The Economics Program at Willamette University helps students develop their abilities to think carefully about complex economic, political and social issues by providing foundations for understanding economic behaviors at all levels of society.
Economics at Willamette is taught as an integral part of a liberal arts education. The approach is analytical and applied with a focus on social institutions, social outcomes and public policy.
Students are challenged to explore how the activities of private interests, public institutions and interest groups interact in shaping such issues as environmental quality, international economic concerns, urban and regional problems, poverty, inflation and unemployment.
All economics majors complete a rigorous sequence in core microeconomics and macroeconomics theory. This sequence prepares students to "think like economists" and apply the tools of economic analysis to their own lives, current events and the important choices every society must make. Particular social choices are featured in elective courses on issues related to the environment, international trade, health care, public finance, labor markets, economic development and other topics. In the advanced elective course students pursue topics related to the professor's area of expertise and begin to develop their own research on topics of their choosing. All economics majors work closely with a senior seminar coordinator and other faculty members to complete an independent research thesis as the capstone experience in their senior year.
Students have an opportunity to apply their economic knowledge and analytical abilities through an active internship program where they are placed in local business settings, or in state agencies such as the Legislative Revenue Office, Office of Economic Analysis, Department of Forestry and Department of Justice.
Many Oregon agencies are located across the street from Willamette and provide students with valuable opportunities to apply their economics training while working with people making public policy decisions for the state. Agencies and businesses in nearby Portland provide internship opportunities with a more international focus.