There is no one way to study economics at Wellesley.
And there is no cookie-cutter path for economics majors after graduation. The Department of Economics offers various ways to pursue your economics scholarship, and not all are within the bounds of Wellesley's campus. Whether you are interested in graduate study, internships, fellowships, or international study, all can be part of your experience with economics study at Wellesley.
Study at Other Institutions
Students planning to study at other U.S. Institutions, including those in the 12 College Exchange, should consult the department's transfer credit advisor. In order to obtain Wellesley credit for any economics course taken elsewhere during the summer or academic year, approval must be obtained in advance from the transfer credit advisor and the College Registrar. In general, courses from two-year or community colleges will not be accepted at any level. Courses taken elsewhere will not normally be transferred at the Grade III level; students must take their two 300-level courses at Wellesley.
Economics 201, 202, and 203 should ordinarily be taken at Wellesley. Transfer credit may be awarded for 201 or 202 taken elsewhere, but only if the course is taught with a calculus prerequisite. Courses thought to be equivalent to 203 must require the completion of a multiple regression project to receive transfer credit. These restrictions normally apply only to courses taken after enrollment at Wellesley. Transfer students wishing to obtain transfer credit for economics courses taken prior to enrollment at Wellesley should contact the department's transfer credit advisor.
Courses at MIT
Wellesley students are able to cross-register for economics and business courses at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. MIT economics courses are, in general, significantly more mathematics intensive than Wellesley courses, and students are advised to consult an advisor before registering for an MIT course. MIT economics courses are, for the most part, treated just like Wellesley courses for the purposes of the economics major, but the two required 300-level courses must be completed at Wellesley.
The Department of Economics at Wellesley encourages study abroad and at other U.S. colleges and universities. Some of our students have focused their international study experience around the study of economics, most notably at the London School of Economics and at Oxford or Cambridge; many others use the time away to focus on other areas of study, especially language. Both approaches are valuable and can be incorporated into the major with sufficient planning.
Because we generally do not accept transfer credit for 201, 202, and 203, and because these courses are prerequisites for the 300-level courses students need to take as seniors, students planning to study abroad for a full year are encouraged to try to take all three of those core courses by the end of their sophomore year. Should that not be possible, the best strategy is to do 201 and 203 before going away and do 202 in the fall of the senior year.
Students considering international study should consult with both the Office of International Studies and with the department’s foreign study advisor for advice on selecting a program and incorporating it into the major.
Internships and Fellowships
Through Wellesley's Career Education, The Aubrey Freeman '51 Endowed Fund for Students in Economics internship supports students seeking experience in the field of domestic or international economics during the summer.
The Department of Economics offers the Peggy Howard Fellowship for grants to Wellesley College undergraduates or alumnae to pursue post-graduate study or special projects in economics.
Combined BA/MA in International Economics and Finance
Wellesley's special collaboration with the Brandeis International School of Business allows students to complete their bachelor's and master's degrees in international economics and finance in five years. Wellesley courses complete many of the program's requirements, and further courses taken at nearby Brandeis University fill out the roster. A choice to consider if you know that graduate study in international economics is in your future.
Other Graduate Programs
As we've noted before here, Wellesley leads the way in providing the world with women econ grads who go on to obtain their doctorate in economics. But graduate students in economics may pursue programs leading to the master's and/or doctoral degrees. The requirements for each of these degrees vary significantly among schools, so you should consult specific university websites and catalogs for particulars.
Programs leading to a master's degree in economics usually take from one to two years of graduate study to complete; some require that a student complete a master's thesis. Most Ph.D. programs in economics require two or three years of coursework, after which you have to pass a theory exam and two or more field exams. The last stage of the program requires that you conduct some original research and report the results in a dissertation. Ph.D. degrees in economics can be completed in four years, but they often take longer. In the social sciences the median time that it takes for a student to complete the Ph.D. degree is about 7.5 years.
The best graduate school for you depends on a lot of things, especially your ability level, geographical location, areas of research interests, and, of course, financing. You should talk with your professors about ability level and areas of research.