Should I study Economics, Political Science or Business Administration?

<p>Hello everyone. I'm a first-year undergraduate student in Greece. I am currently studying Economics.</p>

<p>I am interested in economic theory and policy (Macroeconomics, International Economics, Public Economics etc.), but I really, really dislike math. Statistics is not such a big problem for me, though I certainly do not love the subject, but I could say math is a major problem for me. Before graduating from high-school, even though I did not like math, I paid attention in the class in order to do well on the final exams, and I did. It's not a matter of ability, it's a matter of personal interest. I find math incredibly boring and I have a hard time listening to the lectures in order to prepare myself for the finals of the semester.</p>

<p>That said, I should say that my program is pretty math-intensive (<a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;), so I'm not really sure if I could get a decent GPA should I not change my subject of study, since I've heard that especially the two Microeconomics courses are also math-intensive, and some other courses are not so easy when it comes to math as well.</p>

<p>If I do decide to study something else, based on my personal preferences there are two (more) options, as stated in the title. </p>

<p>The first one is Political Science.
I was always very interested in the social sciences. Political Science seems a pretty good fit for me since I am interested in politics, international affairs, history, law... There is a possibility that I would not adore courses such as "Social Theory" that are part of some local Political Science programs, since it could get too philosophical (= too much reading). Although I should say that I would be interested in philosophy as well, just not too many courses because if I'm going for a social science degree, I may as well not make it entirely impractical.</p>

<p>I believe that, studying Political Science, I could be satisfied with the education I'll gather, and, since the subject would be interesting to me, I'll be able to graduate with a good GPA. That's what I like to believe.</p>

<p>I would consider History as a field of study, but I'd like it to be just a tad more practical, that's why I would probably go with a "Political Science & History" program instead. </p>

<p>My second choice would be Business Administration.
It just seems like a pretty smart decision, since it's pretty practical for a wide range of jobs in the business sector. Since the local programs offer specializations in the Business Administration programs, I should say that I would probably specialize in Business Management. Information Systems, Accounting and Finance would just not interest me, and I'm really not crazy about Marketing either (though I cannot say I would not think about it also).</p>

<p>Since such a program is not really math-heavy, there are one math and one statistics courses and I think they are really easier in comparison to the same courses in economics, I believe I would not have a hard time graduating with a decent GPA. However, the prospect of spending 4 years to obtain such a pre-professional degree, and not broaden my intellectual horizons does not really excite me. Although, as I mentioned before, Business Administration prepares you for a wide variety of jobs in the business world, I think that it somewhat limits you when it comes to other options such as an academic career, the public sector, international organizations etc. </p>

<p>I should probably say that I can see myself working in the private sector, in a business. I'm just not sure I should spend my undergraduate education in an applicable, but not socially-oriented degree. If I do study Political Science or I graduate with an Economics degree, chances are I'd go for an MBA. It's just that I can't be sure about that, and I may feel like I'd limit myself if I go on to study Business Administration.</p>

<p>To sum up:</p>

<p>1) Stay in economics. Math could hurt my GPA, and I'm pretty certain I wouldn't go on for graduate studies in the same field, since it gets too mathematical (that's also a bit worrying, knowing that even if I get my degree I won't do something closely related to my field of study), but it's interesting and I'm studying a (kind of practical) social science.</p>

<p>2) Go for political science. I believe I would do well in my courses and it would interest me. The only downside would be about the field's application after my graduation. I still think improving my communication skills and broadening by educational background is very important though.</p>

<p>3) Go for business administration. It's a degree that businesses like, I could specialize in the sub-field that I would find most interesting and I would not have a really hard time with the relevant courses. But that would mean I wouldn't be investing in an academic education, and I would limit my options to the business sector (thankfully it's a wide sector, but it's still one sector).</p>

<p>Thank you very much for your time. :)</p>

<p>Hello again.</p>

<p>After giving my options a lot of thought, I have decided I will not be studying political science. One reason would be the field’s application after graduation, since the only related field of work that would interest me is International Relations, and that sector is also reachable with economics, not to mention that it’s a pretty competitive field.</p>

<p>So, the choice comes down to a dilemma: Economics or Business Administration.</p>

<p>I will be transferring to another University if I decide to do economics, which economics program is broader, less math-intensive. Kind of like a BA Economics, while the program I’m currently at is a BS Economics.</p>

<p>So, two choices: </p>

<p>1) Go for BA Economics. Math will be a bit harder that studying Business Administration, but I will be studying a broader subject, a social science, and I will be able to select elective courses related to Business Management, Accounting, Finance etc.</p>

<p>2) Go for Business Administration. It will also have like 3 somewhat math-intensive courses, which is not a lot obviously, and it is a few courses less than the BA Economics. I will be taking very practical courses and I would choose between the sector I would find most interesting. </p>

<p>In the first case, chances are I would go on for an MBA.</p>

<p>In the second case, chances are I would go on for a Master’s degree in a more specific sector of business, since I would already have gotten the general business training provided from an undergraduate Business Administration program.</p>

<p>What do you guys think?</p>

<p>Finally made a choice that I will not be studying Business Administration. I will probably go for a BA Economics so that I can be studying a social science (which will probably be useful if I decide later to do something related to Political Science, International Relations, Sociology etc.), and, if I do decide to select many business-related electives, I will do so and I could go on later to obtain an MBA.</p>

<p>If there are any views that would suggest otherwise (for example to study another social science and not economics, since I do not enjoy math, or to study business administration since I’m thinking of a career in business as a possibility), you are more than welcome to share them. </p>

<p>Thank you.</p>

Guys, if you could ignore the choices I supposedly made and offer me some views, that would be extremely helpful in my case.

The only decision I made, which I am 100% certain of, is that I will not continue to be in the BS Economics program I am currently at.

I am still trying to decide between BA Economics and BA Political Science. I have not completely ruled out Business Administration yet, though it is my current point of view that if I want to obtain such a pre-professional degree, it would probably be best to obtain an MBA after my undergraduate studies.

Given the information I provided about myself and my preferences, what would you suggest? Is economics a bad choice if I do not like math? Is political science (possibly with international relations elective courses) a bad choice if I don’t do something related, and I search for a job in the business sector after my graduation?

The math classes in your econ degree seem to be primarily basic calculus, linear algebra, and principles of statistics and probability. AS far as I can tell from reviewing the required classes, there doesn’t seem to be any heavy advanced mathematics. (That second “mathematics for economists” class does seem to have principles of optimization, but it can’t be that math intensive since they only really require one semester of calculus.)

I have to say that I am pretty biased towards traditional liberal arts & sciences majors (which include natural and physical sciences), so my opinion is colored by that. I’m also a quantitative social scientist, and I think math and statistics are very important for understanding social science in a nuanced way (although at the undergraduate level you don’t need a lot of advanced math, and the applied statistics you’ll need is quite different from theoretical math). You can always learn business on the job or get an MBA later, but I tend to think that traditional liberal arts & sciences majors give you a nice broad education upon which you can build professional knowledge in many fields. So my bias would be towards economics, political science, or history.

Political science can be very useful after college - whether you stay in the field (and do political science and analysis in a vast variety of organizations of all types) or leave it (and decide to go into entry-level corporate or business positions or go into another field entirely). Economics is also very useful post-college. Both majors require some level of math and statistics, though - political science requires less, so if you’re okay with taking some but not as much as economics, then that might be a good choice. But if you did want to go to graduate school…political science graduate programs can be very quantitative, and most will demand at least an intermediate level of performance in applied statistics. Math is important!


Probably. It depends on how much math you can stomach, and whether you can do well in the math classes you’d be required to take. But if you really don’t like math I would pick something else.

Nope! First of all, you can take some business classes if you want to. And second of all, people go into business with all kinds of undergrad majors - you don’t have to major in business. You just need skills and some internship experience. However, one of the valued skills is math & statistics ability…

Thank you very much for your answer, juillet!

I agree with your statement concerning business programs. I have read articles on this particular subject, like this one (, and I believe that, if one is interested either in the sciences or in the liberal arts, he/she should study what he/she is most interested in. Business could be a fallback option if one is not interested in any academic program.

I believe the program I cited, even if it is not math-intensive compared to what someone else faced while studying (maybe you fall into this category) it is math-intensive compared to courses with the same material in other local institutions.

I will consider whether I am able to handle the math in an economics program and if I am more interested in the field than I am interested in political science. So, I will probably have to choose between these two subjects. I see you mentioned history. It is an interesting area of study, but I do not really want to deepen my knowledge in this particular subject. Instead, I prefer to study something related to politics, economics (or, at least, political economy, if I do not want to focus in the field), international affairs etc.

I would also have to ask your opinion about sociology. It also seems interesting, and related to political science, but it seems too general to me. Sociology studies society, while other social sciences study aspects and fields of society, so what is the point of having a social science for every social matter when there are other social sciences which specialize in certain sectors? Is sociology more related to psychology (since it does study social behavior) than to political science? I have read a lot of articles on that issue, but I do not seem to really understand the demarcation line between the social sciences.

Thank you in advance!

It’s difficult to tell the demarcation line between the social sciences before having taken any classes in them. The other thing is that the “line” begins to blur a lot at higher levels of inquiry.

Basically, sociology is the study of social behavior, mostly how people behave when in groups. Classic sociological areas are social stratification (how people stratify and rank themselves) and social class (how class divisions - and race, and gender, and religion, etc. - affect how people interact with each other). Psychology is the study of the mind, brain, and behavior, so yes - at the area of social psychology there is some overlap with sociology (there is even an area of sociology called social psychology, although it is quite different from psychological social psychology). But psychologists study things other than social behavior - they also study perception, sensation, cognition, emotions, moral development, the interaction between body and brain, and other areas. Political science is more generally the study of government systems and political behavior. So political science can overlap with sociology (and with psychology) when studying the social underpinnings of political behavior, or how political behavior affects individuals and the way they think, act, and feel. But political scientists also study comparative government, and public administration, and governance, and common law, and bunch of things that sociologists and psychologists don’t really study.

Also, the methods that we all use are somewhat different - although there’s overlap there, too. Psychologists are more likely to use experimental methods in laboratories and survey-based research in communities. Sociologists do use survey-based research a lot, but they are also more likely than the other two to use qualitative methods like ethnography or interviews. Political science is pretty quantitative; they use large-scale surveys, but some political scientists are beginning to use experiments, and I’m sure some political scientists use interviews too.

Sociology is super interesting - it was what my major was before I changed it to psychology. Most social sciences (and liberal arts majors in general) are quite general; that’s the point - you’re supposed to get a very broad base of education in undergrad. Biology and chemistry are general, too. If you are interested in how the social structure affects people’s every day behavior - then sociology is for you. I switched majors because I wanted a more quantitative, structured field of inquiry that still studied people, and psychology was it.

Any of the social sciences can be related to politics or international affairs, if you make it. Political science is the obvious one, but some psychologists study political behavior and some sociologists study that, too, and how politics and government affect people. Sociologists also study social movements, which overlaps a lot with politics.

Thanks again!

From what I understand, sociology overlaps more with psychology and philosophy than political science does. It analyses society and all types of social relations. I do know that one does not have to obtain a degree in something in order to work in that particular thing, and studies can be entirely independent from fields of work. However, aside from a career in academia, what other choices are there for someone who majored in sociology, in terms of career options directly related to the subject?

Totally depends on what branches we’re talking about, and what kinds of studies. I would say that sociology, psychology, and political science all have more in common with each other than philosophy. All three social sciences, of course, draw from philosophy - since that is the mother of the sciences.

You could do anything. The thing that comes most immediately to mind is working as a BA-level analyst at a firm/organization that does social science research and analysis. That could be a government agency, non-governmental organization (NGO), a non-profit, a think tank, or some other kind of company. There are also lots of jobs within the social services field that you could do with a BA in sociology. Some of those are indirect service provision (like rehabilitation counselors and case workers/managers) and some of them are more peripheral (like administrators within social work/service kinds of places).

Lots of jobs in the government also use sociological education, like foreign service officers, affirmative action officers, equal opportunity commission workers, and legislative aides. Criminology is a subfield of sociology and a lot of sociology is concerned with deviance, and so there are lots of jobs in the criminal justice sector - law enforcement, probation officer, corrections officer, etc. Some sociologists do community services work like coordinating youth programs like Big Brothers Big Sisters, or running group homes and halfway houses for teenagers, or running community service organizations like access programs for disadvantaged high school students or senior centers.

[Careers for Sociology Majors](
Are They Doing with a BA in Sociology?]( (scroll down about 2/3 of the way down the page
Can You Do with a College Major in Sociology?](

I have ruled out the possibility of studying Business Administration entirely. I am certain that I will study a social science. I can’t decide on which to study, though. I’m torn between Political Science, Economics and now I’m also thinking about Sociology, even though the latter is the one I try to rule out to make it a dilemma, so it would be easier.

Philosophy seems interesting as well, but I believe I am not going to study it in the undergraduate level, at least. Maybe sometime in the future.

So, how do you think I should make the choice?

Hooray! (I am, of course, super biased - as a social scientist myself.)

Presumably you are in the second semester of your freshman year. The best way to to decide is to take a course in each subject and see which one really gets you going. That’s how I decided on my major - I ultimately decided between political science, sociology, and psychology. All the political science classes in my college’s course catalog looked kind of boring, so I nixed that. I took Sociology for Majors first semester freshman year, and I liked the subject matter, but there was something missing - I wanted something more experimental and grounded in the scientific method. So I took Psychology for Majors I and fell in love, and declared that my major.

So take a class in political science and a class in economics and see which one you like better!

As a side note, it’s difficult to choose to study something in the future unless you study it now - or unless you become independently wealthy and can pay for a second bachelor’s degree or just want to take non-degree classes. If philosophy is just interesting to you you could always just take a couple of philosophy classes as electives. If you think you might want to study philosophy at the grad level, though, you need to major in it at the undergrad level (or at least take enough classes that it’s basically the equivalent of a major).

Thank you very much juillet, that’s what I’ll do.

I don’t believe I’ll be choosing sociology, but I may have to actually take a course in it in order to know for sure. The only course I have ever taken was in high school and I did not love the subject (nor did I hate it, of course). I found it too theoretical, since it dealt with socialization, social control, family relations, and issues such as “Why is education important?” which I like to consider facts, and not analyse beyond my desires. Are such issues the core of the study of sociology?

On the other hand, I found the “Politics & Law” course I took in high school to be far more interesting for my interests, since it dealt with political systems, public law, international relations and community etc.

The economics course I have only taken is microeconomics, which I did not love (I believe macroeconomics, which I will be taking this semester, will interest me more, but we’ll see), but it was fine, I did not get bored by it either.

I believe I am generally more of a practical type of person, and I do not love analysing too much. But maybe university courses are more specific and maybe I’ll find them more interesting.

Any more views are gladly accepted. :smile:

In short, yes. If you don’t like to deal with the theoretical, abstract questions about how we function as a society, then you won’t like sociology at all. (No shame in that. That’s why I transferred out of a sociology major myself.)

I will say that there is/can be a heavy theoretical element of political science, too, though. It depends on the orientation of your department. Some political scientists (and economists) are theorists, and some are applied scientists. You will have to learn a bit of both in any good BA program, but on average I would say they are probably less theoretical than sociology in the traditional sense. Still in political science you might discuss more philosophical political issues and read the works of early political scientists like Rousseau, Hobbes, Diderot, de Tocqueville - and depending on how theoretical the department is, you might even find yourself reading medieval (like Machiavelli) and even ancient (like Aristotle and Plato) works on politics. I think The Republic is a popular historical political reading (by Plato, written in 380 BC).

Economists will probably read the theoretical work of Adam Smith (The Wealth of Nations) and might follow up with the theoretical work of Thomas Malthus, John Stuart Mill, and (depending on the orientation of the department - ha!) Karl Marx, John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman.

That really depends on your department and your professors though!

And oh…both political science and economics will include a LOT of analysis. Analysis is the core of the modern social sciences (and all sciences, really). What you will be analyzing is really the question. But realize that college-level analysis is interpreted in a broader way - “analysis” doesn’t always mean “reading dry texts and talking in circles about what they mean.”

Thanks again, juillet!!

So, sociology is out of the picture as I find it too theoretical.

I have one last question… If I decide to study economics, I will be able to stay in my city, which is Athens (that was already obvious by the link I posted on my first post, so why not mention it? :smile: ), to study at the University of Athens. As you may or may not know, it is the capital city of Greece, and the largest one by far, which does have its advantages, not only in terms of general choices but also in terms of social events and lectures which could be advantageous for a student.

If I decide to study political science, I may have to move to a significantly smaller city to study. I do not imagine that I would have a bad time there, however, I certainly would have much limited choices in comparison with living in the city I currently live. Also, the University of Athens might be more recognized, especially for universities in other countries, than the University of Crete (that is the one I might study Political Science at).

Of course, I do not expect anyone to make the decision for me, that would not be reasonable. :stuckouttongue:
However, given my situation (in short: interested in international relations, politics in general, law, political economy, current slight preference on political science rather than economics but liking both programs, dislike math, am afraid it could hurt my GPA - on the other hand, economics seems to be broader in the sense that it does not only deal with politics, but can be useful for other sectors as well), would you say that, if I want to do something related to international relations or something similar in the future, maybe political science would be the way to go? Or do the two social sciences have much in common and my choice would not matter too much?

In short, it pretty much is city and university name (I think, maybe the latter does not really matter) vs current academic preference (of course I am interested in economics too, otherwise I would not even be thinking to study it).

When I do decide on that, I will have no more questions. Thank you very much for your time! :smile:

If you want to go into IR, then your choice won’t matter that much - either is a good major.

But if you don’t like math and you don’t do well in it, political science might be a better choice than economics, although both majors do involve quite a bit of math/statistics.

I have heard before the opinion you stated, that both political science and economics being good majors for one who would be interested in IR, which does make sense.

Maybe, since economics is more mathematical, I have to find out whether I can choose the subject without failing math classes. :stuckouttongue: Especially if I consider continuing with the subject that I’ll choose for now, in the graduate level. Therefore, I will choose some classes in order to know for sure.

Thank you very much for your help, juillet!! :smile:

Extra opinions will be very welcome, of course. :smile:

If I wish to get an MA in Global/International Political Economy, would both Political Science and Economics degrees be equally relevant and sufficient for a pretty standard program of this subject?