Umass Economics Home

The Undergraduate Program:
Frequently-asked questions

How do I declare a major in Economics?

If you entered UMass on or after 1 September 2002 and unless you declared a major in economics upon admission to the University, you must pass ECON 103, ECON 104, and one semester of calculus before you can declare a major in Economics. When you are ready to declare a major in Economics, the administrative procedures begin with a consultation with an undergraduate advisor in economics.

How do I declare a minor in Economics?

Early in the semester in which you have registered for the last course you will use toward the minor, you should obtain a 'Declaration of Minor' form from the Undergraduate Registrar's Office in Whitmore, and bring it to a consultation with an undergraduate economics advisor.

How do I register for courses in Economics?

Through SPIRE.

The Economics course I want to take is already closed, what should I do?

You should continue to attempt to register through SPIRE. For most courses, during Add/Drop, as students drop classes, vacancies appear on SPIRE. Consequently, to be admitted to that class, you must request it once a vacancy has occurred.

Should I ask any of the advisors in Economics to admit me to a class which has reached capacity?

No, they will not override course capacities at your request.

Should I ask the instructor of a course to admit me to a class whose capacity has already been reached?

On rare occasions an instructor might agree to override the capacity of a class, but is under no obligation to do so. In many cases the Fire Code makes this impossible.

Should I pre-register for courses in Economics?

YES. Your best, and frequently your only opportunity to successfully enroll in Economics courses is during pre-registration. You should request classes as early in your 'enrollment appointment' as possible.

Should I take ECON 203 before ECON 204?

The sequence in which you take ECON 203 or ECON 204 does not matter. You can take them simultaneously.

SPIRE refuses to register me for a course, claiming that I lack its prerequisites, but this is not the case. What should I do?

If the course you want has no academic prerequisites, check the electronic description of that course to see if there are other constraints, such as residential or TAP identities, on registration for it. This is particularly pertinent for ECON 103 and ECON 104.

I have taken the prerequisite course at another college or university and SPIRE cannot recognize the prerequisite as satisfied. What should I do?

You should verify on SPIRE that your course has been correctly transferred onto your record at UMass Amherst and appears as one of the prerequisite courses. If not, you should see someone in Transfer Affairs in the Undergraduate Registrar's Office. After this, if you still cannot register for the course in question, see one of the undergraduate economics advisors.

How do I get access to SPIRE?

From OIT, in Lederle Graduate Research Center.

When is Add/Drop?

Check your 'enrollment appointment' on SPIRE to determine when you are allowed to register for classes. Different students may have different appointments. Check the academic calendar for the last day to add or drop courses.

Can I be dropped from a class for nonattendance?

Yes. If you have missed the first two meetings of a class, you may be dropped from it.

How do I satisfy the Junior Writing Requirement in Economics?

ECON 397W satisfies the Junior Writing requirement but cannot be used as an upper-level elective in Economics for the purposes of the major.

When should I declare a major in Economics?

As soon as you realize that you want to major in Economics. If you did not declare the major in Economics when you initially entered the University, and you joined the University on or after 1 September 2002 you must completed ECON 103, ECON 104, and one semester of Calculus before you may declare the major.

When should I declare a minor in Economics?

During the semester in which you have enrolled for the LAST course you will apply toward the requirements of the minor in Economics.

If my primary major is not in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, must I satisfy the Global Education Requirement?

Not necessarily. If Economics is your second major and your primary major is outside the College of Social and Behavioral Science the Global Education requirement may be waived. If this is your case, you should refer to note e. on page 31 of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Guide to Undergraduate Programs, and consult with a college-level advisor in Machmer E-20.

If Economics is my secondary major, and I have completed the Junior Writing Requirement in my primary major, must I also taken ECON 397W?

No. The Economics Department is willing to waive its junior writing requirement if you have successfully satisfied that requirement in another major. You should, however, speak with one of the undergraduate advisors in Economics so that an official waiver can be administratively initiated. Note that this does not mean that if Economics is your primary major and you have a secondary major, that your secondary major will waive their junior-writing requirement.

If I have satisfied all requirements of the Economics major, what else must I do to graduate?

You must also satisfy the University (General Education, Diversity, total academic credits, and gpa) and College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (Global Education) requirements. If Economics is your secondary major and your primary major is not in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, you should speak with a college-level advisor in Machmer E-20 to verify whether or not you need to satisfy the Global Education Requirement.

If I am an Economics major, when should I take Calculus?

As soon as possible. At least one semester of Calculus is a prerequisite for both ECON 203 and ECON 204. Since those courses function as prerequisites for many of the upper-level electives in Economics, delay in taking Calculus could postpone your graduation.

Can I use courses in Economics to satisfy Gen Ed requirements if I major in Economics?

You may use one course in your major to satisfy Gen. Ed. requirements.

Can I use courses in Economics to satisfy the Global Education requirement if I major in Economics?

You may be able to use an Economics course toward the Global Education requirement, but you may NOT use any course simultaneously for the Economics Major requirements, and the CSBS, Global Education requirement.

What grades must I achieve in all courses I use toward a major in Economics?

Students must receive a grade of C- or higher in all courses presented for the major, except introductory microeconomics, introductory macroeconomics, Math 131, Math 132 and Statistics 515.  This rule applies to all courses taken on or after September 1, 2004.

Do Economics courses have home pages on the Internet?

Many do. You should check with the instructor, or at the Courses section of the Economics Department home page.

Who is the instructor of my course in Economics?

If an instructor has been assigned to your course, that person's name should be identifiable on SPIRE.

I am registered for one section of a course in Economics, but want to switch to another. What should I do?

If the section or lecture of the course you want to add is open, you should register through SPIRE. If the section or lecture of the course you want to add is closed, you will need to speak with the Instructor. The Economics Department has already made many pedagogical compromises to increase class size in order to satisfy excess demand for its courses. Consequently, instructors are under no obligation to accommodate your request.

If I major in Economics, will I be able to take courses in SOM?

As a major in Economics, some courses in the Isenberg School of Management will be open to you.

Does ECON 105 satisfy any of the requirements of the major in Economics?

No.

Must I have a gpa of 2.00 or better in all courses used to satisfy the major in Economics?

Yes.

What Calculus courses should I take if I may want to go to graduate school in Economics?

You should take MATH 131 and MATH 132 . You should NOT take MATH 127 and MATH 128.

My Degree Progress Report on SPIRE does not agree with my understanding of the requirements of the major in Economics, and/or the rules by which those requirements may be satisfied. What should I do?

First, verify that your Degree Progress Report accurately reflects your coursework. If something is missing or inaccurate, notify the Undergraduate Registrar's Office. If coursework appearing on your Degree Progress Report does not appear to satisfy requirements of the major, and you think it should, consult with one of the undergraduate advisors in Economics.

I want to take more than 18 credits during a semester. What should I do?

Consult with one of the college-level advisors in Machmer E-24. Economics Department advisors are not authorized to approve a schedule containing more than 18 credits in one semester.


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