Economics

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Undergraduate FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions by Economics Undergraduates

General Questions

How can I change my major to Economics?

What do I do if I want to change from a BA to a BS or vice versa?

What is the difference between a BA and a BS Degree?

How do I declare a minor in Economics?

Does the Economics Department Offer Tutoring?

How can I make an appointment for Academic Advising?

What are my instructor’s office hours?

I am going to miss class. Who do I notify?

 

Registering for Classes

What classes should I take next semester?

What is a Degree Evaluation?

How can I run a Degree Evaluation?

How can I run a “What If Analysis”

What is the difference between a Degree Evaluation and a “What-If” Analysis?

What is the maximum number of hours I can register for without overload permission?

How can I force-add a course?

Which section of English 302 (Advanced Composition) should I take -- Business, Humanities, Natural Sciences or Social Sciences?

How can I receive credit for an economic internship?

If I fail a course and then repeat it will it still be factored into my GPA?

I got a grade of “D” in one of my courses.  Will I have to repeat it in order to graduate?

What kind of credit can I get for courses I've taken elsewhere previously?

Can I take a course outside of GMU and get credit for it while I am currently enrolled here?

I am a transfer student and a course I have taken at my previous college is not on my Degree Evaluation. How can I get this added?

Can the Foreign Language requirement be waived?

Can I get CLEP or AP credit for Econ courses?

 

Summer Courses

What is the maximum number of hours I can register for in the summer?

I am going on vacation but I still want to take a summer course. Can I work this out?

I have filed my intent to graduate in the spring but I still need three credits. Can I finish them in the summer?

 

Graduation and Beyond

How do I prepare for graduation?

Which classes should I take if I want to continue to graduate school?

 

General Questions

 

  • How can I change my major to Economics?

See the undergraduate administrative assistant to obtain a Change of Major form. This will need to be signed by the advisor from your previous major and your new major advisor. The completed form should be submitted to the registrar's office in the Student Union I Building (SUB I), first floor.

Please note that if your major is undeclared, you will need to have an advisor sign the form from Undeclared Academic Advising in SUB I, Room 3500.

Before visiting us to change your major, it is a good idea to run a What-If Analysis in PatriotWeb. This will ensure that there are no surprises when you switch your major. You can use the evaluation to help fill out the BA, BS, and Managerial Concentration advising worksheets found on the undergraduate student portion of the economics website.

 

  • What do I do if I want to change from a BA to a BS or vice versa?

See the undergraduate administrative assistant to begin the paperwork or find the Change of Major Declaration form online on the registrar's website under forms. The completed form will need to be signed by Jason Dunick (the Economics advisor) and taken to the registrar's office.

It is recommended that you run a “What-If” Degree evaluation. This will ensure that you take into consideration any changes in requirements when switching your degree focus and know any new classes you will need to take.

  • What is the difference between a BA and BS Degree?

The BA in economics is designed for students with a strong interest in the liberal arts. It is appropriate for those who prefer a less quantitative degree program than the BS in economics and may be especially appropriate for students planning to attend law school, graduate programs in business or public administration, or MA programs in International Development Economics.

The BS in economics is designed for students who desire a more technical program than the BA, one with a stronger emphasis on economic and quantitative analysis. It is especially appropriate for students who anticipate a career as an economic analyst in government, consulting, trade associations, or other private sector positions that emphasize economic research and analysis. The requirements are also appropriate for students planning postgraduate education in economics or more quantitative business administration programs. Students can pursue a general BS in economics or a BS with a concentration in managerial economics.

  • How do I declare a minor in economics?

In order to declare a minor in economics, you have to visit the undergraduate academic assistant to pick up a Declaration of Minor form or find the form on the registrar's website under forms. After this is signed, it will need to be taken to the registrar’s office in SUB I.

Please keep in mind that you will need to complete 21 credits in economics in order to receive an economics minor.  

  • Does the Economics Department offer tutoring?

Yes, the econ department does offer free tutoring for the 100-level classes. The times of economics tutoring vary between semesters. You can find the times of economics tutoring under Undergraduate Resources.

If you need paid tutoring for a higher level economics course, then you can contact the department and we can send an email out to our economics graduate listerv with your contact information.

  • How can I make an appointment for academic advising?

In order to speak with your Academic Advisor, you will need to come during walk-in hours or make an appointment.  You can make an appointment by calling the Economics Department main number at 703-993-1151, or signing up in person at our office in Enterprise Hall, Room 354. 

  • What are my instructor’s office hours?

Your instructor's office hours are on the course syllabus.  You can sometimes find them on the professor's personal website or you can email your professor to double check.

  • I am going to miss a class. Who do I notify?

You will need to notify your instructor when you are going to miss a class by emailing your instructor.

 

Registering for Classes

  • What classes should I take next semester?

To make this decision, first use the resources available to you.  Complete a Degree Evaluation on my PatriotWeb or use an advising worksheet, which you can find under Undergraduate Resources for a B.S., B.A., etc.  If you are still unsure of which classes to take, then an academic advisor is also available to guide you through the process.  Please make an appointment with an administrative assistant and have your Degree Evaluation complete at the time of the appointment. 

  • What is a Degree Evaluation?

A Degree Evaluation lists the graduation requirements that you have currently obtained.  The “Detail Requirements” option also lists which courses you may take to satisfy each requirement.  The Office of the Registrar uses this tool to check who can and cannot graduate.  For that reason, the Degree Evaluation is an extremely important tool which allows you to stay on track to graduate and advise.  Please speak with an Undergraduate Advisor if something on your Degree Evaluation does not look right. 

 

  • How can I run a Degree Evaluation?
  1. Log on Patriot Web
  2. Select "Student Services"
  3. Select "Student Records"
  4. Select "Degree Evaluation"
  5. Select a term and click "Submit"
  6. Click "Generate New Evaluation"
  7. Click the bubble to the top left of the academic program
  8. Click "Generate Request"
  9. Select "Detail Requirements"
  10. Click "Submit"

 

  • How can I run a “What If Analysis”

 

  1. Follow steps #1 - #4 above.
  2. Instead of selecting "Submit", select "What-If Analysis"
  3. Select your catalog year from the drop down menu and click "Continue"
  4. Select your major from "First Program"
  5. Click "Submit"
  6. Click "Generate Request"
  7. Select "Detail Requirements"
  8. Click "Submit"

 

  • What is the difference between a Degree Evaluation and a “What-If” Analysis?

A “What-If” Analysis is intended for students who are thinking of changing majors, changing catalog years, adding a second major, adding a concentration, or adding a minor.  It tells you what classes would be necessary for the change before you formally make any changes.  With this tool you can experiment with lots of different majors and minors without making any commitments.  In contrast, a Degree Evaluation shows you what courses are required for your current major.   It is helpful in filling out your schedule and learning what courses are left for graduation.

  • What is a “catalog year”?

 According to the University Catalog, “Catalog year refers to the setting of course and non-course requirements within academic programs as stated in the school and college section of a specific catalog.”  The catalog year determines which requirements you must satisfy in order to graduate.  The catalog year also determines which courses you may take to meet each requirement.  By default, your catalog year is the first semester in which you're enrolled in courses at Mason.  Students can choose from any catalog year in effect during their enrollment in degree status.

Sometimes you may find it advantageous to change your catalog year.  For instance, the Economics Department changed the economics electives which satisfy the Writing-Intensive requirement in Fall 2010.  If you first enrolled in classes at Mason before Fall 2010, you may find that you have already met this requirement.

Sometimes you may be required to change your catalog year.  For instance, in Fall 2010 the Economics Department introduced the concentration in Managerial Economics for students pursuing a BS in economics.  If you first enrolled in classes at Mason before Fall 2010 and you would like to declare this concentration, you must update your catalog year as this program did not exist before Fall 2010.  This may lengthen your path to graduation in unexpected ways. 

 

  • What is the maximum number of hours I can register for without overload permission?

The maximum is 18 hours during the Fall and Spring semesters. If you need to take more than 18 hours, overload permission must be requested from the office of Student Academic Affairs, 2nd floor College Hall, Room C211.

Please keep in mind that we take these credit limits seriously.  If you would like an exception to this limit, you will need to give a reason for requesting more than 18 hours and you will need to document that you can handle such a heavy courseload.  All paperwork will have to be reviewed before you are granted overload permission.

 

  • How can I force-add a course?

Contact the instructor of the course prior to the first class and request permission for them to issue you a registration override to add you into the class. You will need to give the instructor your G number in order for them to issue you an override. If you are unable to contact the instructor prior to the first day of class, attend the first class and speak with the instructor.  Tell the instructor that you are not registered, but would like to force add.  Once your course instructor has provided a registration override, it is up to you to then sign onto Patriot Web and sign up for the class.

All force-adds must be completed by the add class date. Please keep in mind that you are still responsible for all work or missed classes if you choose to add a class after the first meeting.

 

  • Which section of English 302 (Advanced Composition) should I take -- Business, Humanities, Natural Sciences or Social Sciences?

Please note that English 302 is a required undergraduate class. It is highly recommended that you take either Business (B) or Social Sciences (S), depending on your preferences. These courses will be geared toward writing that will help you in other economics courses.

You are free to take Natural Sciences (N) or Humanities (H) if there are scheduling conflicts, but this is not recommended, as these will not focus on the type of writing that you will use in your future classes.

For more information on English 302, please go to the English Website.

 

  • How can I receive credit for an economic internship?

Please see the instructor of ECON 498 in order to obtain information to enroll in the internship class. You will need to speak with the instructor to receive the CRN to register for the class.

You must find your own internship, and you will be asked to explain how the work you are doing will apply to your economic studies.

In order to receive credit, you must have a GPA of at least 2.5, junior standing, and at least 6 upper-level hours in economics.

 

  • If I fail a course and then repeat it, will it still be factored into my GPA?

As of Fall 2004, only the most recent grade of a course repeated will be factored into a student's GPA, but the failed course will still appear on your transcript.  If you pass a course and retake it to improve your GPA, please note that only the most recent grade is factored into your GPA and not the highest of the two grades.

 

  • I received a grade of “D” in one of my courses.  Will I have to repeat it in order to graduate?

It depends on the class.  In some classes, students are required to receive a minimum grade of “C” (2.0) before they can graduate.  All Mason students are required to achieve a minimum grade of “C” (2.0) in English 100/101 and in English 302.  All economics majors are required to achieve a minimum grade of “C” (2.0) in Economics 103 (Contemporary Microeconomic Principles) and in Economics 104 (Contemporary Macroeconomic Principles).  For any other course used to satisfy any other requirement for a degree in economics, any passing grade will suffice.  If you received a grade of “D” in one of these courses, you do not need to repeat the course in order to graduate.  Many students do choose to repeat these courses in order to improve their GPA, though.

 

  • What kind of credit can I get for courses I've taken elsewhere previously?

The admissions office evaluates your transcripts when you enroll -- the evaluation indicates how the courses you took translate into Mason courses. If you disagree with how admissions evaluated your courses, there is an appeal process. For the appeal you will need to obtain a transfer re-evaluation appeal request form. You will need to obtain a signature from the supporting department. For example if the disputed course is a history course, you will need a signature from the history department; if it is an economics course, you will need a signature from the economics department, etc. The form will then be submitted to the admissions office.

When appealing, please have as much information as possible on hand, including the previous course syllabus. In addition, you may wish to speak with an instructor from the course you are attempting to get credit for in order to compare the two.

If you were admitted under a Guaranteed Admission Agreement with the Virginia Community College System you have met all General Education requirements except for English 302, synthesis, and the foreign language requirement for the BA. But you still need to take either Math 108 or Math 113; and IT 103 for your Economics degree.

 

  • Can I take a course outside of GMU and get credit for it while I am currently enrolled here?

Students are discouraged from taking courses elsewhere while enrolled at Mason. If you feel it is necessary and appropriate to do so because of scheduling problems at Mason (e.g. you are returning home for the summer and cannot commute to Mason), you may be able to obtain special permission from the Undergraduate Director of Economics and the CHSS Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

Please note that this is rarely done.  It is especially rare for students to receive permission to take a course at Northern Virginia Community College.

 

  • I am a transfer student and a course I have taken at my previous college is not on my Degree Evaluation. How can I get this added?

The admission’s office is responsible for all of your transfer credits. You can always double check which classes are equivalent to your previous classes using the Transfer Equivalency tool available on the Admissions Website.

If you believe that a class was left off in error, please see the admission’s office. In order to ensure that they can add your class as easily as possible, please see an instructor and get a current course syllabus in addition to the course syllabus for your previous class. Comparing the two will be important to determining if you will receive course credit. Take this information to the admission’s office, and they will make the determination.

 

  • Can the Foreign Language requirement be waived?

If you attended 4 years of high school at an institution whose language was not English, the requirement will be waived. 

You can also test out of the requirement.  If the language you speak is offered at Mason, the Foreign Language Department will test you.  If the language is not offered at Mason, you can arrange to have someone else test you.  In all cases, see the Foreign Language Department for details.

 

  • Can I get CLEP or AP credit for Econ courses?

Yes, but only prior to attending GMU. It is not possible to receive CLEP exam credit after you are enrolled at GMU.  See the Admissions website for more details.

 

Summer Courses

 

  • What is the maximum number of hours I can register for in the summer?

During the summer session, undergraduates can take a maximum of 18 hours, but most students take no more than 12 hours.  No more than 12 hours may be taken in any one session. For hours in excess of these limits, you must request Overload permission from the Undergraduate Director of Economics and the CHSS Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

  • I am going on vacation but I still want to take a summer course. Can I work this out?

Because the summer sessions are so short, you are encouraged not to miss any class time while taking the course. However, if you would still like to take the course but will miss a few days, please consult with the instructor BEFORE registering to ensure that the instructor is aware that you may not be attending all of the classes.

Please note that you may be dissuaded from registering for the course if you cannot attend all class sessions, and you will be responsible for all associated work.

  • I have filed my intent to graduate in the spring but I still need three credits. Can I finish them in the summer?

No.  This is a common misuse of terminology that sometimes leads to unpleasant surprises for students.  The Office of the Registrar will not approve your application to graduate if you have any degree requirements outstanding, and they will not allow you to take any classes towards your degree after you do graduate.  If you intend to finish your degree requirements in the summer, you must withdraw your intent to graduate and file your intent to graduate in the summer. 

However, you are allowed to participate fully in the University Commencement and CHSS Convocation ceremonies held in May, even if you take your final three credits and graduate in the summer.  This is usually what people mean when they say that they “graduate in the spring but finish their graduation requirements in the summer”.  Due to the nature of summer courses, we cannot promise that all classes will be available.

 

Graduation and Beyond

  • How do I prepare for graduation?

 Prior to scheduling your last semester of classes, it is highly recommended that you run a degree evaluation to double check your progress, and schedule your final classes accordingly.   

At the beginning of your last semester you must log onto Patriot Web to declare your intent to graduate. You are more than welcome to visit the department to check on your status, but you will be unable to declare your intent to graduate within the Economics Department.

If you have specific questions about participating in the University Commencement ceremony, please refer to the Office of the Registrar.

 

  • Which classes should I take if I want to continue to graduate school?

Please consult the graduate student section of the economics website for the best information on what the Graduate School of Economics will be looking for. 

Also, you may want to speak with the Undergraduate Advisor and your economics instructors. Your previous instructors may have more knowledge of your interests and abilities.

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