Undergraduate FAQ

This information is provided for the informal guidance of students majoring in economics. It does not supplant the formal statements of Major, Minor, and Option requirements in the University of Victoria calendar.

Admission and program requirements

What are the requirements for admission to economics?

Like most undergraduate majors, there are no first-year admission requirements for economics.

There are university admission requirements - for more information, go to How to Apply. Once you've been admitted to UVic as a new undergraduate student, you are entitled to take first-year courses in economics and go on to pursue an economics degree.

We recommend that you consult the First-Year Program Guide and do a first-year check-in with Academic Advising.

What courses should I take to get started?

Our first-year courses include four non-specialist courses and two core courses.

Core first-year courses:

  • ECON 103 - Principles of Microeconomics
  • ECON 104 - Principles of Macroeconomics

These courses serve as prerequisites for all higher-level economics courses. If you have decided to do an economics degree, plan on completing ECON 103, 104, MATH 102 (or 100), and the UVic Academic Writing Requirement no later than your second year and preferably in your first year.

If you haven't yet decided on a degree or career path, you might want to consider the following non-specialist courses to get a sense of whether economics is right for you.

Non-specialist courses:

  • ECON 100 - The Canadian Economy
  • ECON 111 - The Environment and the Economy
  • ECON 112 - Strategy, Conflict and Co-operation
  • ECON 113 - Introduction to Economics for Policy Analysis

ECON 100 surveys economic principles and provides an overview of the Canadian economy. ECON 111, 112 and 113 provide an opportunity to see how the economic way of thinking can be applied to topics of contemporary interest.

These courses are intended for students who would like to get a sense of what economics is about before starting on a degree program in economics.

What are your most popular programs and how do I progress through them?

Most students do either a BA Major or BSc Major. Review our Program overview for information about all of the programs we offer. The University Calendar is the definitive statement of program requirements. Economics program requirements can be found here.

For students who enter UVic in first year intending to major in economics, the schedule below shows normal progress through the required courses of our two most popular programs; progress through the honours programs is similar, especially in the early years. Minimum grade requirements for individual courses are shown in parentheses. The schedule does not show more general degree requirements, such as electives.

In addition to the required courses listed below, a BA Major requires 10.5 units of ECON electives numbered 300 and above, while a BSc Major requires 6 units of ECON electives numbered 300 and above. Students should also consult the Faculty of Social Sciences degree requirements. Be sure to also check your particular program (e.g. Majors, Honours, etc) requirements in addition to the Faculty requirements.

Program: BA Major BSc Major
Year\Term Fall Spring Fall Spring
Year 1
  • ECON 103
  • MATH 102 or 100
  • AWR
  • ECON 104
  • ECON 103
  • MATH 100 or 102
  • CSC 105 or 110
  • AWR
  • ECON 104
Year 2
  • ECON 203 (C)
  • ECON 225
  • ECON 245 (C+)
  • ECON 204 (C)
  • ECON 313
  • ECON 246
  • ECON 203 (C)
  • ECON 225
  • ECON 245 (C+)
  • ECON 204 (C)
  • ECON 313
  • ECON 246
  • MATH 208
Year 3
  • ECON 345 or 365
  • One of ECON 321, 327, 328, 337, 338, 407
  • ECON 345 or 365
  • ECON 350 (C)
  • ECON 351
  • ECON 366 recommended
Year 4
  • One 400 level course
Two of ECON 450, 451, 452, 453, 454, 456, 457, 468, or 482
Notes:
  • The ECON 225 program requirement is satisfied if you have credit for ENGR 240. 
  • Minimum grade of C in ECON 203 is required for ECON 313.
  • Minimum grade of C+ in ECON 245 is required for ECON 345.
  • Minimum grade of B in MATH 208 is required for ECON 350.
  • MATH 208 can be taken in first year followed by ECON 350 and 351 in second year, provided ECON 104 is completed in Fall instead of Spring. (May be of particular interest to students considering an honours program or double major.)
  • This timetable assumes a student enters with a high school math background sufficient to begin a first university-level calculus course. If not, the math sequence must be adjusted (usually to take MATH 120 before MATH 102).
  • This timetable also assumes only taking courses in Winter Session (September to April). It will need to be adjusted if you're a co-op student or if you take courses in Summer Session. (We normally offer ECON 203, 204, 225, 245, 246 and a selection of third-year courses in Summer Session.)

In addition to the required courses and the broader economics requirements as detailed in the Calendar, are there any other considerations I should be aware of in planning my program?

Yes. Economics programs operate within the more general UVic and Faculty of Social Science degree requirements. A UVic degree requires 60 units of course credit, equivalent to 40 one-term (1.5 unit) courses.

Your attention is directed to the following entry on the Faculty of Social Sciences Program Requirements section of the Calendar. Be sure to also check your particular program (e.g. Majors, Honours, etc) requirements in addition to the Faculty requirements.


Advising and declaration of major

How do I declare my program?

Program declaration and program change requests are submitted online at www.uvic.ca/declareme. You will be directed to log on to your MyPage account, where you will select Grades and Records, followed by Program Declaration or Change. You will then follow the guided steps to submit your request.

For more information on how to declare your program, visit the Academic Advising website. 

Note: If you intend to do an honours degree you first declare your major in economics and, in your third year, apply to the Honours Program. If you intend to do a minor in economics you must first declare your major in another discipline.

Is there anywhere else I can go for advice about economics?

Yes, you can see the Undergraduate Advisor in our department, Dr. Elisabeth Gugl; her office is BEC 384.

To find the Undergraduate Advisor's office hours, contact our main office: drop by BEC 360; email or phone 250-472-4410. Be sure to thoroughly review the Advising and Registration page and University Calendar website before contacting her.

If you have specific questions that can't be answered in these sites, or would like an appointment outside of office hours, email Dr. Gugl at


Economics and business

What is the relationship between the Department of Economics and the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business?

Although they are located in the same building, the two are not related. The Department of Economics is a department within the Faculty of Social Sciences.

I'm planning to apply to the BCom Program but I may want to study economics instead. How should I prepare?

Many prospective commerce students end up becoming economics majors. Pre-commerce requirements can be satisfied in a number of ways; however, only some also meet the economics requirements.

You should make sure to plan your program in a way that will also allow you to pursue an economics degree, possibly with a Business Minor and/or Finance Option. To be consistent with the requirements for economics majors, students should meet the pre-commerce requirements in the following way:

Commerce requirement: Meet with:
Mathematics MATH 102
Statistics ECON 245 and 246
Computing CSC 105
Economics Both ECON 103 and 104
Note: MATH 151 and STAT 252 cannot be used to satisfy program requirements in Economics.

Are there opportunities to combine studies in both business and economics?

Yes, here are some possibilities:

Other considerations:

  • It is not possible to do a minor in economics from within the BCom Program or a double major in economics and business.
  • If you're interested in accounting or finance, please see our Careers page.

Is it possible to do both the Business Minor and the Business Option?

No. Courses credited towards a minor cannot also be credited towards any other programs.

Is it possible to do both the Business Minor and the Finance Option?

Yes. You should be aware, though, that COM 240 will only count towards the Minor. You will not be able to include COM 240 as one of the five Finance Option courses.

Is it possible to do both the Business Option and the Finance Option?

Yes. (COM 240 can be used towards both of the Options.)

What is the difference between the Business Minor offered by the School of Business and the Business Option offered by the Department of Economics?

The two are similar. Both give students an opportunity to obtain recognition for taking a group of business-related courses within their economics programs.

In choosing between them, keep in mind the following points:

  1. Both require COM 202, 220, 240, and 250. In addition, the Business Minor requires COM 317 and at least 1.5 units of 300- or 400-level COM, ENT or IB courses.
  2. The Business Minor requires at least a C+ in each of COM 220, 240, 250, 202 and 317.
  3. Neither a Minor nor an Option will appear on your degree diploma itself. However, having business courses on your transcript may make a difference for your co-op and career opportunities.
  4. Students in the Economics co-op program who also do the Business Minor can opt to do one of their co-op terms with Business, which has excellent contacts abroad.
  5. The Business Minor can be added to a general degree (for example, economics and one other program area). So, unlike the Options, it is not necessary to major in economics to pursue the Business Minor.

What are some considerations when deciding between majoring in commerce or economics?

There are many things to consider when choosing between a business or economics degree, which depend on the structure of the programs and your aptitudes and preferences. Of course, choosing an education and career path is an individual decision and we encourage you to explore both possibilities.

If you choose a degree in economics, you will have the flexibility to take courses in other areas, including business courses, which can lead to a Business Option or Business Minor, as we describe above. If you are considering a BCom degree at UVic, you should be aware of the regulations that limit the number of Commerce courses you can take as part of your Pre-Commerce coursework. Limitation of Commerce Credit and Course Waivers.

An economics degree can lead to a career in finance. The advanced economics courses in the Finance Option are quite technical and are good preparation for the coveted Chartered Financial Analyst Program or for a technical MBA with a specialization in finance. The additional complementary courses in the BSc or the Combined Major in Financial Mathematics and Economics provide preparation for graduate work and research in finance.

Are you interested in accounting? Although accounting courses are not taught in our department, with early planning it is possible to combine an economics degree with preparation towards the highly respected Chartered Public Accountant designation. Economics is a particularly nice complement for their managerial accounting specialization. An economics background in industrial organization, finance, and statistical inference is valuable for this career path.

Studying economics, particularly the BA program, will provide you with flexibility to take a wide range of courses for a liberal/mathematical education. Economics training emphasizes sophisticated approaches and tools for critical thinking that are applicable in both business and social sciences. Economics is great training for law, and it will also prepare you for a business career. See our Careers page for more information about the many career paths you can take with a degree in economics.

The School of Business at UVic specializes in the areas of entrepreneurship, international business, and service management. If these are your main areas of interest, this could be a good choice for you.


Program requirements, course prerequisites, and ECON 225

I notice that the requirements for my economics degree program have changed somewhat over the years. Which requirements apply to me?

Your program will normally be governed by the regulations in effect at the date of your first registration in the faculty. If the requirements change in subsequent Calendars before you have finished your degree, you can usually elect to take advantage of those changes if it is in your interest to do so.

Exceptions are courses listed in the Options and BSc required courses. If you have not already taken a de-listed course, then the new program requirements apply.

Given that program requirements change over time, how can I be absolutely certain that the courses I am taking will count towards my degree program?

This is the purpose of your Curriculum Advising and Program Planning (CAPP) degree audit. Once you've declared your program in Economics, your CAPP audit will be available through MyPage. Make an appointment to see an advisor in the Advising Centre for an explanation of your CAPP audit.

What happens if a course prerequisite changes?

Under UVic rules, changes in course prerequisites take effect when they appear in the Calendar and apply equally to all students regardless of what year they started.

I do not have the prerequisites for a course. Is there any way I can take it?

Probably not. Careful consideration is given in setting course prerequisites, and they normally constitute essential background to a course.

If you think your academic background includes equivalents to the stated prerequisites, you can fill out and submit the Prerequisite Waiver form and carefully explain why you believe the courses you have taken are equivalent to the prerequisites.

What if the prerequisite says "or permission of the department"?

This indicates that the course may be of interest to students with non-standard backgrounds, in which case the instructor is willing to interpret the prerequisites flexibly. Again, you must complete and submit the Prerequisite Waiver form and carefully explain why you believe that your background substitutes for the prerequisites.

For example, suppose you had a first degree in Engineering; this would likely be sufficient background to waive the program requirement ECON 245 and would allow you to take ECON 246 without having completed ECON 245. It might also be sufficient background to waive ECON 245, 246 & MATH 208 so you could enroll directly in ECON 365.

I understand that ECON 225 involves a diagnostic test. How does this work?

A comprehension and writing test will be given in the first seven calendar days of the course. Students who fail the test will be required to see the ECON 225 teaching assistant during the term to upgrade their writing skills.

Are there courses I can take, either at UVic or elsewhere, that substitute for ECON 225?

Yes. This requirement is satisfied if you have completed ENGR 240. There are no courses from elsewhere that transfer to UVic as credit for ECON 225.

Even if you are able to bypass ECON 225 with ENGR 240, we encourage you to consider taking ECON 225 anyway, or another course that emphasizes individual writing, such as ECON 410A or POLI 351. ECON 225 not only teaches you how to express your thoughts about economic issues but also teaches critical thinking. The ability to argue and write is a highly-valued job-market skill. Developing this skill will make your education that much more enjoyable and interesting.

Doing a minor in a field in the social sciences or humanities is also a good way to develop your writing abilities and learn about another discipline. Traditionally, political science, philosophy, and history have been viewed as good complements to economics.

Can the ECON 225 requirement be waived?

Yes, if you have declared your major in a writing-intensive discipline (for example, English, Geography, History, or Political Science). Also, the requirement may be waived if you have a background as a writer (for example, reporter for a newspaper). See the Economics Undergraduate Advisor if one of these applies to you.


Economics, mathematics and statistics

Should I take MATH 102 or 100?

MATH 102 is the more appropriate course for most BA students because it provides calculus training that can be directly applied to economics. MATH 102 is adequate background for BSc students taking the subsequent mathematical economics course, MATH 208.

MATH 100 is for those students who are undaunted by theoretical mathematics and are interested in the BSc program and graduate work in economics. Students can either satisfy BSc requirements by subsequently taking MATH 208 or instead by taking the rigorous sequence: MATH 101, 200 and 211. Students who take MATH 102 are usually precluded from taking MATH 101 and this rigorous sequence (though in the past, students with an A- or better have been allowed into MATH 101 by making a request to an advisor in the Math Department.)

The Calendar says that, although ECON 245/246 is the stats sequence that the department prefers and recommends, STAT 260/261 can be substituted. Are there any other courses that substitute?

Not at UVic. ECON 245/246 are calculus-based courses (245 has MATH 102 as a prerequisite) and so only calculus-based statistics courses are allowed as substitutes. At UVic the only such courses are STAT 260/261. For the most part, community college statistics courses are not calculus-based and so do not substitute.