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What are the perquisites for studying economics in university- what must you be strong in?

Economics is a field I am interested in studying. #economics

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Daniela’s Answer

Hello Aukai,


Although economics graduate programs have varying admissions requirements, graduate training in economics is highly mathematical. A 1991 report by the American Economic Association presented economics Ph.D students with the following list of mathematical topics:


high school mathematics only
basic calculus and linear algebra
applied mathematics, differential equations, linear programming, and basic probability theory
advanced calculus, advanced algebra and stochastic processes
real and complex analysis, advanced probability theory, and topology


Since that time, there has been an upward trend in the level of mathematics used in graduate courses. For example, the website econphd.net website suggests that: "Two or three terms of calculus, and often linear algebra, are deemed minimum preparation; similarly a semester of mathematical statistics. First-year graduate courses draw heavily on real analysis. Background in real analysis is highly valued and indeed almost expected of a strong applicant. Real analysis is usually the first 'rigorous' mathematics course, where you have to work through all proofs and write some yourself. The course is supremely effective preparation for initial graduate courses."


Further reading on mathematical preparation
The Cal-State-East Bay Economics Department recommends the following page for those considering a Ph.D. in Economics: http://whichmaster.com/phd.html
Harvard Professor Greg Mankiw has a blog on Why Aspiring Economists Need Math
The University of Wisconsin has description about its Department's expectations for math preparation
Here is a typical list of Recommended Mathematical Training to Prepare for Graduate School in Economics


In: https://www.aeaweb.org/resources/students/grad-prep/recommended-math


Good Studies!!

Thank you comment icon Ok, thank you for the resources. Aukai
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Zach’s Answer

I would have to say that an economics major must have a strong suit in mathematics, history, and basics in human psychology (economics is basically a social science). As an econ major, I had to take a few math classes above the rest of the business school I was in, and the econ classes themselves are very math based, as well as studying human nature when it comes to spending and allocating resources

Overall, it’s not too tough of a major, it’s very intuitive if you’re good with figuring out how people/business will react to certain actions (e.g. people will spend less if the government raises taxes, reducing economic output), and I’d certainly recommend going for it as a major, it opens the door to so many opportunities in the business field.
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Richard’s Answer

Economists' strengths include history, math, programming, knowledge of policy, but their weaknesses unfortunately include history, math, programming, knowledge of policy. Economics is so diverse: from macro to micro, healthcare to environmental to labor, that the types of skills will vary widely. In general, focus on the above, make sure you can program, and focus on math/stat/programming.

Try QuantEcon for a great resource!
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