An economics student will acquire the necessary analytical tools to understand contemporary economic issues and to take reasoned positions in debates about economic and social policy. They graduate with the ability to apply these tools in a variety of careers and are well prepared to continue study of economics at the graduate level.

  • Macroeconomics deals with the economy as a whole, with the forces behind economic growth, the problems occurring in the growth process (such as business cycles, inflation, and unemployment), and government policies to address these problems.
  • Microeconomics focuses on the efficient allocation of resources among alternative uses and addresses such questions as how individuals, firms, and societies decide what to produce, how to produce, and how to distribute the output.

Economists study these important issues by combining theoretical models and data analysis. The great human interest of the subject, together with the rigor of its analysis, gives the study of economics its stimulating quality. All courses are designed to contribute in various ways to the College’s Learning Goals.

The Economics Major

Majors take a minimum of 32 credits in economics beyond the 100 level, including courses in macroeconomics, microeconomics, and econometrics. They are encouraged to undertake independent study and research projects under faculty supervision (395fs) in their senior year.


  • Economics 211, Macroeconomic Theory
  • Economics 212, Microeconomic Theory
  • Economics 220, Introduction to Econometrics (or Economics 320, or Psychology 201, or Sociology 225, or Statistics 140, 240, 340) (A course outside the Department of Economics does not count toward the 32-credit minimum.)
  • Three 300-level courses (two of these must be taken at Mount Holyoke)
  • 8 additional credits at either the 200 or 300 level

Students typically begin their study of economics with Introductory Economics (110), which is the prerequisite for intermediate level courses. There are a number of 200-level courses that can be taken as a first course in economics though these courses are not open to first-semester students without previous economics experience.

The Economics Minor

Students are encouraged to consult a faculty member for advice in planning a coherent economics minor. A minimum of 16 credits (four courses) at the 200 level and above are required, with at least 4 credits at the 300 level.

Global Business Nexus

All economic life is increasingly impacted by the forces of globalization. This Nexus introduces students to the contemporary corporate world, the role of global markets, and debates about appropriate regulation and long-term implications.

Students will explore in depth the tools of corporate leadership, the sociology of organizations, and models of regulation. Students may pursue internships with national or international for profit corporations to complete the experiential requirement for this Nexus track.

Nonprofit Organizations Nexus

The Nonprofit Organizations Nexus focuses on the study of organizational settings in the nonprofit sector. The word "nonprofit" refers to a type of business — one which is organized under rules that forbid the distribution of profits to owners.

The Internal Revenue Service describes nonprofit organizations as serving charitable, religious, scientific, or educational purposes. Not-for-profit organizations include global nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) such as Oxfam and Greenpeace as well as local community organizations, such as, the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and Historic Northampton Museum. Students may pursue internships with nonprofit organizations to complete the experiential requirement for this Nexus track.