2021-2022 Humboldt State University Catalog 
    Jun 18, 2024  
2021-2022 Humboldt State University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Economics, B.A.

HSU has a strong and rigorous economics program. We are a close-knit community with small classes, a hands-on approach, and strong student-faculty relationships. Professors know you by name and work to support and encourage you as you grow and learn.

We offer many opportunities for hands-on learning and internships that are grounded in real-world skill building and help prepare you for the job market. There are openings for paid internships as research, community development, and teaching assistants, including the Humboldt Economic Index internship (a local index of economic activity), the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) summer internship, the Ruprecht Research Assistantship, and several instructional teaching assistantships. Students also work with local economic development non-profit organizations in our service-learning course. In the liberal arts tradition, HSU economics graduates develop strong analysis, problem-solving, and written and oral communication skills. This skill-set makes our students very marketable when they graduate and economics graduates make the top 10 list of highest starting salaries among all majors. We have a strong record of helping students realize their career aspirations and our graduates have gone on to a wide range of careers in banking, finance, government, advocacy, environmental consulting, and business. In addition, many of our graduates pursue graduate and professional degrees in economics, public policy, law, and business.

Consider today’s important issues - climate change, sustainable growth and development, international trade and globalization, inequality and world poverty. In each case, economics is essential to understanding the choices that society faces and it is crucial in creating the best possible policy. Economics students learn to make sense of large and complex economic issues and critically evaluate real-world events.

Given the complexity of these problems, we understand the relevance and importance of an interdisciplinary curriculum. Our economics majors choose from either a traditional economics emphasis or an interdisciplinary emphasis. The interdisciplinary emphasis requires a minor (or equivalent) in a related discipline such as applied mathematics, political science, environmental science, business, international studies, or history. Students switching majors to economics often choose our interdisciplinary emphasis and make use of coursework earned from a prior major in order to graduate more quickly. Overall, economics majors are in the top 10 percent in terms of shortest time to graduation at Humboldt State University.

More information is available on the Department of Economics webpage


High school students should take college preparatory courses, including English, writing, social science, and economics (if available). Math (including calculus) is recommended.

A bachelor’s degree requires a total of 120 units. For a description of degree requirements to be fulfilled in addition to those listed below for the major, please see “Bachelor’s Degree Requirements 

Requirements for the Major (52-60 units)

A minimum grade of C- must be earned in all courses required for the major.

Core Courses (24-26 Units)

The following core courses and 16 units of upper division economics electives are required for all economics majors.

Lower Division


Complete one course. Students with a higher math aptitude and those considering graduate school should take MATH 109.

Upper Division Economics Electives (16 Units)

Complete four upper division economics elective courses numbered ECON 300-499, with the exception of ECON 387  & ECON 482 , including the corresponding 1-unit depth of study where offered.

Emphases (12-18 Units)

Complete one of the following emphases to fulfill the requirements of the major.

Traditional Economics Emphasis

Complete an additional 12 units of upper division economic elective courses numbered ECON 300-499, with the exception of ECON 387 and ECON 482, including the corresponding 1-unit depth of study where offered.

Individually-Designed Interdisciplinary Emphasis (18 Units)

Complete a minor or 18 units of equivalent coursework, 9 of which must be upper division.

With approval from a major advisor and the department chair, students may develop an individually-designed, interdisciplinary emphasis by embedding a minor from a related field into their economics major. Alternatively, students may self-design a program of complementary coursework with at least 18 units (9 of the 18 units must be upper division). Students must write a brief memo that outlines the purpose of their individually designed interdisciplinary emphasis, including personal learning and career goals.

Suggested minors and areas of study include:

  • Applied Mathematics. For students who want access to more technically demanding careers requiring extensive knowledge of mathematics. This emphasis will appeal to someone planning to enter a doctorate program in economics.
  • Business. For students with career goals that demand specialized business training. This emphasis will appeal to someone planning to enter an MBA program.
  • Energy. For students interested in combining engineering and environmental science with economics. Career paths include engineering consulting firms, state or federal policy agencies, and private energy industry firms.
  • Environmental & Natural Resource Planning. For students interested in careers as industry representatives, advocates, consultants, and government planners working on environmental and natural resource issues.
  • International Studies. For students interested in careers in international business, policy, or advocacy.
  • Political Science. For students interested in careers in law, business, government and public affairs, advocacy and interest groups, and other nonprofits.
  • History. For students interested in careers in secondary education, law, diplomacy, and journalism.

Economics Program Learning Outcomes

Students completing the economics program will have demonstrated:

  • mastery of core microeconomic and macroeconomic concepts, including application and conceptual analysis in evaluating real-world issues and problems
  • the ability to explain the role that economics plays in defining and achieving a sustainable society
  • mastery of computational analysis, including solving problems using economics tools and methods
  • effective written and oral communication through summary and analysis papers, descriptive research papers, and presentations
  • the ability to present themselves professionally in the job market