Specialized Tracks

The department offers both a general degree option and four different specialized tracks. The tracks are designed to give students the opportunity to develop those skills most relevant to a specific area within economics. While the set of electives within and beyond economics is more restricted for the track approach, the number of credit hours required to complete the program is unchanged.

You will find an introduction to each of the tracks below. For a more detailed description of the requirements for each track, see the university catalog.

Economic Analyst. For students drawn to economics by its formal modeling of economic activity and abundant analytical tools, the economic analyst track provides ample opportunity to develop technical expertise. Through this track, students will be prepared for technical and analytical positions in the public or private sectors. For example, the track is ideal for students wishing to be a policy analyst or economist analyzing economic data for a consulting firm, private sector employer or government agency. Upon completion, students will be able to apply the more advanced empirical methods used in the field. This track will also prepare students for higher-level graduate study in economics or related fields.

Course requirements for the economic analyst track differ from the general degree option mostly in the mathematical and quantitative electives needed. Students are required to take the calculus-based intermediate microeconomics course, several econometrics courses from the department, and extra classes in calculus and statistics.

Economic Policy. Policy analysis is an excellent way to learn and apply economics. An understanding of the nexus between policy and economic outcomes requires a balance of technical tools and ground-level knowledge of economic institutions. The economic policy track strikes this balance with training over a range of policy issues and enough technical training to take a deep dive into the data relevant to the particular issues. Students can study public policy related to the macro economy, labor markets, business, international trade and public finance.

This track will be ideal for students who seek a law school degree, employment in a less technical policy position or a graduate degree in public policy. It is also a good option for those who want a general background in economics. The critical thinking skills developed will be broadly applicable as graduates build careers in the private or public sectors.

The economic policy track is more restrictive than the general degree option. However, it contains considerable flexibility while assuring sufficient exposure to policy issues. The track requires a course on formal logic or moral philosophy and another on U.S. politics or political thought. Within the economics electives, students take at least two courses from among Labor Economics, Econometrics, Public Finance, and Industrial Organization and Public Policy. The remaining three economics electives must be chosen from a set of 10 courses with a substantial policy analysis component.

Business Economics. Most economics majors enter the business world upon graduation. The economic way of thinking and tools of the trade can prove valuable in any business setting. A basic understanding of more purely business related topics is a useful complement to a graduate's economics background when embarking on a business career.

The business economics track is focused on preparing students with the economics most relevant for success in the business world. It combines a thorough treatment of economics for real-world applications with a general background in business. For double majors, this track overlaps well with a business degree and focuses on providing a rich combination of business and economic skills. It is also an excellent preparation for those considering an eventual MBA degree.

This track requires introductory courses in accounting and finance and allows students to choose between additional training in accounting or an introductory course in management or marketing. Students are encouraged to take an introductory course in each of these areas. Within the economics electives, students select from a set of courses that focus on issues relevant in the business world. Some examples include Industrial Organization, Strategic Behavior and Game Theory, Labor Economics and several courses focused on international trade and finance.

Financial Economics. Finance and economics are a natural match. For many students, it is a curiosity about the stock market and other financial markets that sparks an initial interest in studying economics. An understanding of the economic forces driving fluctuations in stock prices, interest rates, and exchange rates gives an important advantage to anyone employed in the financial services sector. It is not surprising, then, that a good share of economics majors from K-State are employed in the finance industry.

The financial economics track is designed for those who wish to enter the finance industry with an economics background. Students choosing this track will be prepared for advanced work in the industry. The track provides a deep knowledge of financial markets and the mechanisms that move them. It also provides students with analytical tools for work in the field.

Requirements are similar to those of the business economics track. Students take introductory courses in accounting and finance. They also choose from among Equity Securities and Markets in the finance department and the economics courses most closely related to finance. These include Money and Banking, Econometrics, International Finance and Open Economy Macroeconomics, and Money, Credit and Fiscal Policy. Economics electives are rounded out by choosing from among Strategic Behavior and Game Theory, Industrial Organization and Public Policy, and International Economics. Students are also encouraged to take our course on time series analysis and forecasting.