The Washington State University Catalog

School of Economic Sciences

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School of Economic Sciences

ses.wsu.edu
Hulbert 101
509-335-5555

Director and Professor, H. A. Love; Associate Director and Professor, J. J. McCluskey; Regents Professor, R. C. Mittelhammer; Professors, R. G. Batina, T. R. Fortenbery, T. L. Marsh, V. A. McCracken, R. E. Rosenman, P. R. Wandschneider, J. K. Yoder; Associate Professors, J. Bai, J. H. Cook, A. Espinola-Arredondo, G. I. Galinato, R. K. Gallardo, E. L. Jessup, B. Mandal, F. Munoz-Garcia, J. S. Neibergs, J. Yan; Assistant Professors, M. P. Brady, B. W. Cowan, M. J. Gibson, E. A. Gurocak, R. A. Iles, P. Kuzyk, A. J. Prera, C. Tian; Professors Emeriti, K. Casavant, C. R. Shumway.

The School of Economic Sciences (SES) offers programs leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science in Economic Sciences with options in Agricultural Economics; Business Economics; International Economics and Development; Economics, Policy and Law; Environmental and Resource Economics; Financial Markets; and  Quantitative Economics. Graduate degrees offered include the Master of Science in Applied Economics, Doctor of Philosophy (Economics and Agricultural Economics).

The School also advises the Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Food Systems, the Agricultural and Food Business Economics major.

Undergraduate Program

The course of study for the Bachelor of Science in Economic Sciences is sufficiently broad to accommodate students with a variety of interests and career goals. It provides training for students interested in business, law, finance, agricultural markets, environmental policy and natural resources, and economic development. The program also gives students the preparation needed for graduate study in business, law, agricultural economics, finance, and general economics. The program provides students the flexibility to choose courses outside the School of Economic Sciences while still meeting degree requirements and allows students to pursue double majors in such fields as business, math, or political science.

The degree requires a set of core courses taken by all School of Economic Sciences undergraduate students. These courses develop a deep understanding of the basic principles of economics and the research methods needed for economic analysis in any field of economic sciences. Students then branch out to further apply the core tools in one of seven option areas:

  • The agricultural economics option deals with economic issues related to food and fiber supply and demand and the natural resource base that supports agricultural production and societal needs. Applications to public decision making and private decisions of farms, ranches, and agribusinesses are considered.
  • The business economics option trains students to use economic concepts and data analysis skills to better understand the management, marketing, and finance problems faced by businesses operating in a market system.
  • The international economics and development option provides students an understanding of how policies, institutions and endowments influence physical, human, and natural capital accumulation which leads to the emergence of poor and rich communities and countries.
  • The economics, policy and law option provides students with the analytical skills used in law school and policy-making including those relevant in tax, law, regulation, program, policy and project arenas.
  • The environmental and resource economics option  trains students to make decisions while carefully weighing the trade-offs between protecting, restoring, developing, and allocating natural resources.
  • The financial markets option provides students with a solid, analytical training in the substantial overlap between economics and finance. The option requires coursework that focuses on the analysis of financial markets.
  • The quantitative economics option provides students with the skills to understand and use more advanced statistical and mathematical models, preparing them for careers involving data analysis or for advanced education -- such as a PhD in economics or related field.

In all options students combine course work in economic sciences with courses outside the School of Economic Sciences. According to their individual interests, students supplement their economic sciences training with elective coursework in the areas of business, agriculture, computer science, mathematics, engineering, environmental science, philosophy, history, and/or political science.

The School of Economic Sciences also advises the college-wide Agricultural and Food Business Economics major.  This major focuses on agricultural business with an emphasis in economics.  Please visit http://afs.wsu.edu for more information.

Student Learning Outcomes

Graduates from the School of Economic Sciences will evaluate and apply economic concepts and quantitative methods; will think critically, integrate concepts, and evaluate results in performing economic analyses; and will communicate effectively.  Students will be able to apply economic concepts, together with quantitative methods and technical information relating to the decision environment, to assist policy makers and target groups in evaluating economic trade-offs and in making rational economic decisions. Graduates will also be capable of analyzing and evaluating broad economic and social problems concerning the allocation of individual, firm and social resources within their specific degree interest area.  Students will be capable of communicating the results of economic analyses in a clear, compelling, and informative manner.

These core economic concepts and quantitative skills are listed on the SES website at http://cahnrs-cms.wsu.edu/ses/undergrad/Pages/LearningOutcomes.aspx.

A wide variety of courses is available to non-majors who want to take selected courses to support their programs in other departments. Students from other departments may declare a minor in economics, agribusiness economics, business economics, environmental and resource economics and management, or sustainable development (see below).

The school advises for the interdisciplinary sustainable development minor that addresses how economic and social systems interact with major resource and environmental issues, both internationally and domestically. This is an interdisciplinary program with participation by the departments such as Anthropology, Architecture, Economics, International Business, Political Science, the School of the Environment, and Sociology. The program is built on the premise that as a society we have a responsibility to ourselves and to future generations to steward resources in ways that foster long-term environmental and socio-cultural health and economic viability for all peoples.

Transfer Students

Students planning to transfer to Washington State University from other institutions should take courses that meet the 100- and 200-level course requirements in economics, mathematics, accounting, English, communication, and University Common Requirements (UCORE). Students planning to transfer into economic sciences by the end of their sophomore year should have satisfactorily completed the required introductory economics, statistics, and mathematics courses if they plan to complete the required work for a degree in two additional years.

Preparation for Graduate Study

Students planning to pursue graduate study in economics or agricultural economics are urged to select the quantitative economic option and consult with a faculty member in the School of Economic Sciences.  All options, however, prepare students for graduate school but are less quantitatively focused.

Students planning graduate study are advised to develop strong skills through courses in English composition, and additional work in statistics and mathematics. Coursework recommendations for specific graduate areas include:

  • Law School: ACCTG 230; B LAW 210; PHIL 103, 201; POL S 300; and, depending on legal interests, elective Econ courses from the following: ECONS 322, 324, 327, 425, 451; B LAW 411 suggested.
  • Business School: ACCTG 230, 231; MIS 250. Additional courses in business are not required for admission to most graduate schools of business. It might be useful, however, to take introductory courses in the major areas of business: B LAW 210, FIN 325, MGTOP 340, MKTG 360, ECONS 352 and ECONS 452.
  • Economics and Agricultural Economics: MATH 171 and 220 are recommended to satisfy the major’s math requirements. Calculus through MATH 273 is also useful.
  • Public Administration: ACCTG 230 and POL S 340; MIS 250 and POL S 443, 446 recommended. Elective: ECONS 322.

Employment Opportunities

The undergraduate program provides the basic knowledge and tools necessary to secure professional positions in a wide range of industries and public organizations. A number of students take graduate work to broaden their career opportunities. School of Economics Sciences graduates compete favorably for jobs in government, business, and non-governmental organizations, using their strong analytical skills to offer a different perspective for problem-solving and decision-making.  Recent graduates have been employed in finance, banking, agribusiness, industry, internet-based companies, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and at universities.  Many are working in foreign countries.

Graduate Program

The Master of Sciences in Applied Economics provides specialization and research experience appropriate for positions in private corporations and government service as management specialists, policy analysts, forecasters or economic consultants.  Students can focus their studies in general economics, business economics or agribusiness, or environmental and resource economics by selecting supporting and elective courses.

The School of Economic Sciences offers two doctoral programs – the Ph.D. in economics and the Ph.D. in agricultural economics.  Both degrees prepare students for careers as professional economists in academic, government, international organizations, or the private sector.  The program provides students with an excellent foundation in the theory and methods of economics along with applications in their choice of at least two Ph.D. fields.  To further strengthen their quantitative training, students may simultaneously pursue a Master of Science in statistics.

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