economics

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Commencement 2013

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2013 Economics Department Honors Theses

A Guide to Undergraduate Economics at Brown

The purpose of this document is to provide students with information about economics as a field, the various concentrations in economics, the courses being taught, and the professors to see if you have questions.

It's organized as a series of questions and answers. Find your question, and, hopefully, we'll provide you with a useful answer!

1) What is the economics program, in general?
2) What are the goals that an Economics concentration helps a student to achieve?
3) What are the requirements for the Economics Concentration?
4) Must I take ECON 0110 and ECON 1110?
5) Does economics require a lot of math?
6) How should I sequence my courses?
7) What's better for my career, economics or BEO business economics track?
8) How should I decide whether to be an economics concentrator versus concentrating in math-economics or applied math-economics?
9) How about double concentrations?
10) Is studying economics necessary for an MBA or law degree?
11) Is it necessary for an M.A. or Ph.D. degree?
12) How about transfer credits?
13) What about study abroad?
14) What's the policy on internships and independent studies?
15) Are there opportunities to do research in the economics department?
16) Can you list the advisors?
17) Can you list the courses?
18) Are there any courses offered by other departments that are acceptable for Economics concentration credit?
19) How do I graduate with honors?
20) Are there other capstone projects for economics concentrators, and is there some formal recognition of these by the department?
21) What are the requirements for the combined programs with the applied mathematics, mathematics and computer science departments?
22) What are the department's policies regarding transfer credit and study abroad and at other institutions?

1) Can you describe the undergraduate economics program in general terms?

Economics is the study of how individuals, businesses, and governments choose to allocate resources to best satisfy their objectives. The study of economics serves a number of purposes: it helps students understand the functioning of markets, of firms, and of financial organizations; it helps students understand public debate about economic policy, including taxation and government expenditure, trade and globalization, health and welfare; it prepares students for graduate study in fields like business and law; and it prepares students for graduate study leading to careers in teaching and research in economic; and it serves as a direct steppingstone towards employment in business, finance, non-profit, and government organizations.

The economics department sponsors a number of alternative concentration options. The most popular is the standard economics concentration, described below. Three additional concentrations are administered jointly with other departments and are described separately under their respective titles in item 21. They are the concentrations in applied mathematics-economics, in mathematical economics (mathematics-economics), and in computer science-economics. The first two are especially recommended for students interested in graduate study in economics.

Both the regular Economics concentration and the concentrations mentioned in the previous paragraph have parallel “professional track” versions.  The professional track version of a given concentration is identical in its course and other requirements but in addition, it calls for the completion of two internships (typically done in summer).  Click here for more information.

The department offers many of the required courses in an interdepartmental concentration called Business, Entrepreneurship and Organizations, or BEO for short (formerly COE). BEO is jointly run by the departments of economics and sociology, and the division of engineering. BEO has three possible "tracks," one of which, the business economics track, is similar to a business economics concentration that was offered by our department until the early 2000s. Please contact the BEO administrator for more details, including information about advising in that concentration.

2) What are the goals that an economics concentration helps a student to achieve?


Economics is a social scientific discipline that both studies economic activity in its narrower sense and develops methodologies for studying decision-making in a broader set of domains.  Economic activity narrowly construed is that subset of people’s activities primarily concerned with the production and consumption of goods and services, the allocation of resources, goods and asset markets, the money supply, and taxation.  More broadly, economics provides a theory of rational choice that has been useful in fields ranging from the study of politics and healthcare to theoretical biology.  In recent years, economists have been expanding their study of choice to also include the interaction of cognitive limitations, decision heuristics, and psychological and social influences with the rational aspects of choice.
A student who completes a concentration in economics should have obtained a grasp of the basic concepts and tools of the three core areas in which every economist is assumed to have training.  These are (1) microeconomics: the study of decision-making by individuals, households, and firms and the operation of the markets in which they interact; (2) macroeconomics: the study of the determinants (including government policy) of economic aggregates, typically at national levels, such as the level of employment, gross domestic product, and the price level, and rates of change in those and related variables; (3) econometrics: the application of statistical methods to the study of economic data and the testing of economic theories.  A graduating concentrator is also expected to have obtained a grasp of basic concepts, tools, research methods, and or findings in several specific fields of economics, of which examples include labor economics, industrial organization, urban economics, health economics, population economics, economics of development, public economics, financial economics, money and banking, economic growth, game theory, behavioral economics, and more advanced areas of economic theory and of econometrics.
Studying economics should help the student to improve his or her capacity to recognize and analyze the interdependence between the elements of complex systems, especially ones involving human actors.  At the core of economic analysis is the idea of constrained optimization.  An actor is assumed to have a goal (more technically, an “objective function”), possibly involving several distinct elements having differing and potentially interacting weights.  The actor selects variables under her control so as to maximize the value of the objective function subject to constraints such as resource limitations, the state of technological knowledge, and the decisions of other actors.  This approach has been found to be of value in many applications, and the rigorous manner of thinking that its use promotes can contribute to the student’s future effectiveness in many spheres.

3) What are the requirements for the standard concentration in economics?

Standard Economics Concentration:

Note: please pay attention to new requirements going into effect for the first time for the class of 2016 (mainly, those entering as freshmen in 2012 and beyond).  The new requirements do not apply to students already at Brown in the 2011 – 12 academic year and before.

Mathematics Course Requirement: MATH 0060, 0070, or 0090, or a higher-level math course (for the class of 2016 and beyond, MATH 0100 or above). Note that core intermediate classes ECON 1110 and ECON1210 require at least MATH 0060, 0070 or 0090 as a pre-requisite, and that certain advanced economics courses may impose additional mathematical prerequisites. The standard mathematics requirement may be met by a score of 4 or 5 on the AB Calculus AP exam or a score of 3, 4 or 5 on the BC Calculus AP exam (for class of 2016 and beyond, only a score of 4 or 5 on the BC Calculus AP exam will suffice).  The AP mathematics credit must appear on your Brown transcript. If the Math Department places you out of the courses indicated here but the relevant AP exam score or course credit does not appear on your transcript, you will need to take a higher level math course at Brown to fulfill our requirement.  


Economics Course Requirements: ECON 0110. ECON 1110 or 1130, 1210, 1620 or 1630 (for class of 2016 and beyond, ECON 1620 and 1629 or 1630, i.e. two econometrics courses), and at least five other 1000-level economics courses. There are a total of nine(starting in 2016, ten) required economics courses.
In sum, you must complete 10 (from 2016, 11) courses, 1 in mathematics and 9 (from 2016, 10) in economics.

Note: You can also choose to concentrate in Economics, Professional Track.  Requirements are the same except for completion of two internships or similar experiences.  Click here for details.

 

4) I took a course in economics in high school. Do I really have to take Economics 0110 and Economics 1110?

ECON 0110 (principles of economics) is a required part of the standard economics concentration. It is also a prerequisite for ECON 1110 (intermediate microeconomics) , and 1110 is a prerequisite for most advanced courses in economics.

The economics department will place you out of ECON 0110 if you have taken Advanced Placement tests in microeconomics and macroeconomics, have scored at least 4 on both, and have submitted those scores to Brown. We will also place you out of ECON 0110 if you have taken the international baccalaureate (IB) HL exam in economics, and scored a 6 or 7. If you have taken British A-levels, we may place you out of ECON 0110, but this is done on a case-by-case basis by the department‘s transfer credit advisor. Prior to the class of 2016, many students received credit for ECON 0110 in such cases and were not required to replace it with an additional course.  Beginning with the class of 2016, the concentration will require students who place out of ECON 0110 to take an additional 1000-level economics course, hence still a total of 10 classes, to complete their requirements.  If you have questions, regardless of your class, please see our Transfer Credit Advisor.

5) Does economics require a lot of math?

Economics as a discipline makes considerable use of mathematics, although most undergraduate economics courses require only a solid background in high school level geometry and algebra plus some basic calculus. The economics concentration requires a course in calculus and a course in econometrics (statistical applications in economics). Beginning with the class of 2016, the required calculus course will be the second semester calculus course at Brown, so those with no calculus background will also have to take the pre-requisite for that course.  Also beginning with that class, two econometrics classes will be required of concentrators.

The calculus requirement may be met through high school Advanced Placement courses. For students whose studies at Brown began before Sept. 2012, our math requirement can be met by taking MATH 0060, 0070 or 0090 or by earning a score of 4 or 5 on the AB Calculus AP test or a score of 3, 4 or 5 on the BC Calculus AP exam.  Those scores must appear on your Brown transcript.  For students in the class of 2016 and beyond, the requirement is MATH 0100 or above or a score of 4 or 5 on the BC Calculus AP exam, which also must appear on your transcript.  The requirement may be met through transfer of course credit for a calculus course taken at another university, if granted by the Math Department. Taking a calculus course in high school, with no AP or other credit shown on your Brown transcript, does not satisfy the calculus requirement.

If you think you might want to go on to a graduate degree in economics, you should take as much mathematics and statistics as you can.The mathematics courses required or recommended for the Mathematical Economics (Mathematics-Economics) and the Applied Math – Economics concentrations provide good guidance for this purpose.

 

6) How should I sequence my courses?

It’s best to take ECON 0110 and first semester calculus in your freshman year. These two are prerequisites to the intermediate micro and macroeconomics courses, ECON 1110 (or 1130) and ECON 1210, which should also be taken early.  Another course we urge you to take early is ECON 1620. In all, it is expected that when you sign up for the concentration in your 4th semester, you will have taken or will be in the process of completing five courses: MATH 0060, 0070 or 0090; ECON 0110; ECON 1110 or 1130; ECON 1210; and ECON 1620.  (For students having the relevant AP credits, the number of courses to be completed by end of semester 4 will be four or even three only.)

Once the calculus pre-requisite and four required courses have been completed, students may want to begin sampling advanced courses of various kinds.  Students in the class of 2016 and beyond are urged  to remember the two further required courses—MATH 0100 or higher, and ECON 1629 or 1630.  A number of courses in applied fields like labor economics, health economics, and development economics, make heavy use of data and statistical methods, and ECON1629 or 1630 are recommended and will eventually be required prerequisites for them.  MATH 0100 is a pre-requisite of some advanced theory courses such as ECON 1810 (Economics and Psychology).   ECON 1629 and 1630 are strongly recommended to students considering writing an empirically oriented  honors thesis.


Students completing the five courses mentioned above by the end of semester 4 have four remaining semesters in which to complete a minimum of 5 concentration courses (6 for class of 2016+ students who place out of ECON 0110 and are required to substitute a 1000-level economics course).  We encourage students to consider taking courses from a variety of fields within economics, and to consult their concentration advisor about course selection and other issues.  We particularly urge students to consider taking at least one course from those that use data and empirical methods of analysis intensively (the “data methods” group), and at least one course that makes more use of mathematical techniques (the “mathematical economics” group).  This suggestion, a recommendation for all students, is a requirement for those students wishing to graduate with honors beginning with the class of 2016. 

  • The “data methods” group consists of ECON1305 (Economics of Education), 1310 (Labor Economics), 1360 (Health Economics), 1390 (Intro to Research Methods), 1410 (Urban Economics), 1510 (Economic Development), 1520 (The Economic Analysis of Institutions), 1530 (Health, Hunger and the Household in Developing Countries), 1640 (Econometrics II), 1650 (Financial Econometrics), 1759 (Data, Statistics and Finance), and 1765 (Finance, Regulation and the Economy).
  • The “mathematical economics” group consists of ECON1170 (Welfare Economics), ECON 1225 (Monetary and Fiscal Economics and Stabilization Policy), 1465 (Market Design), 1470 (Bargaining Theory), 1640 (Econometrics II), 1650 (Financial Econometrics), 1750 (Investments II: Options and Derivatives), 1759 (Data, Statistics and Finance), 1810 (Psychology and Economics), 1820 (Behavioral Economics), 1850 (Theory of Economic Growth), 1860 (General Equilibrium) and 1870 (Game Theory). 
  • Another group of courses of mentioned in our later discussion of the mathematical finance tracks of the Applied Math – Economics concentration is called the “financial economics” group.  It consists of ECON 1650 (Financial Econometrics), 1710 (Investments I), 1720 (Corporate Finance), 1750 (Investments II: Options and Derivatives), 1759 (Data, Statistics and Finance), 1760 (Financial Institutions), 1765 (Finance, Regulation and the Economy), 1770 (Fixed Income Securities), 1780 (Corporate Strategy), and 1790 (Corporate Governance).

If you are in one of the combined concentrations with applied mathematics, computer science, or mathematics, take the math or c.s. courses as early as you can.

7) Which would be best for my career, Economics or the BEO-business economics track major?

For job placement, we think it doesn't matter much. Choose the one which is closest to your intellectual interests. What topics interest you most? Do the non-economics course requirements of BEO appeal to you? Let your interests be the guide.

8) How should I decide whether to be an economics, math-economics or applied math-economics concentrator?

As indicated in 5), graduate training in economics is highly mathematics-intensive.  The Mathematical-Economics or Applied-Math-Economics concentrations are therefore highly recommended for students considering going on to graduate school in economics.  Strong training in mathematics can also enhance your ability to work in certain types of jobs, like financial analysis and some government and consulting jobs.  Applied Math – Economics is somewhat more focused on quantitative methods used in applied economics fields like labor, health and development economics, empirical finance, and industrial organization, while Mathematical Economics (Mathematics-Economics) focuses more on methods used in pure economic theory fields such as game theory.

    

9) What about double concentrations, like economics and international relations?

Many students do two or more concentrations, economics being one of the two. For our students, the most common double concentrations are with international relations and political science; development studies, history, public policy, and environmental studies are also common double concentrations with economics. But economics can be doubled up with almost any other concentration. You may want to keep in mind, however, that few employers or admissions officers care whether you have multiple concentrations; what’s important is the courses that you take and the value of your overall educational experience. As far as overlapping courses are concerned, the economics department doesn't care (but some other departments do, so consult their guidelines). For combined concentrations like Applied Mathematics-Economics, see question 21 below. Incidentally, you cannot concentrate in both economics and BEO-business economics track, nor can you concentrate in more than one of the concentrations sponsored by the Economics Department (for example Economics and Applied Math-Economics).

10) Do I need to concentrate in economics in order to go on to a graduate school of business administration or a law school?

No, but it sometimes helps. Graduate programs in business and law draw their students from a wide variety of undergraduate concentrations, and do not insist that their students have extensive backgrounds in economics. It is important to point out, though, that economic analysis plays a major part in the curriculum of most graduate business schools, and that modern legal theories are affected by economic analysis. The feedback that we get from our graduates who go on to business and law schools is that they benefit from their undergraduate training in economics.

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11) Do I need to concentrate in economics in order to do graduate work - an M.A. or Ph.D.- in economics?

If you plan to do graduate work in economics it is most important to get a strong background in mathematics and statistics. Consult with the advisors for the Applied Mathematics-Economics, and Mathematical Economics (Mathematics-Economics) concentrations. Exposure to economics courses can help you to decide whether a career in economics interests you and help you obtain an early foundation for graduate study.

12) I am a transfer student from another university, and I took courses in economics. Can I get transfer credit toward my Brown degree?

Transfer credit is routinely given for courses comparable in content and quality to those offered at Brown. See our list of faculty advisors to find the transfer credit advisor (in 16 below) and see also the answers to item 22) below.

 

13) I plan to take an economics course while studying abroad for a semester or a year. Can I get transfer credit toward my Brown degree?

Yes. See  the material below and our transfer credit advisor Professor Itay Fainmesser. Note that transfer credit is normally given for a limited number of courses. Typically students get economics concentration credit for around 1 course per semester, and up to 3 courses per year, while studying abroad.  The number of ordinary credits toward graduation (as opposed to concentration credits) for economics courses is not limited.

14) What is the department policy on internships and independent study?

Many of our concentrators do internships, often at Wall Street firms, banks, or research institutes. We think these are great learning experiences. However we do not grant course credit for internships. Nor do we require internships as part of the workload in any of our standard courses. Internships are not a required part of our concentration in economics, or in any of our combined concentrations.

Students can take independent study courses in our department, currently identified as ECON 1970 courses. In such courses, professors (with their students) decide on the scheduling of meetings, on work requirements, and on how grades will be determined. The most common arrangement is for a student and a professor to meet once a week during a semester, and for the student to present a research paper at the end. The content of the course is whatever the professor and student agree upon, in the broad area of economics. The course can count as one of the 1000-level electives provided that it is not part of senior thesis preparation.

Internships enter this picture as follows: A professor teaching an independent study course may allow a student to offer some work that the student developed during the course of an internship. Such work should comprise a fraction of the total work done for the ECON 1970 course. The professor will ensure that all the work done for the independent study course is equal to the work done in a typical Brown course; that it was done by the student and not by others; and that the intellectual content of the independent study course meets Brown's standards. The professor will ensure that the final product of the course is substantially more than a study produced during the internship, with a new cover.

15) What opportunities are there to do research in economics as an undergraduate?

Writing an honors thesis during senior year (see below, 20) is one of the best ways to have the experience of doing research as an undergraduate.  The framework of independent study courses, described in 14, is another alternative.  A few faculty members have funding with which to hire undergraduate research assistants, and there is a fund, the Chase Manhattan RA fund, that permits professors to hire as research assistants undergraduates who are concentrators and are eligible for financial aid.  The UTRA program run by the Dean of the College’s office is another possibility.  Students interested in helping with the research of a faculty member may directly contact professors who know them or may send a letter or e-mail message indicating their interests with a resume and list of relevant course work to the Student Affairs Manager, Angelica Vargas.

16) Who are the advisors in the economics department?

The Department of Economics has assigned six faculty members the job of advising economics concentrators, with two others responsible for advising students in the joint concentrations, and an additional advisor handling questions of transfer credit and study abroad.  There are four faculty members who do freshman and sophomore advising, but if you are a sophomore ready to sign up for your concentration, you should see one of the concentration advisors (initial list below).  You’ll also find below the name of the professor who manages our undergraduate program as a whole, and the name of the staff person who is our Student Affairs Manager.

Economics concentration advisors:

Anna Aizer (Economics)
Office: Robinson Hall 302A
Office Hours: Thurs. 1:00-2:00
Email: Anna_Aizer@brown.edu
Phone: (401) 863-9529 Fax: (401) 863-1970

Joaquin Blaum (Economics)
Office: 70 Waterman 309
Office Hours: Tues 1:30-2:30
Email: Joaquin_Blaum@brown.edu
Phone: (401) 863-2285 Fax: (401) 863-1970

Dror Brenner (Economics)
Office: Robinson Hall 214
Office Hours: On Leave
Email: Dror.Brenner@gmail.com
Phone: (401) 863-2122 Fax: (401) 863-1970

Rachel Friedberg (Economics)
Office: Robinson Hall 216
Office Hours: Weds. 11:00-12:30
Email: Rachel_Friedberg@brown.edu
Phone: (401) 863-7578 Fax: (401) 863-1970

Sylvia Kuo (Economics)
Office: Robinson 104B
Office Hours: Tues. 12:30-1:30 Weds. 11:00-12:00 or by appointment
Email: Sylvia_Kuo@brown.edu
Phone: (401) 863-6257 Fax: (401) 863-1970

David Weil (Economics)
Office: Robinson Hall 204
Office Hours: Tues. 1:00-3:00
Email: David_Weil@brown.edu
Phone: (401) 863-1754 Fax: (401) 863-1970

Applied Math-Economics, Math-Economics, and Computer Science-Economics concentration advisors:

Mark Dean
Office: Robinson Hall Room 303C
Office Hours:
Email: Mark Dean@brown.edu
Phone: (401) 863-2097 Fax: (401) 863-1970

Geoffroy deClippel
Office: Robinson Hall 102A
Office Hours: Wednesday 4:30 - 5:30
Email: Geoffroy_declippel@brown.edu
Phone: (401) 863-6288 Fax: (401) 863-1970

Transfer credit and study abroad advisor:

Susanne Schennach
Office: 70 Waterman 012
Office Hours:
Email: Susanne_Schennach@brown.edu
Phone: (401) 863-1234 Fax: (401) 863-1970

Freshman and sophomore advisors: Profs. Nathaniel Baum-Snow, Pedro Dal Bó, Rachel Friedber, Sylvia Kuo, Stelios Michalopoulos, and Rajiv Vohra (see the Department’s Faculty web page or ask the receptionist for office and phone information).


Director of Undergraduate Studies: Prof. Anna Aizer, 302A Robinson Hall, 863-9529.


Student Affairs Manager: Angelica Vargas, 103 Robinson Hall, 863-2465.

17) What courses are currently available for undergraduates in the economics department?

2012-13 class schedule. This list is subject to revision. Check this website for updates. 

Please see the course catalog in Banner for full course descriptions.

18) Are there any courses offered by other departments that are acceptable for Economics concentration credit?

There are a few such courses, which were cross-listed before the Banner system was adopted and are cross-listed again as of 2010 – 11. The courses involved and their non-economics designations are ECON 1350  (ENVS 1350),  ECON 1355 (ENVS 1355), ECON 1300  ( EDUC 1150), and ECON 1420  (URBN 1420).  If you discover another course you think should be considered, let us know, but note that to count for concentration credit, a course should have an ECON 1110 pre-requisite and be taught by an instructor with advanced economics training.  

19) What are the requirements for graduation with Honors in Economics, Applied Math - Economics, Computer Science - Economics or Mathematical Economics (Mathematics-Economics)?

Students may graduate with honors in economics, mathematical economics (soon to be renamed mathematics-economics), applied math-economics, and computer science-economics, if by the end of junior year (1) they complete 70% or more of the courses required in their concentration; (2) they have excellent grades in economics concentration courses, usually meaning a grade point average in those courses of at least 3.7 (for students in the joint concentrations, 3.7 in economics courses, at least 3.5 overall); and (3) they find a faculty member or members in the Department willing to supervise their work on a senior thesis. Since the above requirements are to be met by the end of junior year, those interested should be actively seeking a topic and an advisor during semester 6.  The final requirement for graduation with honors is, (4) that the faculty advisor finds the completed thesis to be of honors quality. Normally the thesis requires two semesters of work during the senior year.

Beginning with the class of 2016, there will be an additional requirement for graduating with honors, which is (5) to take at least one course each from the “data methods” and “mathematical economics” groups, as listed under 6) above (course sequencing).  Students may not use the same course to satisfy these two requirements.

A student interested in becoming a candidate for honors should by the end of the junior year inform the department honors and awards advisor Prof. Sriniketh Nagavarapu of his or her intention to write a senior thesis and of the name of the thesis supervisor. The student will enroll in ECON 1960 in fall semester of their senior year (if it is offered) and in ECON 1970 during spring semester, or will enroll in ECON 1970 twice if ECON1960 is not offered, while working on the thesis. For a student in the honors program, the credits earned in these courses do not replace other concentration requirements; they are in addition to the standard requirements.  

A student majoring in applied mathematics-economics, computer science-economics, or mathematical economics (mathematics-economis) should write a thesis that makes use of the techniques learned in that concentration.  To make sure that this is the case, a student whose main thesis advisor is in the economics department should identify a secondary reader on the faculty of the other department (Applied Mathematics, Computer Science, or Mathematics) who can confirm to the honors and awards advisor in the economics department that the thesis is appropriate to the joint concentration. Note that this second reader’s role can be minor in comparison to that of the main advisor, but it is important to identify such a reader early and reach an understanding about their role. An Applied Math, Computer Science, or Mathematics professor can be the main advisor for a thesis in the relevant joint concentration, but in that case the second reader must be from the Economics Department.  We urge the students to bring such cases to the attention of their concentration advisor and the honors advisor in the Economics Department, who may want to confirm that the topic, advisor and reader are appropriate. Students in the joint concentrations are also urged to consult the website and/or relevant advisor in the other sponsoring department to make sure they are not overlooking expectations on that department’s part. Students in the joint concentrations who wish to write an honors thesis are expected to take ECON 1960 followed by a second semester independent study course, and should consult the honors advisor if they believe that special circumstances apply.

An honors thesis is more than a good course paper. It must represent a substantial effort in research and exposition. While the department does not specify page lengths or other requirements, the candidate should establish his or her goals in an understanding with the thesis advisor.  The candidate should have ongoing contact with the advisor while working on the thesis, recognizing that handing in what the student takes to be a finished thesis after months without contact is a sure route to failure.

An honors thesis can be descriptive, historical, mathematical, or statistical. It can be oriented toward fact, toward theory, or toward policy. Copies of honors theses written in past years are kept by the department office, and interested students may look at them to see what has been done before.

Students should note that an honors thesis done in the economics department may not also be used as an honors thesis or as a senior thesis in another department or program. Although double concentrators may be awarded honors, honors can be awarded in one concentration only.

20) Are there other capstone projects for economics concentrators, and is there some formal recognition of these by the department? 

The Economics Department encourages every concentrator to complete some kind of capstone project or experience before graduating from Brown, preferably in the senior year.  Writing an honors thesis is one way of meeting this requirement.  Others are: 1) engaging in an independent study course, ECON1970, that is not linked to an honors thesis (see (14) above); 2) writing a substantive research paper for an advanced economics course; 3) participating in a major way, including making presentations, in an advanced economics course; 4) assisting on a faculty research project in a substantive manner, especially during senior year; 5) a substantive experience as a teaching assistant; 6) undertaking a non-credit internship or similar project with a strong tie-in to the concentration  as ascertained by a faculty member. To qualify, the experience must be intellectually substantive enough to constitute a capstone to one’s experience as an undergraduate concentrator, with the final judgment being made by the member of the Economics Department faculty whom the student works with or consults about their project and who, if convinced of its merit, signs a Capstone Project Report Form (see link above, left).  Those seniors successfully completing a capstone project other than a senior thesis will be recognized for their accomplishment by letter and in the departmental diploma ceremony at  Commencement.

 

21) Can you describe the combined concentrations, involving economics and applied mathematics, computer science, and mathematics?

Applied Mathematics-Economics Concentration

(Note: for information about the honors program in this and other joint concentrations, see 19) above.)

The philosophy of this program is to provide sufficient command of mathematical concepts to allow pursuit of an economics program emphasizing modern research problems. Economic theory has come to use more and more mathematics in recent decades, and empirical research in economics has turned to sophisticated statistical techniques. The applied mathematics-economics concentration is designed to reflect the mathematical and statistical nature of modern economic theory and empirical research.

This concentration comes in two flavors, or tracks. The first is the advanced economics track, which is intended to prepare students for graduate study in economics. The second is the mathematical finance track, which is intended to prepare students for graduate study in finance, or for careers in finance or financial engineering. Both tracks of the applied mathematics-economics concentration have A.B. degree versions and Sc.B. degree versions. Also note that for each degree version and track there is a parallel professional track, which differs from the regular track by requiring completion of two internship or similar experiences.  Click here for details.

It is strongly recommended to those considering applying to a Ph.D. program in economics to write an honors thesis or at least to conduct some research with a faculty member that can be credited as a senior capstone project.  Doing so will help the student obtain a better sense of what scholarly research in economics is like, and should have the extra benefit of leading to a relationship with a faculty member who will know you well enough to write a letter of recommendation for you, an important part of your application package.  See the descriptions of the Honors and Capstone programs above, which also apply to the joint concentrations. Beginning with the class of 2016, an honors thesis or capstone project is a requirement in all tracks of the Applied Math – Economics concentration.

Standard Program for the A.B. degree in Applied Mathematics-Economics-Advanced Economics Track
Prerequisites: MATH 0100, 0520.
Course Requirements:

APPLIED MATHEMATICS:

(a) APMA 0350 and 0360 (APMA 0330 and 0340 may be substituted with advisor approval). One course from APMA 0160, CSCI 0040, CSCI 0150, or CSCI 0170 (the first two courses are preferred, being less tailored to computer science students). One course from APMA 1200, 1210. APMA 1650.

(b) One course from APMA 1200, 1210, 1660, 1670, 1680, 1690, 1700, MATH 1010. No course may be used to simultaneously satisfy (a) and (b).

ECONOMICS:

ECON 1130 (or 1110 with permission), 1210, 1630; plus at least three (beginning with class of 2016, four) other 1000-level economics courses. Of those three (four) courses, at least two must be chosen from the “mathematical-economics” group (and, for the class of 2016 and after,  at least one course, without double-counting, must be chosen from the “data methods” group). The courses in these groups are listed in the answer to question 6, above.

Standard Program for the Sc.B. degree in Applied Mathematics-Economics-Advanced Economics Track
Prerequisites: MATH 0100, 0520.
Course Requirements:

APPLIED MATHEMATICS:

(a) APMA 0350 and 0360 (APMA 0330 and 0340 may be substituted with advisor approval). One course from APMA 0160, CSCI 0040, CSCI 0150, or CSCI 0170 (the first two courses are preferred, being less tailored to computer science students). One course from APMA 1200, 1210. APMA 1650.

(b) Two courses from APMA 1200, 1210, 1660, 1670, 1680, 1690, 1700, MATH 1010. No course may be used to simultaneously satisfy (a) and (b).

ECONOMICS:

ECON 1130 (or 1110 with permission), 1210 and 1630; plus at least five (for class of 2016 and beyond, six) other 1000-level economics courses. Of the five (six) courses, three must be chosen from the “mathematical-economics” group (and, beginning with the class of 2016, one course, without double-counting, must be from the “data methods” group). The courses in these groups are listed in the answer to question 6, above.

Standard Program for the A.B. degree in Applied Mathematics-Economics-Mathematical Finance Track
Prerequisites: MATH 0100, 0520.
Course Requirements:

APPLIED MATHEMATICS:

(a) APMA 0350 and 0360 (APMA 0330 and 0340 may be substituted with advisor approval). One course from APMA 0160, CSCI 0040, CSCI 0150, or CSCI 0170 (the first two courses are preferred, being less tailored to computer science students). APMA 1200. APMA 1650.

(b) One course from APMA 1180, 1330, 1660, 1670, 1680, 1690, 1700, 1720, MATH 1010. (APMA 1720 is most preferred in this list.)

ECONOMICS:

ECON 1130 (or 1110 with permission), 1210, 1630; plus three (beginning with the class of 2016, four) other 1000-level economics courses. Of the three (four) courses, two must be chosen from the “financial economics” group, one from the "mathematical economics" group (and, for the class of 2016 and beyond, one from the “data methods” group). The courses in these groups are listed in the answer to question 6, above. No course may be used to simultaneously satisfy the "financial economics", and the "mathematical economics", or "data methods" requirements.

Standard Program for the Sc.B. degree in Applied Mathematics-Economics-Mathematical Finance Track
Prerequisites: MATH 0100, 0520.
Course Requirements:

APPLIED MATHEMATICS:

(a) APMA 0350 and 0360 (APMA 0330 and 0340 may be substituted with advisor approval). One course from APMA 0160, CSCI 0040, CSCI 0150, or CSCI 0170 (the first two courses are preferred, being less tailored to computer science students). APMA 1200. APMA 1650.

(b) Two courses from APMA 1180, 1330, 1660, 1670, 1680, 1690, 1700, 1720, MATH 1010. (APMA 1720 is most preferred in this list).

ECONOMICS:

ECON 1130 (or 1110 with permission), 1210 and 1630; plus five (for class of 2016 and beyond, six) other 1000-level economics courses. Of the five (six) courses, three must be chosen from the “financial economics” group, two must be chosen from the "mathematical economics" group (and, beginning with the class of 2016, one must be from the “data methods” group). The courses in these groups are listed in the answer to question 6, above. No course may be used to simultaneously satisfy the "financial economics", "mathematical economics", or "data methods" requirements.

Computer Science-Economics Concentration

(Note: for information about the honors program in this and other joint concentrations, see 19) above.)

The joint computer science-economics concentration exposes students to both theoretical and practical connections between computer science and economics. The intent of this concentration is to prepare students for either academic careers conducting research in areas that emphasize the overlap between the two fields; or professional careers that incorporate aspects of economics and computer technology.

The concentration is offered in two versions, the A.B. and the Sc.B. While the A.B. degree allows students to explore the two disciplines by taking advanced courses in both departments, its smaller number of required courses is compatible with a liberal education. The Sc.B. degree achieves greater depth in both computer science and economics by requiring more courses, and it offers students the opportunity to creatively integrate both disciplines through a design requirement. Also note that for each degree version there is a parallel professional track, which differs from the regular track by requiring completion of two internship or similar experiences.  Click here for details.

Note:  students who registered for this concentration prior to October, 2012 will notice some changes in the listed requirements.  Since these changes entail an overall reduction in the required course load and add no new requirements for existing concentrors, they are going into effect immediately. 

Standard Program for the A.B. Degree in Computer Science-Economics

Prerequisites (3 courses)

  • MATH 0100.
  • MATH 0520 or 0540 or CSCI 0530.
  • ECON 0110.

Required Courses (13 courses)

  • CSCI 0450 or APMA 1650.
  • (CSCI 0150 and CSCI 0160) or
    (CSCI 0170 and CSCI 0180) or
    (CSCI 0190 and an additional CS course not otherwise used to satisfy a concentration requirement; this course may be CSCI 0180, an intermediate-level course, or a 1000-level course)
  • Two of the following intermediate courses, one of which must be math-oriented and one systems-oriented
    • CSCI 0220 (math)
    • CSCI 0310  or CSCI 0330 (sys)
    • CSCI 0320 (sys)
    • CSCI 0510 (math)
  • Two additional CS courses; at least one must be at the 1000-level. The other must either be at the 1000-level or be an intermediate course not already used to satisfy concentration requirements.
  • ECON 1130 (or, with permission, 1110)
  • ECON 1210
  • ECON 1630
  • Three courses from the “mathematical-economics group” (see list under item 6) above).

Standard Program for the Sc.B. Degree in Computer Science-Economics

Prerequisites 3 courses)

  • MATH 0100.
  • MATH 0520 or 0540 or CSCI 0530.
  • ECON 0110.
  • Required Courses (17 courses)

  • CSCI 0450 or APMA 1650.
  • (CSCI 0150 and CSCI 0160) or
    (CSCI 0170 and CSCI 0180) or
    (CSCI 0190 and an additional CS course not otherwise used to satisfy a concentration requirement; this course may be CSCI 180, an intermediate-level course, or a 1000-level course)
  • Two of the following intermediate courses, one of which must be math-oriented and one systems-oriented
  • CSCI 0220 (math)
  • CSCI 0310  or CSCI 0330 (sys)
  • CSCI 0320 (sys)
  • CSCI 0510 (math)
  • A pair of CS courses with a coherent theme. A list of pre-approved pairs may be found at the approved-pairs web page. You are not restricted to pairs on this list, but any pair not on the list must be approved by the CS director of undergraduate studies.
  • An additional CS course that is either at the 1000-level or is an intermediate course not already used to satisfy concentration requirements.
  • ECON 1130 (or, with permission, 1110).
  • ECON 1210.
  • ECON 1630.
  • Three courses from the “mathematical-economics group” (see list under item 6) above). .
  • Two additional 1000-level Economics courses.
  • One capstone course in either CS or Economics: a one-semester course, normally taken in the student's last undergraduate year, in which the student (or group of students) use a significant portion of their undergraduate education, broadly interpreted, in studying some current topic (preferably at the intersection of computer science and economics) in depth, to produce a culminating artifact such as a paper or software project.
  •  

    Mathematical Economics (Mathematics-Economics) Concentration

    (Note: for information about the honors program in this and other joint concentrations, see 19) above.)

    Designed to give a background in economic theory plus the mathematical tools needed to analyze and develop additional theoretical constructions. The official name of this concentration is changing to Mathematics-Economics in 2013 – 14. Emphasis is on the abstract theory itself. Like the Applied Math – Economics concentration, this concentration can also prepare a student to go on to the study of economics at the graduate level. Concentrators up to and including the class of 2015 are urged to write an honors thesis or engage in a capstone research project (see sections 19) and 20). Beginning with the class of 2016, a capstone project or thesis will be required of all concentrators.

    Course Requirements:

    ECONOMICS: ECON 1130 (or 1110 with permission), 1210 and 1630; plus at least three (beginning with the class of 2016, five) other 1000-level economics courses. Of these three (five) courses, at least two must be chosen from the “mathematical-economics” group (and, for the class of 2016 and beyond, one, without double-counting, must be from the “data methods” group). The courses in each group are listed in the answer to question 6, above.

    MATHEMATICS: Old requirements (class of 2015 and before): At least two calculus courses through MATH 0180 or its equivalent; linear algebra (MATH 0520 or 0540); plus either option A or option B as follows: Option A is MATH 1610, MATH 1620, plus one course from the “advanced mathematics” group.  Option B is APMA 1650, plus two courses from the “advanced mathematics” group.  The “advanced mathematics” group comprises MATH 1010, 1110, 1120, 1130, and 1140. New requirements (class of 2016 and after): (i) Calculus: MATH 0180 (or higher), (ii) Linear algebra: MATH 0520 or 0540, (iii) Probability theory: one course from MATH 1610, MATH 1620, or APMA 1650, (iv) Analysis: one course from MATH 1010, MATH 1130, or MATH 1140, (v) Differential equations: one course from MATH 1110 or MATH1120; plus (vi) one additional course from groups (iii), (iv) or (v) of this list.

    Note: You can also choose to concentrate in Mathematical - Economics, Professional Track.  Requirements are the same except for completion of two internships or similar experiences.  Click here for details.


    22) What are the department’s policies with regard to transfer credit and study abroad?

    There are a number of situations in which a student may request credit for courses taken away from Brown. These include courses taken before transferring to Brown from another college or university, advanced placement work done prior to college, summer courses, and study abroad. Here, we attempt to answer some questions that are frequently asked about such transfers of credit. Remaining questions should be addressed to the Transfer Credit Advisor.

    Course Credit and Concentration Credit

    It is helpful to distinguish between course credits, which count toward the completion of the general course requirement for graduation from Brown, and concentration credits, which count towards completion of concentration requirements. Standards are generally higher for the latter than for the former. In particular, to receive credit toward fulfillment of concentration requirements in the Economics concentration, courses should be advanced economics courses, which means, among other things, that they have a prerequisite of a theory course like ECON 1110 or ECON 1130. More elementary courses can often receive course credit but not concentration credit.

    Placing out of ECON 0110 and Math requirements
    Relevant policies are described under headings 3) – 5) above.  Our Transfer Credit Advisor is the best person to consult when clarification is needed.  Make sure not to “let these requirements slide” until late in your undergraduate career.  Transfer credit for a math course taken elsewhere is handled by the Mathematics Department.

    Study Abroad

    Study abroad can be a rewarding experience, and the Department tries where possible to accommodate the needs of students who wish to spend time studying elsewhere during the course of their programs at Brown. However, at least for those students who enter Brown as Freshmen, graduating from Brown with a concentration in Economics should mean that most of one’s economics courses have been taken at Brown. To assure that this is so, we limit the number of credits that fulfill concentration requirements to one per semester abroad or to three per year abroad. Exceptions are made on a case by case basis. There is no restriction on the number of courses that can be awarded ordinary course credits, and no restriction on the number of courses that can be counted towards the concentration by students transferring from another school.

    Although we will share whatever information we have about which schools have good reputations in economics, we do not try to steer students towards particular schools. Since you may have other reasons for wanting to study in Mexico, Japan, or elsewhere, we try to give credit for any bona fide college or university course in economics, regardless of where taken.

    Problems arise mainly when there is a question about whether a particular course qualifies as an economics course, as opposed to being a general course in social studies or current events, or a management course. Course titles may refer to an apparently economic topic, but if the instructor is not an economist, economic modes of analysis are unlikely to be central and the course is therefore not likely to be acceptable to our department.  To be awarded concentration credit, a course taken elsewhere should build on (usually, have a pre-requisite of) the equivalent of our ECON1110.

    Business or management programs sometimes include courses overlapping those offered by an economics department. However, assuming that any business course is by definition also an economics course is a common mistake. Much of what is taught in business programs is not economics. The Economics concentration will not accept for concentration purposes applied management courses that are lacking in economic analysis.

    Summer Courses

    Summer courses taken outside of Brown are treated like courses taken abroad or on other campuses during the academic year, except that there are college rules governing what kinds of summer courses can be used for credits towards graduation. Ordinarily, only one course per summer can be used to fulfill concentration requirements, but additional course credits may be awarded at the discretion of the Transfer Credit Advisor. Summer economics courses taken at Brown are fully equivalent to the identically numbered courses offered during the regular academic year, and there is no limit on the number that can be taken and used for concentration credit.

    Transferring To Brown

    If you transfer to Brown from another institution, there is no set limit to the number of economics courses for which you may receive credit, including ones that can be applied to meet concentration requirements. Each course taken at your former institution or institutions is considered individually for correspondence with courses offered at Brown. Courses without a Brown counterpart can receive course credit under the ‘unassigned’ category. If the latter courses are sufficiently advanced in nature, they can also be used to fulfill concentration requirements.

    The most common problem facing transfer students, with regard to transferring economics credits, concerns the introductory courses in micro and macroeconomics. Most colleges and universities require their students of economics to take both a one semester introduction to microeconomics and a one semester introduction to macroeconomics. At Brown, we cover such introductory material in a single semester only, in ECON 0110. Even though you may have taken a full semester introductory course in micro or macroeconomics, it cannot be treated as the equivalent of our ECON 1110 or ECON 1210, which are intermediate courses. Introductory and intermediate courses usually have very similar lists of topics, but they cover their material at different levels.

    Approval Procedure

    Although some programs require an advance signature from a concentration advisor, approvals of transfer credit usually can be made final only when you meet with the transfer credit advisor after courses have been completed and a transcript has been received by Brown. It is helpful to obtain your own copy of the transcript to show to the transfer credit advisor, but if this is not possible, other evidence of course completion can be used. Usually, a copy of a syllabus suffices to establish whether a course meets the requirements for credit, but it is advisable to save as much of your work as is feasible in case more evidence of the level of the course is requested.

    Contacting the Transfer Credit Advisor

    The Transfer Credit Advisor appointed by the Department is Professor Susanne Schennach . She can be reached by e-mail at Susanne_Schennach@Brown.Edu.

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