Why Study Economics?

In a special issue on the 21st Century Corporation, Business Week's "Resume for the 21st Century" for "The New Leadership" specified majoring in Economics, and emphasized developing thinking and analytical skills.

- Business Week, August 21-28, 2000

"At schools like Harvard or Columbia ... economics now is the most popular major on campus. ... Even at engineering-oriented Massachusetts Institute of Technology, economics accounts for about one-tenth of undergraduate majors. 'People feel an economics degree is going to be helpful as they decide that their career paths may take them into business schools or consulting or financial markets,' says Richard Clarida, chairman of Columbia's economics department."

- Wall Street Journal, February 20, 2001

Thinking about majoring in economics?

There are many reasons for majoring or minoring in economics. Whether you are interested in pursuing an advanced degree (such as an MBA or a law degree), attaining a high paying job, learning more about financial markets, or better understanding the ever-changing global environment, a degree in economics can help you reach your goals.

The purpose of this page is to indicate some of the benefits and rewards that are associated with becoming a serious student of economics at the undergraduate level.

Who employs economists?

Companies, governments, non-profits, and international organizations!

The Economics major stresses the analytical and quantitative skills necessary for today's jobs. Employers looking to hire in financial institutions or consulting firms often consider economics to be an extremely attractive major. The Economics department at FIU has placed its majors and minors in banking, government jobs, consulting, financial firms, law schools, business schools, and Ph.D. programs. The American Economics Association describes some of the diverse career opportunities available to graduates with an Economics degree.

Below is a sample of employers for whom students majoring or minoring in economics at FIU have worked following graduation.

  • ABN Amro, Banco Atlantico, Bank Atlantic, City of Miami, City of Miami Beach, Government of Anguilla, Government of Colombia, Hamilton Bank, Lehman Brothers, Merill Lynch, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Prudential Securities, SunTrust, U.S. Bureau of the Census, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, Villamil Consulting.

Each semester, several firms come to the FIU main campus for the purpose of recruiting graduates. Below is a list of just some of the firms that routinely recruit FIU graduates who have majored in economics.

  • Andersen Consulting, Citibank, Ford Motor Credit, General Electric Company, Goldman-Sachs, Marriot International, Nations Bank, Prudential Insurance and Financial Services, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, BellSouth Business Systems, Burdines Department Stores, CINTAS Corporation, Home Depot, IBM Corporation, Kraft Foods, Sprint, SunTrust, Target, Walt Disney World.

Finding that first job after college is a stressful time for many students. The Department of Economics strongly encourages all students to register with Career Services in GC 230

How much will you earn with a BA in Economics?

Quite a lot!

In 2007, average annual earnings for those with a BA in economics were $48,509, while those with a business degree earned $43,701 and other social sciences averaged just $33,000.

Average Starting Salaries by Major, 2007.

BA / BSc Degree Salary
Chemical Engineering $59,361
Electrical/electronics Engineering $55,292
Computer Science $53,396
Civil Engineering $48,509
Economics $48,483
Finance $47,239
Accounting $46,718
Business Administration/Management $43,701
Chemistry $41,506
Marketing $40,161
Biological/Life Sciences $34,953
History $33,768
Sociology $32,033
Psychology $31,631

Source: Nathan E. Bell, Nicole M. Di Fabio, and Lisa M. Frehill, “Salaries of Scientists, Engineers and Technicians: A Summary of Salary Surveys.” The Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology (CPST: Washington, DC 2007) selected curricula from page 8.

Going to Law School or Graduate School?

We'll prepare you well!

Nationwide, economics is a popular degree among lawyers. In addition to studying social issues, economics also requires clear and logical thinking. The rigor in economic analysis helps prepare students for law school better than other majors. Students planning to attend law school are encouraged to be an economics major with a political science minor or double major.

Economics majors have one of the highest average LSAT scores among all majors. They also rank highly in the GMAT and the GRE. In fact, as evidenced by scores on the GMAT, economics prepares students for MBA programs much better than a business or management degree does!

Graduate Test Score Rankings by Major

GMAT1 LSAT2 GRE Combined3
Majors Mean Rank Mean Rank Mean Rank
Physics 615 1 157.6 1 1903 1
Mathematics 552 8 157.6 1 1848 2
Economics 557 6 155.3 4 1816 3
Engineering 583 2 152.7 9 1776 6
Chemistry 570 4 154.5 5 1766 7
Philosophy 582 3 156.0 3 1812 4
Computer Science 551 9 15.2 11 1777 5
History 562 5 154.0 6 1655 11
Biology 551 9 153.6 8 1693 9
English 557 6 153.7 7 1662 10
Finance 532 12 152.2 10 1705 8
Accounting 518 14 151.8 13 1535 14
Psychology 527 13 151.9 12 1537 13
Political Science 539 11 151.6 14 1649 12
Management 489 16 149.4 16 1480 16
Marketing 485 17 150.0 15 1480 16
Sociology 507 15 149.3 17 1528 16
  1. Mean 1998-99 Graduate Management Admissions Test score by major. GMAT scores range from 200 to 800. Source: "Profile of GMAT Candidates," Graduate Management Admissions Council, 1999.
  2. Mean 1994-95 Law School Admission Test score by major. LSAT scores range from 120 to 180. Source: "LSAT Scores of Economics Majors," Michael Nieswiadomy, Journal of Economic Education, Fall 1998.
  3. Mean 1996-99 Graduate Record Examinations score by intended graduate area of study. GRE combined scores ranged in this period from 600 to 1800. Source: "Guide to the Use of Scores ," Educational Testing Service, 2000.

Students of economics at FIU have gone on to earn graduate degrees from many different institutions, including some of the most prestigious in the world. Below we list just a few of the graduate programs where our students have been accepted.

  • Law Schools: Emory , Fordham , Georgetown , University of Florida, Cornell, University of Miami, Vanderbilt.
  • Ph.D. Programs: Cornell , Florida International University, Georgetown , University of North Carolina, London School of Economics.
  • MBA Programs: Florida International University, University of Florida.