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School of Humanities and Social Science

Course XIV -- Economics

The economics department at MIT has by far the largest course enrollment in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Figures for the 1997-98 school year indicate there are 137 undergraduates and 122 graduate students enrolled in the program.

“I think MIT students like the major because it involves math and has clear practical applications,” said Gerald D. King, course administrative assistant.

“Economics studies the fundamentals of the human world, providing powerful insights into the world around us,” said Gary K. Li ’00

Requirements for a major in Course XIV include the completion of 84 units beyond the general institute requirements. A thesis is not required; a student can choose instead to take an additional 12 unit elective subject in economics.

“The economics curriculum at MIT is great in that it allows for a flexible course of study to meet these different needs, allowing great depth and breadth. Economics is the closest thing to getting the exposure of a liberal arts education at a technical university,” Li said.

After graduation, economics majors often take jobs as financial analysts, research assistants, economic forecasters, or securities analysts. Approximately 60 percent of SB candidates go on to some form of higher education within three years of graduating. The average salary for an SB graduate in economics is $45,000.

The faculty in the economics program at MIT is perhaps one of its biggest assets. Not only is it comprised of several Nobel Prize winners, but it also includes a number of professors who teach at the Sloan School of Management Sciences as well.

The economics department employs 33 faculty members, of whom six are women, one is black, one is Asian, and two are Hispanic.

The UROP program in the economics department is fairly extensive. Currently, 16 students are doing economics UROPs; five of which are for credit, and 11 of which are paid.

“There are openings for freshmen and sophomores, but some of the UROPs have class prerequisites, such as statistics or econometrics, that freshmen and sophomores do not yet have,” King said. Funding for economics UROPs comes both from faculty and departmental funds as well as the UROP program.

Tutoring within the department is available for introductory courses such as Principles of Microeconomics (14.01) and Principles of Macroeconomics (14.02). However, it is usually not offered for upper-level classes taken by juniors and seniors. “Often students arrange for help with professors on an individual basis if necessary,” said King.

The economics department has an selective internship program with the federal government in Washington, D.C. Three students each year are chosen through an application procedure for the positions.

The average GPA of an economics major is 4.4. -- Kristen Landino