The Department of Economics at Vassar aims to deepen students’ understanding of the economic forces that shape our global society and profoundly influence our daily lives.

Whatever their intended majors, students will find exposure to the topics and methods of economics to be valuable. It will sharpen their reasoning skills, broaden their acquaintance with important economic issues, deepen their understanding of government policies and business behavior, and equip them for positions of leadership in today’s world. A background in economics helps open doors to careers in a variety of fields including finance, law, politics, international affairs, and the media. 

Economics is the study of how societies deal with scarcity. Limited natural resources means decisions must be made about how to use those resources. Microeconomics examines decisions made by individual households and firms while macroeconomics studies issues related to trying to coordinate all of the individual activities.

Economics touches people everywhere and in a variety of ways, such as:

  • The price of gasoline is determined by the global demand and supply of oil.
  • Interest rates on student loans, car loans, credit cards, etc., are affected by Federal Reserve policies.
  • The ease of getting a job or starting a business is influenced by how well the economy is doing.
  • Taxes reduce our ability to buy goods and services but increase the government’s ability to build and maintain roads and bridges, to provide police and fire department protection, to support education, and to protect endangered species and habitats.

The Department of Economics offers introductory courses for students interested in learning the basics of economics and a wide variety of intermediate and advanced courses for students interested in deepening their understanding of the discipline.

We have one of the largest departments on campus, with an energetic Majors Committee and faculty who are actively engaged with students and with their research.

See also

Vassar-Toulouse School of Economics (TSE) Exchange Program


Inaugurated in 2015, the Vassar-Toulouse School of Economics (TSE) Exchange Program offers well-prepared Vassar economics majors the opportunity to study abroad for one or two semesters alongside some of Europe’s best students and most challenging faculty. Read more.