Using Your Degree
One of the most common questions asked of us by undergraduates is "what can I do with an undergraduate degree in economics?". Or students sometimes say "I would love to major in economics, but I am not certain it provides the best training for employment". Well, it turns out that a bachelor’s degree in economics is one of the most valuable undergraduate degrees available. Yes, an economics major can be demanding, but the potential rewards substantial. The following article supports this claim by presenting both the opportunities available to majors in economics and the salaries received by economics majors relative to other majors. For those of you considering furthering your education outside of economics, such as in law or even medicine, the evidence is just as strong supporting the value of an undergraduate economics major. The Department encourages you to consider the evidence – we are confident you will become a believer in the value of an econ degree. To entice you to read further, click on either of the two tables comparing mid-career salaries of econ majors vs. other social science and business majors. Yes, you are reading the tables correctly – the average mid-career salary of an economics major is higher than any other social science or business major.
Transferable Skill Set
- Problem Solving/Critical thinking skills
Graduate School options
- Law School
- Medical School
- Masters of Business Administration
- Public Administration
- Public Policy
Statements of recent graduates
These stories not only personalize the value of an economics degree, but also demonstrate the versatility of an economics major.
Studying Economics at USF has been the most strategic decision in reaching my career
goals. The strong quantitative background through this course of study made me a competitive
candidate for Public Policy and International Affairs graduate programs. I have been
accepted to Columbia University, Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University,
Tufts University and American University. However, I have accepted a full ride at
the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government to pursue a Master in Public Policy
While at USF, I also double-majored in International Studies and minored in Mandarin, Chinese. Through these three fields of study, I was able to create a unique profile that made competitive for the three other national scholarships I was awarded: Boren Scholarship, Gilman Scholarship, and the Critical Language Scholarship program. These State Department scholarships funded three study abroad programs in China, where I was able to conduct an independent study, take formal mandarin language classes at Qingdao University and Soochow University, and volunteer teaching English.
I have also been awarded a Pickering Undergraduate Fellowship in Foreign Affairs. Through this program, I will be interning in Washington, D.C. this summer at the State Department. More specifically, I will be at the Bureau of East Asian & Pacific Affairs, Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs. My work this summer will focus on the Strategic & Economic Dialogue between China and the U.S., an event hosted bi-annually in Washington, D.C.. Next year, I will be able to select any embassy or consulate in the world and intern there for the summer.
It was the economics curriculum, especially classes on Environmental Economics, International Economics, Radical Political Economy and Labor Economics that has aided me in finding my career trajectory. Although leaving USF will be bittersweet, I am excited to join a group of global citizens and public servants.”
The main reason I chose to major in Econ was really the recession. Around the same
time I started my undergrad the recession occurred and my mother got laid-off. This
really spurred my interest and made me want to get a better understanding of the economy,
which made me take my first macro class and I was hooked. After getting more in-depth
in the subject and taking Dr. Thomas’s course “Econ of Business Strategy” I knew that
was the route I wanted to pursue after graduation; I felt it was a plausible direction
to go to begin a career.
I was extremely fortunate after graduation and received two job offers (both related to econ) within one month of graduation. I accepted a position at PODS Enterprises in Clearwater, FL as a Demand Planner which is exactly the type of work I wanted to do (Pricing/Analysis). I want to continue my education at USF, so I am studying for the GRE exam and will be applying for the MA of Econ program. I had such a great experience at USF with all of my econ professors and classmates, I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else. I also am extremely grateful to USF for giving me the opportunity to be the first one in my family to graduate. I owe a great deal to USF and am very proud to be a bull!
As for advice, I would just say try your hardest to get an internship, regardless if it is compensated or not. The real world experience you will gain is far more valuable the any dollars you would make, it is also a top priority for employers. I think my internship experience really made me stand out while applying to jobs.
Thank you again for the amazing opportunity and I am extremely grateful!
I was one of the fortunate ones to obtain employment immediately after completing my degree. As I'm sure you know, it is an extremely tough job market out there. Throughout my last semester, my spare time was spent searching and applying for jobs. It helps to get ahead of the competition.
I joined the DeltaTrends team in August as a Data Analyst and I am enjoying putting my knowledge and skills to work. DeltaTrends is an HR consulting firm that specializes in the automotive retail industry. We basically send out surveys to our clients and measure the engagement of their employees. The results are compared to their profit margins, employee compensation, retention and turnover data, etc. We provide in-depth reports to our clients explaining the measurements, why they are so important and how they can improve the efficiency of their business. We are also strategic partners with N.A.D.A. (National Automobile Dealers Association) and provide reports and statistics to all of their members. My first major project was actually computing and interpreting all statistics for the N.A.D.A. Workforce Study National Industry Report.
Studying economics helped me in regards to my analytic skills. It equipped me with
the passion to question every variable, with my job and life in general. During interviews,
I was able shine through intellectual conversation because of my knowledge of economics.
Business and Econ Stats is one of the classes I find myself thinking back to the most
due to the amount of statistical models and terminology involved with my job.
U.S.F. Department of Economics is all around amazing. I am truly grateful for my time there and the knowledge I gained is invaluable. I enjoyed all of my econ classes, particularly Intermediate Macro with Dr. Wilde and International Econ with Dr. Herander. I would eventually like to go back to school for my Masters in economics, and U.S.F. is at the top of my list.
I chose Economics as a major early in my time at USF as it seemed to be a valuable business tool. As I learned more, and took higher level classes, it became apparent to me that Economics is much larger than its business applications. Economics has provided to me the best lens through which I can view the world. Humanity, for me, boils down to the decisions we make. Economics allows us to study how humans interact with scarcity in our world. It provides a logical framework through which we can study almost all human decision making. These revelations through my time at USF lead me to want to share my love of Economics with others. I wanted to show the world the other side of the Dismal Science.
After graduating, I set out to complete my certification requirements for teaching in Florida. I am now in my second year of teaching AP Micro and Macro to about 140 seniors at Steinbrenner High School in Lutz. I love teaching my chosen major! I feel that I am one of the luckiest Econ majors, as I get paid to talk about what I regularly talk about for fun. My future career goals include becoming a reader (scorer) for the AP Micro and Macro exams. I feel I will best be able to provide for my students with that unique perspective on the test.
My best advice for current students is two parts. First, focus on graphing. Your graph tells the story, make it a good one. Use a straightedge. Second, be well rounded. Know as much about as much as possible. Economics is limited to and by nothing. The more you know about your world, the more informed your insights will be.
Putting the Economics Degree to Use
After several years of hard work and determination, it is with great pleasure that I can now invite you to visit a "Bull-Owned Business”. Crumb & Cork, located at 501 N Franklin Street is joining the downtown roster of lunch and evening entertainment spots, and will add flair to the scene with our Wine-Cheese-Jazz experience.
I couldn't have done this without the inspiration and technical skills gleaned from my time at USF. It's exciting to be launching a new business, and is a great source of pride when I reflect on my years at the University.
A college education is something that no one can ever, ever take away from you, USF graduate. You'll smile every time you look at that diploma on the wall in your office or your residence, and you'll always remember the friendships, faculty and sense of awakening that is so inexplicably joined to the degree. It is not just a piece of paper, but rather the sum of at least 4 years of academic accomplishment, and an important tool in your life's hardware kit. Be proud of the fact that you had--and seized--the opportunity to embark and finish this journey.
Here is some advice for newly minted grads and those still working toward graduation:
- Give the people what they want. Period. In the real world, you're not selling "widgets"--people want products they perceive to add value to their lives. All the better if you can design something that folks want every day instead of not-so-often. We found a lot of people complaining about the lack of variety in Central Florida when it came to the assortment of on-premise wine businesses in the area.
- Travel is the best education--all students should take advantage of the opportunity to Study Abroad.
- Don't over-borrow--loans have to be paid back, and while deferments are available, they only postpone the inevitable
- Career Services
- Being an economist: A handbook for students interested in economics
- Learn more about what you can do with an Economics degree
- Apply to USF