Skip to main content

Why Study Economics?

Hannah - Why Econ?

Economics is about much more than money. It's the study of how people make choices and manage resources. As such, it is a discipline with many useful tools for grappling any real-world problem faced by individuals, families, businesses, and societies. Indeed, economics is a fascinating and broad instrospection into ourselves and our world, and the major provides a solid foundation for a wide variety of careers.

Majoring in economics helps students develop critical thinking and analytical skills and acquire essential background knowledge that will allow them to make positive contributions in the world and find success after their time at BYU.

Reasons to study economics include:

The Topics

As the study of choices, economic analysis can apply in almost all aspects of life. Course topics include:

  • Markets: e.g. competition among businesses, how prices are formed, monopoly regulation
  • National and international issues: e.g. impact of government debt, inflation, unemployment, international trade, efforts to help developing countries
  • Public policy: e.g. education, health care, criminal justice, environmental policy, political processes
  • Data Analysis: e.g. organizing and extracting insights from data, testing for causes of changes observed in data, leveraging machine learning with large data sets
The Skill Set

Careful reasoning and skill with data are relatively scarce in the workforce and are highly demanded by employers. The major's core courses build a solid foundation of skills necessary to meet this demand. Those skills are then applied in elective courses and future employment.

  • Analytical skills. Economic theory trains students to carefully reason through individual incentives and their interaction in a marketplace. These skills will:
    • Help explain unexpected results in the market
    • Develop critical thinking: not just answer the question but determine the right question to ask
  • Empirical skills. Many factors simultaneously change in real-world economic data, forcing us to develop careful methods to determine which factors are actually causing some change. Students will learn to:
    • Find, process and examine large data sets
    • Think carefully: what is being measured and what is missing in data

The interaction of these skills helps students develop intuition and identify which questions can be answered with available data.

The Career Opportunities

The skills you learn in this major can be applied everywhere. Our graduates work in:

  • Business: e.g. strategic analyst, management consultant, data analyst
  • Finance: e.g. quantitative analyst, fund manager
  • Government / non-profit: e.g. research analyst, policy analyst, management analyst
  • Tech: e.g. data analyst, product manager
  • Pre-professional: e.g. preparation for law or medical school, or a PhD (in economics, finance, supply chain, accounting, strategy, and more)

For more examples, see our Careers Related to Economics page.

The Experiential Learning

Some of the best learning comes by doing. The BYU Economics Department employs a large fraction of our students as RAs and TAs. Both provide income with work directly relevant to your studies.

  • Research Assistants gain real data skills working beside their professors to push forward scientific knowledge.
  • Teaching Assistants learn valuable presentation skills while reinforcing their own knowledge through teaching content.
Economics Major Snippets