FAQ for Majors

How do I apply to the Economics Department?

Students must first be admitted to Stanford University. Visit the Stanford Admissions website to find out more.  The student may declare Economics as the major by following the steps in the How To Declare page.

What do graduates do with an Economics degree?

While many Economics majors ultimately seek a postgraduate degree in business, law, medicine, or economics, some enter the labor market immediately after graduation.  Our students tend to be very successful and in great demand.  Undergraduate economics is a STEM-designated major, and the training it offers in systematic analysis of costs and benefits and in rational decision-making by individuals and organizations provides good preparation for careers in law, education, business, and government.

You can watch a video provided by the American Economics Association to find out about careers in economics -  "A career in Economics . . . it's much more than you think."

Contact Career Education for specific career information or employment opportunities. Handshake is a job search resource available to all Stanford Students, and jobs and internships are posted here. The American Economics Association also provides a wonderful resource for students deciding what to pursue with their Economics Degree.  

How many units does the Economics Major require?

The Economics Major requires 80 units of approved economics coursework. For details and a breakdown of the degree requirements, see the Undergraduate Major page.

Can AP/IB units be used to replace Econ 1?

Students scoring a 5 on both the advanced placement (AP) microeconomics and macroeconomics tests or a score of 7 on International Baccalaureate (IB) higher level economics test may petition the Director of Undergraduate Studies to have the ECON 1 course requirement waived by submitting the ECON 1 Waiver Petition. Students do not receive units credit for placing out of ECON 1. 

Are there Econ courses that I can take that do not have prerequisites?

Yes, Econ 1 is a popular course for freshmen and sophomores offered each quarter. Econ 43, 46 and 47 are "frosh friendly" elective courses and Econ 136 is an Econ field course. There are many Intro Seminars covering interesting economic topics that are 3 units that do not have prerequisites (Econ 11N,  17N,  22N, 23N, 25N).  Go to Explore Courses for more information.

When can I declare Economics as my major?

You can declare the Econ major anytime but are strongly encouraged to do so before your junior year. We strongly recommend that you complete Econ 1 before declaring because it's a good way for students to find out if Econ is the right major for them. Major Declarations will NOT be reviewed over the summer, so students so plan to submit their declaration before the 8th week of the Fall and Winter Quarter, and before the 5th week of the Spring Quarter.

Can I take a prerequisite course at the same time I take the course requiring the prerequisite?

No, the prerequisite course must be taken in a quarter prior to taking the course requiring the prerequisite.

Can I take field courses or Econ 101 at another college?

No. All field courses and Econ 101 must be taken at Stanford. No Transfer Credit for a field course or Econ 101 will ever be approved.

I am a transfer student, what courses can I transfer into Economics?

Our Department aims to maintain the highest possible educational standards. Hence, approval of Transfer Credit from other institutions may be granted only if it can be demonstrated that the course taken away from Stanford was taught at a high level which is compatible with the corresponding course offered at Stanford.

  • Transfer credit for Economics core courses will depend on whether the course at another institution was taught at high enough analytical level. Credit will never be granted for non-calculus-based courses.
  • If a student seeks transfer credit for an elective course the student must specify the Stanford course it most closely resembles. This includes using courses listed as field courses as elective. No course will be approved as an elective course if there is no Stanford course which it proposes to replace.
  • All field courses must be taken at Stanford in California. No transfer credit for a field course will ever be approved

Can I transfer credit from my community college?

The Stanford Economics Department will accept transfer credit for ECON 1 if the course or courses taken meet the same educational standards as the course taught at Stanford. Transfer credit for any other ECON course will not be reviewed. 

How do I apply to graduate?

You may apply for degree conferral through Axess by the deadline specified by the University Calendar.  Fill out a Major-Minor or Multiple-Major Course Approval eForm if you are planning to graduate with more than one major or will have a minor.  It must be approved by the Undergraduate Student Services Officer and should be done at least one quarter before graduation.

Can I walk through the commencement ceremony even if I am not graduating until the following quarter?

Yes. You must receive departmental approval and have at least 160 units toward graduation to participate. Please complete the Department of Economics Walkthrough Petition (available Spring 24). For more information on participation in the University-Wide Commencement Ceremony, please see the Stanford Commencement Page