Economics Online

UMass Economics offers several on line courses each fall, winter, spring and summer for UMass degree and non-degree seeking students. These classes are administered by the UMass Continuing and Professional Education Office (CPE). These courses serve a variety of students including UMass commuters, UMass students who live away from Amherst each winter and summer and want to take extra courses outside of fall and spring semesters, UMass degree-seeking Seniors trying to finish up only a few remaining courses and credits away from Amherst, UMass students who want to take an on line version of a UMass course along with their other face to face courses in a given semester, students taking non-degree Economics classes for personal interest or professional development, or non-degree UMass students who attend another college or university full time. Note: UMass degree-seeking students who take online CPE Economics courses in fall and spring semesters are subject to additional CPE course fees above and beyond standard tuition for the fall and spring. Contact the UMass Continuing and Professional Education Office for details and visit their website to learn about course fees and billing, financial aid and how to enroll in these courses.

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Click here for 2019 Winter and Spring Offerings


Online Economics Course Catalog (not all classes offered every semester; largest course offering during summer sessions):

ECON 103 - Introduction to Microeconomics
Introduction to the economics of markets and market economies. Basic concepts of demand, supply, production, prices, allocation of resources, and distribution of income. Public policy applications. (Gen.Ed. SB)

ECON 104 - Introduction to Macroeconomics
Economic theory of the macro-economy. Determinants of unemployment rates, inflation rates, national income, GDP. Tools of public policy available which can be used to promote macroeconomic goals. (Gen.Ed. SB)

ECON 105 - Introduction to Political Economy
Introduction to economic analysis for majors and nonmajors. Facts and concepts basic to understanding the U.S. economy today. Topics may include: unemployment, economic development, inequality, technology, social wealth, environment, government economic policy, economic alternatives, race and gender, and discrimination. Contrasting theoretical perspectives. (Gen.Ed. SB, U)

ECON 203 - Intermediate Microeconomic Theory
Consumer behavior, theory of the firm, markets, income distribution, general equilibrium, welfare economics. 

ECON 204: Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory
Analysis of theories of determination of national income, aggregate employment, and the price level. Monetary and fiscal policy. Inflation, unemployment, and economic growth. 

ECON 305 - Marxian Economics
Introduction to Marxian theory and modern political economy. Logic and methods of Marxian analysis of economic change; comparisons between Marxian and non-Marxian theories. 

ECON 308 - Political Economy of the Environment
Graduate student Anders Fremstad in consultation with Professor James Boyce developed this course. This course examines the political economy of the environment. It addresses environmental protection and environmental degradation, including both pollution and natural resource depletion. In addition to the neoclassical economic question of how scarce resources are allocated among competing ends, this course explores the political economy question of how resources are allocated among competing individuals, groups, and classes.

ECON 311 - Money and Banking
The nature and functions of money and the significance of monetary circulation, commercial banks, the Central Bank, the non-bank financial institutional structure; integration of monetary theory into a general theory of economic activity, employment, prices. Prerequisites: ECON 103 or RES-ECON 102, ECON 104 and ECON 204. 

ECON 362 - American Economic History
Economic development in the U.S. from colonial era to present. America as a raw materials producer, an agrarian society, and an industrial nation. Possible topics: development of economic systems, demographic trends, industrialization, regional development, growth of large-scale enterprise and organized labor, changing role of government. (Gen.Ed. HS)

ECON 365 - Writing in Economics
Economics 365 is the Economics Department's Junior Year Writing Course.  Theoretically, students who take it are juniors, but some are seniors who still need the course in order to graduate. The course consists of a great deal of writing, at various levels of formality.  The instructor will post assignments, students will write essays and other exercises and send them to the instructor, and the instructor will read and comment on these and send them back to the authors.  

ECON 366 - Economic Development
Theories of economic growth applied to Third World countries. Classical and Neoclassical economic theories and structural/historical theories. Topics such as the role of foreign investment and multinational corporations, strategies of industrialization and employment creation, and rural development.

ECON 371 - Comparative Economic Systems
Evaluation and comparison of the structure and performance of alternative economic systems. Topics include: mechanisms of resource allocation and pricing, institutions of government policy, organization of work and labor relations, international trade and finance, and income distribution. Prerequisite: ECON 103 or RESECON 102. 

ECON 397GR - The Great Recession: 2008-?
The US economy entered its most serious post-war recession in 2007. Five years later, unemployment remains high with nearly 7 million fewer jobs than when the recession began. Its magnitude and duration make this great recession a problem for economic policy and theory. In contrast with the failed policies of the Federal Reserve and Hoover Administration in the early 1930s, the Bernanke Federal Reserve and the Obama Administration have conducted aggressive monetary and fiscal policy which stanched the bleeding and stopped the collapse before reaching the dimensions of the Great Depression of the 1930s, without promoting a sustained recovery. We will discuss the appropriate economic policy for the United States and its major trading partners and consider the implications of the Great Recession for our understanding of macroeconomic theory. 

ECON 397CP - Law and Economics: Critical and Historical Perspective
(Replaces ECON 397LE)

Most classes that go under the name "law and economics" use the analytical tools of neoclassical economics and apply them to legal reasoning. The particular concept of "efficiency" as deployed by neoclassical economics is, under this approach, not subject to critique. We will not here follow this approach. We instead formulate such a critique. Among the questions we will ask are: what, if any, are the normative implications of the purportedly positive notion of "efficiency"? What political role does it play? What implications for the allocation and distribution of rights follow from such a norm? To the extent that the efficiency norm gives ideological support to the construction of "the market," what relation does it have to legal norms based on conceptions of individual liberty?

Because we do not here take the prevailing approach of "law and economics" as given, we are free to pursue alternative approaches. We will do so here both along theoretical and historical dimensions. We will explore differing conceptions of liberty, property and equality and ask: what different sets of norms and values ground differing theories of law and economics? How are such differing legal and economic regimes shaped by political and social processes? We will examine the ways in which such theories of law and economics, and corresponding regimes, have made themselves manifest in history, focusing in the main on U.S. Constitutional jurisprudence and labor law. Is state support of organized labor, or regulation of the labor market, to be understood as an interference with the optimal allocation of resources? As an undue restriction on liberty of contract? Or as the positive condition of freedom and self-realization?

ECON 397RW - Real World Economics
We shall discuss controversial topics relevant to modern economics from an interdisciplinary perspective and explore the role of information, transaction costs, oligopolies, psychology, political power, and social norms in economic theory and policy. The course also offers a wide perspective on the psychological foundations of economic activity by introducing the students to the new field of behavioral economics and discussing such concepts as bounded rationality and satisfying. We explore the main outlines of decision making under uncertainty and enrich the standard neo-classical model by analyzing the issues associated with rising inequality, alternative welfare indicator such as subjective life satisfaction, the problem of moral hazard in the financial bailouts, the principal-agent problem in industrial organization, adverse selection in insurance markets, opportunistic behavior in consumer theory, unemployment as it relates to our current account deficits, monopolistic competition and post-Keynesian macroeconomics. We shall apply these concepts to current economic issues such as raising the minimum wage, the bailout of Wall Street, the falling median household income, CEO pay, income inequality, the concentration of economic power, and much more.