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Questions about Duke economics and political science majors

smileitsmuncasmileitsmunca 5 replies4 threads New Member
Hi there! I am really conflicted as to if I should major in economics or political science. I personally would like a job in banking, but I am also open to other career paths. I love both majors equally, but I still would like to get some input on things like difficulty, GPA, and career prospects. I have done extensive research over the majors and know that I should not base my decision on the questions that I am asking, but I do feel like my questions would help provide better insight on what to expect in the long run. Also sorry for all the questions.
Economics
So, from what I am hearing, econ is considered one of the hardest majors at Duke. I was wondering if this was because of the weed out classes or because it is just generally considered a difficult major.
Are the math classes what makes econ difficult? I have already completed all of the calculus classes required for econ (I meet the requirements to transfer on their website) at a state university. Should I not be worried about things such as my GPA because I have taken these courses?
If there are other classes (such as the intro econ class), what can I do to be prepared for them and should I expect a mediocre/bad grade even if I work really hard?
What is the average GPA for graduating econ students?

Political Science
Could I still get a banking job majoring in political science and minoring in finance? I have not done much research about the certifications, but is that something I could also do while taking political science?
What are the job prospects like? I keep looking but I cannot find the average salary of graduating students. Do students struggle to find good jobs?
What is the average GPA?
What should I expect as a political science major?
Which one is more difficult, economics or political science and why?

Again, I am fully aware that I should not decide what I should major in based on these questions, but I do think they are important information to know. Any information or links would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much!
6 replies
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Replies to: Questions about Duke economics and political science majors

  • TheNerdyOboistTheNerdyOboist 21 replies4 threads Junior Member
    Hello, I am actually an economics major (concentration in finance) at Duke currently so I might be able to provide some type of insight into the major and department!

    One note before I begin: If you love both majors, do both! SOO many students double major (including myself in Econ/CS) and wouldn't have it any other way. Additionally, if you want to go into any type of finance or banking, I do not see a way you would not major in economics (with finance concentration). With just political science, you most likely would be buying your self a one-way ticket to either law school or consulting. Not that those are bad things (I am pre-law), it is just not what you want if [banking] is your goal.

    First, I would like to point out a key difference in the department that I was not fully aware of going into Duke: there is a significant difference in classes and culture between the traditional economics major and economics with a finance concentration. The finance concentration is still the same BS in Economics; however, it requires you to take finance-specific electives that will land you with roughly 2 more classes to satisfy the major completely and a significantly different set of qualifications in economics upon graduation.
    Want to go into any type of finance (ESPECIALLY investment banking)? You will be doing the concentration and it will be incredibly helpful to you, no question about it.

    Let's talk about difficulty...
    Duke Economics is hard. In terms of classes, you will find yourself being challenged by most, if not all, of the "core" economics sequence unless you are a genius (I know some, you might be). When it comes to beyond the core (electives), they are all different but none of them will be "easy". A lot of people will complain about the "math" making economics hard and they are right. I do not even know how to begin with our math department. It is HARD. Every class, from, calculus I on up, is incredibly challenging if you do not truly LOVE math with all of your heart (the math majors). I know you said you have satisfied your math requirements; however, if they are not AP Calc (AB and BC, 5s), you will have a TIME getting them transferred and if you do convince them, don't be surprised if they force proficiency examinations in calc I/II, multivariable calc, and light linear algebra. They will gladly take the AP Calc AB/BC credit; however, I do not know anyone who got to skip out of multivariable calculus at Duke. Additionally, I doubt you would want to skip out on MATH202 (multivariable calculus for economics), which is a hybrid class between multi and linear algebra. You want to be used to rigorous math because you will encounter it in economics classes (remember, a lot of economics professors majored in math in undergrad and you will see it).
    Most likely, your GPA will get dinged a couple of times (mine has more than I would've imagined) and that is FINE. Remember, Duke is one of the top schools for economics/finance in the country and world. Your instructors will AMAZE you every day and you will learn so much that goes beyond a good GPA. The connections the university has will make sure you are not out of a job, come senior spring. Many seniors I know that have GPAs toward the bottom quarter of finance people still are heading to places that our peer institutions have to work hard to get there people into.
    Should you expect lower grades, even if you work hard? Better to be pleasantly surprised then feel like crap when that final grade is uploaded. It depends on you but I would not expect perfect grades.

    POLITICAL SCIENCE! It is a fantastic department and if you love the subject, you will love the classes. I am not an expert about the department but I have many friends who are and they enjoy it. If you have any questions about it, I can speak to what I know or ask one of my friends. Remember that economics is a STEM major. Many people forget that. Which makes it VERY different from the other social sciences and humanities. It depends on what your knack is! Ok, I am officially rambling.

    To conclude, if you have any more questions, I am happy to answer them, here or in DM! Additionally, if insight into these departments is crucial to your college selection or you are incredibly implored to learn more, I am happy to speak through a more conversational medium.
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  • henry67852henry67852 4 replies0 threads New Member
    edited March 27
    Hello TheNerdyOboist!
    Hello, I am actually an economics major (concentration in finance) at Duke currently so I might be able to provide some type of insight into the major and department!

    One note before I begin: If you love both majors, do both! SOO many students double major (including myself in Econ/CS) and wouldn't have it any other way.
    I just got into Duke's class of 2024, and it looks as if you're doing exactly what I want to be doing!

    I was admitted into Pratt, but I'm thinking that I want to do a dual major in CS and Economics with a concentration in finance.

    How should I go about accomplishing this? Should I call and switch to Trinity now, before matriculation, or do you think that I could wait until after my first semester at Duke, to make sure I want to switch?

    Thanks in advance.
    edited March 27
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  • henry67852henry67852 4 replies0 threads New Member
    Also, how hard is it double majoring in CS and Economics with a concentration in finance? Is it incredibly difficult, does it take up all your days just to get an A?
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  • TheNerdyOboistTheNerdyOboist 21 replies4 threads Junior Member
    Hello @henry67852! First, welcome to the class of 2024!!

    Here is a link that will give you all the information that you need for transferring from Pratt to Trinity (it is very common) and heard the process isn't very difficult: https://pratt.duke.edu/undergrad/students/policies/3537

    It does appear you are not able to transfer until after your first semester, which sounds accurate as I don't know anyone who has done it before then. Plus, I think it could be beneficial to get a taste of Pratt before you leave it because it has some advantages. For example, while you are in Pratt, GPA does not matter as much in determining your employment in the future (you will hear this a lot starting in the fall) than doing anything in Trinity (CompSci is one //somewhat// exception but still not at the level as an engineering degree).

    The question regarding difficulty is very subject to the type of person you are. Since you got into Pratt, I would guess you are quite STEM-capable. Therefore, I would not be worried about you COMPLETELY bottoming-out when it comes to capability. The same things I said above about difficulty probably sums it up best.
    Additionally, majoring in both of them with the concentration is quite the number of classes! So, when selecting your courses for the next few semesters, keep in mind that you don't have /too/ much time to goof around (there is still some, so don't stress about this too much). Just be aware of the requirements of both so you don't find yourself having to overload and take summer sessions later. Luckily, this is one of, if not the most, common double major and the departments know that. Therefore, they have some cool new electives coming (like computational microeconomics) that count towards both the majors!

    Also, just a little note on your last question, I think that it is challenging and will definitely require a level and quantity of work that you probably have not experienced but it is doable. In my case, being pre-law, my GPA matters SO much because I am competing for admission with GPAs of humanities and non-STEM majors (their GPAs are just higher on average). So, I have to be incredibly careful about what classes I take and knowing how much I can handle. In finance recruitment, GPAs do matter but not as badly.

    I hope that was helpful and let me know if you have any more questions! Whether it be through here or DM! :smile:
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  • henry67852henry67852 4 replies0 threads New Member
    @TheNerdyOboist thank you for the response, I really appreciate it.

    Computer science and economics both have BS and BA major options, and I was wondering if you could speak to the differences between the two, and which you picked.
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  • henry67852henry67852 4 replies0 threads New Member
    Also, I'm a bit confused about how the major requirements work. Is there any potential overlap between the two (Economics and CS)? Also will a 5 on the AP Stat exam do me any good?

    Thank you for all of your help!
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