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What is Economics?

In short, economics is a social science that includes the study of labor, land, and investments, of money, income, and production, and of taxes and government expenditures. Economists seek to measure well-being, to learn how well-being may increase overtime, and to evaluate the well-being of the rich and the poor. Although the behavior of individuals is important, economics also addresses the collective behavior of businesses and industries, governments and countries, and the globe as a whole. Microeconomics starts by thinking about how individuals make decisions. Macroeconomics considers aggregate outcomes. The two points of view are essential in understanding most economic phenomena.


What can I do with an Economics Degree?

Businesses began to hire economists in increasing numbers shortly after World War II, and the economics profession has grown rapidly ever since. Both large and small firms hire economists. Large firms tend to have whole divisions dedicated to economic research, with a number of economists addressing specialized areas.  Smaller firms, on the other hand, tend to hire only one or two economists to address a number of general areas: planning, forecasting, finance, and other duties.  The role of the economist may differ from that of the manager. Economists analyze data and provide information; the manager uses this information to make decisions. The public profile may not be there, but the power of the information is great. This may explain why so many corporate CEOs rose to their positions through the economics division. Also, Almost all government agencies hire economists, and most high schools and colleges hire economics teachers. Often, an advanced degree, whether a master's or doctoral degree or a teaching certificate, is needed for these jobs, although this isn't always the case.

 Program Mission Statement

The mission of the Economics Department at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown is to develop the ability of our students to understand economic concepts and the skills to apply those concepts to the making of intelligent decisions for themselves, in business life, and in public policy.


What kinds of courses will I take?

The courses listed below are only a small glimpse into the Sociology courses available on our campus. To view the full list of Sociology course descriptions, click here.


A survey of American economic growth from Colonial times to the New Deal and beyond. Particular attention is paid to economic policy. Topics include mercantilism and the origins of the Revolution, the economic dimension of the Constitution, Jacksonian democracy and the Bank War, the economics of slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction, tariff policy and industrialization, populism and progressivism, and the business cycle in historical perspective.    

Examines the relationship between the economy and the environment, broadly defined. The theory of externalities and the role of property rights are emphasized in developing a framework for evaluating public policy proposals affecting the environment.

This course examines the law and legal rules from an economic perspective and applies economic reasoning to a number of legal topics such as property rights, contracts, torts, the efficiency of the common law, and crime.

Regression and time series techniques applied to forecasting financial and macroeconomic variables such as interest rates, exchange rates, stock prices, gross domestic product (GDP), inflation, and unemployment rates.


Economics Links

These links have been provided for those who want more information on both the Pitt-Johnstown Economics Program, and the world of Economics as a whole.

Pitt-Johnstown Economics Department Homepage

Pitt-Johnstown Economics Department Mission Statement

Degree Requirements (.pdf)

Resources for Economists

Economic Journals

Economic Associations

Contact Our Economics Faculty

Want More Information?

If you want to receive more information about Pitt-Johnstown in general, please visit the Admissions Office homepage by clicking the Mountain Cat!

Last Reviewed: January 10, 2012