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Frequently asked questions

If I am not sure I want to major in economics or business, which courses should I take first?

ECON 157 and ECON 158 are required for both the economics and the business majors and students with an interest in these fields would do well to start with either course. These introductory courses provide you with a basic knowledge of economics and are a prerequisite for many of the upper-level courses in economics or business. These courses are also required for the minor in economics or international economics.

In what sequence should I take the courses?

After you take ECON 157 and ECON 158, take a few 200-level economics courses before you take one of the required 300-level courses -- unless you have some special scheduling problem. For example, before taking Macroeconomic Theory and Policy (ECON 321), you should take at least one 200-level macro-oriented course such as ECON 241 or ECON 272. Similarly, before taking Managerial Economics (ECON 386) you might consider taking at least one 200-level micro-oriented course such as ECON 254, 261, or 265.

Do not take a course unless you have had the prerequisites. If you are unsure about how your course situation relates to the prerequisites or if you have a scheduling problem, talk with both the course instructor and your economics advisor.

What courses should I take beyond those required for my major?

It is essential in almost any career that you write clearly and succinctly, and that whatever you write be well organized. A number of economics courses require research papers, and all seniors must complete a major research project as part of their senior seminar in economics. Be sure to take other courses for which analytical writing is required. For example, Critical Thinking (PHIL 120) is an excellent course to enhance your analytical abilities and logical reasoning.

Those interested in careers in international business or international economics should be proficient in at least one foreign language. In addition to taking economics courses such as International Trade, (ECON265), International Finance (ECON 266), International Political Economy (ECON 259), or Economic Development (ECON 312), students should explore internationally oriented courses in political science, history, international studies, or geography.

Students who do well in computer courses should consider taking more courses and perhaps complete a minor in computer science. Economics majors with a good computer background are frequently hired for jobs in systems analysis and in marketing software and hardware. These can be particularly lucrative jobs.

Those students interested in graduate programs in economics, business, public administration, and many allied fields should take some challenging college mathematics courses.

If you have particular career goals in mind, talk with faculty members whose areas of expertise are closest to these goals. They can suggest courses for you. For example, if you have an interest in labor relations, you should take some courses in psychology and sociology or business.

The major advantage of a liberal arts education is that graduates are broadly educated in mathematics, the sciences, social sciences, and humanities and have had opportunities to study and participate in the arts.

How do I choose an advisor in economics? Students can choose their own advisor within the major. When you are ready to declare a major, pick up a form in the registrar's office and bring it to the professor with whom you feel most comfortable. 
What happens when my major advisor goes on leave?

If your advisor is going on sabbatical leave for a full year, then you should formally change your advisor since only your formal advisor has your transcript and other information that advisors receive from both the registrar's office and the dean of academic services.

If your advisor is going on leave for only one semester, you can simply ask another professor in the department to be your advisor temporarily and sign registration materials for you.

Will I have difficulty completing my economics major if I study abroad during my junior year?

The London and Paris Abroad programs usually offer an economics course that can be used to fulfill your major requirements. Economics courses taken in abroad programs of other colleges generally cannot be used to fulfill major requirements in economics, although the credits earned from any accredited program can be transferred to Hollins as general elective credit.

Students who have made good progress in their major before going abroad will have no difficulty finishing their major when they return. However, students who have only completed one or two courses in their major should not elect to go abroad for more than one semester and should consult with their advisor in advance on what course sequence they ought to take after they return.

What does it take to complete the senior seminar in economics (Econ 480)?

Students completing a research project in their senior seminar will work independently under two faculty members, one of whom serves as the student's first reader, the other as the second reader. Students in this seminar are expected to meet weekly with their first reader, less frequently with their second reader. Although faculty members will be happy to help students arrive at a topic for their research project, the primary responsibility is theirs. The faculty conducting the senior seminar will not approve a topic unless the student has had the appropriate background courses. The senior seminar will be completed during the fall semester; however, students can extend their work and write and honors thesis in economics which will then be completed during the spring semester.

Students in the senior seminar are required to present their thesis orally to the members of the economics department and to the other seniors in the department. Together, the first and second readers determine the grade for a senior thesis.

There is no doubt that prestigious employers and graduate schools consider the completion of a major senior research project a symbol of a high level of academic achievement. Many graduates have submitted copies of their theses to future employers or graduate schools as persuasive evidence of their abilities.

Students who wish to compete for departmental honors must do a yearlong honors thesis.

How do I arrange an internship?

You normally do an internship during the January Short Term; however, you may also do one in the summer, fall, or spring semester of your senior year.

Once you have found a likely internship, talk it over with the professor designated as the department's internship advisor. Normally, no college credit is given for summer internships. However, there are positive gains to you in terms of work experience, future job offers, and positive recommendations.

The Career Center has listings of government agencies and businesses throughout the country that are either seeking interns or have indicated that they would welcome them. Other potential sources for locating firms willing to provide internships are your professors in economics or business as well as family or family friends.