1. What is Economics?

Economics is the science of everyday life. It is the study of how societies, markets, firms, institutions, households and individuals make decisions, respond to incentives and allocate scarce resources. Economics is everywhere, it is fun, and relevant. It equips students with the tools and a pair of glasses with which you analyze questions about the environment (‘how to control global warming?’), marriage markets (‘who marries whom, and why?’), design of institutions (‘which policies reduce political corruption?’), neighbourhood effects (‘whether individual decisions are affected by a desire to conform to social norms’), and urbanisation (‘what explains the formation of cities and specific spatial distribution of individuals within cities?’). Economics at Yale-NUS covers a breadth of questions and methodologies that intersect fields like anthropology, computer science, history, psychology, political science, sociology and mathematics.

Here is a link to research papers from the AEAweb page that illustrates what economics is about and how it connects with everyday lives.

2. Where can I look for good information on studying economics?

A very useful website is the AEAweb page on Economics, which provides information and helpful tips on studying economics in college.

The AEA also provide a good information about what careers follow after a major in economics.

3. Is Economics a professional programme?

Economics is not a professional programme as are architecture or law, for example. As a liberal arts major, its primary goal is to offer students with the in-depth training and wide-ranging exposure to issues in the traditions of economics. The programme at YNUS not only equips you well for a career in economics but also for graduate school or professional programmes like law or medicine after graduation.

4. Can I go on to graduate school after a major in economics?

If your grades are good enough and you take the right combination of modules, this programme will prepare you for a range of graduate programmes, both professional (architecture, planning, community development, social work) and academic (i.e. economics).

5. What courses are being offered in AY 2018-19?

Semester 1

Intermediate Microeconomics

Intermediate Macroeconomics

Behavioural Economics

Labor Economics

Topics in Applied Econometrics

Advance Microeconomics

Advance Econometrics


Semester 2

Principles of Economics

Intermediate Macroeconomics

Intermediate Microeconomics


Introduction to Game Theory

International Finance

Development Economics

Bubbles and Crashes

6. What can I do with a major in economics? Also see under Career Information.

The Yale-NUS graduates majoring in economics have generally gone into the banking, finance, management consulting sector and a few into the technology sector. A small number have also gone on to pursue graduate studies. The economics majors from the class of 2017 and 2018 have commanded high media salaries across the College’s graduating majors.

7. What do I have to do for a Economics Major?

All students completing the Economics Major will be required to complete 54 Modular Credits (MC) including a capstone project that is worth 10 MC. The rest of the 44 MC are obtained through coursework that must include one gateway course and four required courses as specified below.

In addition to YSS1203, Principles of Economics, at most one other course at the 1000 level can be counted towards the 44 MC requirement.  If a student has completed A-level Mathematics AND A-level Economics (or equivalent courses in high school), then the student is not allowed to take Principles Of Economics(YSS1203).

Three required courses are Intermediate Microeconomics (YSS2203), Intermediate Macroeconomics (YSS2214) and Econometrics (YSS2211).

And at least one advanced courses from either Advance Microeconomics (YSS3208), Advance Macroeconomics (YSS3248) and Advance Econometrics(YSS3207).

In addition to gateway and required courses, students must choose a sufficient number of other elective courses to satisfy the 44 MC requirement relevant to the cohort.

Students are encouraged to discuss their respective choices with the Head of Studies and their academic advisors.

More information is available from https://www.yale-nus.edu.sg/curriculum/majors/economics/

8. How often will you offer the core courses?

At least one section of Intermediate Microeconomics (YSS2203) and Intermediate Macroeconomics (YSS2214) are offered in each semester. The other core course, Econometrics (YSS2211) is currently offered in the second semester. At least one advanced level course is offered in each semester.

9. Must the required economics core courses be taken before elective courses?

Most of the economics elective modules require one of the three core required courses as a prerequisite. The only courses that do not are the gateway courses, Principles of Economics (YSS1203) and Introduction to Game Theory (YSS1205).

10. What if I am interested in taking elective courses offered by another major at Yale-NUS College? Can I count this towards the requirements of the Economics major?

Yes you can, provided that the elective course is a cross-listed course. Cross-listed courses are operated by another major within Yale-NUS College. Based on their content, these cross-listed modules have been pre-approved to count towards the requirements of the major.

11. Can I or should I take courses at NUS?

Sure, we are lucky to have NUS next door with a large economics department. We offer a wide variety of courses here, but if there is something that is of particular interest to you that we don’t offer here, please do take advantage of their offerings.

Many of their courses might be complementary with our programs. Below is an incomplete list of possible courses of interest to Yale-NUS students. There is some overlap between our offerings and those of NUS; as a result, we request that all students seek faculty approval before taking any courses at NUS. As a rule of thumb, we will approve students enrolling in NUS courses as long as they are not offered at Yale-NUS.

12. How do I go about registering for NUS courses?

Our understanding of the process is detailed below. Of course, we suggest you speak to your Vice Rector if you have questions.

NUS Courses

Yale-NUS students can select any of the various NUS courses offered next semester. To facilitate choice, the Heads of Studies have identified a series of NUS courses that may be of interest to our students. For a list of recommended modules, please refer to the FAQ document (TBA). Interested students are encouraged to discuss these modules with their Vice Rector and, for students with declared majors, with their Head of Study or designee. If not enough information is available, students may want to contact the NUS instructor or School offering the course.

Approval Process

Students interested in taking an NUS course need to obtain approval from their Faculty Advisor or Head of Study in the Major as well as their Vice Rector, in particular if it is intended as an overload (>22MC). Approval does not warrant that the course will count towards a particular major but students will be able to petition their Head of Study for this to be the case. In the case of NUS courses taken in semesters 1-4, this petition process will happen retrospectively once students declare their major.

Registration Process

Registration for NUS courses is subject to approval from the respective NUS Faculty/School and never guaranteed. Given that we want to pre-allocate our students into NUS courses (and thus bypass the bidding process), different Schools are more or less receptive to our requests. The different timelines (NUS timetable is only available in late summer) make the registration process much more complicated as students may not be aware of timetable clashes early on.

To register, students must complete and submit the Module Registration Form to their respective Vice Rector by a specific date (TBD). Given the approval process, submissions received after that day will not be considered. The VRs will then submit all forms to Registry for processing. At that point, the negotiating process with NUS begins.

13. Who should I ask questions that I have?

Any faculty member, but especially the Head of Studies and your major advisor.

14. What should I do if I don’t know who my major advisor is?

Email the Head of Studies.

15. How do I track my progress to meeting major requirements?

As major advisors, we have formulated a checklist that we use. Here is a link to it in case it is helpful to you in tracking your own progress.

16. How do I track my progress to meeting minor requirements?

As advisors, we have formulated a checklist that we use. Here is a link to it in case it is helpful to you in tracking your own progress.

17. What if I have course conflicts?

Speak to Registry and the Head of Studies as soon as you find a problem. Not all conflicts can be resolved, but we hope to resolve those that we can. We can also be flexible if need be.

18. What are the differences between majoring in Economics and PPE?

The emphasis of the Economics major is on understanding choice, how to model it, and how to use data to test our hypothesis.

Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) puts more emphasis on aspects that are not necessarily empirical. Hence PPE will give you a flavour of what economics is, but will not have a strong focus on mathematical modelling or data analysis.

19. Will Yale-NUS offer Finance courses?

Yes, in semester 2, we have a course on International Finance. In Semester 1 of AY1718, Prof Michael Schmertzler from Yale School of Management offered courses on Private Equity Investment and Corporate Finance. We are working at trying to get more offering in Finance in the future. NUS Business School and Economics departments may have some of interest.

20. Are there any suggested courses outside the Economics Department that will complement my major?

For that for those interested in graduate school, it would be a good idea to take courses in the Mathematics Department such as (not required):

  • Calculus
  • Linear Algebra
  • Statistical Programming (good complement for Advanced Econometrics)
  • Advanced Calculus
  • Real analysis


1. Where can I find information on internships?

The Centre for International and Professional Experience (CIPE) at Yale-NUS offers internship opportunities for the most prominent and also varied places: finance sector, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), public sector, consulting firms, etc. You can find details on all these opportunities here.

Study Abroad

1. What about spending a year abroad? How do I apply? Where should I go?

Contact CIPE for a lot of great information, and they can also help you through the application process.

2. When should I go abroad?

It depends on your plan. We think semester 2 of your second year to your third year will be a good time. That saves semester 1 of your second year here which will give you a flavour of our economics classes here. In general, we can be flexible. However, we do not like students to go abroad during their capstone year. Beyond that, it is up to you when works best for your schedule. There are many excellent economics programmes around the world, and we encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity to study abroad.

3. Can I count courses taken abroad toward my major?

Yes, Contact CIPE for exact details, but there is a form that must be signed by the Head of Studies to permit this. Please submit the course syllabus with the form to the Head of Studies for consideration. Note that at least half of your major courses must be taken at Yale-NUS.


1. When will there be more information about the capstone experience?

See the programme description. For more details, see Dec 2017 update.

2. How to find an idea?

Read widely. Choose topics that you are intrinsically interested in. This takes time. Ask faculty members including your faculty advisor for ideas. The economics page at the library may be a good starting point as well.

3. Where can I find general research advice and guidance on things like how to manage a large research project, track my sources, avoid plagiarism, etc?

Of course, you can speak to the seminar leader and other economics faculty about these issues. The library also has fantastic resources we encourage you to use.

4. What if I wrote a paper in one of my courses? Can it be used as my capstone project?

In general, no. If however you have a significant expansion of the scale and scope of the project or wish take forward one or more of the ‘further research studies recommended in the paper’, then you may approach the Head of Study for special permission.

5. Where can I look for data?

6. I need help with Stata. Where should I look?

7. What is the Instructors / Seminar Leaders role for capstone?

Supervise and support research progress. Organise research seminars and workshops. Facilitate group interactions and presentations. Students should act promptly and proactively when they need help seeking advice from teaching faculty especially the capstone seminar leader, and assume full responsibility for completing their research.

8. May I work with a professor at NUS on my capstone project?

Yes, with the permission of the capstone seminar instructor, who will monitor and evaluate your progress internally. You may also work with a professor not from Yale-NUS or NUS under a similar arrangement, though it is worth considering that this may be more difficult than working with advisors in the same physical location.

9. May I collect my own data?

Yes, with the permission of the capstone seminar instructor, please discuss any issues needing ethics approval.

10. Is there any funding related to capstone projects?

It may be possible to get some small funding if needed for your project from the dean’s office. Please speak to the capstone seminar instructor.

11. Is it possible to do something that combines my capstone with my junior summer experience?

Yes, please speak to CIPE and the capstone seminar instructor as soon as possible about possibilities.

12. What if the library doesn’t have the resources I need?

It may be possible to purchase new titles that are needed for your work. Please speak to the Capstone seminar instructor as soon as possible.

13. What should I do if I’m running to trouble with completing my capstone project?

Please speak to your major advisor, the Capstone seminar instructor, and your vice-rector as soon as you start to have concerns. There is a lot of support available to you, please make use of it.

14. Helpful References on Writing in Economics

  • McCloskey, D.N. 1998. The Rhetoric of Economics. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. ·
  • Thomson, W. 2011. A Guide for the Young Economist. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ·
  • Wyrick, T.L. 1994. The Economist’s Handbook: a research and writing guide. NY: West Pub.
  • Morgan, S. and B. Whitener. 2006. Speaking about Science: A Manual for Creating Clear Presentation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.dss

Career Information

1. Job search resources?