Option Representative: Robert P. Sherman

The economics option provides students with an understanding of the basic principles underlying the functioning of economic institutions. It offers a modern quantitative approach seldom available at the undergraduate level. The emphasis on economic principles and modern methodology provides students with an excellent preparation for graduate study in economics, as well as for professional work in the fields of business, law, economics, and government.

The option is sufficiently flexible so that students can combine their pursuit of economics with studies in engineering, mathematics, or science. The core of the option consists of an economic theory component, a data analysis component, an applied microeconomic component, and a macroeconomic/growth component. Students are strongly encouraged to supplement this core with additional electives in economics, political science, and mathematics.

Expected learning outcomes from completing the economics option include:

  • a proficiency in applying economic models to understand economic institutions;
  • a proficiency in analyzing field and experimental data to prove causal relationships between economic variables, to test economic theories, and to predict economic outcomes;
  • an understanding of the causes of regional and global long-term economic growth as well as the causes and consequences of economic crises throughout history;
  • an understanding of the role of market prices in allocating resources and affecting the distribution of wealth;
  • an appreciation of strategic behavior and asymmetric information in economic and social interactions; and
  • an appreciation of the role of technological change and politics in shaping economic policies.

NOTE: The official source on requirements for graduation is the Caltech catalog from the year in which a student began studies at Caltech. Please see the catalog online, from this and previous years, for information regarding the applicable option requirements.