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Political Economy Major, Degree Programs & Jobs

Political economy is relatively new as a study program but is now growing as a domestic and international major. This article offers up vital information for this degree program and some salary and job growth statistics as well.

Overview of a Political Economy Degree Program

Majors in political economy can be found at colleges and universities across the United States. This field studies the history of economy and how financial policies have been set according to a ruling political party's economic beliefs. From this, students examine current issues that affect overall political and economic policies and how global changes impact the U.S. and other countries. Coursework in political economy degree programs help build the knowledge and skills students may use in government, non-profit and international business careers. Below are some details pertaining to the required coursework and requirements as well as some information on careers that might be of interest after completion of your degree.

Admissions Requirements for a Political Economy Degree

Students who apply to a university with an undergraduate degree plan will need their high school diploma or pass the GED exam, and they'll also need to submit their ACT or SAT scores. Incoming freshmen are expected to send in their high school transcripts. College students interested in declaring a major in political economy may need to have prerequisite credits in areas like history and economics.

Political Economy Program Coursework

A political economy program will include a number of advanced math, microeconomics and business courses, along with the university's general education coursework, to meet the necessary credit hours required for graduation. However, there will also be classes in international history, world economics and economic analysis needed for a graduate's success. Below are a few of the common courses:

Microeconomics

Microeconomics courses introduce students to the theories on how market systems work. These courses will touch on a variety of topics including international trade, supply and demand, consumer decisions, market choices and the role of government regulations. Students will be able to localize business issues in discussions of ethics and their impact on society.

Macroeconomics

Courses in macroeconomics will emphasize key concepts involving national income, monetary policies, economic growth and banking systems. The class will also introduce students theories that address national production and economic development. Students studying macroeconomics will also examine unemployment rates, inflation and interest rates.

Political Economy Theories

Political economy courses could involve studying economic theories relevant to domestic or international countries. They might also discuss multinational corporations in industrial and third world countries. Students will analyze areas such as trade, foreign aid and debt, among others. Overall, these courses teach students to see the interconnection between international business, the state of the economy and political policies.

World Economy

Courses in this area will deal with important theories and principles related to the global economy. Students will learn about international trade policies and financial systems as well as trading relationships among countries. The course may also address economic resources and development around the world.

Statistics

Statistics courses for this program will be used to aid students in analyzing data -- an essential skill as they work through their economics and political science studies. They may learn about descriptive and inferential statistics and the associated concepts. Areas of focus can include types of data, hypothesis testing, probability distributions and correlation, among several other topics. Through this course, students will be able to study data and understand statistical relationships in order to analyze economic and political issues.

How to Choose a Degree Program in Political Economy

When deciding on which school to attend as a political economy student, you'll want to take into consideration the areas of focus offered within the available degree programs. For instance, some schools may offer Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science programs in political economy, with the former being more focused on cultural and historical contexts and the latter being centered on economic or financial concepts. In some schools, a political economy program might offer students the opportunity to pursue a concentration within the major based on a student's interests, such as resource development. Also, undergraduates looking to advance their education with a graduate degree may consider if the school they choose has advanced degrees in their field of study. Attending a college or university near a large metropolitan area with many international organizations could possibly offer more career options for political economy graduates.

Career Options with a Political Economy Degree

People who hold this degree will find positions in a variety of areas, such as schools, non-profit organizations, government agencies and private companies. It is estimated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that the job outlook for economists will grow by 6% between 2014-2024. The median salary for economists in 2016 was $101,050, according to the BLS. Other careers that graduates in political economics can take into consideration can be found below.

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