Frequently Asked Questions

Below are frequently asked questions from students interested in majoring in economics.

If you don’t find the answer to your question, please consult an advisor.

What is the difference between the Economics & Management majors?
What advantages does one of these majors offer over the other?
Is it possible to double-major in SSHA?
Which classes should be taken "early"?
What mathematics courses should I take?
Can you recommend some electives outside of the Management major that would be helpful?
What courses will help me get the best possible job after graduation?
How should I prepare for an MBA program?
How should I prepare for law school?


What is the difference between the Economics and Management majors?
Our Economics and Management majors at UC Merced share a common core of classes, including micro and macro economics, statistics, and econometrics. There are several key differences between the two majors, however:
  • The Management major requires a year long sequence in accounting and finance, and an upper division course in finance.
  • The Management major requires a Computer Science course, dealing with issues of data management and security, and basic programming.
  • Management students will be encouraged to take some upper-division offerings from other disciplines, such as a Cognitive Science course on Judgment and Decision Making or Industrial and Organizational Psychology.
  • Management students are encouraged to take additional lower-division courses in Engineering or the Natural Sciences to prepare them to manage professionals in these fields.
  • Economics students have the opportunity to take a year-long capstone course that will emphasize economic research and prepare them for graduate school or the workforce.
  • Management students will have the opportunity to take a one-semester capstone course that will allow them to integrate all of their skills while analyzing case studies of real businesses.   (Return to Top)
 
What advantages does one of these majors offer over the other?
Naturally, this depends on what your career aspirations and interests are.  The strength of the Economics major is its mathematical rigor and emphasis on applied research.  Students planning to attend graduate school (including law school, a Ph.D. or Masters program in Economics or Public Policy, or an MBA program) will find that our curriculum prepares them well (however, see the other FAQ on additional courses for students preparing for an Economics Ph.D.).  In addition, a traditional Economics degree sends a strong positive signal to employers, and will prepare you for a career in economic consulting, government research or administration, or any other field requiring strong analytical skills.

The Management major shares the analytical rigor of the Economics major, but its focus is broader.  Students interested in entering the business world will find that the Management curriculum offers more practical skills and draws not just from Economics, but also from Cognitive Science, Computer Science, and other natural and social sciences.  The hands-on nature of the (optional) capstone and internship courses and the emphasis on Entrepreneurship also prepare students well for employment and/or an eventual MBA program.
We encourage you to talk to the Economics and Management faculty in person about your interests to help determine which major is the best fit for you.   (Return to Top)

Is it possible to double-major in SSHA?
You may double-major in Management and another major of your choice. Please see your academic advisor for more information on the application process.   (Return to Top)

Which classes should be taken "early"?
It is important to take Introduction to Economics (Econ 1), Calculus (Math 21),  Introduction to Accounting (MGMT 26) and Introduction to Finance (MGMT 25) in your first two years as they are prerequisites for the remainder of the major.  (Return to Top)

What mathematics courses should I take?
Statistical Inference (ECON 10) and Calculus (Math 21) are the only required Math courses. However, more Math experience will only help and richen your experience as a Management major.     (Return to Top)

Can you recommend some electives outside of the Management major that would be helpful?

Here are some courses that do not count towards the Management major, but that we would encourage you to take to become more well-rounded:

Lower division electives:
SOC 40 Introduction to the Sociology of Organizations
CSE 20, 21: Introduction to Computing I and II
Any foreign language
Most math courses (specifically MATH 22, MATH 23, MATH 24, MATH 32)


Upper-division electives:
WRI 118: Management Communication
SPAN 142: Spanish for Business and Management
ECON 111: American Economic History
ECON 140: Labor Economics
ECON 150: Economic Development
COGS 150: Language, Cognition, and Interaction
CSE 111: Database Systems
HIST 120: Essence of Decision: Case Studies in History
POLI 155: International Political Economy
POLI 170: Theoretical Models of Politics
(Return to Top)

What courses will help me get the best possible job after graduation?
There is no “one size fits all” answer to this question as necessary skill sets vary by job type. Clearly, many positions require very specific training. Management offers an obvious advantage, compared to many other majors, due to the vast array of jobs in the business, financial, etc., sectors of the economy (just as, say, a nursing degree offers an advantage for many healthcare sector positions).

This is reflected, in part, by the higher starting salaries for our majors compared to most other SSHA majors. In any event, students will maximize their opportunities by demonstrating a consistently high level of performance in whatever courses are taken. It’s also important to note that the benefits derived from a college education extend beyond preparation for a future career.   (Return to Top)

How should I prepare for an MBA program?
MBA programs generally do not require a particular undergraduate major or the completion of specific courses (except that many programs require one or two semesters of calculus). By the same token, majors in Management have a head start on many of the topics that are covered in MBA programs.

It is also important to note that while applicants with very high grades and GMAT scores and considerable undergraduate internship, co-op, or work experience can be admitted into MBA programs immediately after the completion of an undergraduate degree, most MBA programs prefer to admit individuals who have a minimum of 2 years post-baccalaureate work experience (MBA students currently average between 6 and 7 years of work experience).   (Return to Top)

How should I prepare for law school?
Like MBA programs, law schools do not require particular undergraduate majors or courses. Thus, there is no specific pre-law major at the UC Merced and most other major universities. Since the study of economics provides students with an excellent opportunity to develop their analytical and reasoning skills, courses in this discipline tend to be particularly helpful in preparation for law school. If you are contemplating law school, you should also select a good number of elective courses which require substantial amounts of writing so as to cultivate your expository skills.   (Return to Top)