

The time limit for satisfactory completion of a course is one year from the date an incomplete is given, although instructors may set a shorter time limit. Students are responsible for seeing that all grades of 'incomplete' are cleared within the time limit.


Sample listings of upper-division economics electives may be examined in the department's Information Book for Economics Majors, available at Sample programs are provided for the following areas of emphasis: (1) liberal arts, (2) pre-business, (3) quantitative, (4) international, (5) political economy and regulation, and (6) preparation for graduate school in economics.


The honors program offers an opportunity for independent research, creativity, and achievement. It is designed to encourage a more intensive study of economics than is required for the normal major, with course and research work of exceptional quality. Honors students may participate in an Honors Research Symposium during Spring Quarter, with those nominated for prizes making oral presentations. The honors program requires:

  1. Completing all requirements for the major; plus five additional units, bringing the total to 85 units.
  2. Achieving a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.5 for the required courses of the Economics major (excluding ECON 139D and 199D). See details in the Information Book for Economics Majors.
  3. Complete ECON 102B and at least two lecture courses most relevant for the proposed topic of the honors thesis by the end of the junior year. (These can be included in the basic 80 units.)
  4. Candidates must write an honors thesis in their senior year for at least one unit and up to 10 units of credit (ECON 199D). The thesis must be of very high quality and written under the direction of a member of the department or its affiliated faculty. Units of 199D do not count toward the course work requirements for the basic economics major, or in the computation of the GPA requirement for honors. Students may apply 5 units of 199D to the Writing in the Major requirement (WIM). The WIM requirement (ECON 101 or 199D) must be completed in order for the degree to be conferred.

Juniors interested in the honors program should attend an informational meeting scheduled by the honors program director during the first week of each quarter. At this meeting, students receive information on organizing an honors project and are given details on honors programs. Prospective candidates for the honors program should submit an application to the director no later than the end of the first month of the third quarter before graduation (typically Autumn Quarter of the senior year). Also required, later in the same quarter, is a three-page thesis proposal that must be approved by the thesis adviser.

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