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Economics Co-curriculum

Submitted by dfto on Wed, 07/11/2007 - 1:57pm

7.3 Recommended Options

Economics Courses 
Students have considerable latitude in planning their course selection. However, every student should seriously consider including the following courses in their program:

-Econ 321 The Global Trading System
-Econ 355 Canadian Public Finance

These courses are strongly recommended because a well-trained economist should have a basic familiarity with the significance and pattern of international trade and factor flows (people, technology, and capital) for the economies of Alberta and Canada, and the governance institutions of the global trading system; and (ii) the extent, structure, and behaviour of governments in Canada. Both of these courses complement—by providing discussion of facts, institutions and policy issues—the more theoretical/abstract discussion of international trade and factor mobility and the effect and roles of government in the required principles and intermediate theory courses.

Complementary External Options

The Major in Economics provides students with a great deal of flexibility to take courses from other Departments and Faculties based on their preferences. The Department of Economics, however, recommends the following external option courses for our Majors.

Supporting Courses
These courses are recommended because they enhance or complement your expertise in economics. They do so by providing context on the historical development of modern economies, the development of economics as a body of knowledge and its historical evolution, provide additional exposure to techniques of analysis useful in economics, or applications of economics.

  • Historical Development of Modern Economies

HTST 307 The Contemporary World

  • Historical Evolution of Economics

PHIL 305 The Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries 
POLI 407 Classical Political Thought 
POLI 409 Liberalism and Conservatism

  • Supporting Analysis

PHIL 275 Introductory Logic 
PHIL 279 Logic 1 
PHIL 377 Elementary Formal Logic

MATH 211 Linear Methods I 
MATH 253 Calculus II 
MATH 311 Linear Methods II 
MATH 331 Multivariate Calculus 
PMAT 415 Set Theory 
PMAT 421 Introduction to Complex Analysis 
PMAT 435 Analysis I 
PMAT 445 Analysis II

PHIL 367 Science and Philosophy

Rational Choice 
PHIL 451 Rational Choice

COMS 361 Spoken and Written Discourse 
COMS 363 Technical Writing

  • Applications

ACCT 323 Introductory Managerial Accounting 
FNCE 341 Canadian Business Finance 
OPMA 301 Introduction to Production and Operations Management


Courses from the following groups are recommended because they offer a different perspective or approach to similar topics or issues that complements and, at the same time, challenges the economic approach, leading to the development of a broader perspective.

  • Human Behaviour

ANTH 303 Business in a Cultural Context 
ANTH 435 Evolutionary Anthropology 
PSYC 345 Social Psychology 
PSYC 365 Cognitive Psychology 
PSYC 423 Organizational Psychology 
PSYC 445 Advanced Social Psychology 
SOCI 341 Social Psychology

  • Values and Efficiency

PHIL 329 Business Ethics 
PHIL 347 Contemporary Moral Problems 
PHIL 453 Social and Political Philosophy

  • Public Economics

PHIL 313 Bioethics
POLI 357 Introduction to Public Policy Analysis 
POLI 431 Political Parties and Interest Groups 
POLI 447 Public Policy Issues 
POLI 463 Politics Of Advanced Industrial States

  • International and Development

DEST 391 Introduction to Development Studies
POLI 381 Introduction To International Relations 
POLI 485 Politics Of The International Economic Order 
POLI 491 International Relations Of Developing Nations 
SOCI 487 Sociology Of Development

  • Environmental and Resources

ANTH 405 Ecology Of Tropical Forest Societies 
ANTH 481 Environment, Society And Culture 
BIOL 205 The Organization And Diversity Of Life 
BIOL 307 Ecology And Human Affairs 
BIOL 313 An Introduction To Ecology And Evolution 
BIOL 451 Conservation Biology 
GEOG 321 Environmental Problems And Resource Management 
GEOG 421 Renewable Resources And Natural Environment 
PHIL 447 Issues in Environmental Ethics 
PSYC 427 Environmental Psychology

  • Labour

SOCI 461 Worker Movements And Labour Unions 
SOCI 493 Special Topics In The Sociology Of Work

7.4 The Learning Environment

The Importance of Research in Teaching 
At the heart of every great university is research. Research is what sets a respected university apart from other learning institutions and its importance in education sets a university apart from other government or private research institutions. Research means finding out new relationships and new facts, developing new theories, testing theories for their applicability, and generally enhancing our understanding of the world. That makes research socially valuable. But it is also important for universities since what you are taught comes from a base of knowledge created by research. Without research there is nothing to teach!

A necessary condition for a good teacher is to be an expert in their field with a deep and broad understanding: that level of expertise is possible only if they are on top of developments in their field, and actively contributing to new developments. A university where the professors don't do research is very much like a high school or junior college. Knowledge continually advances and evolves and those not involved at the boundary of knowledge creation soon fall behind and their knowledge and expertise becomes dated, reducing their effectiveness as teachers.

Active research programs not only inform course content and program requirements, but the development of an understanding of the process of research is central to thinking like an economist. Your education is not simply about learning facts and techniques—professional training—but more importantly it is about your intellectual development—development of your abilities to reason, think logically, understand nuances and read, analyze, and research carefully and critically. A university degree provides training in higher order thinking skills applicable to problem solving, not just memorization of facts or techniques. For your instructors to be able to promote and guide your intellectual development along these lines, they must be actively engaged in research themselves.

In the Department of Economics, all of our faculty are committed researchers, many with, or developing, national and international reputations for research excellence. The focus of research in the Department is on applied and policy research relevant to economic issues in the community, the region and the nation. The Department is fast acquiring a reputation for being the leader in Canadian economic policy. Because of their research expertise, our faculty are frequently called on to act as expert witnesses in court, to provide consulting expertise to government and industry, and comment on current affairs in the media. Some members of the Department have provided policy advice and instruction to foreign governments. They bring this experience of the "real world" back into their research and into the classroom.

The Importance of Teaching 
The Department recognizes that the production of knowledge is insufficient without cultivating effective and inspired teaching. The Department is focussed on making lectures and courses a rich and rewarding experience. The following mechanisms are in place to help good teaching happen in the Department:

Course Evaluations
All of our courses are evaluated by students and the results are available online.

Merit Awards
Excellent teaching is promoted and rewarded by annually assessing teaching effectiveness and giving extra increments, or pay raises, to those teachers who excel.

Appointment, Tenure and Promotion 
The Department emphasizes teaching effectiveness when considering appointment (hiring), tenure, and promotion decisions.

For further evidence on our commitment to instructional excellence see our list of teaching award winners. In addition the site also lists faculty members who, as textbook authors, have literally "written the book" used for instruction at the University of Calgary and other leading universities.

Intellectual Evolution and Development
The opportunity for intellectual development tracks the required course sequencing. The core of the program are the intermediate theory courses. These courses require students to master economic concepts and theory. Development of such a level of understanding requires students to become familiar with those concepts and manipulate, apply, and question them, a level of understanding and mastery that includes, but goes beyond, memorization. The key components of these courses, in which students develop this level of familiarity and development of high order thinking skills, are assignments and problem sets.

At the 400 and 500 level, students are expected to apply the theories learned in the intermediate theory courses to develop an understanding of the economy and economics. Virtually all of these courses require that students develop and hone their thinking and research skills by completing research projects. Typically students have the opportunity to work closely with professors on the conception, approach, and presentation of their research.

All instructors in the Department have regular office hours. These blocks of time are set aside by professors to discuss course material, related issues, assignments/problem sets, and research papers. Students are encouraged to take advantage of office hours. In addition, many have a quasi-open door policy—if they are not pressed by other commitments they are available to render assistance.

Evidence of Intellectual Progress
Evidence of students' intellectual progress is fairly standardized in economics courses. In virtually all economics classes there are both midterm and final exams, while in a few midterm exam(s) might be replaced by regular quizzes. Student performance on assignments and research projects becomes increasingly important in senior courses.

Expectations of Students
The focus of this document is on the opportunities available to students and the role of the Department of Economics and its faculty in the education of our students. However students should be aware that their intellectual development and maturation is ultimately their responsibility and requires dedication, commitment, and hard work. This is especially true at the senior level where the emphasis is on the development of higher order thinking skills in the context of the application of economic theory.

Special Opportunities
The Department has a number of programs, some unique to the University of Calgary, that provide economics students with opportunities for experiential learning beyond course required research. These include a co-operative education option, a concentration in Applied Energy, and the Summer Internship in Regulatory Economics. Details on these programs are found in Section 8. In addition some students are employed as research assistants by faculty members.

Besides the University wide opportunities for study abroad/student exchanges (see the International Student Centre for details), the Department, in cooperation with Prague's University of Economics in the Czech Republic, offers a term abroad (fall or winter semesters only) program in which 6-10 students per semester are selected to study Politics, Economics, Business and Languages in Prague.

SUE and the Economics Society of Calgary
Economics students are encouraged to join SUE (Society of Undergraduate Economists). The Department is supportive of SUE's activities and programs. Besides maintaining an exam bank, SUE regularly holds receptions/mixers for faculty and students. SUE also nominates student representatives to attend Department meetings and serve on the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. Additional information on SUE can be found on their web site.

The Economics Society of Calgary is a professional society of economists in Calgary. More information on its activities can be found on theirweb site.

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