Information for Students

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Transfer Credit For Economics Courses Taken at Other Colleges and Universities?

All petitions for transfer credit should be directed to the Registrar's office after consultation with your advisor. The Registrar's office will consult with the Economics Department as needed. The Department's guidelines are as follows:

The Department will approve Hamilton transfer credit for some but not all Economics courses taken at other institutions. You should seek pre-approval (by filling out a transfer credit petition at the Registrar's Office) before taking courses elsewhere, in order to avoid disappointment.

The Department typically does NOT approve Hamilton transfer credit for courses that are either

  • not fundamentally Economics courses, or
  • do not have sufficient prerequisites (e.g., for the equivalent of our 300 level courses, at least one Introductory Economics prerequisite), or
  • are not taught at an appropriate level of rigor, or
  • do not fit the liberal arts mission of the department.

We therefore do NOT typically approve transfer courses in Business, Management, Accounting, and Marketing. Exceptions are made for some Economics courses taught in Business programs.

As stated in the Catalogue, the Department also typically does not approve transfer credit toward the Economics major or minor for the equivalent of Econ 265, Econ 275 or Econ 285. These courses must be taken at Hamilton to count toward the major or minor. Additionally, for purposes of fulfilling the major, the Department does not classify any transferred course as "400 level or above," and so majors must take at least two qualifying 400-500 level Economics courses at Hamilton, as stated in the Catalogue.

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Can I Get Placement or Credit For My AP, A-Level, or IB Test Scores?

All petitions for academic credit should be directed to the Registrar's office who will then consult with the Economics Department as needed. The Department's guidelines are as follows:

The Department will allow entering students who have achieved a top score in the AP Microeconomics exam (score of 5), international A-Level Microeconomics exam (grade of A), or International Baccalaureate exam in Microeconomics (score of 7 plus IB diploma) to place out of Econ 101: Issues in Microeconomics, and if the student subsequently achieves a grade of B- or greater in Econ 275: Microeconomic Theory, she will then also get Hamilton course credit for Econ 101 and can apply this toward the major or minor in Economics.

Similarly, a top score on the Macroeconomics AP, A-Level, or IB exam (plus IB diploma), permits a student to place out of Econ 102: Issues in Macroeconomics, and if the student subsequently achieves a grade of B- or greater in Econ 285: Macroeconomic Theory, she will then also get Hamilton course credit for Econ 102 and can apply this toward the major or minor in Economics.

Entering students who feel that they have a strong background in economics but have not achieved a qualifying score to pursue credit toward the major as specified above should talk to their advisors about whether it would be appropriate to skip an introductory course and enroll in an intermediate level course. However, a student who places out of Econ 101 or 102 without receiving credit toward the major cannot count this course as one of the 9 required for the major.

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How Do I Fulfill the Senior Project in Economics?

Each senior major will declare a 500 level course as his or her senior project course. Students are typically asked to declare the course prior to preregistering for it, and details of the process are distributed to majors prior to advising week. Once you have declared your senior project course, the guidelines for fulfilling your senior project are set by the instructor of the course.

Students wishing to conduct original research and/or stand for Honors in Economics (see below) fulfill the senior project in Econ 560: Research Seminar, which has Econ 400: Econometrics as a prerequisite.

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What Is Required to Receive Honors in Economics at Hamilton?

To be considered for Honors in Economics, a student must take Econ 400 (Econometrics) and Econ 560 (Research Seminar) and achieve at least an 88 average in the Economics courses taken at Hamilton. In May of the senior year, the Department will then evaluate the Thesis written in the Senior Research Seminar, and award Honors based on the quality of the Thesis. Since the quality is typically high, the majority of students who are eligible for consideration have historically received Honors.

Econometrics is currently offered every Fall term, and students typically take it in the Fall of the Junior or Senior year. The Senior Research Seminar is currently offered each Spring term. Theses are submitted and evaluated at the end of the Spring term of the senior year, and Honors is determined just prior to graduation.

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How Can I Get Involved in Research in Economics?

If you are interested in doing an independent research project in your senior year and being considered for Honors (see above), you should plan to take Econometrics (Econ 400) in the Fall of your junior or senior year and the Senior Research Seminar (Econ 560) in the Spring of your senior year. There are also earlier opportunities for advanced students to do summer research with faculty members funded by the Emerson program or by the Levitt Center, or as a research assistant through Departmental funding. You should speak with your Economics professors or Economics advisor to inquire further.

Ambitious students who are interested in the possibility of being a research assistant or engaging in summer research in the Junior year, are encouraged to take Econometrics in the Fall of the Junior year. Note that the prerequisite for Econometrics is Economics Statistics (Econ 265) or Math 352.

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The Calculus Prerequisite:

Math 113 (Calculus 1) or equivalent is a prerequisite for Economics 275 (Microeconomic Theory, which is a required course for both the Economics Major and Economics Minor). Placement in the first year by the Mathematics Department into Math 114 or a higher level math course will be considered "equivalent" to having taken Math 113.

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