Economics and Accounting
Katherine A. Kiel, Ph.D., Professor and Chair
The Department of Economics and Accounting offers majors in two distinct subject areas: economics and accounting, as well as a select honors program. Students are not permitted to double major in the two subject areas. Members of the department are dedicated teachers who value the opportunity at Holy Cross to interact closely with their students. They are also productive scholars, whose research has been published in leading economics and accounting periodicals.
The Economics Major
Economics can be defined as the study of how people allocate scarce resources among competing ends. It can also be understood as a particular way of thinking distinguished by its axioms, concepts and organizing principles. In terms of both subject matter and methods, economics provides important and powerful insights into the human experience. Completion of the major can serve as preparation for graduate study, or it can provide a strong background for any one of a large number of careers, including those in business, finance, law, health care and government.
The economics major is designed to provide students with the theory and methods required to analyze a wide range of economic issues. The minimum requirement for the major is nine semester courses in economics. Five of the courses in economics are specified and cover principles (two semesters), intermediate theory (two semesters) and statistics. The remaining courses are electives that apply and/or extend the previous learning to an array of more specialized topics, including, for example, sports economics, monetary theory, international trade and economics of peace and conflict. The principles and statistics requirements can be satisfied by advanced placement, but majors must still complete at least nine college economics courses. The maximum number of courses in the department which may be taken by an economics major is 14. The maximum number of courses that count towards the major that can be taken outside of the department (either in another department or at another institution) is two.
Because mathematics plays an important role in economics, majors are required to take one year of college calculus or its equivalent. The calculus requirement can be fulfilled by completing Mathematics 135 and 136 or 133 and 134, or by advanced placement (a score of 4 or 5 on the BC exam), or by the successful completion of a semester course (e.g., Mathematics 136 or 134) having as a prerequisite one semester of calculus or its equivalent. Students are strongly encouraged to complete the calculus requirement in their first year.
All economics majors take a minimum of 9 economics courses for the major (as well as completing Calculus 2) as follows:
MATH 133 Calculus 1 with Fundamentals and
MATH 134 Calculus 2 with Fundamentals (Or equivalent)
MATH 135 Calculus 1 and
MATH 136 Calculus 2 (or equivalent)
ECON 111 – Principles of Macroeconomics
ECON 112 – Principles of Microeconomics
200 level required courses (3)
ECON 255 – Microeconomics
ECON 256 – Macroeconomics
ECON 249 – Statistics
Electives (4 – 3 must be at the 300 level)
Electives include: Industrial Organization and Public Policy, Labor Economics, Law and Economics, Theory of International Trade, Comparative Economic Systems, Monetary Theory, Econometrics, Political Economy, Game Theory, History of Economic Thought, Economics of Energy, and Economics of the Arts.
All students must take 18 courses outside of the major. The maximum number of economics courses that economics majors may take for credit at an institution other than Holy Cross is two, and Econ 255 and Econ 256 must be taken in the department..
Advising notes: The hierarchical nature of the economics major requires careful planning on the part of students considering Study Abroad or semester away programs. The mathematics requirement is ordinarily completed in the first year and must be completed by the end of the second year. Check pre-requisites carefully. 300 level electives are normally taken in the fourth year. For students interested in advanced study in economics, it is recommended that they take Economics 314 (Econometrics) and additional courses in mathematics and computer science.
Students may not enter Holy Cross declared as economics majors. They may apply to the major only after they have completed at least one course in economics at Holy Cross. Each semester the department will solicit applications for the economics major. Interested students will submit an application form online, which includes an unofficial transcript and an admissions essay. Admission is competitive; majors will be admitted based on their essays as well as performance in economics courses and related coursework (e.g. mathematics). Students may only enter the major during one of the two admissions periods each academic year. Prospective majors are encouraged to enroll in either Economics 111 or Economics 112 during one of their first few semesters and to begin the calculus sequence if that requirement is not already fulfilled. Students with AP credit in economics will be enrolled in an alternative economics course (statistics or a 200 level elective) and may apply to the major after the completion of that course. Economics course requirements fulfilled by AP credits must be replaced by electives so that the total number of courses taken within the Economics department is at least nine.
The Accounting Major
Accounting is defined broadly as the process of identifying, measuring and communicating economic information. Because sound decisions based on reliable information are essential for the efficient allocation of resources, accounting plays an important role in our economic system. Each year the largest accounting firms visit Holy Cross to recruit majors for employment opportunities in public accounting. Although most majors choose to start their careers in public accounting, the curriculum is sufficiently broad to permit careers in business, government and nonprofit institutions.
The accounting major is designed to offer students the benefits of a liberal arts education while providing a core accounting curriculum for students interested in becoming certified public accountants. Educational requirements for professional certification vary by state, with many states requiring additional courses beyond the four-year bachelor’s degree. Faculty advisors will help students develop a program to meet these requirements.
All Accounting majors take a minimum of 14 courses for the major (as well as completing Calculus 1) as follows:
MATH 133 Calculus 1 with Fundamentals
MATH 135 Calculus 1 (or equivalent)
ECON 111 – Principles of Macroeconomics
ECON 112 – Principles of Microeconomics
Accounting Required Courses (10)
ACCT 181 – Financial Accounting
ECON 249 – Statistics
ACCT 277 – Intermediate Accounting 1
ACCT 278 – Intermediate Accounting 2
ACCT 282 – Auditing
ACCT 292 – Federal Income Taxation
ACCT 387 – Business Law 1
ACCT 388 – Business Law 2
ACCT 389 – Cost Accounting
ACCT 390 – Advanced Accounting
2 Accounting or Economics elective courses
Electives include: Operations Research, Governmental and Nonprofit Accounting, Corporation Finance, Accounting Information Systems, and Ethics, Accounting and Organizations.
Advising notes: Advanced placement in economics or statistics may be used to satisfy those specific requirements for the accounting major. The minimum number of courses outside the department which must be taken by an accounting major is 16. The maximum number of accounting and economics courses that accounting majors may take for credit at an institution other than Holy Cross is three.
The normal order of courses for a student majoring in accounting is: Calculus and Accounting 181 (Financial Accounting) during the first year; Economics 111 (Principles of Macroeconomics) and Economics 112 (Principles of Microeconomics) during the first or second year; Accounting 277 and 278 (Intermediate Accounting 1 and 2) during the second year; Accounting 282 (Auditing), 292 (Federal Income Taxation), 390 (Advanced Accounting) and one elective in the third year; and Accounting 387 and 388 (Business Law 1 and 2), 389 (Cost Accounting) and at least one additional elective during the fourth year. Economics 249 (Statistics) is typically taken during the second or third year.
A student must earn a grade of C- or better in Accounting 181 and Accounting 277 to continue in the accounting major.
Students may not enter Holy Cross declared as accounting majors. In the fall of their first or second year, they may request permission to take the spring offering of Accounting 277 provided that they are enrolled in or have completed Accounting 181 (Financial Accounting). During the semester that students are enrolled in Intermediate Accounting, the department will solicit applications for the accounting major. Interested students will submit an application form which includes an unofficial transcript and an admissions essay. Admission is competitive; the major application process places special emphasis on the applicants’ performance in accounting and related coursework (mathematics, economics). The number of students permitted to major in accounting is limited. Prospective majors are required to complete Financial Accounting during the fall of their first or second year.
Department Honors Program
This program is limited to a small number of third- and fourth-year economics and accounting majors. Students apply for the program in the fall semester of the third year. Economics majors normally need to complete Economics 249, 255 and 256 by the end of that semester to be eligible for the program. Accounting majors normally need to complete accounting courses through Accounting 278, Economics 111, 112 and 249 and Mathematics 135 (or equivalent) by the fall of the junior year. During the second semester of both the third and fourth years, honors students participate in a methodology seminar; during the first semester of the fourth year the thesis is written under the direction of a faculty advisor. The honors course sequence is: Economics 460 (Research Methods 1) during spring of the third year; Economics 462 (Directed Research) during fall of the fourth year; and Economics 461 (Research Methods 2) during spring of the fourth year.
Economics 460 (Research Methods 1) is a one-unit course that counts as the equivalent of a 200-level economics elective. Economics 461 (Research Methods 2) is a half-unit overload which may be taken pass/no pass. Economics 462 (Honors Directed Research) counts as the equivalent of a 300-level economics elective. Students must meet the standards of the program in each course to receive the honors designation at graduation.
Advanced Placement Credit
Students with advanced placement credit in economics receive placement in the curriculum. Students with a unit of AP credit in Microeconomics will forfeit that credit if they enroll in Economics 112 (Principles of Microeconomics) and those with AP credit in Macroeconomics will forfeit that credit if they enroll in Economics 111 (Principles of Macroeconomics). Students with AP credit in Statistics will forfeit that credit if they enroll in Economics 249 (Statistics). Economics majors with AP credit in economics and those who have completed college-level economics courses while in high school must still complete a minimum of nine courses in the major. Accounting majors with advanced placement credit in economics or statistics are not required to replace those credits with additional electives.
The department’s minor programs in economics and accounting have been discontinued.
Introductory courses in economics and accounting are available to non-majors. Students with an interest in economics should consider the full-year sequence of Principles of Economics. Students may begin with either Economics 111 (Principles of Macroeconomics) or Economics 112 (Principles of Microeconomics).
Non-majors seeking an introduction to accounting should take Accounting 181 (Financial Accounting).