Economics is an interesting and rewarding field of study of how individuals, businesses and governments allocate scarce resources. Consumers and institutions must make do with the budgets and material they have available, but they are always striving for something better. Economics is the discipline that analyzes choices and incentives to attain the best solutions to the problems arising from the constraints imposed by limited resources.

What can I do with this degree?

Students who major in economics possess extremely important skills that are highly valued in today's job market. Our students compete successfully for many entry-level professional positions in financial services, marketing, manufacturing, insurance, and real estate. In addition, some students choose to work in the public sector.

Some of the job titles held by economic majors include market analyst, real estate agent, urban planner, policy analyst, business forecaster, research assistant, and statistician, among many, many others. To some extent, all of these job require the application of the analytical skills, which are necessary for those studying economics.

Finally, of course, you can pursue a graduate level degree in economics. Such a degree, like a master's or a Ph.D., allows you to work in higher-level positions and/or allow you to teach economics.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment of economists is expected to grow 20-30 percent in the near future due to the continued need for economic analysis. The American Economic Association also has information on careers for undergraduates with Economics degrees.

Student opportunities

The Economics Student Association brings together students with an interest in economics to promote economic education, to further economic knowledge, and to build a professional network among current members and alumni. In collaboration with the department, students organize an annual conference, Econference, to allow students to present their research on various facets of economics.

Distinguished Faculty

Because the department offers strong graduate programs at the masters and doctoral levels, there is a distinguished faculty of specialists teaching in fields such as government and business, public finance, labor economics, international trade and finance, econometrics, monetary policy, and economic development.

These distinguished faculty members devote most of their teaching time to undergraduate classes, which enables a close and important connection between professor and student at NIU. Compared with other universities similar to NIU, our undergraduates have greater access to a distinguished faculty.

Degree requirements

The Bachelor of Arts program provides students with a strong intuitive understanding of the role economics incentives play in shaping society, and in the role society plays in shaping incentives.

The Bachelor of Science program, in addition, emphasizes statistical and quantitative methods used to model and evaluate human action, particularly as those actions are carried out by governments or businesses.

Our department requires all economics majors to complete a capstone research paper in conjunction with any 400-level economics course. In this paper you are expected to demonstrate a satisfactory ability to analyze an economic issue or problem and explain your findings effectively in writing.

Both degree programs provide excellent preparation for employment in business, government, or foreign services, for law school, or for graduate studies in business administration or public policy. The Bachelor of Science program provides stronger preparation for graduate study in economics.

We also offer secondary education educator licensure.

Famous people who studied economics

Gerald Ford, Former US President
Ted Turner, CNN, Atlanta Braves/Hawks
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Body Builder/Actor/Former Governor of California
John Elway, former NFL quarterback and general manager of the Denver Broncos
Sandra Day-O’Connor, US Supreme Court Justice
Mario Van Peebles, Actor/Director
Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft
Ray Manzarek, Musician; The Doors
Diane von Furstenberg, Fashion Designer
Scott McNealy, CEO, Sun Microsystems
Bill Belichick, NFL Head Coach
Warren Buffett, Financier

Contact information

Department of Economics
Zulauf Hall 515
(815) 753-8413 

Money photo