What is Economics?

Economics studies how a society manages, produces and distributes its wealth. It studies human behavior to understand individuals' decisions in terms of consumption, savings, investment, education, work, and distribution of wealth within households. It analyzes firm behavior to understand technology choice and production, and how these decisions affect prices and wages in an economy. It studies the economy at the aggregate level to investigate the determinants of economic growth, inflation, unemployment, interest rates, and exchange rates. At the global level, economics studies the financial flows between nations, as well as immigration and international trade.

Why Study Economics at UAlberta?

Economic issues affect everyone, but there are also personal reasons for studying economics: it allows you to develop analytical skills and helps you to evaluate the costs and benefits associated with any action. Our theory courses not only teach the workings of the economy and human behavior, but also equip students with analytical tools that help them evaluate and solve complex problems. Our methodology courses teach students how to analyze data using econometric methods and most current statistical software. This wide range of skills helps our students in the labor market in a variety of occupations. Our faculty is dedicated to teaching and has one of the strongest research records in the country. The policy-oriented approach in our courses allows students to understand and interpret current economic events.

Experience Beyond the Classroom

The University of Alberta's comprehensive computing facilities include many economics-oriented programs which support the learning of our students. We offer math courses tailored for economics students in order to provide specific tools for their later careers or further education. The Economics Students Association fosters a sense of community amongst economics students, and presents informational events. Department-specific scholarships and awards recognize the excellence of our students and support them financially. The Arts Work Experience program offers undergraduate students the opportunity to gain 4, 8, 12 or even 16 months of paid work experience before graduation through our many co-op partners.

  • Sub-disciplines within Economics
    Development economics - Analyzes determinants of growth and poverty
    Econometrics - Develops new techniques to analyze economic mechanisms using data
    Energy economics - Studies supply and consumption of energy
    Financial economics - Analyzes financial structure of firms, asset pricing, and the financial sector
    Health economics - Studies individuals' health outcomes and health care
    Industrial and firm organization - Studies structure of firms and industries, and firm behaviour
    International economics - Focuses on international flows of merchandise and financial assets
    Labour economics - Studies determinants of wages, employment, and labor market structure
    Monetary and fiscal policy - Analyzes monetary policies and their macroeconomic consequences
    Political economy - Studies topics relating to intersection of economics and politics
    Public finance - Studies tax policy and public spending
    Resource and environmental economics - Studies how economic decisions affect the environment
    Urban and regional economics - Studies issues such as housing, transportation, and land use
  • What can I do with an Economics degree?

    In general, economists:

    - devise systems for collecting economic and statistical data regarding economic resources, how those resources are utilized, and the production and distribution of goods and services

    - develop models for projecting economic and related activities

    - compile, analyze and interpret results from a wide range of economic data and activity

    - help others interpret economic data

    - write reports to inform policy development and decision-making in government or business. Such reports may be grounded in statistical evidence and/or in economic theory.

    Economists may specialize in various areas, including consumer economics, development economics, energy economics, financial economics, health economics, industrial and firm organization, international economics, labour economics, monetary and fiscal policy, political economy, public finance, resource and environmental economics, as well as urban and regional economics. Many students take advanced courses in securities, derivatives, financial planning, or insurance.

If you're interested in Economics, you might also be interested in...

Business Human Ecology

Human Geography Mathematical and Statistical Sciences

Political Science Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology


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