Paths in economics

Economics is about making good decisions; explaining and predicting; behaving strategically; achieving objectives efficiently. Economics is a way of thinking and a collection of powerful quantitative and analytic tools.

It is a body of knowledge about the national economy, the world economy and the many sectors in each. When you put all of this together you find that economics can prepare students for an extraordinary range of career choices.

Graduates of our programs have become lawyers, accountants, financial analysts, investment advisors, policy makers, academics, chief economists of major financial institutions, CEOs of major companies, entrepreneurs, and more. They occupy positions at all levels in government, business and academia.

The diversity of our programs allows our students to get a head start in preparing for all of these. The information here and on the other careers pages will help you in making decisions about how best to do this, both in terms of which of our programs to choose and how you can build on them through follow-on programs.

Preparing for careers in business, finance and accounting

The combination of a BA or BSC Major with the Business Option (or Business Minor) and Finance Option provide a good starting point for most careers in business including finance, financial services and accounting, among others.

The Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) is a very valuable international recognized designation. In terms of skills you are in many ways better trained than most MBA programs. There is a strong demand for CPAs not just in accounting jobs but also for all levels of management.      

You can work towards meeting some of the academic prerequisites for the CPA by taking courses at UVic, see http://www.uvic.ca/services/advising/profession/pre-professional/cpa.php. However, to meet all of the prerequisites you will have to take some courses elsewhere or through CPA PREP (Prerequisite Education Program). Please see https://www.bccpa.ca/become-a-cpa/programs/learn-more-about-prerequisites/.

Accounting at Camosun is very active in supporting the CPA and providing networking opportunities for students to find employment. They offer the full range of acceptable courses. Their accounting sequence starts with ACCT 110 and 111 and ACCT 220. These courses count towards all of the certification programs. Together these courses can be counted in place of COM 270 as credit in our Business Option. (The BC Transfer Guide under COM 270 notes: CAMO ACCT 110 + CAMO ACCT 111 + CAMO ACCT 220 can be used to satisfy UVic COM 270 requirement for Bus minor & option programs). Camosun's FIN 110 & 210 both count towards the CPA. Though COM 240 can't be used towards the CPA, you can transfer FIN 210 as COM 240 (CAMO FIN 210 (3) UVIC COM 240 (1.5); must have C or better to transfer). You can use the transfer credit from FIN 210 as meeting the COM 240 prerequisite for ECON 435 and 454. Camosun offers lots of sections of these courses each term.

Most accounting and finance courses taken elsewhere transfer to UVic as 200-level credit. To complete your degree and certification efficiently you should plan early and not take too many 100- and 200-level electives at UVic. Otherwise, you might end up taking extra courses to satisfy graduating requirements (at least 20 courses must be taken at UVic, at least 12 courses must be at the 300- and 400-level, and at least 8 of the 10 required 300- and 400-level courses in the Economics Major program must be taken at UVic). Upper-level UVic COM courses open to Economics students (depending on availability) that count towards the CPA PEP include: COM 302, 402, 425, 426, 435. Economic courses that complement an accounting education are ECON 305, 310A, 413, 435, 454, 458, and 468.

Financial analysis relies on the analytic and quantitative methods of economics and is generally regarded as a branch of economics, as well as business. UVic students interested in pursuing a graduate finance program, either a specialized program or as part of an MBA, will be well served by an undergraduate economics program that includes the right combination of courses.

For those interested in a career in financial services a BA or BSc Major combined with the Finance Option is a good choice. Follow the links on the left for sources of more information about training for the financial services industry.

  • Canadian Securities Institute. The CSI offers a number of programs to prepare for careers in the financial services industry. The Canadian Securities Course is the most popular.
  • Chartered Financial Analyst Program. This is the Gold Standard for the investment profession. Financial analysis in general, and this program in particular, draw on the analytic and quantitative skills that are part of our programs. An Economics degree that includes courses in accounting and finance provides a good starting point. This is a self-study program with exams written at three successive levels. Completing the Level I CFA exams serves as a strong signal to potential employers that you are serious about career in this field. There is a CFA branch in Victoria with a website at www.cfavictoria.com.
  • US Department of Labour, Bureau of Labour Statistics Financial Analyst Career Page. The official US government site containing financial analyst career information.
Policy formation

All government policies have economic implications and, whatever the objectives of the policy might be, the economic way of thinking and the economics tool-kit can help insure that these objectives are achieved most effectively. Not surprisingly, economists are at the centre of policy formation by governments and international agencies at all levels.

We offer a number of courses with an explicit policy focus, including courses in labour economics, health economics, Canadian public policy, urban economics, as well as a complete four course sequence in environmental and resource economics. A graduate degree is often expected.

Graduate studies in economics

A graduate degree in economics is a common expectation for most jobs performed by professional economists. Our BSc honours program provides an excellent foundation for graduate studies in economics.

Many of our undergraduates have gone on to notable success in some of the best graduate programs in Canada and elsewhere. Some are now themselves teaching in universities both in Canada and in the United States. We also offer our own Master's and PhD programs.

Each year there will be a number of information sessions that will provide information about employment opportunities and opportunities for graduate study. In addition, there will be a number of events that will allow you to make contact with professional economists and their associations. You can check out the events calendar for a list of past and upcoming events. To keep informed about upcoming opportunities you should subscribe to the Econstudents mailing list.

The alumni profiles on the Alumni page will provide you with examples of some of the many students who have pursued careers as professional economists.

  • Advanced Policy Analyst Program. The APAP develops high potential individuals for policy roles in the Government of Canada by offering recent master's-level graduates the opportunity to establish a foundation of knowledge and experience in federal public administration.
  • Canadian Association for Business Economics. This is the national web site for the CABE. There is a Victoria chapter and you can learn more about their activities through the national site.
Other career paths

Many other alternatives are open to students with an undergraduate degree in economics, including professional programs in law, public administration, health information science and economic consulting.

The type of preparation best suited for each of these differs considerably. For example, students preparing for studies in law would benefit most from our courses that emphasize the institutional foundations of the economy. These include not only the courses in law and economics, but also the courses in economic history, economic development and the history of economic thought. In this case, the BA Major or Honours programs would be more suitable than the BSc programs.