What Can Economics Do for You?


Economics is the study of decision-making to allocate scarce resources. It affects every aspect of our lives and relates to a wide range of disciplines. The breadth of economics is reflected in courses offered by the Department including managerial decision-making, environmental economics, law and economics, international and public economics, behavioral economics, game theory, econometrics, and forecasting. Each of our courses help students develop analytical and rigorous ways of thinking critically about world issues and policies. Our quantitative courses equip students with specific skills to analyze data to answer real world questions asked by employers and policy makers. 

Our degrees are designed to help students develop the general, flexible and important skills valued by both the business community and graduate programs from law to business and economics. While some students major in economics without another degree, many pursue complementary coursework in other fields (e.g., math, political science, statistics, English, international studies). 


According to The Princeton Review, Economics is one of the 10 best college majors given the kinds of skills students acquire for a wide range of careers.  St. Thomas economics alumni are working for the government (U.S. Treasury, Federal Reserve, U.S. Department of State, Minnesota Department of Revenue), in banking (Piper Jaffray, Merrill Lynch, Citibank), business (Medtronic, Target, Best Buy), in law (Dorsey & Whitney) and in consulting (Ernst & Young). Alumni also have successfully completed graduate work in economics (Northwestern and University of Minnesota), law, public policy and business. Finally, St. Thomas economics majors have interned at many local businesses, some of which have offered interns full-time employment after graduation.  


The American Economic Association website provides detailed information on career opportunities and graduate school.   In addition, every spring the Economics Department hosts an informational meeting with a panel of alumni to answer this very important question.  The economics alumni to share how their degree is helping them in their careers and pass on some wisdom (both general and specific to economics) about how best to prepare oneself for the work world.  

Salaries of UST Alumni

A bar chart showing the median salaries by department("Source: 2016 First Destinations Survey")

Economics routinely ranks as one of the highest paying undergraduate majors with a median starting salary of $48,500. By mid-career, economics majors have median earnings of $94,900. One of the best things about economics is that it is applicable to a variety of career paths. The American Economic Association recently created a new video that might help answer the question, What can I do with my Economics Major? Additional career resources are available on the AEA website.   

The resources below provide information about the kinds of careers that economics majors typically pursue after graduation and the salary potential of college majors. Economics is ahead of other rewarding degrees like mathematics, software engineering, and finance (not that money is everything: many graduates use their degree to enter public service, work at a non-profit or grass roots organization).  

  • The Center at Georgetown University calculated the economic value of various majors, including economics. The graph below lists the 25th percentile, median and 75th percentile salaries for Economics Bachelor degrees and graduate degrees. 
  • PayScale calculated average earnings by major based on compensation data from 300+ schools including Carleton and University of Minnesota. Economics routinely ranks as one of the highest paying undergraduate majors with a median starting salary of $48,500. By mid-career, economics majors have median earnings of $94,900.