Economics is a social science focused on: (1) the decisions that people or organizations make in the context of markets and other strategic settings and (2) how these decisions influence key societal aspects such as the distribution of resources, the formation of governments, employment, production and purchasing power. Economists also consider the effects of financial constraints and policy on market outcomes. They study how the world works often in order to make recommendations on how to make its workings “better.” To accomplish these goals economists often create formal (mathematical) models of the world. They also draw upon science, statistics, history, psychology, and political science to develop and test the predictions of these models.
The USNA economics major begins with an introductory course and then proceeds through intermediate courses covering microeconomics (the study of individuals or firms), macroeconomics (the study of economies as a whole) and economic statistics (which provides data analysis tools and strategies). Economics majors can also take a number of elective courses which include some business-oriented topics, such as accounting, and advanced economics topics, such as public finance, game theory, economic development, business cycles, and monetary policy and theory. All economics majors also complete a capstone course which involves an in-depth analysis of a research topic.
Throughout the elective and capstone experience a student can focus his or her courses on topics of interest in a particular area such as microeconomics or macroeconomics. There is an opportunity for high performing students to pursue an honors major and work closely with a faculty mentor on a yearlong research project.
In their first class year, midshipmen who perform strongly in the economics major can start a master’s degree as part of the Voluntary Graduate Education Program (VGEP). Economics majors can apply for summer courses at the London School of Economics and a variety of additional foreign travel opportunities. Qualified majors can also join the Delta Chapter of Omicron Delta Epsilon (or ODE, an economics honors society). Each year ODE organizes a trip to New York City to meet with alumni and prominent economists. Faculty and instructors frequently organize trips to Washington, DC to meet with major economic policymaking organizations such as the IMF, World Bank, and Federal Reserve. After graduation and commissioning, USNA economics majors have thrived in all Navy and Marine Corps communities. The economics major can serve as a basis for a variety of graduate studies including business administration, public policy, public health administration, and law.
The Economics Department offers a supportive and engaged faculty who are active in research, academic advising, and care a great deal about teaching. Economics coursework often involves problem-based assignments, writing projects, presentations, and the analysis of data using statistical packages. Midshipmen with keen analytical skills, including mathematics and logic, in addition to strong writing and communication skills can be expected to perform very well in the economics major. Midshipmen interested in using quantitative techniques to develop a deeper understanding of how markets, firms and individuals operate have the potential to succeed in economics.