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What are some of the major topics covered during an average economics course in college?

I am asking this question because I have an interest in business/economics and wanted to know more about what was covered in a economics class. money money-management bussiness stock-market macro-economics

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Jim’s Answer

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Hi Mekhi,

I majored in economics in college. It is a great discipline that opens up understanding of the entire economy (production and allocation of goods and services) and the entire world.

When you first learn the basics of economics, there will be lots of moments that are exciting enough to make you want to run around the room - because understanding economics will give you the tools to understand how the world really works.

Economics will teach you why water is so cheap despite being necessary for survival and why diamonds are so expensive despite the fact that nobody needs them. Economics will explain to you why some nations can be so rich while others are so poor, why the government's actions in the economy are so vital, and help you understand the world's greatest disasters from the Irish Potato Famine (where nearly a quarter of a nation starved to death or fled) and the recent Global Financial Crisis and resulting Great Recession that are still with us today.

Specifically, in an introductory Economics 101 course, you will learn about supply and demand (of anything), how individuals and institutions make decisions (microeconomics) and how the sum of individual actors' actions creates markets. You will also learn about the sum of all the markets in a nation and how a nation with its own currency and government budget makes decisions (macroeconomics).

A top university (Rice University in Houston) and some major foundations have teamed up to provide a free economics textbook, so you can actually start reading about and learning economics yourself at any time.

While this book is 800 pages, the text only starts on page 14 (PDF p. 16). The book is read-able and learning from it will help provide you with an edge before you take a course in college.

Some things are too complex to understand just by reading - they have to be explained. Don't worry if you don't understand everything, that's where your teachers and professors will come in to help you learn.

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Sarah’s Answer

I taught macroeconomics for a few years. In general, this course teaches students how the economy "ticks," what makes it fluctuate, and in the case of developing economies, what drives economic growth. As you get past the introductory classes in economics, you will start doing more mathematical modeling.

These were the topics I covered in introductory macroeconomics:
Basic economic principles, scientific method
Measuring National Income
Measuring the Standard of Living
Basics of Economic Growth
Policies of Economic Growth
Loanable Funds Market - Savings & Economic Growth
Labor Market - Employment, Unemployment, Labor Market Dynamics
Money Market - Banking, Monetary System, Federal Reserve
Money Market cont. - Money Growth and Inflation
International Markets - International Trade
Business Cycle Theory

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Mike’s Answer

Here are a few of the topics that are covered in "Economic Principles - 1" at New York University:
1. Supply and Demand
2. What Macroeconomics Tries to Explain
3. Unemployment
4. Production and income
5. The Price Level and Inflation
6. The Classical Long-Run Model
7. Economic Growth
8. Short-Run Macro Model
9. Money, Banking and the Federal Reserve
10. The Money Market and Monetary Policy
11. Aggregate Demand and Supply
12. Inflation and Monetary Policy
13. Fiscal Policy
14. Economic Fluctuations

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Simeon’s Answer

You'll learn supply and demand, market forces, and the philosophies of different economic thinkers throughout the ages. You'll also likely look at inflation, deflation, and stagflation by playing around with charts that show supply and demand in various states of equilibrium versus disequilibrium.
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Lou’s Answer

At Tufts University, the Intro to Economics class covers the following:

An introduction to the fundamentals of microeconomic and macroeconomic analysis. Topics covered in microeconomics include 1) how markets determine composition and pricing of outputs and inputs, and 2) the behavior of individual consumers and businesses in response to market forces. Topics covered in macroeconomics include 1) the determinants of economic growth, and 2) the effects of fiscal and monetary policy on unemployment, inflation, and capacity utilization. Economics 5 and 8 may not both be taken for credit.

Regardless of the school, an introductory econ class is going to focus heavily on supply and demand, and how they shape markets.