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Academic Resources Fair

Below are answers to the most common questions asked at the Academic Resources Fair.

If you have additional questions, then you may follow up with either a Department Representative at the Fair or with econ-advising at any time.


Graduate Student Advisors will hold weekly office hours and respond daily to student emails. The advisors discuss major requirements, course scheduling and selection, checklists and your progress in the major. Outside of transfer credit or study abroad questions, students should direct all questions and concerns about their major to econ-advising either through email at econ-advising@columbia.edu or in office hours. Office hours will be posted on the Advisors page of the website shortly before classes begin.

Advising hours during the first two weeks of the semester are generally very busy. If you would like to have a longer more relaxed conversation with an adviser and your question is not urgent, then we recommend that you speak with them once the initial rush is over.

Placement in Economics
Background Courses to Take
You Have No Transfer, AP, IB, or GCE Credits for Principles of Economics UN 1105 Principles of Economics
You Have Transfer, AP,IB or GCE Credits for Principles and You Have:
Credits for Calculus I UN 3213 Int Macro + UN 1201 Calculus III*
Credits for Calculus III UN 3211 Int Micro or UN 3213 Int Macro
No Credits for Calculus UN 1101 Calculus I or Any 2000 Level Elective Economics Course.

* Calculus III is a co-requisite of Int Macro.

Course Planning

All of our programs begin with the same core training in Economics, Math and Statistics. Regardless of which of the 6 majors or concentration you choose to pursue, you start with the same set of courses.

Economics is a sequenced major. Before you can take upper level electives (3000 level and above) at Columbia, you must complete the intermediate core courses of UN 3211 Int Micro and UN 3213 Int Macro. These two courses have prerequisite calculus courses. Below a Recommend Course Schedule will help you to plan your courses.

If you are an incoming Freshman and do NOT have transfer credits for ECON UN 1105 Principles of Economics or MATH UN 1101 Calculus I then the Recommended Course Schedule for the first 2 years of a 4-year academic plan is:

Fall Spring
First Year UN 1105 Principles or UN1101 Calculus I UN 1105 Principles or UN1101 Calculus I
Second Year UN 3213 Int Macro and

UN 1201 Calculus III

UN 3211 Int Micro and

UN 1201 Statistics

Following the above schedule allows you to begin taking upper level electives in economics in your junior year. This gives you 2 years to complete the elective requirements and a senior seminar. The schedule gives you the flexibility to accommodate study abroad as a junior.

The Recommended Course Schedule also leaves room for you to explore other subjects at Columbia. Before you settle on a major, try to sample course offerings from multiple departments. Columbia has a robust roster of majors and programs. You will make the most of your time here by exploring these offerings.

If you follow the Recommended Course Schedule then after completing one additional core class in your junior year, UN 3412 Econometrics, you are eligible to be a TA in the Department or to take a seminar in economics. We recommend that students take UN 3412 immediately after completing UN 1201 Statistics. Since you will not be taking UN3412 in your Freshman or Fall of Sophomore year, we do NOT recommend that you take UN 1201 Statistics in your Freshman year.

If you are an incoming student who has transfer credits for Principles and/or Calculus I then you have already completed part or all of the first year of the Recommended Course Schedule. You can begin with the classes listed in the Second Year of the schedule or take this year as a chance to explore other subjects at Columbia.

If you plan to spend less than 4 years at Columbia, then you will have to adjust the schedule to meet your goal. You will need to complete the Core Economics, Math and Statistics courses more quickly. Of special note is that you must complete UN3211, UN3213 and UN3412 before you may take a Senior Seminar in Economics. Thus, you must complete these three courses before your final semester at Columbia. If you would like to go over your course plan with someone then you should speak with econ-advising.

If you plan on completing one of our joint majors with Math, Philosophy, Political Science or Statistics then you should speak directly with representatives of those departments for advice on which courses to select this year.

Course Selection

Economics has more than 30 elective courses in the bulletin. In any given year, we offer 20-25 of these courses. To help you find the courses of interest to you, the Sample Program page groups our electives by academic interest or career goal. Econ-advising is also happy to speak with you about course selection.

Most of elective courses may only be taken after the completion of UN 3211 and UN 3213. So it is important that you complete UN 3211 and UN 3213 in your first two years as in the Recommended Course Schedule (see Course Planning).

The Financial Economics Major and the Joint Majors have restrictions on the types of electives that you may take for major credit. Be sure to consult the Major Checklist for your intended major when selecting elective courses.

Choice of Major

The Economics Department offers 6 Majors and a Concentration:

  • Economics Major
  • Financial Economics Major
  • Economics – Math Major
  • Economics – Philosophy Major
  • Economics – Political Science Major
  • Economics – Statistics Major
  • Economics Concentration

All programs begin with the same core training in Economics, Math and Statistics. Regardless of which program interests you now, you start with these core classes (see Course Planning). It is not uncommon for our majors to switch from one program to another as their interests and goals evolve. They do so even as late as their senior year. This is possible in Economics because all of the programs have the common core of economics and quantitative classes.

If you are interested in one of the Joint Majors, then we recommend that you speak with a representative from that department regarding their requirements and advice for the joint major. Econ-advising is often able to give some advice on course selection in other departments but they do not represent those departments nor do they discuss any requirements in other departments.

Major Checklists

Checklists for all 6 Majors and the Concentration are available on the Requirements page.

Transfer Credits

All economics transfer credits must be approved in writing by the Department of Economics. If you have transferred to Columbia and you would like to transfer credits from economics courses taken previously, then you should contact your CC or GS advisor to initiate the process.

Information regarding the application process for transfer credits and the materials you must present is available on the Transfer Credit Information page.

TA and RA Opportunities

The Department has TA and RA positions for undergraduates. Most of these positions are limited to sophomores and older students. All positions are advertised on our WIKI space Econ Info For Students. The WIKI space also advertises among many other things RA positions from other Departments or Schools at Columbia.

Freshmen are advised to start looking at RA positions now even though most researchers are looking for older students. By reviewing the ads, you learn what skills are in highest demand. You also gain familiarity with the type of research being done by the faculty and PhD students in the department.

We also encourage our students to talk to the faculty and TAs about their research. Faculty research interests are also posted on our website. Conversations about research sometimes lead to RA positions.


The FAQ page on the website has answers to many common questions.

More Information

Declared Majors receive department and major updates three times per year (November and April Registration Periods and in August) via the Major Listserv. Before you declare, you will not be on the Listserv. However, these updates are posted (and archived) on the Announcements page. Information for New Majors is also posted on the Announcement page.

The Department uses the Major Listserv on a very limited basis. Information that we want to make available to our students (but not flood their inboxes with) is posted on the Wiki Page, Econ Info For Students. To access the listings, you log in with your UNI and Password. The Wiki is updated at least once per week during the academic year. Here is information about RA positions, Tutoring positions, Internships, Educational Opportunties etc.


1022 International Affairs Building (IAB)
Mail Code 3308  
420 West 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
Ph: (212) 854-3680
Fax: (212) 854-0749
Business Hours:
Mon–Fri, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

1022 International Affairs Building (IAB)

Mail Code 3308

420 West 118th Street

New York, NY 10027

Ph: (212) 854-3680
Fax: (212) 854-0749
Business Hours:
Mon–Fri, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
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