The International Economics (IECO) major is grounded in the belief that economic analysis is essential to the understanding of modern world affairs. IECO students receive rigorous training in quantitative techniques and objective analysis. Our students have built highly successful careers in finance, consulting, law, management, media, international development, international organizations, research institutes, government, non-profit organizations, and academia.

The Undergraduate Bulletin

It is the responsibility of each student to keep well-informed with respect to the policies and requirements in the Undergraduate Bulletin and all other policies of the University, school, and program in which they are enrolled. Any updates made to the Undergraduate Bulletin will be communicated to students.

Read more about the IECO major on the Georgetown Undergraduate Bulletin.

Dean & Field Chair Anchor

Dean & Field Chair

Curricular Deans provide guidance tailored to each student by connecting their interests with academic backgrounds, academic and non-academic opportunities, and faculty expertise, while guiding academic and personal development.

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Mayda Headshot

Anna Maria Mayda

Field Chair for IECO

Curricular Requirements Anchor

Curricular Requirements

Courses in the SFS Core requirement serve as foundational requisites of this major.

  • Three (3) Prerequisites
    • MATH-035 (Calculus I)
    • ECON-1001 (Micro)
    • ECON-1002 (Macro)
  • Two (2) Corequisites*
    • ECON-2543 (International Trade)
    • ECON-2544 (International Finance)
  • Four (4) Core ECON Courses
    • ECON-2101 Intermediate Microeconomics
    • ECON-2102 Intermediate Macroeconomics
    • ECON-2110 Economic Statistics
    • ECON-3001 Introduction to Econometrics
  • Three (3) Applied Courses** (At least one (1) course of three (3) credits or more must be in an approved 4000-level ECON course carrying the IECO Applied course attribute)
  • One (1) Senior Seminar (IECO-4980 or an approved 4000-level ECON course of three (3) credits or more)

*It is important to note that ECON-242 will not count toward the co-requisites for the IECO major. Should you opt to complete ECON-242 and then at a later date decide to major in IECO, you will be required to complete one higher-level economics course to fulfill the stated co-requisites for the major.

**The IECO Curricular Dean and Field Chair will maintain the IECO applied course list. These are typically courses that use or build upon intermediate theory, statistics or econometrics.

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Courses in the Major

To find the most up to date list of classes, as well as past semester course lists, visit MyAccess and take the following steps:

  • MyAccess > Student Services > Registration > Schedule of Classes > Select Term >
  • In the subject menu, select International Economics
  • Scroll down and click the Class Search button

Writing in the Major

The field of Economics explores complex economic systems through a combination of deductive and inductive reasoning. Early economists attempted to communicate this reasoning and the results of their analyses using words alone. This resulted in long, often convoluted books that were prone to error. Over the years, economists developed mathematical models and statistical tools, which facilitated analysis, reduced error and enabled far greater transparency and brevity in the expression of results. These techniques can be difficult for undergraduates to grasp at first, which is why they are the focus of most of our teaching effort. Yet, as we teach students to build, solve, test and present economic models, we are in effect teaching them to “write” economics.

Of course, models have not entirely displaced words. Students still must learn to explain the motivation, logic, and conclusions of their work verbally. This skill is especially vital for communicating with non-economists. To that end, the economics programs (ECON and IECO) integrate writing in three principal ways:

Explaining Rationale

Tests and homework assignments require students to give short written explanations of the reasoning behind their answers, usually in one or two paragraphs. While not the norm in the first-year Principles sequence due to large class size, it is common in the 100 and 200-level core courses and universal in the 400-level advanced courses.

Writing Short Papers

Short papers require students to develop arguments, explain theories or present evidence based on research. Such essays help students learn to organize their thinking and writing. Example assignments include writing short essays that discuss the causes and possible solutions to poverty, drafting policy memos in response to case studies, and writing summaries of academic literature.

Producing a Senior Thesis

The senior thesis in economics provides students with the opportunity to develop the skills and techniques needed for carrying out a substantive original research project in economics. To achieve this purpose, the course focuses on the writing and presentation of a thesis. Students may choose from a wide variety of topics. Along the way, students learn how to evaluate scholarly literature, formulate and model a hypothesis, locate data and test the hypothesis, write an elegant paper and give a convincing presentation. This course marks the culmination of the IECO major and an introduction to the world of scholarly research. 

Each student is responsible for writing an article-length paper, approximately 20-25 pages in length. In the paper, students are expected to evaluate, critique, test, and build upon a current debate of their choosing in the field of economics. Students should develop competing hypotheses, model them formally, and test them using quantitative methods. The papers are written as if they were being presented at a professional conference or submitted to a scholarly journal. The thesis is written in a series of steps, each of which is marked by the completion of a short paper or class presentation. 

The senior thesis course is open to all IECO majors but it is not required (students may substitute an additional 400-level economics class in place of the thesis course). Successful completion of a thesis is, however, a requirement for honors in IECO.

Honors in the Major

Students can earn Honors in the IECO major by submitting a letter of intent during the junior year, writing a thesis based on original research while taking IECO-4980 during the senior year, the thesis judged as honors quality, earning a major GPA of at least 3.67, and earning a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5. In addition, students must successfully earn grades of A or A- in Intermediate Microeconomics (ECON-2101) and Intermediate Macroeconomics (ECON-2102).

Senior Seminar

All IECO majors must complete a senior seminar. The IECO-4980 Senior Seminar (thesis course) is offered only in the spring semester. IECO-4980 is required for students pursuing honors and is optional (but recommended) for others. Students who opt not to take IECO-4980 must take an approved 4000-level ECON course in its place. Students who wish to graduate early may take IECO-4980 in the spring semester of junior year.