Old Mill Home of the Department of Economics

We encourage UVM economics students to build on their coursework by taking advantage of additional opportunities tailored to their specific skills, interests, and goals. You’ll have the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on work experience in real-world settings before you graduate—most economics majors do an internship or a study abroad opportunity during their four years.

Internship a Stepping Stone to Employment

With help from his advisor, Sean Breen ‘17 fashioned a double-major in chemistry and economics, giving him the flexibility to take language and literature courses not directly related to his major. In search of an internship his junior year, economics professor Jane Knodell put him touch with the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA). Breen developed a database and analytic tools for VEDA’s commercial solar energy portfolio. That experience led him to another internship at a small venture capital firm in Chevy Chase, Md. He's now working in the DC area at a software company called RainKing which produces a sales intelligence platform.

Making a Difference

An economics and political science double major, Nick DeMassi '17 will join the Peace Corps after graduation to teach math to students in Guinea, Africa. It won’t be DeMassi’s first time sharing his love of numbers; the Honors College grad tutored fellow students in a microeconomics course and served as a teaching assistant for another of his UVM mentors, associate professor of economics Sara Solnick. His research involved a new take on the “ultimatum game,” a classic experiment that provides insights into how humans calculate their economic self-interest.

Launching a Career in Public Policy

Sarang Murthy ’17 was born in Dallas but graduated high school in Bangalore, India. He had his sights set on attending college in New England. As he researched the options, his father introduced him to UVM online. “I instantly fell in love with the school. Get this—I had only seen pictures of UVM, Burlington, and Vermont in general. The first time I set foot in our state was when I got off the plane!” The financial crisis of 2008 motivated Murthy to understand the intricacies of the devastation that the crisis had led him to major in economics. “I discovered that although I love macro-finance, macro-labor and public policy were two areas that I was drawn to immensely. I am currently working at a social and public policy think-tank in New York City. The position requires me to use quantitative and analytical skills; my degree in economics has prepared me for this very well.” Murthy cites his faculty mentors in the economics department—particularly professors Jane Knodell, Nathalie Mathieu-Bolh, and Stephanie Seguino. “Without their support and guidance through my years at UVM, I would not have started the Economics Club, conducted quantitative research on Human Capital Theory & Refugees, or even thought of applying to Ph.D. programs as an undergraduate."

Accepting the Fed Challenge

225x225_econ Fed_challenge

When four UVM students took center stage at the Boston Federal Reserve offices on November 3, 2017, they had the full attention of New York Fed economists and staff experts on national monetary policy. The occasion was the National Fed Challenge Competition, a sort of college World Series for undergraduate economists which gives participants a chance to make a 15-minute pitch for future Federal Reserve fiscal policy. The quartet of UVM’ers proceeded to knock it out of the park, winning the morning completion in the Boston Regional Fed Challenge Competition and advancing to an afternoon round. The team’s second presentation, this time to an audience of economic analysts, resulted in an overall third place finish in the region. Teams were evaluated on demonstrating a knowledge of current economic conditions, understanding monetary policy, data and analysis, and teamwork. 

Readings and Research

Students have the opportunity to pursue independent studies not covered by the department's regular course offerings through special Readings and Research courses (EC 297 in the fall semester or EC 298 in the spring). With a sponsoring faculty member, you’ll develop a plan of work to guide your studies.

Academic Programs for Learning and Engagement (APLE)

Students have the opportunity to engage deeply with economics through research projects. In each case, students can work on individual projects, or with other students in group projects. The College of Arts & Sciences offers some funding opportunities for such research.

National Awards for Economics Students

Students who are excelling in their studies and who want to be change makers in society may want to apply for these awards. They range from undergraduate merit scholarships to postgraduate research opportunities to graduate school fellows. Visit the Office of Fellowships Advising website to find the awards that best fit your intellectual track and personal aspirations.

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Research Opportunities

Students with high academic achievement can pursue independent research projects with faculty as a capstone to their economics major. Often this is done as part of the College Honors Program, or the Honors College.

Recent examples of individually conducted student research projects include:

  • an analysis of how information technology affects investment behavior in the U.S. economy
  • a study of how governance reforms would affect the ability of Mexico's economy to respond to financial crises

There are also opportunities for students to conduct research projects as a group. For example, in a recent Environmental Economics class, students wrote a comprehensive analysis of a proposed wind power project off the coast of Cape Cod. You can look at their Cape Wind Project report.

Omicron Delta Epsilon

Omicron Delta Epsilon, an international honors society for economics, is one of the world's largest academic honor societies. As a major or minor in economics, you are eligible to join UVM's chapter if you have completed 18 credit hours in economics, have an economics GPA of 3.33 or higher, and an overall GPA of at least 3.0. The economics department chair invites applicants in the spring of each year. The objectives of Omicron Delta Epsilon are recognition of scholastic attainment and the honoring of outstanding achievements in economics; the establishment of closer ties between students and faculty in economics within colleges and universities, and among colleges and universities; the publication of its official journal, The American Economist, and sponsoring of panels at professional meetings as well as the Irving Fisher and Frank W. Taussig competitions.