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Foundations Courses

Course Curriculum

The purpose of these courses is to prepare students for the Core Courses that will follow. Since not all students accepted into the program will have an undergraduate education in economics, the Foundations Courses will introduce them to the essential elements of economic and statistical theory. For students who do join the program with some undergraduate economics training, the Foundations Courses will serve to review concepts that they may have forgotten, in a style that may yet be new to them.

Learning Outcomes and Skills

  • Rigorous understanding of mathematical and statistical concepts
  • Ability to solve mathematical and statistical problems
  • Foundational knowledge of microeconomics and macroeconomics
  • Preparedness for the Core Course

Economic analysis is inherently quantitative, and so students must develop a rigorous understanding of the mathematical foundations that economic theory utilizes. In this course students will learn:

  • What a function and its limit are
  • How to differentiate and integrate functions
  • How to solve optimization problems
  • How to work with vectors and matrices

Economists work with data drawn from the real world, and students are required to become proficient with the basic tools of data analysis. In this course students will learn:

  • What a random variable is
  • How to work with common probability distribution functions such as the Binomial, Poisson and Normal distributions
  • How to work with jointly distributed random variables
  • How to formulate a statistical hypothesis, and how to test it

Microeconomics is the study of choice under constraints and is the ground of all economic theory. In this course students will learn:

  • What the concept of equilibrium in a market is
  • How to model consumption choice as a utility maximization problem, and how to solve it
  • How to extend the consumer’s choice problem to other contexts

While microeconomics studies individual markets, macroeconomics considers the economy at large, as a general equilibrium system of many simultaneously occurring markets. In this course, students will learn:

  • How to measure “macroeconomic aggregates” like GDP, inflation, unemployment
  • How to conceptualize the macroeconomy as the interplay between three different markets
  • How to construct and work with the IS-LM framework
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Economics Data Science