College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences

B.A. in Economics

Meaning of the Degree

The B.S. in Economics at Cal Poly Pomona provides a broad social science background, marketable skills, and a flexible world view useful for obtaining rewarding careers and becoming engaged citizens.  Our students learn critical thinking and problem solving skills using statistics and mathematics required for modern economic analysis.  These skills are introduced in principles courses, reinforced in advanced theoretical and applied courses, and mastered by the time the student reaches the final Senior Seminar course. Our program is unique for two distinct reasons.  First, we offer a significant level of mentorship and the ability to conduct student-driven, faculty-guided research through a two-quarter senior seminar project.

Second, we offer three options that allow students to focus on material most relevant for their future career aspirations.  The Applied Economics option prepares students for employment in business and government, Masters in Business programs, or Law School.  Quantitative Economics emphasizes quantitative analysis and prepares students or technical positions in Finance, Data Analysis, Actuarial Science, and similar fields; or for graduate study in Finance, Applied Statistics, and Economics.  Finally, the General Economics option prepares students for careers in public policy.  In agreement with Cal Poly Pomona’s Core Values, all options give students hands-on experience with Excel, Stata, and R, which are programs that will be used, or are similar to those used in their future careers.


Quality of the Degree

Students completing the B.S. in Economics at Cal Poly learn how to interpret, analyze, and communicate economic phenomena relevant for government, business, and the general public. While earning their degree from Cal Poly, Economics undergraduates develop mathematical and statistical skills necessary to describe and analyze economic relationships, and to evaluate the appropriateness and usefulness of different economic theories. Students learn to clearly present their analysis and reasoning using current methods and technology in writing and presentations.

In addition to the instruction students receive in the classroom, they also have an Economics Club dedicated to connecting their education with potential paths they may take in life after graduating.  Through the club, students engage in intentional learning on their own while competing in data analysis competitions with teams all over the world.  They also visit Federal Reserve Offices to gain more in depth knowledge on how our financial sector operates and engage in other activities aimed at building communication and interpersonal skills with their colleagues.

Integrity of the Degree

The department uses various quantitative measures to measure student success and the effectiveness of the department.  All students complete a two-quarter senior seminar project, which allows us to assess the students’ informational literacy and ability to transfer their learning to analyze an economics issue in depth.  Additionally, we track the number of current software programs students are exposed to through their Economics courses.  The ability to analyze data in the latest software packages such as Stata, ArcGIS, R, etc. is critical for a graduate to apply his or her knowledge to real world applications. 

Post-graduate placement is tracked through our alumni network group on to measure the effectiveness of the training students receive. Success is counted as a high percent of students who obtain positions that require the tools taught in our program, such as employment in a government agency or private firm or admittance into graduate school. Faculty review students’ exposure to software programs, discuss senior seminar projects, and post-graduate placement to assess whether the department’s curriculum is meeting program goals on an annual basis.