Economics or Business Economics, which is the better major?

At my college we have both an Economics and Business Economics major. However both of them aren’t in the business school at my college, they are both in the liberal arts school. And looking at what you need to graduate, they both require very similar courses. Economics requires 37 credits, and Business Economics requires 40 units. And this difference is because Business Economics requires 1 Financial Accounting class while Economics does not. Other than that everything else is identical except for one other class that’s different between them.

Which should I major in? Which will give me more job opportunities after I graduate?

Won’t make a difference. If you want to go into finance/business, I’d take an accounting course if you are a straight Econ major. What will make a difference are your grades and how hard you hustle to get internships starting the summer of your sophomore year or earlier.


Look at the required coursework for both paths and see which is more interesting to you.

1 Like

What is “the one other class that is different between them” ?

If it is only a one-course difference, why not take it. You may find the course interesting.

1 Like

I did, both require nearly identical coursework. With the exception of a financial accounting class for Bus Econ. And the other different class would be a business class elective instead of an econ class elective.

Given the minimal differences, you can major in either and:

  • Take the financial accounting course.
  • Take both of the courses where the two majors differ.

Then you will have covered both majors, regardless of which one is listed on your diploma.

Also, consider a financial economics course and a sociology of work course if you want to learn more about business-related topics.

1 Like

That’s not really what I’m asking. I’m deciding which is better to major in, business econ or econ

What @BKSquared said: neither. Nobody in the world worries as much about the names of majors as students do. Your grades and internships will matter most.

1 Like

If I do that then I would be able to double major since I would have competed all the requirements for both majors. I feel like I’m not allowed to right? Sounds to good to be true to be able to receive two degrees so easily. But then again, is there really any benefit if I receive two degrees in something so similar?

Colleges commonly do not allow double major if the majors have too much overlap.

1 Like

If grades matter more then should I just major in Econ then since it doesn’t require an extra financial accounting class? I heard this course at my college is pretty difficult. But is accounting something I need to know for in the future anyways, just in case my job requires some sort of accounting knowledge? Because there are no accounting courses required in the Econ major for my school.

It is one accounting class. It will not, in itself, qualify you for anything. Go back to first principles:

*what year are you, and when do you have to declare your major? If you are in your first year (or heaven help us, still in HS): don’t try to figure this out now! The majors are so similar, it is likely that you don’t have to declare until 2nd semester of 2nd year (and you may be able to change it right up to the end of 3rd year, just by taking that class, depending on your school’s policies). Give yourself time to take more classes, so that you can learn more about the field and what parts you prefer, which leads to:

  • why are you studying econ / bus econ in the first place? where do you want to go with it? what kinds of jobs do you envision looking for? ? do you understand the differences between economics and accounting? If you really don’t have a firm idea yet of what you want to do with an econ degree - you ‘just know’ that econ is good for jobs (which is fair, esp if you are in 1st year!), then your real priority is learning more about the different directions you can go- and figuring out which one(s) you are interested in.

Editing to add that double major ≠ double degree. As @ucbalumnus said, it is unlikely that they would qualify as a double major.


I’m in my 2nd year of college so I need to declare my major soon(already took macro/micro econ and the other prereqs for the major). I’m so confused now as which one to pick since they are so similar in what courses are required at my school. Honestly I still don’t know for certain what job I want, just any cooperate job will do for me. So I want to pick the major that will lead to the most job prospects.

Stop by the career center at your school and ask them whether they see any meaningful difference in students’ prospects, between these majors.

I think they’ll probably tell you that it’s the skill sets that matter, not the name of the major. But they’re the ones who see outcomes unfold at your school, and giving you solid advice in the context of your particular school is what they are there for.


I’m doing online this semester, so I can’t go to the career center.

Why don’t you call the career center then?


Take the financial accounting course as any business degree should include this basic, introductory–but difficult–accounting course.


It isn’t a good idea to avoid a basic financial accounting course, whether you choose to major in econ or business econ. Without knowing more than what you have posted, I think it might be better for you to major in business econ if your intend to get a job immediately after graduation, because it may make you stand out a bit more among so many econ majors.

1 Like

“Stop by” was not the phrase to focus on. I’m sure there are ways to access the career center’s advice remotely.

In terms of employment prospects, what employers will care most about will be qualities like initiative and problem-solving, far more than the name of your major. If your reflexive reaction to a suggested way to optimize your career prospects is an excuse for inaction, that’s something you should take a hard look at, as it could ultimately be a lot more limiting than choosing the second-best major.

Of course, feel free to disregard advice that’s offered by strangers in an online forum. It might just be better to keep your reasons to yourself, and cultivate the habit of not parrying with excuses that don’t necessarily cast you in the best possible light.