Economics Department

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the economics major, students will have demonstrated a command of basic analytical techniques from the field, the ability to explain economic phenomena and evaluate economic policy alternatives, and the ability to complete and present a sustained research project. Majors will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate command of microeconomics and macroeconomic theory, including the ability to identify and apply basic economic principles. The junior qualifying exam verifies students' ability to apply basic principles of microeconomics and macroeconomics in preparation for performing research for the senior thesis. 
  2. Execute and defend a significant independent research project:
    • Articulate a research question
    • Articulate and develop an appropriate methodology
    • Review relevant scholarly work (“literature review”) and locate a research topic in relation to the broader discipline
    • Collect, analyze, interpret and properly present data
    • Assess the limitations of an argument
    • Develop new knowledge, whether through exposition, synthesis or an innovative argument, that contributes to a subfield in economics
    • Independently investigate the topic with the support of an advisor
    • Respond appropriately to feedback 
  3. Communicate work done
    • Write a clear and coherent document that is substantially longer than a traditional term paper or project and formatted in a style appropriate to the field
    • Orally discuss, defend and evaluate work done

The primary assessment tool for learning in the major at Reed and the level of student achievement in the major area is the senior thesis; the junior qualifying examination, which assesses a student's readiness for thesis, provides a second assessment tool. See more information on the Thesis and the Junior Qualifying Exam.