I am an entering freshman majoring in engineering, though I also have an interest in economics. You can imagine my shock when I saw that Berkeley doesn't offer an economics minor (probably because the major is capped; i don't think any of the other capped majors offer minors).
I now face a dilemma. Do I forget about studying economics, graduate without a minor, and probably have a tougher time getting a job/grad school (i'm thinking of going for an MBA). Or do I suck it up and try and do a double major (nearly impossible because engineering and l&s have different breadth requirements, meaning i'd need to take like an extra 40 or so units).
My third option would be to take the 5 upper division courses required for a minor (although it'd probably be useless without any formal recognition from the university). Do you think employers/schools would accept my explanation for my lack of minor?
Finally, I am highly skeptical of the feasibility of this, but my friend suggested that I personally meet with an undergrad econ adviser, present my case, and hopefully get an exception and be allowed to graduate with an economics minor. Do you think I'd have any chance of succeeding here?
I've heard that at Berkeley, rules are more like guidelines, and if you have a good enough reason, you can break them. But is it at all realistic to create a minor in an impacted discipline?
You don't need to major/minor in Economics to get your MBA. You can definitely take Economics classes here if you have an interest in the subject, but Economics classes definitely aren't necessary for getting your MBA down the road.
That being said, if you still don't trust me, you will not be able to get a minor in Economics at all. Additionally, like you said, majoring in Economics as well as Engineering would be very difficult.
So, like I said, I encourage you to take as many Economics classes as you want, but a major/minor in Economics is DEFINITELY not necessary in order for you to get your MBA.
I highly doubt not having a formal economics minor on your transcript will make any difference with regard to getting an MBA or a job, so don't panic. I'm in full agreement with Def890. If it really matters that much to you, talk to an undergraduate adviser, though I doubt much will come from it. If you absolutely must have something formal, there are minors available related to economics. Here are a few looking through the course catalog:
Minor in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research: Uses economics and applies many of those principles to engineering. Not listed in the catalog (at least not mine) but it is online. Minor in Environmental Economics and Policy: Obviously requires a bunch of economics, applying it to environmental concerns. Minor in European Studies: This is actually part of the Political Economy of Industrial Societies program. You'd take classes about political economy, political science, and economics. Not pure econ, but provides exposure.
Thanks for the advice! I know that a minor definitely isn't necessary to get an MBA, although I'm sure it wouldn't hurt. The problem is I feel that I'll look like a slacker if I don't have any minors, and I really don't want to change my schedule just because the school doesn't "offer" a particular minor. I still will take some economics classes regardless of whether or not I can use them as a minor in order to fulfill my humanities/social studies requirement.
Thanks for the alternative minor suggestions. Environmental Economics and Policy actually looks really interesting, though I think I'm looking for something broader and less specialized (though i'll definitely look more into EEP). I can't minor in IEOR b/c that's my major, and European Studies isn't really what i'm looking for either. I sent an email to an adviser already (figured it couldn't hurt, even though i'm not expecting anything out of it).
Haha, what a coincidence! What did you eventually decide to do about the problem (if anything)?
Believe me, MBA programs won't look at you as a slacker, especially being an Engineering major from Berkeley. There are minors available that are related to Economics (i.e. PEIS), so you might want to research those. There are a bunch of other great minors available. Good luck, and please ask if you need any more advice.
Totally agree with above posters. I have one thing to add:
Even though there isn't an econ minor, you can always just take a bunch of econ classes if you find them interesting. When you're interviewing you can incorporate the economics you learned in those classes in the things you say (or write, if it's that kind of interview). If you give well-reasoned answers that demonstrate a strong mind and a good understanding of economics, the lack of a formal minor won't matter.
Thanks for the advice everyone! I guess I'll just take the five upper division courses that i'd be taking for an econ minor regardless of whether or not I can officially graduate with a minor. Because you're right mrniphty, it really does come down to how knowledgeable you are in your interview.
Alright, so I just got my response back. All it said really was that there is no econ minor, and you can take a related minor like environmental econ. Pretty much what I expected.
My question is, why isn't there an econ minor in the first place? Pretty much all minors are simply 5 upper division courses and you get your minor. Why do some minors not exist?? It's not like the school would lose anything by offering things like history, psychology, and economics minors.
It kind of kills my desire to take extra econ courses when there's literally no reward for doing so. Is Berkeley trying to make its students lazy and discourage them from exploring a variety of subjects?
You just contradicted yourself. You stated in your first post that you have an interest in economics and now you're posting that there's literally no reward for taking extra Economics courses. If you like Economics, take the courses. The professors who teach these courses are renowned in the field, so I personally think that saying you won't get any reward out of taking these classes is both ignorant and arrogant.
I also wouldn't blame the university for anything. There are hundreds of great courses in many different departments here. To say that Berkeley is making its students lazy and is discouraging them from exploring a variety of subjects is ill-informed. If YOU want to explore a variety of subjects, then YOU take courses in in different fields. Just because there's no minor in some subjects doesn't mean you can't take courses in different fields.
I'm not trying to be mean in this post, but it seems to me like your beliefs and your actions are contradicting each other. If you have an interest in economics, stop complaining about how you won't get anything out of it.
Rather than taking the classes, I could simply sit in on the lectures and audit them. That way I get exposure to the information from world class professors without the stress of extra exams, homework, and the possibility of a lower GPA. The only real reason to take a class rather than audit it is to get credit for taking it, but that credit won't amount to anything under Berkeley's current policy. I know it sounds cynical, but I'm not going to school to learn for the sake of learning (and i doubt many of you are). If school was about that, we wouldn't need things like grades/transcripts/diplomas.
And I know there are hundreds of great courses in many different departments (econ included). It's just that when the university arbitrarily refuses to acknowledge the hard work a student has put into their classes, I feel I have the right to question them. What possible reason could they have for not recognizing students who have taken 5+ upper division econ classes???