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Economics (ECN) vs Managerial Economics (ARE)

Many of the differences between the Economics and Managerial Economics degrees are procedural. A student who graduates with a major in Economics receives a Bachelor of Arts degree (A.B); those who major in Managerial Economics receive a Bachelor of Science degree (B.S.). For this reason, Economics majors must meet the College of Letters and Science English composition, foreign language and breadth requirements, while majors in Managerial Economics must meet the requirements for the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. Economic majors do not have to select a specialized track; but for Managerial Economics majors, there are three options of specializing in either agricultural economics, environmental and resource economics or managerial economics. The complete listing of major and college requirements are in the General Catalog. (Please note: courses taken for the Managerial Economics major or minor are listed under Agricultural and Resource Economics [ARE] in the General Catalog and Class Schedule & Registration Guide.)

The most important difference between the two majors is in the analytical focus of their upper division coursework. The Economics major applies tools from intermediate microeconomics and macroeconomic theory to problems in public finance, urban economics, international trade and finance, and labor market. Upper division coursework for the Managerial Economics major includes more work concentrating on topics in managerial accounting, production management, and financial management of a firm. As with all generalizations, this one too has its exceptions. For example, the Managerial Economics faculty offers theoretical courses in the economics of poverty and natural resource economics, while the Economics faculty offers courses in financial economics and industrial organization. 

Which major better prepares you for graduate school or a job in the "real" world? There is no single "right" answer. Most graduate schools, particularly in business, will be major-blind when choosing between applicants. Potential employers are a different story; they all have their individual preferences. Generally, interviews and 
resumes influence an employer's hiring decisions. Unless you have a specific career plan in mind, choosing a major solely on the basis of benefits perceived in the name is inadvisable. 

We suggest that the choice of your major be based upon your own particular needs. However, if you have a liberal bent in your educational needs, if you understand, appreciate and enjoy theory and its merits in developing thought processes—economics is your ticket. Moreover, Economics majors have greater flexibility in designing their education. Unlike the Managerial Economics major, the Economics major does not have a 40-unit breadth requirement. With this flexibility, you can take a great number of courses (including some Agricultural and Resource Economics courses) that are tailored to your own interests and areas of development. The economics major provides students the flexibility to take advantage of complementary coursework in business or economics, or the ability to double major or minor in other subjects of interest.

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