FAQs: Undecided Majors

I have another major, is it worth switching to economics?

Ultimately that depends on what you enjoy and what you want to do. If you found the economics courses you have taken more interesting than your current classes, you should seriously think about switching majors. At the least you should think seriously about doing a minor in economics.

A major in economics may also make sense if your career objectives have changed since you started your current major. Economics is an ideal major for students interested in working for state or federal government, and working for non-profits in many spheres, especially those related to influencing government policy. Students considering graduate school in a number of fields will make themselves more marketable with a major in economics. In particular, economics is a popular major for students planning to attend law school (economics majors score at the very top in the LSAT exam contrast this with political science majors who score near the bottom).

Even if you are still considering a career in the private sector, economics may be for you. In fact, economics majors entering the private sector earn more on average than do business majors. Don't believe us? See the numbers here.

OK, what's the downside? Economics is a rigorous, analytical program of study that requires a variety of skills. Math is used extensively in our upper division courses. At the same time, economists need to be good writers. Some students are good at math, others are good at writing. But a successful economist is good at both. It is this combination of skills that makes economics challenging. But it is also this combination that makes economics an attractive major to employers and graduate schools.

I am a business major, and still haven't made up my mind about switching. Any advice?

Yes. You should not take ECO 3202: Applied Macroeconomics. Instead, take ECO 3203: Intermediate Macroeconomics. It will substitute for Applied Macro, and is also one of the courses required for the major. However, Applied Macro does not satisfy the requirement for Intermediate Macro.

I have more questions. Where can I go?

Many of you considering a major will be doing so after taking a Principles course. Often, a useful start to help you make up your mind about majoring in economics is to talk with the instructor that you had. Alternatively, you can meet with the undergraduate advisor. Office hours and contact details are available here.

How can declare a major in economics?

To declare a major Economics, you must have completed 60 credits, have at least a 2.0 GPA, and have passed or been waived the CLAST exam. If you meet these requirements, you may declare a major in Economics by filling out a declaration available from the office staff in the Department of Economics, DM-316 (also available here). To avoid delay, you should come to the department with a current copy of your SASS report and complete the form. Your SASS report will be reviewed by the undergraduate advisor, who will then sign it. You will then need to take the form either to Joyce Peterson in the Dean’s Office (BBC) or Kenton Harris in the Arts & Sciences Advising Center/Dean’s Office (UPC).

If you have not satisfied these requirements, you may nonetheless intend a major after you have completed 30 credits. You intend a major by filling out an Intended Major Application and submitting it to the Office of Undergraduate Studies. (UP PC249 or BBC AC1 180). They will then forward your records to your major department.

What is the value of intending a major?

Intending a major gets you improved service from the department. Once you have intended a major in economics you will have ready access to the undergraduate advisor; he or she will be your main advisor even though you have not yet been formally admitted to the major.

Can I combine my BA with an MA in economics?

Well, funny you should ask that. Yes you can.

How many credit hours from my previous college can I count towards my major?

No matter how many credits FIU allows you to transfer as part of the 120 hours you need to graduate, the Department of Economics has its own rules about how many credits we will give and which courses we will accept as satisfying requirements of the major in Economics. Our numerical rule is that no more than half of the required credit hours in economics can be transferred. Currently, the major in economics requires satisfactory completion of 33 upper division credit hours in economics. Thus, we will accept no more than 16 upper division credit hours from other colleges.

But this does not mean we will accept any courses as part of those 16 hours. We will give, subject to verification (see below), transfer credits for

  1. Courses you have taken that are equivalent to our four required lower division courses [ECO 2013 (Principles of Macroeconomics), ECO 2023 (principles of Microeconomics), MAC 2311 (Calculus I), and STA 2122 (Statistics)]
  2. Courses you have taken that are equivalent to a 3000-level elective courses.

In order to earn a degree in economics from FIU, you must take all 18 credit hours of required upper division courses (ECO 3101, ECO 3203, ECO 3410, ECO 4421, ECO 4932/4933, and ECO 4903) and two 4000-level electives here at FIU.

To have courses considered for the major, you must be able to produce satisfactory evidence that they are equivalent to courses offered in the Department of Economics, and that you performed well in them. This evidence may include items such as your transcript, the syllabi, copies of exams taken, and your class notes. Moreover, in order to obtain credit for 3000-elective courses, we will normally require evidence that you have also satisfactorily completed courses equivalent to our four lower division requirements. The undergraduate advisor will review this evidence with you and determine which, if any, courses will be accepted as satisfying the requirements of the major.

There is one notable exception to these guidelines. Florida state law requires that we accept any course you have passed with a C or better at another Florida public university, that has the same course number as one we offer. See this page for further details.