College of Behavioral and Social Sciences
Dean: Joel Kassiola

Department of Economics
HSS 142
Web Site:

Undergraduate Advisers: B. Blecha, S. Chattopadhyay, C. Haase, P. King, D. Mar, J. Moss, J. Osman, M. Potepan, N. Schweitzer, D. Sisk, D. Vencill, P. Xu

Graduate Coordinator: David Sisk
Graduate Advisers: S. Chattopadhyay, P. King, D. Vencill, P. Xu


Professors—Blecha, Gemello, Moss, Osman, Schweitzer, Sisk, Vencill

Associate Professors—King, Mar, Potepan, Xu

Assistant Professors—Chattopadhyay, Haase


B.A. in Economics
Minor in Economics
M.A. in Economics

Program Scope

The Bachelor of Arts in Economics provides students with a foundation in economic theory while allowing them to apply what they have learned in real world settings. The program fully exposes students to the primary methods of economic inquiry and analysis. Courses in the program call on students to use both quantitative and qualitative reasoning to analyze and explain economic events and problems. Students also develop practical skills in collecting and statistically analyzing economic data to reach conclusions about economic issues. The undergraduate program in economics provides an excellent preparation for students planning to enter careers in business management, government service, and in non-profit organizations. It can also serve to fully prepare students for advanced graduate and professional study in economics, business, public policy, urban and regional planning, law, and other related fields.

The Master of Arts in Economics allows students to pursue advanced study in economics and focuses on theoretical foundations and real world applications. The program requires students to develop skills in the mathematical modeling of economic theory and statistical analysis of economic data, as well as writing and communicating economic ideas. The M.A. program provides excellent advanced training for students wishing to obtain professional positions as researchers or administrators in private businesses, governmental agencies, or non-profit organizations. The program also offers a solid foundation for students interested in continuing their graduate studies in Ph.D. programs elsewhere.

Career Outlook

Both the undergraduate and graduate programs prepare students for a wide variety of careers in business, government, and non-profit organizations. Their somewhat practical orientation and strong emphasis on quantitative reasoning allow graduates of these programs to move into interesting, useful careers in a number of fields. Undergraduate students majoring in economics, particularly those who have supplemented their program with additional course work in accounting and computer programming, are very attractive job candidates. Graduate students in the master's program develop advanced theoretical, statistical, and data analytical skills, which allow them to compete successfully for more advanced positions. Economics majors have recently been placed in entry level positions in business management, marketing, financial services, research consulting firms, public policy analysis, teaching, and many other fields. The undergraduate major also provides excellent preparation for advanced graduate and professional studies in economics and related disciplines. M.A. graduates have recently been placed in advanced positions with public utilities, economics consulting firms, the research divisions of large companies, and local and state governmental agencies.


Lower Division Core Courses

Economics majors re required to take three courses at the lower division level: ECON 100, Introduction to Macroeconomic Analysis; ECON 101, Introduction to Microeconomic Analysis; and MATH 110, Mathematics for Business Analysis. Students wanting a stronger quantitative preparation or interested in graduate school should take MATH 219 or MATH 221 in place of MATH 110.

Upper Division Core Courses

Economics majors are required to take six upper division core courses: ECON 300, Intermediate Macroeconomics Theory; ECON 301, Intermediate Microeconomic Theory; ECON 311, Statistical Methods and Interpretation I;  and ECON 312, Statistical Methods and Interpretation II. Majors are also required to take ECON 605, History of Economic Thought. Finally, in the senior year, majors are required to take the capstone course ECON 690, Senior Seminar: Economic Inquiry and Analysis.

Upper Division Electives

Economics majors are required to take five upper division elective courses in economics. There are over twenty elective courses offered each year on such subjects as: money and banking, international economics, labor economics, public finance, law and economics, economic history, urban economics, the economics of crime and justice, environmental economics, economic geography, and economic development.

Declaring the Major and Undergraduate Advising

Students can decalre economics as a major at the Economics Department Office at HSS 142. Upon declaring the major, each student is assigned an adviser from among the regular faculty. Majors must meet with their adviser upon entry into the program to go over the program and their career plans. Every major is highly encouraged to meet regularly with their adviser thereafter. Advisers advise students on the selection of economics courses, as well as G.E. requirements and other courses in the university. Advisers provide important information and guidance for meeting career and/or life objectives.

On-line course descriptions are available.

Core Courses Units
ECON 100 Introduction to Macroeconomic Analysis 3
ECON 101 Introduction to Microeconomic Analysis 3
MATH 110 Mathematics for Business Analysis 3
ECON 300 Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory 3
ECON 301 Intermediate Microeconomic Theory 3
ECON 311 Statistical Methods and Interpretation I 3
ECON 312 Statistical Methods and Interpretation II 3
ECON 605 History of Economic Thought 3
ECON 690 Senior Seminar: Economic Inquiry and Analysis 3
Upper Division Electives
Units selected from upper division economics courses. Upon prior advisement, 1 course may be from another department in a related discipline. 15
Total 42

NOTE: Students wanting a stronger quantitative preparation or interested in graduate school should take MATH 219 or MATH 220 in place of MATH 110.


Economics is highly complementary with a number of other disciplines and some students may choose to minor in economics while pursuing a major in another field. Students often decide to minor in economics after having already taken several economics courses and realizing that a few more courses will satisfy the minor requirements. Students minoring in economics are required to take ECON 100, Introduction to Macroeconomic Analysis, and ECON 101, Introduction to Microeconomic Analysis. They are also required to take either ECON 300, Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory, or ECON 301, Intermediate Microeconomic Theory. In addition, minors are required to take four upper division elective courses. Upon advisement, two of these elective courses may be taken in a related discipline including courses counting toward the major.

Program Units
ECON 100 Introduction to Macroeconomic Analysis 3
ECON 101 Introduction to Microeconomic Analysis 3
ECON 300 Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory or 3
 ECON 301  Intermediate Microeconomic Theory
Units selected from upper division elective economics courses 12
Total 21


Graduate Advisers—Chattopadhyay, King, Vencill, Xu

Admission to Program

For admission to the graduate program in economics, a student must meet the general university requirements as stated in this Bulletin. To qualify for classified status, a student must earn a 3.0 grade point average in an undergraduate major in economics, with a grade of at least a B in the first semester of intermediate macro and micro theory (ECON 300 and 301), mathematics for economists (ECON 310) or a semester of calculus (MATH 220), and statistical method and interpretation (ECON 311), or equivalent. Students who do not have Bs in all of the above four courses, or who did not major in economics but earned overall grade point averages of 3.0 or better, may be admitted conditionally. If room is available, students with less than 3.0 averages, but at least 2.7, may be admitted. Students admitted conditionally should understand that any prerequisite courses indicated in their conditional admission cannot be applied toward their graduate program.

Students applying to the master's in economics must submit the following material to both the Graduate Division and to the graduate coordinator of the Department of Economics. These materials should be submitted to both places at the same time.

The following deadlines for submission of all of the above material to both the Graduate Division and the graduate coordinator of the Department of Economics are in effect:

Written English Proficiency Requirements

The university requires that graduate students must demonstrate both initial English proficiency (level one) upon entrance to graduate study and an advanced English proficiency (level two) prior to graduating. Level One: each economics graduate student is required to pass a test of written English during the first semester in the graduate program. A fee is charged for this examination. Students failing the examination will be required to take a course or courses in English. Level Two: to demonstrate advanced level proficiency, the student must complete a written term paper or a master's thesis during the M.A. program.

Advancement to Candidacy

Besides meeting all general requirements for advancement to candidacy, applicants must earn at least a B- in ECON 700, 701, 710, 711, 720, and 730 and earn a 3.0 grade point average in the six combined.

On-line course descriptions are available. Students may select any upper division courses with the exception of ECON 300, 301, 305, 310, and 311.

Core Requirements 1 Units
ECON 700 Seminar: Macroeconomic Theory I 3
ECON 701 Seminar: Microeconomic Theory I 3
ECON 710 Seminar: Macroeconomic Theory II 3
ECON 711 Seminar: Microeconomic Theory II 3
ECON 720 Seminar: Applied Quantitative Techniques 3
ECON 730 Seminar: Econometric Methods 3
Other Requirements
Graduate economics courses or upper division elective economics courses. May be taken upon advisement in an allied field or in interdisciplinary study. 6
ECON 898 Master's Thesis and Oral Defense or 6
  Additional graduate economics courses and Oral Comprehensive Examination
Minimum total 30

Oral Comprehensive Examination: A three-hour comprehensive oral examination is required of all candidates who waive the thesis requirement. The examination covers macroeconomics, microeconomics, and one elective field chosen by the candidate. Examinations are conducted during the regular fall and spring semesters. No student is permitted to take the examination until the completion of 24 units of the Graduate Approved Program with a B (3.0) average. ECON 700 and 701 must be included in these 24 units. The examination may be taken only twice.

Oral Defense of Thesis: Students who have chosen the thesis option must pass an oral defense of their thesis. This defense consists of a three hour oral examination by the thesis committee.


  1. Under certain circumstances and with the approval of the graduate adviser, students may substitute one elective graduate level economics course for one of the following courses in the core: ECON 710, 711, or 730.

SFSU Home   Search   Need Help?  

1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132 (415) 338-1111

Last modified July 09, 2012 by