Frequently Asked Questions for Undergraduate Students

Policies for the Undergraduate Economics Major

  1. AP, A-level, IB or other high school economics credits: Acceptable Advanced Placement (AP), A Level, International Baccalaureate (IB), or equivalent credits place students out of one or both of Introduction to Macroeconomics (ECON-UA 1) and Introduction to Microeconomics (ECON-UA 2)—formerly Economics Principles I, II—and also count towards the total number of courses required for the major or minor. Students must get these credits approved by CAS. Acceptable grades for the economics department are below:

Economics Credits

Acceptable Grades

NYU course/s that students are placed out of


AP Micro

4 or 5

Introduction to Micro


AP Macro

4 or 5

Introduction to Macro


A Level

B or higher

Introduction to Micro


Introduction to Macro


IB (Higher Level)

6 or 7

Introduction to Micro


Introduction to Macro


Any other equivalent credits would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Students should meet their CAS advisor.



  1. Mathematics for Economics (MFE) I & II: For students who entered NYU in Fall 2012 or later, this two-semester course sequence must be taken at NYU as early as possible.

    • AP or equivalent calculus credits are not a replacement for the MFE courses.

    • Calculus I & II or placing out of one or both of these calculus courses does not allow students to place ahead in this two-semester course sequence.

    • MFE I is a pre-requisite for MFE II.

    • MFE II is a pre-requisite for Intermediate Micro.


  2. Double counting one course for more than one major or minor: In general, students are not allowed to double-count one course for more than one major or minor. Rare exceptions require the approval of the Directors of Undergraduate Studies of both departments.
    In addition, it is the economics department policy that if a non-economics course is used to fulfill the requirements of the economics major or minor then students need to take an additional economics elective. The total number of economics courses taken must be ten (10) for the major and six (6) for the minor.


  3. Minimum Grade Requirements: A minimum grade of C is required for a course to count towards the major. Graduating seniors should be especially careful of this grade requirement. Graduating seniors will be unable to graduate if they receive a C- or below in an economics course. They will need to repeat the course, or take another economics course, at NYU over the summer or during the regular semester. Students who enter NYU in Fall 2012 or later should pay close attention to NYU’s policy on repeating courses, below.


  4. Repeatability of Courses: The economics department follows the CAS policy on the repetition of courses. The CAS Bulletin states:
    A student who has taken a course for credit or who has obtained a W in a course is permitted to repeat that course once. Students may not repeat more than two courses during their undergraduate careers. Students may not repeat courses in a designated sequence after taking more advanced courses. The departments determine the sequencing of courses. Students with questions regarding the repetition of courses or course sequences must consult with the particular department offering the course. When a student repeats a course, no additional credit will be awarded. Both grades will be recorded and computed in the grade point average. (Students who entered CAS before Fall 2012 should consult this section of the CAS Bulletin for the year they matriculated in the College to find the course repeat policy applicable to them.)


  5. Intermediate Micro and Intermediate Macro (for students entering NYU Fall 2012 or later): The rules on the intermediate courses below are not applicable to students who entered NYU prior to Fall 2012.

    • Intermediate Micro is a strict pre-requisite for Intermediate Macro.

    • Both Intermediate Micro and Intermediate Macro are NOT OPEN TO SENIORS.


  6. Honors: To pursue honors in economics, students must first register for the Honors Tutorial course in the Fall and then the Honors Thesis course in the Spring semester. These two courses cannot be taken out of sequence. For honors, students must meet the criteria below without exception.

    • 3.65 GPA in economics

    • 3.65 GPA in the college

    • Topics in Econometrics or Introduction to Econometrics MUST be successfully completed prior to beginning the Honors Tutorial course in the Fall semester.

      Students interested in pursuing honors should plan their major out carefully to ensure that they meet the prerequisites. Students must  meet a departmental advisor to declare honors in their junior year.


  7. Courses Taken Outside of the NYU System: Students who are interested in taking economics courses outside of the NYU system:

      1. must obtain permission from the CAS Dean’s office before contacting the department.

      2. must obtain approval for economics courses to count towards the major or minor before leaving.

        If the CAS Dean’s office permits a student to take courses at a non-NYU university, in the US or abroad, then students should contact the economics department to obtain approval for the transfer of economics courses. Please take careful note of the following:

    • In the (extremely) rare cases that students have received permission to take economics courses at a non-NYU university, it has been one 200-level elective that is not offered at NYU. Students must provide the department with a detailed course syllabus as well as information about any economics pre-requisite courses.

    • CAS approval does not automatically imply that students will get credit for the major. Economics courses must still be reviewed and approved by the department. CAS approval and department approval are two independent processes. Both approvals are necessary for economics courses to count towards the major or minor.

    • Economics course approvals are required for courses at NYU Exchange or Partner Universities.

    • Complete the Economics Transfer Request form, which you can obtain from Mr. Andrew Whitney or Mr. Corey Brown.


  8. Courses taken in different CAS departments or schools at NYU: Requests for economics courses to be taken outside the department of economics must be approved economics courses. Please take careful note of the following:

    • In the (extremely) rare cases that students are given credit toward the major for economics courses taken outside the department, it is limited to one 200-level elective not offered by the department.

    • The course must have been approved before the student registered for the course. A full syllabus for the course must be presented for approval.

  9. Recommended Grade Distribution The Economics Department has agreed to coordinate grading practices in the interest of fairness to students and to avoid non-intellectual incentives to take or avoid courses. We have asked all teachers of courses to conform approximately to the following distribution. Deviation of plus or minus five percentage points is considered within the normal bounds:

    A   29%,

    B   40%,

    C   22%,

    D    5%,

    F     4%.

    Whatever the marking procedure, the distribution of final grades for large classes should fall reasonably closely to the curve described above. In small classes,  the distribution of grades may differ more widely from the above recommendations.

  10. Cheating The College’s policy on cheating, as set out in the CAS Bulletin, states in part

    “The penalty for academic dishonesty is severe. The following are the procedures as approved by the Faculty of Arts and Science.

    If a student cheats on an examination or in laboratory work or engages in plagiarism, appropriate disciplinary action should be taken. The department can take the following actions:

    (a) The faculty member, with the approval of the director of undergraduate studies (director), may reduce the student's grade or give the student an F in the course.

    (b) If after lowering the grade or assigning an F the department believes a more severe penalty (i.e., probation, suspension, expulsion) is warranted, it can refer the case to the dean or his or her representative (associate dean for students) for further action.

    In all cases of either (a) or (b), the director shall inform the department chair of any action in writing and send copies of this letter to the dean and to the student. […]”

In the case of a first offense, the dean will send a letter to the student warning of a one-semester suspension or more severe penalty, if a second offense occurs. For more information, see the Bulletin.

  1. Extra Credit It is against the policies of both the department and CAS to give students an opportunity to earn extra credit. Giving some students the opportunity to earn extra credit is not fair to other students: all students should be treated equally and assessed strictly in accordance with the protocol laid down in the course syllabus.


  2. Incompletes When a student receives an Incomplete grade the unfinished work must be completed and a letter grade submitted by the end of the semester following the one in which the course was taken. Exceptions may be granted when the student has taken a medical leave following the semester in which the Incomplete was received.


  1. Internships The economics department offers academic credit for internships as a form of independent study if they satisfy the Department of Labor test for an unpaid internship. The following six criteria must be applied when making this determination:

    1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;

    2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;

    3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;

    4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;

    5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and

    6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

  1. Independent Study needs the permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS). Here are the steps you must take before seeking approval from the DUS.

    • Find a supervisor, who will normally be a member of the regular faculty in the Department of Economics.

    • Draw up, with the supervisor’s help, a complete and detailed plan of study consisting of

      1. a reading list,

      2. a weekly schedule of activities, including reading, writing, meetings, experiments, data collection, data analysis, etc.,

      3. a description of the final product (essay, theorems, lab report) and

      4. the method of evaluation.

    • Demonstrate adequate preparation for independent study, in terms of the courses you have already taken and your GPA in the economics major (normally  3.5 or above).

    • Complete the Independent Study application form, which you can obtain from Mr. Andrew Whitney or Mr. Corey Brown.

      Independent Study is not for everyone. It takes discipline and hard work to complete a course of independent study that is equivalent, in terms of content and intellectual rigor, to one of the regularly scheduled courses offered by the department; but it can be rewarding for the rare student who is ready and able.
      N.B.: Independent study does not count towards the major in economics. It only counts for College credit.