The economics and business major reflects a three-part educational model. First, we provide a solid foundation in economic and finance theory that trains students to "think like economists." Whether your path leads you straight to the workplace or to graduate studies, our rigorous and coherent economic framework builds the skills necessary to address complex economic problems and interpret the many facts that influence decisions.

Second, we complement our strength in economic theory with a wide range of application-intensive courses. From 200-level courses onwards, you will see economic logic applied to contexts as diverse as environmental protection, professional sports, U.S. history, investments, and the banking sector. Our applied courses provide a solid grounding in techniques for analyzing data and testing economic models. 

Finally, because of our distinctive block calendar, Cornell students have the opportunity to experience aspects of economic and business life that are outside the reach of most undergraduates. We make our textbooks come alive by meeting the people, visiting the places, and directly observing the processes being studied. In addition to taking students off campus, we regularly host business leaders, best-selling authors, and scholars in our classrooms. We believe that economic lessons learned through first-hand experience will last a lifetime.

Course selection within the ECB major

The ECB department offers nearly thirty distinct courses spanning a wide range of sub-fields within the broad areas of economics and business. The academic catalogue describes each course in the department and outlines the specific ECB major requirements. Students are encouraged to select courses that align with their long-term interests.

Students who are interested in economic theory, public policy, and the application of economics to many diverse settings are encouraged to select courses in the economics track. Students who have a strong interest in economics applied to managerial and financial decisions are encouraged to pursue courses in the business track. The tracks are purely advisory in nature. The two tracks help students develop a coherent academic program best suited to their intellectual interests and career aspirations.

Course selection for the business minor

For students interested in combining their business interests with a primary major in another field, the ECB department offers the business minor. The business minor is a structured alternative to the ECB major. Students adopting the business minor will continue to benefit from the three foundations of our curricular model: rigorous theory, real-world applications, and experiential learning. At the same time, the business minor contains enough flexibility for students to pursue a major other than ECB.

ECB as a part of a double or individualized major

Some students may wish to combine the ECB major with other majors. Students committed to public policy may wish to double major in ECB and politics. Those with an interest in environmental careers may consider an environmental studies and ECB double major. Combining ECB with mathematics or computer science is highly recommended for students pursuing graduate programs in economics, actuarial science and other fields. To obtain a double major, a student must satisfy all of requirements for both academic departments.

Cornell’s Bachelor of Special Studies degree makes it possible to customize your interests in economics and business with interests across multiple academic departments. The department will assist students in selecting interdisciplinary programs for special purposes.

Curriculum Details