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 goals are both to understand these arrangements and to improve them, seeking the best possible allocation of our scarce resources.

Viewed this way, economics has a very broad scope. It investigates such wide-ranging questions as: What are the best mechanisms for controlling pollution? What determines the value of a tree, a species or an ecosystem? Should health care be delivered privately or publicly? What policies might best alleviate the problems of unemployment and poverty? Economics is an ideal course of study for providing an analytical and problem-solving approach to issues such as international trade, health care, income inequality, natural resource management, and economic development.

Careers for Economics Majors

As an economics major at PLU, you will develop the ability to think critically about a wide variety of issues, building proficiency in areas that many employers find extremely valuable. Taking foundation courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and statistics, you will learn quantitative and analytical skills that are applicable in a wide variety of contexts by studying, developing, and manipulating economic models. You will become more aware of the institutional arrangements that drive consumption and production choices both domestically and abroad and use your analytical skills to derive the implications of alternative policy choices. Working directly with a faculty member, you will conduct independent research and present your findings, developing both oral and written communications skills.  Building on this foundation, previous economics students have pursued successful public and private sector careers in fields as diverse as:

Did you know?

• Economics majors, in a tie with Philosophy majors, scored higher on the Law School Admissions Test than students from any other major?
• Lawyers with undergraduate degrees in economics earned over 12% more than other lawyers, the only major that showed any significant difference?
• Only Mathematics, Physics, and Engineering majors fared better on the Graduate Management Admissions Test than Economics majors?
• Economics majors are more likely to become CEOs than majors from any other discipline?
• Economics majors have the highest representation at the top of the earnings distribution?

• Banking
• Finance
• International trade

• Public administration
• Resource and environmental management
• International development planning

A few of our recent economics majors are profiled here. For a more complete listing of our majors, their job titles, and (in many cases) their employers, please click here. Students may also make use of PLU’s Career Connections Office, which offers ways to connect students and alumni for possible internship and mentoring possibilities.

Additional Opportunities for Economics Majors

Awards and Scholarships
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 expressed an 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. More information about these awards may be found here.

Omicron Delta Epsilon Honorary Society
PLU sponsors the 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. Membership is open to a junior economics major with a GPA of at least a 3.70 or senior economics major with a minimum 3.50 GPA.

In conjunction with PLU’s Academic Internships Office, faculty work with corporate and government organizations to develop 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.