Economics is one of the most demanding, yet rewarding, disciplines that you can choose to study. It combines the virtues of politics and science. It is, truly, a social science. Its subject matter is society – how people choose to lead their lives and how they interact with one another. But it approaches the subject with the dispassion of a science. By bringing the methods of science to the questions of politics, Economics tries to make progress on the challenges that all societies face.
Economics is a subject in which a little knowledge goes a long way. Economists have a unique way of viewing the world, much of which can be taught in one or two semesters. More than anything else, economists like to ask questions and seek to understand the world around them. This quest for knowledge not only addresses questions involving the traditional economy such as: "Why does free trade benefit consumers?", "Why does the minimum wage hurt the working poor?" or “Why do financial crises occur?” and “Why are some nations poor and others are not” but also questions outside of the traditional economy such as: "Do seatbelt laws really reduce traffic fatalities?", "Why do some people wait to marry and have children and others don't?", “Why do people behave in ways that cause environmental destruction?” and "Does the structure of public policy depend on the structure of government?"
Economics allows you to see the costs associated with any given action. Some of the most pressing issues in Canada have to do with the scarcity of resources such as people, money and equipment. By studying Economics, you will begin to understand how to allocate one of the most precious resources of all - your time. Because Economics attempts to consider the costs and consequences of decisions, it allows humans to make more informed decisions and thereby make them better citizens. For example, should you go to university or take that full time position? Should you buy a new car or save more? You'll have to take an economics class to answer questions like these.
The concepts and tools of analysis that Economics students learn makes one of the most financially rewarding degrees available today. Employers know that Economics majors are well-prepared to face the challenges of a dynamic world. A research paper prepared by Ross Finnie for Statistics Canada in March 2002 shows that the mean earnings for Economics male graduates in 1995 constant dollars ranked five ($44,200) after medical ($88,900), law ($52,100), computer science ($46,300) and engineering graduates’ earnings ($45,900), in the same range as for Math and other physical sciences graduates’ earnings ($44,500). The same study reveals that the Index of overall job satisfaction for male Economics graduates (80%) was higher than for most other professions except the medical professions (87%) and elementary/secondary teaching (86%), and in the same range with computer science.