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"Among a recent study of 925 private colleges, Calvin ranks 15th in the number of students going on to earn a Ph.D."

Where students and faculty work together to develop insights and habits that open a world of possibilities.

An Eye-Opener

Books like Freakonomics have popularized what economics students have known for a long time: Studying economics opens your eyes to a new way of looking at everything. Economics students are known for their ability to think analytically and dispassionately about everything from the mundane - why do students complain about tuition and then skip classes, and why do pre-ripped jeans sell at a premium? - to the important - why does tiny Norway buy so many expensive Teslas, when they own so much oil? - to the essential - what drives people to participate in crack gangs when the wages are so low, and why are the penalties for crack so much more severe than for many other drug infractions? The econ major trains you to solve complex problems analytically, creatively, and critically.

Econ students are also trained to pair their analytical capacity to substantial empirical training. They learn to make sound inferences from data and present their findings in clear, compelling, even-handed writing and speech.

Follow the Herd and You Won't Get Lost

This is probably why, in our world that's ever more data-driven, econ majors are popular. We have an answer to the New York Magazine article title ( May 29, 2013): "Why are college students flocking to economics?" Well, isn't it obvious by now?! As the article says, for many consecutive years a plurality of the nation's top-ranked college's graduates have majored in economics. The econ major is a preferred credential for jobs on Wall Street, in consulting, for entry-level business positions, for law-school and MBA applications, for medical school and healthcare administration. As the article documents, econ majors "earn more, on average, than majors in most other fields and have lower unemployment rates than graduates of other social sciences and humanities programs." And of course the econ major has attracted many of us because it gives traction to our desire to make the world a better place by working in non-profits or by doing policy research.

Don't Forget to Be Awesome

And besides all that, studying economics is just cool! As New York Magazine put it, "Economics is hot right now." It's an exciting time to learn what's going on in the global economy, and an important time to learn how to think clearly about environmental sustainability, the emerging economies like China and Brazil, the future of government budgeting and viability of programs like Social Security, the reasons for inequality and the options for addressing it, the causes and effects of immigration, and the effects of Big Data on commerce and culture.

We hope you'll consider joining us in this exciting venture! In addition to acceptances into law programs, public policy schools, graduate research programs, and medical school, here are some examples of job titles our students have received upon graduation during the last five years:

Bank of America, Country Risk Management Team
Adtegrity, Director of Data Analysis
FDIC, Financial Institution Specialist
Federal Reserve Bank - Kansas City, Research Associate
Northern Trust, Risk Analyst
Van Wyk Risk and Financial Management,
Commercial Client Manager
Accenture, Consulting Analyst
Norris, Perne and French, Equity Research Analyst
Partners Worldwide, Honduras Partnership Manager
Amway, Corporate Strategist
Axid Strategies, Director of Analytics and Research
UniCredit Bank Austria AG, Credit Risk Manager
Epic Systems, Finance Software Project Manager

Academic Programs

Our department offers several programs, each of which can be tailored to specific student interests.

  1. Bachelor of Arts in Economics, and
  2. a group concentration* in the social sciences, and
  3. a group concentration* involving economics and mathematics, and
  4. minors tailored to other majors, including specialties within the business major.

You may also enter the Teacher Education Program to pursue a future in teaching.

*Group concentrations must form a coherent, planned program approved by your advisor.

 

 

 

Alumni Comments

Jeff Bloem, '13

After graduation I worked in Kenya as a Research Assistant for Partners Worldwide. In the fall of 2014, I began graduate work at Michigan State University in the Agriculture, Food and Resource Economics Department.

Majoring in economics has prepared me not only for success in my current role but also for my future. Learning economics at Calvin taught me how to think critically, how to analyze situations, and how to solve problems. In my role as a research assistant I was constantly recalling skills and tools I learned while working my way through Calvin's Economics program.

My advice for economics students is learn to enjoy learning. This is important, especially for the aspiring economist, as learning can happen anywhere, while grocery shopping, commuting to work, or over dinner with friends.

Jeff Bloem