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Economics professor Christina Rennhoff teaches a class in a lecture hall

Undergraduate FAQs

Have questions about studying Economics? Browse the list below for some of the most common questions, or explore our site for more information!

Q: Is the Economics major a STEM-designated major at Vanderbilt University?

Yes, the undergraduate Economics (ECON) major at Vanderbilt University is classified as STEM (CIP code 45.0603). This classification allows international students to apply for a 24-month STEM extension of F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT). The Economics and History (EHST) major is not classified as STEM.

Q: How do I declare a major or minor in Economics?

To declare a major or minor in Economics, please fill out the following form:

Q: I took AP Economics in high school. Will I get course credit towards the major?

Yes, if you scored a 4 or 5 on the appropriate test.

  • A score of 4 or 5 on AP Macroeconomics translates as 3 credit hours of ECON 1010: Principles of Macroeconomics.
  • A score of 4 or 5 on AP Microeconomics translates as 3 credit hours of ECON 1020: Principles of Microeconomics.

Q: I have AP credit for ECON 1010 and ECON 1020. What should I take next?

Your first priority should be to complete Calculus I and II, since those courses are prerequisites for many required Economics courses. You may also take any 2000-level Economics elective, as long as you have the appropriate prerequisites.

  • If you already have credit for Calculus I, you may take ECON 1500.
  • If you already have credit for Calculus II, you may take ECON 3012.

Q: Do I need to take ECON 1010 before taking ECON 1020?

Yes. ECON 1010 is a prerequisite for ECON 1020. This means that you must complete ECON 1010 before you can enroll in ECON 1020.

Q: Do FNEC or MGRL courses count toward the Economics major?

No, those courses do not count toward the Economics major.

Q: Should I take intermediate-level theory courses in any particular order?

The department recommends taking ECON 3012 (Microeconomics) before taking ECON 3022 (Macroeconomics).

Q: Can you waive the mathematics prerequisites for Economics courses?

Having a strong grasp of calculus is essential to understanding much of the material in Economics courses. For this reason, we do not waive mathematics prerequisites for Economics courses.

Note: We do not waive mathematics prerequisites for students who took AP Calculus in high school but did not score sufficiently on the AP test to earn Vanderbilt credit. If you do not have Vanderbilt credit for Calculus I and/or II, you must complete the relevant course(s) at Vanderbilt in order to satisfy mathematics prerequisites for Economics courses.

Q: Can I take the mathematics prerequisite concurrently with a 3000-level Economics course?

No.  The concepts learned in the mathematics course are essential to understanding the material in the Economics course. For this reason, all students must complete any math prerequisites before enrolling in an Economics course.

Q: I have AP or transfer credit for MATH 1300. Can I take MATH 1201 instead of MATH 1301?

If you have credit for MATH 1300, you must obtain special permission from the Mathematics department in order to enroll in MATH 1201. Generally speaking, MATH 1201 is not open to students who have credit for MATH 1100, 1300, or 1301.

Q: The Mathematics department has several calculus courses. Which ones should I take?

At Vanderbilt, students choose from two tracks for Calculus I and II:

  • MATH 1200 and 1201 (standard track)
  • MATH 1300 and 1301 (accelerated track)

Either MATH 1201 or MATH 1301 will satisfy the mathematics prerequisite for economics courses numbered 3000 and above. However, students who intend to study mathematics beyond Calculus II must take the accelerated track.

Note that students who are interested in Ph.D. study in Economics should take as much math as possible beyond the 1300 sequence. Recommended courses include multivariate calculus, linear algebra, differential equations, real analysis, and probability and statistics.

Please speak with your major adviser for additional information about which mathematics courses are needed to help you accomplish your academic and professional goals.