Welcome to Economics

If you are the type of person who likes to consider all the options before selecting the one that will work best, then you are a natural economist. Economics is the study of how people make choices to maximize their satisfaction. Corporations and nations face a similar problem: how to make the most out of their resources.

Whenever a family, a firm, or an entire nation considers how to best deploy its resources, it is practicing economics. How much should the Smiths save each month for their retirement? How much should the XYZ Corporation spend on advertising? What would happen to the job market if the federal government cut spending by $2 billion? These are the sorts of issues economists analyze.

A Hands-On Approach

The Department of Economics at Ithaca College blends economic theory with practical applications. Our students do more than just attend lectures and take notes: Some classes engage in collaborative activities that stimulate creative solutions to economic problems. Others use simulations that require students to make decisions about their own corporation.

Our goal is to make students active participants in the learning process. Internships both on and off campus are another way to acquire practical experience. In addition, economics majors and minors with the appropriate prerequisites may conduct tutoring sessions for entry-level students or become teaching assistants.

To learn more about innovative classroom techniques developed by our faculty, see the write-up in the School of Humanities and Sciences newsletter Knowledges:
How to Make Economics Come Alive for Students

Tradition and Innovation

The Department of Economics offers two separate degree programs.  The first entails a traditional set of courses leading to a bachelor of arts degree. The other program, applied economics, requires a slightly smaller set of traditional courses, augmented by a collection of classes that apply the core concepts; the result is a bachelor of science degree in economics. 

Another possibility for the student interested in economics is the mathematics-economics major, offered jointly through the two departments. For students who just wish to dabble, several economics courses have no prerequisites.

Career Booster

Students majoring in economics typically find themselves in an advantageous position upon graduation. Because of its emphasis on critical thinking, economics is an excellent undergraduate major for those considering law school. Our alumni have also gone on to some of the top M.B.A. and Ph.D. programs. A recent study in the Journal of Economic Education ranks Ithaca's Department of Economics in the top 25 nationally in terms of preparing students for graduate work. However, most students choose to work immediately after taking their undergraduate degree. Our graduates have jumped into a variety of industries, including consulting and financial management.


The economics faculty at Ithaca College would be happy to tell you more about the programs. If you would like to visit the department or have questions about the economics majors, please contact us.

Contact the Department of Economics

Shaianne Osterreich, Chair
Tina Bennett, Administrative Assistant

Office: 425 Muller Center