Why Study Economics?

Economics is the study of how people establish social arrangements for producing and distributing goods and services to sustain and enhance human life. Its main goal is to determine an efficient use of limited economic resources so that people receive the maximum benefit at the lowest cost.

The basic objective underlying economic analysis is to understand the distribution of our scarce resources. Some may think economics is limited to the study of tax tables and stock investments, but its scope is much broader. It takes a look at such wide-ranging questions as: What affects the choices of people in society? Can you determine the value of a tree, a species or an ecosystem? What are viable alternatives to our current domestic policies toward health care or the welfare system? Does the free market system provide the best allocation of our resources?

Economics knowledge can be applied internationally or close to home. In either case, it will increase your ability to understand the ramifications of current events worldwide. You will find that economics is an ideal course of study for providing a problem-solving approach to issues such as international trade, public welfare, competition among companies, natural resource management, Third World development, finance and international political systems.

Careers for Economics Majors

Employers have come to value greatly the skills that a liberal arts education provides. In particular, the study of economics imparts desirable transferable abilities—namely analytical skills, holistic and critical thinking, problem solving, and comparative analysis. Previous economics students have pursued public and private sector careers in:

  • Teaching
  • Banking
  • Finance
  • Utilities
  • International trade
  • Politics
  • Public administration
  • Consulting
  • Resource and environmental management
  • International development planning
  • Computer/information services
  • Marketing

Additional Opportunities for Economics Majors

After the completion of the fall semester, the department awards the Ankrim-Miller scholarship to a first-year student who has successfully completed a principles course and who has an expressed interest in economics. The department gives four other awards annually: The Ben B. Cheney Leadership Award, the Stanley and Terryl Brue Endowed Scholarship, the Donald F. Reiman Scholarship, and a Senior Award to the senior economics major with the highest grade point average.

Omicron Delta Epsilon Honorary Society
PLU sponsors an Eta chapter of ODE. This society is another mark of an excellent program and the effort made by the faculty to recognize and reward outstanding work by students.

The Western Economics Association
As an institutional member of the Western Economics Association, the department offers special student rates on membership and conference registration fees.

Faculty members work with the Cooperative Education Office of PLU as well as corporate and government organizations in developing internship opportunities for economics majors. Local internship partners include the Russell Investment Group, the Pierce County Economic Development Council and the Parkland Light & Water Company.

Honors Major
Outstanding students (overall GPA of 3.5 or higher) may choose to pursue the honors major in economics by completing an honors thesis.