The Economics Program offers two different baccalaureate degrees: Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science, which allow students to choose the combination of courses most appropriate for their future plans, as well as a minor program.
A baccalaureate in Economics is a marketable liberal arts degree. Liberal arts majors (social sciences and humanities) develop excellent writing and research skills, and increase a student's knowledge of the world. These majors also help students build a stronger and more informed sense of identity and values. Economics at USM also provides students critical thinking and analytical (including statistical) skills.
One of the biggest concerns students have is life after graduation. A degree in economics from USM provides students with a solid foundation for many careers and for graduate school. Our graduates have, for example, found jobs at Bath Iron Works (finance department), the Maine State Legislature (Senate Majority Leader's staff), and the Maine Department of Labor (data analysts).
Our graduates have also pursued Master's and Doctoral programs at Cornell University, University of California-Riverside, University of California-Santa Cruz, University of Notre Dame, University of Denver, USM School of Business, and USM Muskie School of Public Service. Several have completed a Ph.D. in Economics. Undergraduate students considering graduate school must maintain a high grade-point average (GPA). A high GPA is essential to having broad choice in choosing particular graduate schools and programs.
The University of Southern Maine’s Economics Program, through its undergraduate major and minor, educates students of diverse backgrounds for success – equally as active citizens with deep insights into our society’s structural challenges, and also for a wide range of careers from economic analysis to journalism, and entrepreneurial leadership to public policy. Our program has a proud tradition of faculty trained in heterodox as well as neoclassical economics, with research and teaching interests in macroeconomic theories, global and regional development, economic history, and applied microeconomics including labor, gender, happiness, food, environmental and natural resources, and social justice. Our faculty are deeply committed to the values of inclusiveness, diversity, and environmental sustainability at local, state, national, and global scales. Faculty scholarship, teaching, and public service support these values. To help them succeed in careers and civic life, we challenge our students to excel at standard quantitative and theoretical methods, critical thinking, humanistic/liberal arts approaches to social and economic problems, institutional and historical inquiry, and writing and public persuasion.
Student Learning Outcomes
- Critical Thinking Skills. Students are expected to be able to apply economic analysis to everyday problems in real world situations, to understand current events and evaluate specific policy proposals and to evaluate the role played by assumptions in arguments that reach different conclusions to a specific economic or policy problem.
- Quantitative Reasoning Skills. Students are expected to understand how to use empirical evidence to evaluate the validity of an economic argument, use statistical methodology, interpret statistical results and conduct appropriate statistical analysis of data.
- Problem-Solving Skills. Students are expected to be able to solve problems that have clear solutions and to address problems that do not have clear answers and explain conditions under which these solutions may be correct.
- Communication Skills. Students are expected to be able to communicate effectively in written, oral and graphical form about specific issues and to formulate well-organized written arguments that state assumptions and hypotheses supported by evidence.