This is the first version of the 2024–25 General Catalog. Please check back regularly for changes. The final edition and the historical PDF will be published during the fall semester.

Undergraduate major: economics (BA, BS, BBA)

Undergraduate minor: economics

Graduate degrees: MA in economics; PhD in economics



Economics is the study of how societies allocate limited resources to achieve competing ends. Using both empirical and deductive methods, economists analyze incentives, constraints, organizational forms, and market forces to understand patterns of production, exchange, and consumption of goods and services. Economics treats diverse issues such as wealth and poverty, government expenditures and taxation, prosperity and depression, inflation and unemployment, relations between management and labor, economic growth, environmental protection, health care delivery, the war on drug abuse, free trade versus protectionism, U.S. competitiveness in international markets, and the quality of American education.

The Department of Economics offers degree programs for undergraduates and for graduate students. It also partners with the departments of Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology and Criminology to offer the undergraduate major in ethics and public policy, an interdisciplinary program administered by the Department of Philosophy (College of Liberal Arts and Sciences); see Ethics and Public Policy in the catalog.

Special Seminar

Each year, the Department of Economics offers a Clarence Tow Lectures in Economics seminar program that brings eminent economists from other universities and from government agencies to the University of Iowa campus. Presentations by department faculty members and students also are featured.

View of students through a window in the Pappajohn Business Administration Building.

Courses for Nonmajors

Students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences may wish to use economics courses as part of other majors or the GE CLAS Core. The introductory courses ECON:1100 Principles of Microeconomics and ECON:1200 Principles of Macroeconomics are approved for the Social Sciences area of the GE CLAS Core; they introduce the field of economics and the specialized topics of upper-division courses. The intermediate theory courses ECON:3100 Intermediate Microeconomics and ECON:3150 Intermediate Macroeconomics provide a deeper foundation in the core theories and methods of the discipline. They serve as preparation for upper-division field courses or as terminal courses in an economics plan of study.

Coursework in economics relates to majors in many other fields. For example, political science majors could select ECON:3650 Policy Analysis; international studies majors, ECON:3345 Global Economics and Business; environmental policy and planning majors, ECON:3625 Environmental and Natural Resource Economics; pre-law students, ECON:3800 Law and Economics; and statistics majors, ECON:4800 Econometric Analysis.

Related Certificate

Transportation Planning

The Transportation Planning Program offers the Certificate in Transportation Planning. The program focuses on the varied and complex problems of transportation and on interdisciplinary approaches to addressing them. The certificate is coordinated by the School of Planning and Public Affairs. See the Certificate in Transportation Planning (Graduate College) in the catalog.