There are many good reasons to concentrate in economics. For students interested in
international trade, business cycles, or the stock market, economics is the natural choice.
Someone who seeks a quantitative, rigorous approach to social science will find economics
to be an exciting, vibrant discipline. Many students choose to concentrate in economics
because it provides an excellent background for professional work in business, banking, law,
and even medicine.
Because Harvard does not offer a business concentration to undergraduates, some students
treat economics as a substitute. Unfortunately, student survey responses indicate that
undergraduates who concentrate in economics for that reason are significantly less satisfied
with their academic experience at Harvard than undergraduates who concentrate in
economics for other reasons. Moreover, there is no evidence to suggest that concentrating
in economics helps students to get better jobs after graduation. For these reasons, the
Economics Department strongly discourages students from concentrating in economics as a
substitute for something else. Instead, undergraduates should concentrate in the academic
field that most excites them.


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