Old Mill Home of the Department of Economics

Economics gives you an understanding of how individuals and the societies they live in provide for material needs and wants. Within this framework, the subject addresses a broad variety of issues including employment, inflation, growth and development, technological change, international trade, money and banking, poverty, the environment, and the role of markets and governments in economic processes.

There are four options for beginning students at UVM. Most economics majors begin with introductory courses in macroeconomics (EC11) and microeconomics (EC12). These courses fulfill the distribution requirements for social sciences, and are required for a minor or major in economics, as well as programs outside the College of Arts and Sciences such as business administration.

B.A. & B.S. Options

The economics department at UVM offers a bachelor of arts (B.A.) and a bachelor of science (B.S.) track: the best degree for you depends upon your abilities, interests and goals. If using an analytical approach to explain social phenomena is attractive to you, then the B.A. is probably the choice for you. If you gravitate to rigorous courses in mathematics and science, it is possible that the B.S. in economics with its more pronounced quantitative emphasis may be the best fit.

Roadmap for Success

Our curricular approach and close personal attention provide students with a framework of success from the first semester to senior year. First-year students build skills and experience through introductory seminars including one in the Integrated Social Sciences Program and several in the Teacher-Advisor Program. Senior seminars, with an average of 18 students, include a research project that serves as the capstone of your undergraduate economics education—and a way of demonstrating to graduate schools and employers your grasp of economic theory and practice.

3+2 Adds Up to Tuition Savings, Law Degree

UVM-VLS 3+2 is a unique dual-degree program providing high-achieving students with an opportunity to earn a bachelor's degree and a Juris Doctor (JD) degree in a total of five years. After completing three years of undergraduate study at UVM, participants can matriculate at Vermont Law School where they complete two years of approved coursework for their JD degree. Admission to the program occurs at the end of a student’s first year at UVM.

Preparing for Graduate Study

Many economics majors go on to graduate school for advanced study include economics itself, as well as in law, business and public affairs.

Campus resources to explore opportunities include The Center for Career Development (E Building, Living/Learning Center, 656-3450). The Center has a library of brochures, catalogs and guides to graduate programs, and offer advice on how to apply. Be sure to familiarize yourself with deadlines and procedures at the graduate schools you are interested in.

The application process

You should begin the application process no later than the beginning of the Fall semester of your senior year. Most graduate programs require you to take an exam such as the Graduate Record Examination (the GRE) for general graduate schools, the LSAT for law school, and the GMAT for M.B.A. programs. These generally are taken in the Fall of the senior year according to a pre-determined schedule. For more information on times and locations of tests, contact The Counseling and Testing Center (146 South Williams, 656-3340).

Letters of recommendation

Faculty members are happy to write letters of recommendation—the more information you can provide them with (your resume, a transcript, a paper you wrote in their classes) the more personal they can be in supporting your application. It also helps to schedule a meeting to discuss your plans and to give the writer plenty of time.

If you think you’ll be going to graduate school sometime in the future, but not immediately following graduation, you can ask professors to write a letter or recommendation on forms provided by the Center for Career Development. The Center has forms for "Graduate Study" as well as for "Employment.” When you are ready to apply, the Center will send out your file as you direct. The advantage of this approach (versus asking professors for letters in the future) is that you can be certain that professors have important details about your academic career freshly in mind.

General Program Requirements

The Department of Economics updates the following information once per year. For the most up-to-date information, check the College of Arts & Sciences.

Credit Hours

A total of 120 hours are required for graduation. Students must take at least 96 Arts & Sciences credit hours. The only exception is for students who have an approved cross-college minor. They must take at least 84 Arts & Sciences credit hours.

Major Credit Hours for B.A.Students

No more than 45 hours of credit in major field may be used toward completion of the 120 hours of credit required for graduation.


All students must have a major, minor, and cumulative grade point average of at least 2.00 in order to graduate.

Pass/No Pass

Degree program students, not on academic trial, are permitted to take up to six courses (or as many courses as they have semesters remaining for future transfer students) on a pass/no pass basis, beginning in their sophomore year. Courses in the student's major department, either for the major or for the degree, and electives within the distribution requirements of a department may not be taken on a pass/no pass basis. This option may be used without condition for free electives. It also may be used for physical education (activity) courses, whether taken to fulfill a requirement or as electives, and shall not be counted as a part of the six standard courses described above.


After students have completed 77 credit hours, they are required to take a least 30 more credit hours at UVM. However, there are no limit on the number of credit hours transferable as long as the restriction is met. For a student graduating with a minimum 122 credit hours required, at least 30 of their last 45 credit hours must be at UVM. At least 1/2 of the credit hours used toward the major and minor requirements must be taken at UVM.

If you have questions about any of these policies, please contact the Dean's Office at 656-3344.


  • The Dean's Office suggests that students officially declare their major and minor by the end of the sophomore year. To declare a major in economics, begin by going to the registrar's office. Click on Forms. Click on Declare or Change Your Major/Minor/Concentration/College. Click on Arts & Sciences.
  • Transfer credit will be approved by Transfer Affairs, but will not always be assigned an exact equivalency (i.e., Anth 0XX; BIO 2XX). If a student would like to have such credit apply toward a major or minor requirement, the Dean's Office must receive written approval from the appropriate department. In some departments, an exact equivalency is not necessary but rather a category or subfield distinction is acceptable.
  • Students who have been placed on academic probation must enroll in all courses for a letter grade. Other conditions include: enrollment in at least 12 credits and earning a semester GPA of at least 2.0 in order to continue at UVM.
  • A student who is on academic probation cannot study abroad.
  • All students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 in order to receive permission from the Dean's Office to study abroad.
  • Only eight (8) Military Studies (MSTD and/or ASTU) hours may be applied toward degree requirements, and these are considered non-Arts & Sciences credits.
  • If a student is on academic probation and decides to not return to UVM the subsequent semester, upon readmission they will be on academic probation.
  • Senior "check sheets" are generated for every Arts & Sciences student once 87 credits or more are achieved.

Student Affairs Staff

Dean's Office Student Affairs phone number is 656-3344. Call if you have any questions. Students are seen primarily on a walk-in basis. the office is located in 438 College Street. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.

Spanierman UVM Econ intern

UVM senior on the ground floor of a startup

Sam Spanierman ’18 walked into Professor Jane Knodell’s Economics 290 Internship class unsure of where this stage of his academic journey would lead. The course links students with internship opportunities and meets weekly throughout the semester to share experiences and provide individual guidance.

A few weeks into the class, Spanierman landed an internship with a startup company Debx, a Washington D.C.-based company that recently launched a mobile application combining the benefits of credit and debit cards.

Spanierman says he has the best of both worlds, finishing up his final semester in Burlington while working for Debx from home. The experience has given him hands-on skills in marketing, fueled by the adrenaline rush of being on the ground floor of a new company.

“People use credit cards in part to get the rewards, like flight miles and points,” Spanierman says, explaining the inspiration behind the app. “The drawback is the interest you pay on debt. So Debx automatically pays off your daily credit card purchases with money in your checking account. You earn the rewards without running up the debt.”

A big selling point, Spanierman says, is for millennials like himself who are just starting out and want to establish a credit rating without the associated risk of running up unsustainable debt. The app provides a function that guards against overdrafts.

A native of Putney, Vt., Spanierman had UVM on his radar when he began his college search.

“My mom went to UVM and she raved about her experience there,” he said. “Burlington isn’t a big city, but much bigger than my home town. It was a great place to transition to a larger location.”

He arrived at UVM without a declared major, but that changed when he took Knodell’s introduction to macroeconomics course his freshman year. He decided studying economics would provide a flexible and marketable degree.

“I hadn’t been involved with marketing in my education here, so the internship has helped me build a whole set of new skills,” he says. “I feel a lot more confident and prepared now with the experience I’ve gained.”