The curriculum of the UC Davis bachelor's program in Economics encompasses instruction in deductive reasoning and analysis of models to help understand economic theory, strategies, tactics, policies and consequences. At the same time, students are trained in modern methods of empirical and data analysis that are needed in the business and professional world. The program is intended to teach students how to evaluate existing economics knowledge and how to collect, elaborate and interpret data related to social and business phenomena.
These tracks are optional and useful when choosing coursework for the Economics major requirements. If you chose to follow one of these Specializations, you will still need to satisfy the remaining major required coursework. Only one Specialization track may be chosen. If you are considering following any one of these tracks, you will need to notify one of the advisors in the Economics, History and East Asian Studies Advising Center located in 2216 Social Sciences and Humanities.
- Specialization Declaration Form
- ECN 190 Topics
- Data Analytics Focused Coursework
- Click here for more information on Data Analytics Focused Coursework at UC Davis.
- Featured Courses
- ECN 103: Economics of Uncertainty and Information. This course deals with how uncertainty affects the actions and decisions of economic agents and how markets are impacted by the presence of uncertainty. Insurance markets are a typical example of institutions that have arisen to help economic agents deal with uncertainty. There are different forms of uncertainty. A particularly important one is associated with the phenomenon of asymmetric information, where where one party to a potential transaction has more information about relevant facts than the other party (e.g. the seller of a durable second-hand good has information about the quality of the good that is not available to the buyer). Typically, information cannot be credibly transmitted from one party to the other, because the informed party's incentive is to hide negative information. In such situations markets might fail and society might get stuck in an inefficient situation. The course examines different types of uncertainty and the problems that they give rise to. INSTRUCTOR: Giacomo Bonanno.
ECN 115BY: Economic Development. Since 1990, the number of people living in extreme poverty has declined by more than half and the proportion of undernourished people in developing regions has fallen by almost half. Sustained high levels of economic growth have saved lives and given more people in the world an opportunity to thrive.
The study of the macroeconomics of this rapid growth is the topic of the course. We will focus on the creation of effective trade relationships, healthy management of foreign debt and finance and new strategies for jump-starting economic growth in stagnating economies. Online lectures describe the nuts and bolts of the models while face-to-face lectures are rich in the application of these models to developing countries. Students work in small groups where they answer the difficult questions facing the poor and middle income countries of today. Each student is assigned a developing country to which they will apply what they have learned. By the tenth week of the course, students will have created an in-depth country study to present to their peers. Classes will not exceed 40 students and meet for one hour and twenty minutes each week of the ten-week quarter. ECN 115BY is taught as a hybrid course meeting only once a week with online instruction for the second weekly meeting. PREREQUISITES: ECN 1A, ECN 1B. INSTRUCTOR: Janine Wilson.
ECN 121B: Industrial Organization II. Regulation is the primary means by which governments influence the business environment. This course presents an introduction to the study of strategy and competition with a particular focus on government policies related to industrial competitiveness. Through a combination of lecture and case discussions, the course gives students a framework for understanding strategic firm behavior as well as how regulation can change the incentives faced by a firm. Students will learn how well-designed regulation can improve economic outcomes while poorly designed regulation can create rather than solve problems. This course covers three broad topics. The first part of the course covers the different strategies firms use to competitively obtain market power. The second part of the course examines the role of the government in regulating competition and preventing firms from obtaining market power through "anti-competitive" means. Topics covered in this section of the course will include cartels, antitrust regulation, merger policy, and the regulation on naturally competitive industries. The last section of the course will examine other policies, such as environmental or safety regulations, that affect industrial competitiveness and how states and countries behave strategically when setting regulations. One of the primary objectives of this course is for students to apply the conceptual ideas of industrial organization to real-world situations. As applications, five or six of the classes feature in-class case discussion of real-world regulatory cases. By the end of the course, students should be able to think critically about the competitive issues at the heart of current events like the Apple e-book trial, the 2013 merger between US Airways and American Airlines, the format war between Blu-ray and HD-DVD, and the implications of a carbon tax on U.S. industrial competitiveness. PREREQUISITES: ECN 1A, ECN 1B, ECN 100; or Consent of Instructor. INSTRUCTOR: Erich Muehlegger.
ECN 122: Game Theory. Game theory deals with interactive decision making, that is, with situations where two or more individuals (called players) jointly determine the outcome of the interaction and are aware that their decisions affect each other. This class focuses on non-cooperative situations where the players cannot make binding agreements (as is the case, for example, in interactions among competitors in an industry, because of anti-trust laws). The course covers both simultaneous games (e.g. auctions) and dynamic games (where decisions are made sequentially with possibly only partial information about the earlier moves of other players). The notion of "rational strategic interaction" is developed and applications to economics, political science and other fields are discussed. PREREQUISITES: MAT 16A and 16B, or MAT 17A and 17B, or MAT 21A and 21B, or Consent on Instructor.
ECN 125: Energy Economics. The human population on Earth is predicted to grow to 9 billion people by 2040, while at the same time, unprecedented numbers of people will be pulled out of poverty by the forces of globalization. This great rise in wealth is fueled by, and largely dependent upon, energy resources. At the same time, consumption of energy — the dominant driver of climate change — threatens to undo the benefits of this economic growth. In this class you will become an expert on energy markets — how they function and how they fail. The focus will be on the United States, with much of the reading drawing upon the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Economist and other news sources. You will tackle some of the most important questions facing our generation, both domestically and abroad. How many resources should be spent on shifting away from dirty fossil fuels, toward cleaner energy sources? How do we get energy to the people who value it the most? Finally, what are the optimal policies for navigating the tradeoffs between cheap and abundant fossil fuel and more expensive renewable energy sources, and how do these policies compare to those being implemented today? This course is intended for advanced economics undergraduates, as well as graduate students in non-economics disciplines relating to energy and the environment. We will use theoretical and empirical methods to examine energy markets. We are specifically interested in how to maximize the social welfare associated with energy production and use. The course explores several fundamental challenges facing policy-makers in the energy world, where the internal and external costs are often very different, markets are not fully competitive, and engineering constrains the way industries are designed. We will discuss the idiosyncratic features of several energy sectors, with an eye to why regulation is necessary yet often difficult to implement. Within the context of these sectors, we examine the California electricity crisis, the fracking boom, the 1970s oil crisis, global climate change, and other important events, and discuss policies that may improve outcomes for society. PREREQUISITES: ECN 100; or Consent of Instructor. INSTRUCTOR: David Rapson or Jim Bushnell.
ECN 132: Health Economics. Why are health care goods and services, such as pharmaceutical drugs, so expensive in the U.S. compared to other countries? Why is the health sector share of the economy rising in all nations? And is this a good thing? What are the consequences of the U.S. health insurance market being so fragmented, and is it a problem that not all people have access to health insurance? The course addresses questions such as these using standard microeconomic theory, as well as extensions to complications that are much more important in health care markets than in many other markets: informational asymmetries, uncertainty, consumer purchase of health goods and services through insurance rather than direct payment, health externalities, and monopoly due to patents. Health Economics presents a detailed description of the institutional features of the U.S. health care market and current trends, as well as some international comparisons. These features and their consequences are studied using microeconomics tools and some statistical/mathematical analysis (especially applied to insurance). Compared to other areas of economics, the economics of health care is complicated by a lack of information (about what health services the consumer needs), great uncertainty (hence the need for insurance), payment through third-parties (insurance companies) rather than direct payment by the consumer, monopoly (due to patents), externalities (infectious diseases) and public goods provision (such as government-funded research). A considerable part of the course considers these complications. PREREQUISITES: MAT 16A and 16B, or MAT 17A and 17B, or MAT 21A and 21B; STA 13; ECN 100; or Consent on Instructor. INSTRUCTOR: Colin Cameron.
ECN 134: Financial Economics. Accurate valuation of physical and financial capital is a key task for finance professionals. Economic theory presents a theoretical grounding for many of the concepts used to value financial securities and other assets. This course presents an introduction to the valuation process especially as it relates to corporations. Through a combination of lecture and discussion students will learn the quantitative tools used by corporations to make decisions as well as tools used by stakeholders to assess corporations. Due to the forward-looking nature of these decisions and evaluations, assessment of risk and uncertainty plays a critical role in the valuation process. PREREQUISITES: ECN 1A, ECN 1B, ECN 100A, ECN 100B, MAT 16A and 16B, or MAT 17A and 17B, or MAT 21A and 21B; STA 13; or Consent on Instructor.
ECN 135: Money, Banks, and Financial Institutions. Banks play a central role in the functioning of the financial system and conduct of monetary policy. Especially critical is the role of informational differences in financial transactions and how banks work to mitigate the challenges these asymmetries present. This course presents an introduction to the main forces affecting bank performance. Through a combination of lecture and discussion students in the course learn about tools banks use to measure their performance. Students will also learn how changes in monetary policy, interest rates, regulation, and competition influenced the evolution of the banking system. PREREQUISITES: ECN 100A, ECN 100B, ECN 101; STA 13.
ECN 140: Econometrics. Econometrics is the statistical analysis of economics data. This analysis provides a summary of economic variables, or the relationships between economic variables, that is guided by economic theory while controlling for sampling and model uncertainty. The regression methods emphasized in this course are used extensively in the social and natural sciences and are the basis for the methods used in the emerging fields of data analytics and big data. This course provides an introduction to econometric methods. The goal is to provide students with the knowledge to conduct their own empirical research in economics, to evaluate economic/business policy, to perform forecasting, and to critically read the quantitative analysis of other researchers. In addition to using the computer as a tool for regression analysis, the course will focus upon underlying statistical models so that students understand when particular methods are likely to be valid. PREREQUISITES: ECN 100A, ECN 100B, ECN 101; ECN 102, STA 13 (or any Upper Division STA course), MAT 16A and 16B, or MAT 17A and 17B, or MAT 21A and 21B.
ECN 151B: Economics of Human Resources. An introduction to human capital theory and economics of education, the basic theory of wage differentials, including theories of labor market discrimination, and income distribution.
This course will provide students with a broad economic framework for understanding inequalities in the labor market. Topics typically include human capital theory, discrimination, intergenerational mobility and unemployment. Students will learn basic facts about these topics, and then delve more deeply into current research and policy questions. The course aims to equip students with tools that will enable them to critically evaluate current social problems from an economic perspective. PREREQUISITES: ECN 100A, ECN 100B.
ECN 160B: International Macroeconomics. The goal of this course is study international macroeconomic issues such as the trade balance, the exchange rate, national output, and inflation. We discuss key international macroeconomic variables then develop theories about how and why these variables change over time and differ across countries. The first part of the course focuses on foreign exchange markets, data and theories of exchange rate determination in the short run and the long run. The second part of the course covers the balance of payments, including the trade balance and how the balance of payments is related to a country’s long run economic growth and short-run economic fluctuations. The final part of the course will cover applied topics in international macroeconomics. Topics include exchange rate regimes, crises, and monetary union (the euro). PREREQUISITES: ECN 1A, ECN 1B, ECN 100A, ECN 100B, ECN 101; or Consent of Instructor.
ECN 171: Economy of East Asia. Over the last 70 years, East Asia has become a key center for trade, an important engine of global economic growth, and a crucial part of the international financial system. This course explores the ingenuity behind the diverse policy paths that different countries in the region took to build thriving economies after the tumult of the world wars and examines how the legacies of these choices are shaping current policy, for better or for worse. The class uses a variety of readings, discussion-intensive sections, and a group project so that participants have the opportunity to experiment with new ideas and learn from each other. PREREQUISITES: ECN 1A, ECN 1B; or Consent of Instructor.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Graduate School and Careers
I plan to attend graduate school in Economics. How should I prepare?
If you are considering a graduate program, review these tips.
What are the career opportunities with a major in Economics?
The discipline focuses on the allocation of resources, which is applicable to many professional pipelines.
Where can I find information related to graduate programs?
Visit the pre-professional advisor at the Student Academic Success Center, located in 111 South Hall.
Majors and Minors
How do I declare the Economics major?
To declare the Economics major, students must meet the following requirements:
- Complete ECN 1A and/or ECN 1B with a 2.000 GPA or better.
- Complete MAT 16A, 17A, or 21A with a 2.000 GPA or better.
- Maintain good academic standing overall
Petitions can now be submitted online through OASIS:
- Select “Academics” on top left
- Select “Student Advising”
- Select “Forms & Petitions”
Can I double major in Economics and Managerial Economics?
Unfortunately, a double major cannot be pursued at this time; however a major and minor combination is certainly possible. These programs exceed the maximum unit overlap allowed between major programs. Exceptions can be petitioned through the College of Letters and Science's Undergraduate Education Advising Office.
Can I major in Economics and minor in Managerial Economics?
Yes. Visit both departments to meet with undergraduate academic advisors for more information.
What do I need to declare a double major?
We encourage you to meet with the undergraduate academic advisors for your major programs to ensure compliance with any specific rules that would affect success in petitioning for a double major. Minimally you will need to:
- Complete all lower division preparatory work in Economics
- Maintain a 2.000 GPA or better in completed Economics coursework
- Maintain good academic standing overall
Petitions can now be submitted online through OASIS:
- Select “Academics” on top left
- Select “Student Advising”
- Select “Forms & Petitions”
What are some popular double major or minor pairings with Economics?
Students from across a diverse background of programs will double major or minor with Economics. We recommend meeting with other advising centers to confirm program requirements, but here are some that are popular pairings with Economics:
- Accounting (minor only)
- Human Rights (minor only)
- International Relations
- Political Science
- Technology Management (minor only)
- Economics Classes
I am trying to enroll in upper division ECN courses during Pass 1, but Schedule Builder does not allow me to. What can I do?
In order to enroll in upper division courses, you must have completed 90 or more units and be declared in Economics. The only exception to the major restriction is ECN 100A, 100B and ECN 101. You must be a declared Economics student during Pass 1 to register for upper division Economics courses. All restrictions will be lifted during Pass 2, at which time you will be able to register and/or be added to the wait list for upper division Economics courses.
What courses should I take after STA 13 and ECN 102?
This is changing over time as there are more offerings. Here are some ideas to get started:
- Economics 140 (Econometrics): This presents regression theory and methods in more detail than 102.
- Economics 190 (Topics in Economics): This will include at least one more advanced econometrics course, beginning 2018-19.
- Several economics courses include some regression analysis of data. These courses are in the Data Analytics and Economics Analysis Specialization Track of the Economics major. Currently ECN 132 (Health Economics) and ECN 145 (Transportation Economics).
- Statistics 108 (Applied Statistical Methods: Regression Analysis).
- Statistics 130A-B (Mathematical Statistics: Brief Course). This is bread-and-butter statistics, often required for graduate degrees.
- Statistics 131A-C (Mathematical Statistics). More advanced version of 130A-B. Take either 130 or 131.
- Statistics 137 (Applied Time Series Analysis).
- Statistics 141A-C (Data Science, Data and Web Technologies, Big Data)
- STS 101 (Introduction to Data Studies). Data manipulation using Excel.
- STS 115 (Data Science and Exploration). Case studies using R.
- ECS 10 (Introduction to Programming). Programming in Python.
- ECS 30 (Programming and problem solving). Programming in C.
- ECS 116 (Data bases for non-majors). Relational databases. SQL.
- MAT 22A (Linear Algebra). Covers vectors and matrices.
- MAT 67 (Modern Linear Algebra). More advanced course than 22A. Requires 21A.
- MAT 25 (Advanced Calculus). Require 21C.
- MAT 125A (Real Analysis). Requires 25. Calculus at an even more advanced level.
Economics Major Requirements
Can ARE 142, 143, or 144 count for the Economics major?
Unfortunately, these courses are not allowed for credit toward the Economics major. Only the following ARE coursers may be used toward degree credit: ARE 115A, 115B, 139, 156, 166, 171A, 175 and 176. For more information, please meet with an Economics advisor.
I have not taken ECN 100A, 100B or 101 yet. Can I take other upper division ECN courses?
ECN 100A/100B/101 are prerequisites for the advanced courses. You may pursue any upper division Economics History or Economics Elective courses:
- History: 110A, 110B, 111A, 111B
- Electives: 115A-B, 162, 171, and selected 190s
I need to choose 12 units of elective courses in Economics. What courses can be applied toward this requirement?
Any upper division Economics course can be used toward your elective requirements.
If I take a course at another institution, how can I get this course approved for use toward Economics requirements?
Should I take ECN 100A and ECN 100B before ECN 101?
The order in which you complete these core courses is not critical.
Should I take MAT 16 or MAT 21 series?
If you plan to attend graduate school in Economics or business, the MAT 21 series is highly suggested. For students who plan to go directly into the workforce, the MAT 16 series is appropriate.
What is the difference between ECN 162 and ECN 160A-B?
ECN 162: International Economic Relations is intended for non-majors, and summarizes both ECN 160A-B. Economics majors can take ECN 162 for full credit but should not take ECN 160A-B because only 2 units of credit will be granted for ECN 160A-B. If you take ECN 160A-B before ECN 162, you will not receive credit for ECN 162.
Waitlists & PTAs
Will I be able to get into a waitlisted Economics course?
There is a great deal of movement on waitlists in the first week of classes. However, faculty and advisors cannot guarantee you a spot in any Economics course, as our department has a strict PTA code policy. Please click here to read more about our PTA Approval Policy if you have questions.
Our advice would be to attend the class for the week as well as a back up course. If you are not in the course by the end of a full week of classes then you should drop the course and try again another quarter.