Economics

Economic problems are an ever-present and inherent part of our lives. Common issues include the periodic existence of high unemployment; global competition in world markets and arguments about the wisdom of free trade agreements; and the effect of changes in the value of the Canadian dollar. The social science of economics is our attempt to analyze and understand these and other problems. At a more basic level, economics is concerned with the material well-being of human societies. Queen’s Economics Department has a long celebrated history of academic excellence. Why should you study economics? First, it is essential to understanding the world in which you live and work. What determines the prices of goods and services, and the returns on stocks and bonds? Why do some people earn so much and others so little? Second, the study of economics will equip you to participate more successfully in an increasingly knowledge-based and interdependent global economy. How do individuals decide how much and what kinds of education to acquire, how much to spend and save, how to invest their savings, and how much to invest in housing? Finally, the study of economics will give you a better understanding of the objectives and limitations of government policy. How can government policy help reduce environmental pollution? How does the tax system affect the incentives for people to work, spend and save, and for firms to invest? By systematically addressing these sorts of questions, economics will help you make better decisions in your personal life, in your business life and as a global citizen.

See our Major Map to learn more

Location: 
Dunning Hall
Room number: 
221
Telephone: 
Department Head: 
H. Lloyd-Ellis
Undergraduate Studies Chair: 
Ian Keay
Graduate Studies Coordinator: 
Sumon Majumdar

Degree Options

Bachelor of Arts (Honours) - BAH

Major in Applied Economics or Economics
A major is an intensive course of study in one discipline, with approximately half of your courses within the discipline with room for an optional minor in any other Arts and Science discipline.

Medial in Economics
A dual course of study in Economics and any other Arts discipline.

Minor in Economics
A minor is a less intensive course of study in the discipline that must be combined with a major in another discipline.

For a full list of Degree Plans, see the Academic Calendar

Graduate Degree Options

Economics - PhD
Economics - MA
Combined MA (Economics)/JD Program

NEW Risk Policy and Regulation Diploma

The global financial crisis has emphasized serious gaps in our knowledge in a range of areas related to risk management, the banking system, risk regulation, and the interaction of all of these with the real economy. The RPRD has been designed to produce graduates who have the latest ideas and techniques to deal with risk management policy and regulation in the financial sector. This program is unique to Canada.

The graduate Risk Policy and Regulation Diploma (RPRD) is a unique program in Canada, specializing in providing you with training in the issues surrounding risk management and regulation. This program has been created in partnership with the Global Risk Institute in Financial Services. The program brings together courses in risk management theory and implementation, banking theory and practice, financial regulation, and advanced topics in risk management and regulation. In addition, relevant material from financial management and accounting and behavioural economics will be integrated. As much as possible, there will be integration of the material across courses. All courses will have a heavy reliance on the integration of recent empirical, policy, descriptive, and theoretical literature. This will include empirical evidence on the causes of various types of financial crises, financial network model implementation and stress tests, macro-prudential policy (including the relevant theory and empirical evidence), credit models (exploring limitations of existing models and proposed new approaches), credit and market liquidity modeling and their limitations, regulation and banking practice, and financial institution governance interacting with regulatory regimes.

The graduate Risk Policy and Regulation Diploma (RPRD) is a four-month program. The program is open to students who already have a Master’s degree in Economics with a specialization in financial economics (MA), or a Master’s in Financial Economics (MFE), and provides a strong emphasis on regulation, systemic risk, macroeconomics and macroeconomic policies (including macro-prudential policy). The program is particularly well-suited to those wishing to pursue careers in the public sector, and also provides a broad perspective for those wishing to pursue careers in the private sector.

For further information, please see our Program Details.

Job and Career Opportunities for Economics Grads

Queen's economics students acquire a diverse portfolio of analytical, quantitative, computational and communications skills that provide excellent preparation for a wide range of post-graduation educational and career opportunities. An undergraduate degree in economics provides an excellent background for further studies in law, business, and many other areas. Some of our graduates pursue advanced studies in economics at the master's and doctoral levels, while others undertake professional programs such as finance, business administration, public administration, law, industrial relations, information technology, and resource management.

Recent Queen's economics graduates have moved on to Master's programs in economics, finance or business at Queen's, the University of Toronto, Dalhousie University, York University, the University of Western Ontario, University of Essex, Wilfrid Laurier University, the University of Calgary, the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, MSc Trinity College Dublin, Cambridge University, and the University of Victoria; to Ph.D. programs in economics at Princeton University, Yale University, Northwestern University, and Oxford University; to law schools at the University of Toronto, York University, the University of Western Ontario, the University of Windsor, Dalhousie, and the University of Victoria; and to the Master's in Industrial Relations program at Queen's.

Although Queen's economics graduates have a long and strong tradition of public sector employment at all three levels of government, increasing numbers of recent graduates have embarked on private sector careers in finance, financial services and business services. Some of the jobs held by Queen's economics graduates of the past few years are: Financial Analyst, CP Rail; Trader, Scotia Markets, Scotia-McLeod; Market Researcher, Merrill Lynch - Hong Kong, New York; Financial Analyst Trainee, Solomon Brothers; Researcher, Finance Division, Bank of Canada; Investment Banker, Credit Suisse First Boston; Fixed Income Researcher, TD Securities; World Markets Analyst, CIBC; Portfolio Manager, Royal Bank; Country Credit Analyst, Standard & Poors; Statistical Analyst, Canadian Urban Institute; Risk Analyst, Export Development Corporation; and Economic Researcher, Ministry of Natural Resource, Province of Ontario; Financial Analyst, Citigroup Global Markets, NY; Advisory Trainee, Donnelly Management Services; Analyst, Transport Canada; Client Services, Deloitte&Touche; Economist, Informetrica Ltd.; Underwriter, Commercial Insurance Division, Chubb Insurance; Statistical Analyst, Canadian Urban Institute; Marketing Analyst, Bayer Inc.; Consultant, Donnelly Mangement Services; Human Resources Professional, IBM Canada; Research Analyst, Bank of Montreal.

Career paths for Economics grads handout from Career Services >

Alumni Profile

David Card, a world-renowned economist, earned his BAH in Economics from Queen’s University. He has made fundamental research contributions on the impacts of immigration on labour market wages, unemployment, job training and inequality. Currently the director at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a Professor in California, Card was the co-recipient of the IZA Prize in Labor Economics in 2006 as well as a recipient of the American Economic Association’s John Bates Clark Prize.

Undergraduate Course Highlights

Courses in Economics look at both micro and macro environments, from local to international markets. Courses such as Macroeconomic Policy, International Trade Policy, and Law and Economics are for those interested in policy development. Courses in Canadian Labour Relations, Labour Markets and Gender Differences, and Income Distribution and Problems of Inequality allow students to focus on areas related to equity and workforce issues. If you are more interested in how economics relates to specific industries, then courses in Natural Resource Economics or the Economics of Health Care are for you.

Undergraduate Admission for Economics

Students apply to Queen’s Arts (QA) through the OUAC (Ontario Universities Application Centre) website (ouac.on.ca). Secondary School prerequisites include six 4U and 4M courses, including a minimum of three 4U courses, one of which must be ENG4U. Applicants outside of Ontario may have additional requirements.

Graduate Studies

"The Queen's Economic Department is a fantastic place to be a graduate student. The coursework is challenging and the professors are approachable. Queen's not only offers one of the top ranked PhD programs in the country, it also provides a very collegial environment for learning. The department hosts regular workshops in microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics and provides grad students with the opportunity to meet and engage with visiting researchers. Grad students also regularly interact with each other in seminars, courses and reading groups. All of these factors have enriched my graduate school experience and helped me grow as a researcher. I should also mention there is a weekly doughnut hour with faculty!" Kevin Andrew (PhD Candidate)

There are many compelling reasons for students who want a high-quality graduate degree in Economics to study at Queen's:
  • We are widely recognized as one of the leading Economics departments in Canada.
  • The M.A. program is challenging, rigorous, and of moderate size. We aim for about 40 students per year. Read more about the advantages of the M.A. program.
  • The Ph.D. program is small, and there is a great deal of interaction between faculty and students. 
  • Read more about the advantages of the Ph.D. program.
  • Graduates of both programs have had great success in initial job placements and in their subsequent careers.
  • All students are assigned an office with a phone and a computer to provide network access. There are usually either four M.A. or two Ph.D. students to an office.

Financial assistance for all full-time graduate students in the Department of Economics may consist of a scholarship (varying amounts) and a two-term teaching assistantship, or a two-term teaching assistantship only. All master's students are eligible for the first year, and doctoral students for the first four years, of their respective programs. All applicants will be considered for financial assistance if it has been requested on the application. Queen's University has established a minimum guarantee of funding for doctoral students of $18.000 . In 2013-2014, the minimum level of funding for doctoral students within the department was $23,000.

Coordinator of Graduate Studies

Sumon Majumdar
Dunning 204
Department of Economics
Queen's University
Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6
Phone: (613) 533-2256