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The Blue & Gray Press | September 24, 2018

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Political science majors should be required to take economics

Political science majors should be required to take economics


Staff Writer

There has been controversy over required courses at the University of Mary Washington for years, specifically with the foreign language and general education requirements. However, the lack of economic courses required for the political science major should be a topic of concern as well.

While economics may not be an easy class for everyone, it is an important subject everyone should have a basic knowledge of. Economics allows us to apply its study to everyday life decisions. I was fortunate enough to learn the basics of economics in high school. In 2009, the Virginia Department of Education started requiring students to complete at least one credit in Economics and Personal Finance in order to graduate with a standard or advanced diploma in the state of Virginia.

According to the Department of Education’s website, “The Standards of Learning for Economics and Personal Finance also help students develop thinking skills that include analyzing real-world situations, economic reasoning, decision making, and problem solving.” This requirement truly benefits students and it would be great to see a similar graduation requirement in college, specifically for political science majors. Studying the basics of economics will help people in the long run with everyday life events.

At UMW, political science majors are required to take 36 credit hours with only one economic class requirement, International Political Economy. The only prerequisites for the course are Intro to Political Science and Intro to International Relations, rather than an introductory economics course. While this course does focus more on the political aspect of economics, it does not make sense to me to for this course to be offered without requiring Principles of Macroeconomics and Principles of Microeconomics as prerequisites.

Political science majors have just as important of a role in the economy as economics majors do. This is because political science majors are likely to become politicians and government officials and they will be the ones who regulate the laws in the economy regarding domestic and international trade. Being a political science major myself, it baffles me that some of my peers do not understand the difference between an open and mixed economy, for example, and these people could be regulating economic laws in future.

Healthcare, unemployment and minimum wage are just a few examples of these policies that impact everyone, providing another example of why political science majors should have a basic understanding of economics. Whether you realize it or not, we all have an impact on the economy one way or another, especially with social issues.The amount of times I have heard my out-of-state friends stress that they wish they had been required to take an Economics and Personal Finance class in high school makes me wonder why the VDOE requirement is not a national requirement for high schools or colleges.

Overall, Political Science majors at all schools, not just at UMW, should be required to take introductory courses in macroeconomics and microeconomics as these students may one day have control over the regulations of the economy; and, it is important for everyone to know the basics of economics.