The department currently offers an Economics Major, a Business Major, an Economics Concentration, an International Economics concentration, and a Business Concentration. These programs emphasize the theoretical underpinnings of economics and business, yet, they are very much applied, meaning that students will approach their coursework in a hands-on manner.
In Public Sector Economics (Econ 217), for example, students will undertake projects with the Lynchburg city development office to learn about local housing and development programs. In Money and Banking (Econ 238), students will analyze the same economic data that the Federal Reserve Board of Governors uses in establishing its monetary policy to a) “second guess” past interest rate changes and b) make their own recommendations as to future changes. In the Introduction to Business class (Bus 251), students must complete a 5 year analysis of a publicly traded company that includes sections on management, marketing and finance. In the finance section, they are required to forecast the future financial results for both the P&L (profit and loss statement) and the balance sheet.
One of the unique departmental programs is its capstone senior year experience. It consists of a senior seminar in the fall semester, in which students identify a senior thesis topic, collect readings and data, and ultimately prepare a senior thesis proposal. Along the way, students are exposed to levels of discussion that are deeper than are possible in their regular coursework on topics in international trade, history of economic thought, and current research in economics and business.
The final product of the senior year experience is the writing of the senior thesis in the spring. The topic is of the student’s own choosing. They are graded on the basis of overall presentation (both oral and written), understanding of economic or business theory, use of hypothesis testing, and application of quantitative reasoning. Qualified students may petition to write an honors senior paper in economics or business.