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How much math is involved in economics?

whycalwhycal Posts: 20Registered User New Member
edited September 2013 in Other College Majors
At my school, to fulfill a economics major, you only need to take 1 actual Stats class, and two Calculus classes. I was just wondering outside of those classes, how much does math take part in learning economics? I'm a very "B" student at math, and I was wondering how much you'll see it being used.
Post edited by whycal on
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Replies to: How much math is involved in economics?

  • IBfootballerIBfootballer Posts: 2,250Registered User Senior Member
    i know that once you get past the introductory level, there's a fair bit of calculus, including some multi-variable.
  • ZobasityZobasity Posts: 206Registered User Junior Member
    I would like to know more of this too. Economics sounds very interesting to me for a college major, but math was not my top area in high school.
  • Christopher546Christopher546 Posts: 491Registered User Member
    It all depends. If you want to major in economics with a focus on getting an overview, then basic calculus is fine. But if you are aiming to deeply understand economics to the level where you can go to a good graduate school, it usually requires multivariable calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, real analysis, etc.
  • conmanconman Posts: 38Registered User Junior Member
    Most schools give you the option of the BA or the BS. The BS is if you want to go to grad school in economics, otherwise the BA is fine, but you still need a year of calc.
  • Louis XIIILouis XIII Posts: 182Registered User Junior Member
  • Ranger91Ranger91 Posts: 60Registered User Junior Member
    Keep in mind that besides Calculus and Statistics, Microeconomics and Macroeconomics involve math as well.
  • Sligh_AnarchistSligh_Anarchist Posts: 2,193Editor Senior Member
    After completing Calculus I, Calculus II, and Statistics, keep in mind your Econometrics course. Make sure you know basic statistics very well for this course!
  • pharmakeus01pharmakeus01 Posts: 414Registered User Junior Member
    haha, economics is equivalent to applicable pure math. It is all about math.
  • bluebubblesbluebubbles Posts: 868Registered User Member
    You need at least basic algebra and trig for intro courses I believe.
  • comet88comet88 Posts: 121Registered User Junior Member
    For alot of the lower level courses I would say it is more a question of are you comfortable with numbers, graphs, etc? Some subjects can get VERY math intensive (game theory) but not usually so for a BA/BS degree. For grad school, the bare minimum is calc through multivariable, linear algebra, stats/prob. I haven't encountered anything too daunting with the math yet in my undergrad, but micro theory had a decent amount of taking derivatives with multiple variables (nothing too hard, though).

    If you are looking to do grad economics...might as well get an undergrad major in math and just take econ up through intermediate and econometrics.

    I would say to acquire a deep understanding though, you need to be able to handle math. For instance you might be able to just use a short-hand method on a test (equate slopes) but the most accurate method would be something you learn in multivariable (lagrangians). But to get a BA, calculus 2 and stats should suffice (and doing some reading up on partial derivatives or whatever else you encounter)
  • so save meso save me Posts: 517Registered User Member
    How "B" student are you?

    I'm an Economics major at Berkeley right now (BA). I would say that if you end up in my case, you don't need to love math, "B" student is fine if you're talking Calculus and Statistics, because that's all I needed for my Econ requirements. I don't really like math although I did well in it in high school. Just to give you a little bit of context as to where I'm coming from.

    I think Economics is really more about theory than it is about math. Sure, there is a little bit of calculus along the way, but you're not really doing calculus the way you do it in a math class. It actually has meaning behind it.. maybe you're calculating the elasticity of a good, for example. I find that this kind of attached meaning makes the math much easier.

    As far as Econometrics, yes, I had a hard time with it.. but it wasn't impossible, and really it was more about knowing and memorizing than it was about statistics. Plus, Econometrics is only one class out of many that you will take as an Economics major. It'll probably be your hardest class, but after that.. at least, at Berkeley, I get to choose. I can take Economics classes that are more history-based than model-based, and I can take some that are more model-based than history, or I can take some that are more math-based. I feel that whatever math there is in the Economics classes I have taken so far is based on models, and therefore, once you get it, you pretty much have it. It's not like pure math where every time you get a problem it's something new.

    If you want to have an easier time with it, I would say.. understand the math behind it. You can definitely get by without understanding it completely, but I think it is much more rewarding/interesting to understand why graphs look the way they look, etc, and it makes it much easier to learn because you're not memorizing how things look, you actually know what makes it.

    Oh also, I should add, if you are planning on doing a graduate degree in Economics, you definitely need to be strong in math. However, I would recommend that you don't go that route unless you love Econ and math/stats.

    hope that helps :)
  • allisonnallisonn Posts: 103Registered User Junior Member
    for a BA in economics, depending on the school, you probably just need to take a few statistics courses, a few calculus course (probably at most multi-variable) .... so yeah econ undergrad doesn't require you to be EXCELLENT at math.... BUT if you want to go to grad school for economics.. you have to not only LOVE math, you have to be GOOD at it because it requires A LOT of math. some people even double major in math but imo thats overdoing it.

    but yeah, economics requires a lot of math.
  • dragonreborndragonreborn Posts: 573Registered User Member
    From experience, if you're a math oriented person, then you should do fine, if not great on econ. I think that for someone who is horrible at or totally disinterested in math, econ would likely turn out to be a struggle.
  • bulat1990bulat1990 Posts: 4Registered User New Member
    Im taking economics and I would say that it makes up about 15% of economics not counting calculus and stats
  • AnnoyinggirlAnnoyinggirl Posts: 215- Junior Member
    At the undergrad level, very little. Usually just calculus 1 and 2, and often a easier version of it than the courses engineers and maybe even the biology majors are required to take.
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