At Earlham, we approach economics as a supremely social science that also uses rigorous analytical tools to understand economic institutions and life. We seek to help you put economic issues in a wider social, political and historical context by balancing the emphasis we place on the theoretical, empirical and real-world aspects of the study of economics.

We do this by introducing you to both the established and latest scholarship in different aspects of economics and to cultivate their ability to undertake research in their areas of interest. We do all this with the hope and expectation that our students will be well prepared for joyful and purposeful pursuits in the future!

Program Details

At Earlham you can major in economics or choose the quantitative economics major. Both majors start with broad-based introductory courses and skill-building courses, then move into topical and applied upper-division courses that include research, writing, as well as analytical work.

The quantitative economics major meets the Department of Immigration Services standards as a STEM major and thus confers a three-year period of Optional Practical Training (OPT).

To earn a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, you must complete the following courses, in addition to general education requirements:

Economics major

If you plan to concentrate in economics, you must take a minimum of 36 credits. The following courses are required:

Course Code
Credit Hours
Sub-Total Credit Hours

Quantitative economics major

Quantitative economics meets the standards of a STEM major and thus confers a three-year period of Optional Practical Training (OPT).

If you plan to concentrate in quantitative economics, you must take a minimum of 38 credits. The following are required:

Course Code
Credit Hours
Sub-Total Credit Hours

All economic students

You may transfer in only three courses totaling nine credits towards your major.

ECON 301, ECON 303, ECON 305, ECON 306, ECON 308, ECON 309, ECON 310 and ECON 313 must be taken at Earlham—courses may not be transferred in and substituted for these courses. In the event you take any of these courses in your senior year and fail them, you may petition the department to take an equivalent course at another college or university. However, the transfer of these credits must fall within the nine credit constraint stated above.

You must be in residence in your senior year to take ECON 486 and ECON 488. Only if you plan to graduate in less than four years, can you take ECON 486 and ECON 488 during your third year, though you still must meet all the prerequisites.

If you fail ECON 486 in the fall semester, you may petition the department to have a retake of ECON 486 in the spring semester and to do your senior capstone thesis work the following fall semester. The granting of such an arrangement will be made on a case-by-case basis. You may not petition to take ECON 486 for the first time in the spring semester.

Completion of AP Exams or IB A levels in economics do not substitute for the department’s introductory courses.

You may earn credit toward the major for courses taken on off-campus study programs, when the courses would count toward the major if they were offered on campus. Because off-campus courses vary a lot in their demands and quality, the department will need to examine the course syllabus after you return from an off-campus program to determine whether the course counts toward the economics major.

To earn a minor in economics, you must complete the following courses:

Course Code
Credit Hours
Sub-Total Credit Hours

91% of work seekers who majored in the social sciences between 2018-2022 were employed, pursuing graduate school or volunteering within six months of graduation.


Career paths of former Earlham students include consulting, banking, government, the private nonprofit sector and teaching.


Recent economics majors have completed graduate degrees in public policy at Duke, data sciences at UNC, as well as in economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, among others. Our majors have also landed good jobs doing research and analysis in the public and private sectors, in higher education, as well as many private-sector jobs from data analysis, to finance to law.

What types of jobs and graduate school programs do graduates pursue?

Common career paths for economics majors include financial analyst, investment analyst, business analyst, research associate and policy analyst.

What kind of research experience and internships are available?

Recent graduates have interned in a variety of industries, including banking, hospitality, higher education, consulting and business.