Quantitative Economics (FQE)
The Discipline and the Major
Economics is the social science that studies the behaviour and interactions of economic agents. In particular economics examines the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.
The Quantitative Economics major produces graduates who can think critically, and who can understand, explain, and apply the core principles and quantitative methods of economics to resource allocation problems, the functioning of economic institutions, and the decisions of policy makers and other economic agents within a society.
The major consists of 42 credit hours divided into a core theory curriculum, an econometric series, a selection of electives, and a capstone research seminar. All majors take principle and intermediate-level theory courses in microeconomics and macroeconomics. The three-course econometric series introduces statistical methods and teaches quantitative analysis of economic phenomena. In the first-class year, students write a capstone research paper supervised by a faculty seminar leader. As the final course in the Quantitative Economics major sequence, this research seminar integrates material from multiple courses in the major, promotes the review of relevant economics literature, encourages empirical testing of economic theories, and provides a forum for presenting research findings.
Major electives in the FQE matrix provide flexibility for students to pursue complementary interests in economic theory, finance and accounting, mathematics, languages, or other related fields by department chair approval. Quantitative Economics majors often choose to minor in a language or participate in study abroad. Internships are available in Washington, D.C. at the Pentagon or at the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). Advanced students with a strong interest in research may elect to complete the department’s Honors program, which involves working one-on-one with a faculty mentor to complete a required Honors research project. Many students in the past have also participated in a well-established summer program completing coursework at the London School of Economics.
Considerations for those who might be interested in this major
There are important reasons for a midshipman to major in Quantitative Economics. First, the most fundamental lesson of economics is that resources are scarce relative to potential uses, so that choices must be made -- that is what it means to "think economically." The Naval Officer can invariably say that "...if I had more people, or more ships, or more planes, or more supplies, or more time, the task would be easy," but of course the officer doesn't live in that kind of world. Instinctively thinking in terms of alternative uses of scarce resources -- thinking economically -- tends to make an effective officer. Second, an economics program provides understanding of the economic institutions and economic system each officer is pledged to defend. Third, an officer operates in an international arena. Knowledge of world resource endowments, industrial patterns, trade flows, and the nature and the interdependency of the world's diverse economic systems is a useful background for dealing with the citizens and representatives of other countries that U.S. officers will inevitably encounter. The Quantitative Economics major provides a strong set of mid-career skills. In particular, it prepares a midshipman well for (1) attendance at service schools such as the Naval War College, (2) staff billet assignments on fleet, joint and combined staffs, (3) postgraduate training in management, national security affairs, and intelligence, and (4) future subspecialty designations in management and politico-military or strategic planning. In short, there are plenty of reasons why having a Quantitative Economics major is useful to a Naval Officer.