As an economics major at Saint Michael's you will explore the trends that are transforming our economy and changing the world we live in. Your classes will examine topics such as income inequality, immigration, international economic development, discrimination, globalization, health care reform, trade deficits, the U.S. debt, and more. In all your courses, you will learn a new set of analytical techniques, and critical thinking and communication skills that are in demand throughout the economy.

At Saint Michael's you'll find small, personalized, challenging economics classes taught by a group of dedicated faculty who bring diverse philosophical perspectives to the classroom, who care deeply about student learning, and who try to make economics relevant and fun.

Your first courses will teach you about key economic concepts and the role of markets, along with how to measure and interpret Gross Domestic Product (GDP), unemployment and price levels. You'll examine economic instability through a study of causes and policy prescriptions from two major opposing schools of thought: Classical and Keynesian. You'll learn about interest rates and the Federal Reserve and consider current policy debates on international trade, monetary and fiscal policy, the deficit, economic growth and productivity. You'll also have an introduction to how economists interpret the everyday decisions of consumers, businesses and workers and apply economic analysis to real-world questions like minimum wage, business profits, taxes, outsourcing and environmental policies.

Later courses cover statistical thinking as applied to such topics as probability distributions, regressions, correlation, analysis of variance and so on. Advanced macro- and micro-economics classes in our department delve deeper into theories and policies surrounding income and price level, interest rates and monetary and fiscal policy. You'll more closely examine market failures and government involvement in the economy.

Your studies will culminate as a senior in peer-reviewed scholarly research in sub-fields. You will prepare an original research proposal on a topic that interests you, submitting the research and presenting your results with close faculty guidance.

Herbert Kessel, PhD

Professor of Economics, Director of Center for Social Science Research

Contact Professor Kessel

Saint Edmund's Hall 353
Box 166
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M.A., Ph.D. Boston University
B.S. University of Rhode Island

What attracted me to economics was a desire to learn more about problems of poverty and income inequality. I try to share with students my enthusiasm for learning and a conviction that economic ideas are stimulating, relevant and challenging.

Richard Kujawa, PhD

Professor of Geography | Coordinator of the Minor in Human Geography

Contact Professor Kujawa

Saint Edmund's Hall 359
Box 144
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M.A., Ph.D. University of Iowa
B.Sc. Brunel University, London

Courses I Teach:

  • Introduction to Human Geography
  • Urban Geography
  • Political Geography
  • Economic Geography
  • The Geography of Water
  • Environmental Policy
  • Environmental Studies
  • Urban and Regional Planning

My Saint Michael's:

In my classes, advising and in the human geography program, one-on-one contact is encouraged. I encourage students to present their findings to external audiences and professional conferences. I help students with graduate school applications (especially those in Urban and Regional Planning). In the past few years, I have helped Saint Michael's graduates successfully apply to Cornell, Rutgers, SUNY-Albany, Kansas State University, the University of Iowa and several others. I also have some connections for internships in the local area.

Hands down, my favorite thing about this college is the class sizes. At Saint Mike's I am able to shorten the distance between my role as faculty member and expert, and my role as motivator and mentor. I see part of my job as a salesperson for the power of intellectual growth and lifelong learning. I work hard each and every day to make the sale!

Tara Natarajan, PhD

Professor of Economics | Chair, Department of Economics & Geography

Contact Professor Natarajan

Saint Edmund's Hall 355
Box 234
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Ph.D. University of Nebraska at Lincoln
M.A. University of Bombay, India
B.A. Sophia College, India

Areas of Expertise:

Applied research on development and poverty: food, agrarian change, capitalist transformation, development activism in India.

Courses I Teach:

  • Development Economics
  • History of Economic Thought and Policy
  • Microeconomic Theory
  • Senior Seminar
  • World Economies

My Saint Michael's:

I like the fact that my students and I have a truly meaningful student-teacher relationship. They know me and I know them. Our college engenders mentoring as an ethos which when combined with manageable class sizes, makes it really possible for me to contact students personally and let them know that I care, not only about their understanding of the subject but also their well-being as a person through their educational experience.

After 10 years of being a faculty member here, I have realized how much this connection with students, matters to me. The kind of personal investment we make in each one of our students is a mutually reinforcing process between students, faculty and all those who are connected with students outside of classes as well, all of which is embedded in our evolving institutional ethos and collective values.

Reza Ramazani, PhD

Professor of Economics

Contact Professor Ramazani

Saint Edmund's Hall 357
Box 133
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M.A., Ph.D. University of Colorado, Boulder
B.A. Ghazvin College of Economics, Iran

Courses I Teach

In addition to the introductory courses in economics, I teach upper level Macroeconomic Theory, Statistics for Economics, Senior Seminar and several electives such as International Economics, and Environmental Economics.

Patrick Walsh, PhD

Associate Professor of Economics

Contact Professor Walsh

Saint Edmund's Hall 363
Box 365
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Ph.D. University of Michigan
B.A. Washington University in St. Louis

Areas of Expertise:

Economics of education; focusing on competition in education; sorting among schools; and peer externalities. Other topics include occupational choice and occupational switching.

Courses I Teach:

  • Economics of Health Care
  • Principles of Macroeconomics
  • Principles of Microeconomics
  • Public Finance

My Saint Michael's:

I chose to pursue a Ph.D. in economics so that I would have the opportunity to show students that economics is a powerful, interesting, and relevant way of understanding the world's problems.

Saint Michael's is a tight community where the individual doesn't get lost. As a young faculty member, I can have a much greater impact at Saint Michael's - both in and out of the classroom - than I can at a larger university.

The lights really come on when students see that economics offers a way to make sense of real-world issues. I think students gain a real sense of power in being able to cut to the core of an economic question.

Saint Michael's students are willing to have fun in their classes. While they are receptive to an in-class demonstration or exercise, these experiments can get some laughs, and yet they will ultimately stick in the students' minds better than a straight lecture.

My favorite class to teach is Principles of Microeconomics. My goal is to get students excited about economics during their first exposure to the subject. Even if they don't take any more classes in economics, I want them see how economics is a powerful, interesting, and relevant way to address today's problems.

The class sizes at Saint Michael's allow students to do more project-based work in my courses. Students in Public Finance design their own healthcare system, education system, and Social Security system - and then have to design the taxes to pay for it all.

Outside the classroom, students are engaged by the "Current Issues in Economics" series. In this series, faculty members discuss different views on issues such as minimum wage, outsourcing, immigration, Wal-Mart, and the presidential candidates' economic platforms.

Economics opens up many job opportunities.  As an economics major you will learn analytical, critical thinking, and communication skills that are in demand by many firms and government agencies.  After graduation, our majors go on to careers like:

  • Financial Analyst
  • Mutual Funds Associate
  • Senior Research and Statistics
  • Equity Derivatives Specialist
  • Financial Services Coordinator
  • Global Relations Management
  • Internal Sales Representative
  • Market Research Analyst
  • Account Manager
  • Climate Solutions Advisor
  • Policy Analyst

You'll find recent Saint Michael's economics graduates working at places like:

  • Bank of America
  • UBS Financial Services
  • Travelers Insurance Company 
  • NativeEnergy
  • Cabot Creamery
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • State of Maryland
  • Fidelity Investments
  • HSBC Bank

The major provides an ideal background for those who hope to pursue advanced degrees in business, law, public policy, or economics.  Recent graduates have pursued advance degrees in:

  • Law:  Syracuse, Boston University
  • MBA:  Clarkson, Boston University, Northeastern, Boston College
  • MA:  Duke, Tulane, Clark, University of Vermont
  • Ph.D.:  Rutgers, University of Michigan, University of Connecticut


You'll have opportunities to apply your knowledge to real-world situations through internships with businesses and organizations such as:

  • National Life Insurance
  • Northeast Water Resources Network
  • Nowak and Nowak Financial Services
  • UBS Paine Weber Financial Services
  • Vermont Department of Labor
  • Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program
  • Wells Fargo Securities 
  • Williams & Associates Financial Services

We support internships whenever, in the judgment of the department, the internship substantially adds to the student's background in economics. The internship must in some significant way be relevant to the discipline and offer an educational opportunity not found in traditional course work. We believe that internships can be important to a student's educational experience for many reasons. We will specifically evaluate internship proposals on the basis of their academic merit. Approval of an internship proposal is based on the quality of a student's proposal and the academic character of the candidate. The department is selective in its sponsorship of students and selective in its acceptance of internship sites.

As an Economics major you will have the opportunity to conduct research on and off campus. In recent years, students have extensively researched and studied how oil prices affect the adoption of solar energy, what the effect of competition is on health insurance premiums and how public-school students would perform in private schools.  Funding is available for students who want to conduct in-depth research projects during the summer.  Recent grant-funded projects by Economics majors include:

  • Insourcing and the Resurgence of the American Manufacturing Sector
  • Effects of School Funding on Educational Outcomes
  • Predicting the Rigors and Criteria for Qualification of State Special Education Programs
  • An Empirical Analysis of the Relationship between International Economic Engagement and Wellbeing within South American Emerging Markets

Why Major in Economics at Saint Michael's College?

  1. Whatever major you pursue in college it should be one that you find enjoyable and stimulating. If this is the case with economics, then that in of itself is reason enough to major in the field. You'll find a group of dedicated faculty within the department, each of whom brings a unique philosophical and pedagogical perspective to the classroom, who care deeply about student learning and the education of the whole person, and who try to make economics fun.

  2. Economics will provide you with different ways to understand the world we live in. Whether it's becoming more sensitive to the unintended consequences of public policy and personal decision making or exploring the economic trends that are transforming our society and changing the way we live, you will become a better informed citizen and better equipped to know how to respond to the rapidly changing environment that confronts us on a daily basis.

  3. Economics will open up many job opportunities. While few majors can guarantee you employment in a job directly related to your undergraduate field of study, economic majors are in demand. In part, this reflects the set of "tools" and a way of thinking that you will acquire as an undergraduate that many firms find useful. It is also a challenging major that sends a strong signal to prospective employers that you do not shy away from hard work and that you are capable of abstract and analytical thinking, skills that are in demand throughout the economy. Bob McTerer, the former head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas noted:

    My take on training in economics is that it becomes increasingly valuable as you move up the career ladder. I can't think of a better major for corporate CEO's, congressmen (and women), or presidents of the United States. You've earned a systematic, disciplined way of thinking that will serve you well.

  4. Among the most important skills that you should learn in college is how to think, write and speak more clearly and forcefully. These are skills that are most effectively taught in the type of small personalized classes that student will find within the department.

  5. In light of the subject matter that students of economics study, and the tools used to analyze these subjects, the major provides an ideal background for those who hope to pursue advanced degrees in business, law, public policy or economics.

  6. Economists address a wide range of issues that are of interest to both the public and to government officials. Questions that you will explore during your undergraduate years include: What impact does immigration have on our workforce and standard of living?  What can explain growing income inequality in the U.S.? Why do some countries grow quickly and others more slowly? Why has the Federal Reserve Board kept interest rates at historical lows? Is American industry becoming more concentrated and is this important in today's globalized world? What impact will health care reform have on the economy? Are trade deficits a threat to our economic well-being? What are the long term consequences of budget deficits? Is higher education still a good investment?

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