Nov 29, 2020  
Course Catalog 2012-2013 
Course Catalog 2012-2013 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


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Barbara J. Craig, Professor, Department Chair
Ron Cheung, Assistant Professor
Jenny R. Hawkins,Visiting Assistant Professor
Hirschel Kasper, Professor

Edward McKelvey, Visiting Professor of Economics
Alberto Ortiz Bolanos, Assistant Professor
Paul Pahoresky, Visiting Instructor in Economics
Tobias Pfutze, Assistant Professor
Viplav Saini, Assistant Professor

Jordan Suter, Assistant Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies
Ellis Tallman, Danforth-Lewis Professor


Economics has been described as the study of the issues arising from the allocation of limited resources to meet society’s unlimited human wants. A major in economics provides the first stage for those interested in graduate work in economics or business. It also offers a good background for careers in law, journalism, government and international affairs, teaching, industrial relations, and public service. For up-to-date information on department faculty, the major, course offerings, visiting lecturers and special events, point your web browser go to


Advanced Placement.

The department does not give advanced placement credit. Students who have scored 4 or 5 on both AP microeconomics and macroeconomics or who believe they have covered the material in Economics 101 (Principles of Economics) through an International Baccalaureate program, may obtain permission from the department chair to bypass Economics 101.


Entry-Level Course Sequence Suggestions.

Principles of Economics (Economics 101) is a prerequisite for all further study in the department. Although it is possible to complete the major requirements even if Economics 101 is taken as late as the second semester of the sophomore year, we recommend that potential majors take Economics 101 in their first year, and a 200-level applied course (numbered Economics 201-250) and Calculus I (Mathematics 133 or its equivalent) by the end of their sophomore year. Core courses in intermediate theory and methodology (Economics 251, 253, and 255) should be completed no later than the end of the junior year. Note: Statistics (STAT 113) is a prerequisite for Economics 255, and Calculus I (Mathematics 133) is a prerequisite for almost all economics courses numbered 250 or higher.

Students planning graduate work in economics, public policy or business are strongly encouraged to take as much work in mathematics as can reasonably fit into their schedules. A one year sequence in Calculus (Mathematics 133 and 134) and Econometrics (Economics 255) should be considered minimal preparation for graduate study in business or public policy. Students who plan to enter business directly after graduation also will find these courses desirable. Students considering graduate programs in economics are strongly encouraged to do the Mathematical Economics Concentration, which is described below.


A major in economics is defined as follows.

  1. A minimum of 24 hours in economics including:
    1. Principles of Economics (ECON 101 or 102); 
    2. Three (3) core courses in Intermediate Macroeconomics (ECON 251), Intermediate Microeconomics (ECON 253), and Introduction to Econometrics (ECON 255); and
    3. Upper level courses in economics: one at the 300-level, and one 400-level, upper-class seminar.
  2. A minimum of 12 hours in other social sciences and mathematics which must include statistics (STAT 113) and Calculus (MATH 133, or its equivalent).

Mathematical Economics Concentration. An economics major with a concentration in mathematics is defined as follows.

  1. A minimum of 24 hours in economics including:
    1. Principles of Economics (ECON 101 or 102); 
    2. Core courses in Intermediate Macroeconomics (ECON 251), Intermediate Microeconomics (253), and Introduction to Econometrics (ECON 255);
    3. At least one advanced theory or methods course chosen from Macroeconomic Theory (ECON 351), Microeconomic Theory (ECON 353) and Advanced Econometrics (ECON 355); or Advanced Microeconometrics (ECON 356); or Time Series Econetrics (ECON 357); and
    4. One 400-level, upper class seminar in economics.
  2. A minimum of 12 hours in mathematics including:
    1. Multivariable Calculus (MATH 231); 
    2. Linear Algebra (MATH 232); and
    3. One advanced course in mathematics from the following list:
      Foundations of Analysis (MATH 301), Optimization (MATH 331), Probability (MATH 335), Mathematical Statistics (MATH 336), Data Analysis (MATH 337), or Probability Models and Random Processes (MATH 338).

At least 15 of the minimum 24 hours in economics required for majors must be taken at Oberlin and must include at least two of the core courses in intermediate theory and methodology (ECON 251, 253, and 255).

Courses in which a student has earned a letter grade lower than C– cannot be used to fulfill the requirements of the major.


The minor in Economics consists of at least 15 hours in economics, including Economics 101 or 102; at least two of the three core courses Economics 251, 253, or 255; and one 300-level applied course. Note that most 300-level courses have a Calculus prerequisite.


The department puts special emphasis on its Honors Program and ordinarily invites up to a quarter of its senior majors to participate. Invitations are extended toward the end of the junior year on the basis of general academic standing and work in the department up to that time. Interested students should consult with a member of the department.

Students wishing to qualify for admission to the Honors Program must take Economics 251 and 253 before the senior year. In addition, candidates for Honors must take Economics 255 by the fall of their senior year and are strongly urged to take it no later than their junior year.

Transfer of Credit

The awarding of transfer credit is at the discretion of the department chair. Students majoring or minoring in economics must take at least two of the following at Oberlin: Economics 251, 253, and 255. Students should obtain preliminary approval of transfer credit in economics from the department chair prior to taking economics courses elsewhere if they want them to count towards the major or minor.

Winter Term

Members of the Economics Department will be available as sponsors of both on campus and off campus projects. Internships are available for economics majors at a number of government agencies and private firms. Students interested in careers in finance and consulting should contact the
appropriate winter term program in the Office of Career Services. Details are at

Research Opportunities

Economics majors are eligible to work as Albert Rees research assistants for permanent and visiting faculty members in the Economics Department. Majors are also invited as juniors or seniors to apply for the Albert Rees Policy Fellowship. Recent Albert Rees Fellows have worked during Winter Term at the President’s Council of Economic Advisors in Washington, DC. Interested students should contact the department chair.

Introductory Economics

ECON 101 is the general introductory course and serves as a prerequisite for all applied and intermediate courses.

Applied Economics I

Courses with only ECON 101 as a prerequisite.

Intermediate Economic Theory and Methods

This sequence of courses ECON 251, ECON 253, and ECON 255 is designed to provide students with a solid foundation in economic theory and analysis. ECON 251 and ECON 253 may be taken in either order, but both should be completed prior to taking ECON 255.

Applied Economics II

Courses requiring intermediate theory as a prerequisite.

Advanced Economic Theory and Methods

Upper-Class Seminars

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