Why Economics at UC Merced?
There are many good schools offering degrees in economics, but there are some real advantages to enrolling at UC Merced. Here are some of the distinctive opportunities at UC Merced:
- You will work with and be taught by tenure-track professors for most of your classes, instead of teaching assistants or part-time lecturers, even when you are a freshman.
- We offer small classes relative to other state schools.
- Our faculty regularly hire talented undergraduates to assist in their research to a much greater degree than other state universities.
- Our faculty are actively involved in research that is important and very relevant to today’s world, and we love sharing that research with students.
- We have a low teacher-student ratio in economics and we take pride in getting to know our students. This makes for a better learning environment and allows us to write much more detailed recommendation letters and advise students on their careers in a more personalized way.
Economics: A Way of Thinking
Perhaps the most important benefit of studying economics is learning how to “think like an economist.” Economists study how scarce resources are allocated so that well-being is maximized. Whether the resource that is being allocated is income, time or a precious commodity, there is always some tradeoff involved. Individuals, businesses and governments face these tradeoffs in countless ways everyday. The most important thing students learn from studying economics is how to identify, measure and understand the essential elements of this tradeoff.
More than Just Money
Many people have the impression that studying economics is the same as studying business. While economics can be applied to business opportunities, it can be applied to many other interesting questions and issues. Here are just a few examples of the kinds of questions explored by UC Merced economics faculty:
- Did safe government jobs hurt private employers during the Depression?
- How did New Deal programs affect health, crime, employment and migration during the Depression?
- How do physicians and hospitals respond to new regulations?
- How long should someone take a training or education program before looking for a job?
- Do universities really promote local economic development?
- Are college rankings accurate?
- Does immigration reduce the amount of offshoring firms do?
- Why do nondrinkers earn less than drinkers?
- What are the effects of anti-trust laws on the size and number of firms in a market?
Opportunities as a UC Merced Economics Student
UC Merced economics majors have had great success not just at Merced but in other study programs. Recently, economics students have:
- Attended Harvard’s Public Policy and Leadership Conference.
- Worked at a local Women, Infants and Children (WIC) office.
- Been admitted to graduate school in economics.
- Been accepted to attend the Woodrow Wilson School Public and International Affairs Junior Summer Institute (at Princeton).
- Participated as a representative from UC Merced at an Athgo forum on global warming.
- Worked as an intern in the IT industry.
- Worked as research assistants with UC Merced faculty on cutting-edge research projects.
Careers in Economics
Because students with a degree in economics develop strong analytical and quantitative skills, and the ability to effectively solve complex problems, studying economics is excellent preparation for many careers in business, law, management consulting, education and public service. Businesses of all types and sizes, financial institutions, consulting firms, government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, as well as graduate business and law schools actively seek graduates with bachelor’s degrees in economics. In addition, many of our students will go on to do graduate study in economics, law, public policy or business. For example, Janet Louise Yellen is a well-known and respected American economist. She is the Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, previously serving as Vice Chairwoman from 2010 to 2014.
Graduates in Economics Will Be Able To:
- Clearly formulate important questions related to public policies or economic performance.
- Use economic models to understand and predict the outcomes of changes in the economic, policy, or legal environment.
- Understand how institutions, governments, and individuals interact in a market setting and how this determines economic outcomes.
- Be able to analyze data using sophisticated econometric models to test theories and predict outcomes.
- Effectively communicate questions, tradeoffs, and empirical findings in both academic and non-academic settings, orally and in formal written work.
The salaries economics graduates earn, not only at the beginning of their careers, but also throughout their lifetimes, illustrate the value of an economics degree.
The starting salaries of recent college graduates differ by major course of study. Economics consistently ranks as one of the top undergraduate majors in terms of starting salary. In 2013 average starting salary for Economics majors was slightly more than $50,000.
The American Economic Association
The American Economics Association has an interesting page about economics for undergraduates, including detailed information about the types of careersundergraduates typically enter (including data like salaries and average LSAT scores by major), links to popular book in economics, as well as advice on graduate school admissions.