Economics has been described as the study of the issues arising from the allocation of limited resources to meet society’s unlimited human wants. Students with an interest in data analysis, mathematical modeling, finance, and quantitative matters will find the economics course of study sound preparation for continued study in economics or business.



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Our faculty are both scholars and teachers who devote their careers to making important contributions to their disciplines through writing and research. They are committed to undergraduate education and teach everything from first-year seminars to advanced courses.

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Department Overview

Economists try to understand the causes and effects of unemployment, inflation, poverty, economic growth, and income distribution, among other pertinent fiscal issues. 

If data analysis, mathematical modeling, finance, or quantitative matters do not daunt you, economics may be your calling. You will benefit from our small classes, hands-on learning, and exceptional faculty engaged in research and teaching, consulting, and policy-making. You will acquire solid mathematical skills as well as strong research, data analysis, and critical thinking skills.

Many of our graduates attain jobs in the business and public policy sectors, and with government agencies and nonprofit organizations. Those who enter graduate programs pursue studies in economics, business, international relations, public policy, politics, medicine, and finance. Recent graduates have attended top schools such as the University of Chicago, Harvard University, University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Wisconsin.

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Curriculum Overview

We offer courses in economic theory; courses that apply economic theory to analyze such topics as labor markets, globalization and international trade, environmental policy, public finance, the banking system, and economic development, as well as courses on statistical methodology and data analysis. Advanced courses and seminars prepare you to evaluate complex economic problems, conduct economic research, study policy measures, and develop strategies for problem solving. We encourage you to take as many mathematics courses as possible if you plan to do graduate work in economics, public policy, or business. 

Economics majors who distinguish themselves through coursework and academic standing are eligible for the yearlong Honors Program. The program entails doing original economics research, a comprehensive examination, and an oral evaluation by a prominent economist.

Our Social Science Data Lab has modern computers and the latest software for data analysis. Visit the lab to conduct substantive online research, as well as for data collection and examination for a host of economic issues such as currency exchange rates, poverty rates, labor statistics, and petroleum prices.

In addition, majors are eligible to work as Albert Rees research assistants for permanent and visiting faculty members in the economics department. Juniors or seniors may apply for the winter term Albert Rees Policy Fellowship, established at Oberlin in 1996. The fellowship honors the noted 1943 alumnus and labor economist who served under President Gerald Ford.

Upcoming Economics Events

Economics News

Kieran Minor '19 wins Truman Scholarship

Kieran Minor ’19 Named 2018 Truman Scholar

April 23, 2018
Kieran Minor ’19 has won the prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship. Awarded to outstanding college juniors who have demonstrated a strong commitment to public service, the $30,000 prize will help fund Minor’s postgraduate studies.