Economics Program at a Glance
- Download the 2019 StFX Economics Brocuhre (formatted for double-sided printing)
- StFX Economics graduates are successful obtaining employment with the Bank of Canada despite tough competiton nationwide for these positions. Read the full story here.
What is Economics?
Economics studies the challenges facing human beings as a result of the limited amounts of natural resources, human effort, skills and tools, buildings and materials produced in the past. The better use we make of these resources, the richer our lives can be. This focus of economics leads it to examine the major problems facing rich and poor nations today - unemployment, inflation, poverty and inequality, pollution and environmental degradation, lack of sustainable development, depletion of fish stocks and deforestation, government spending and taxation, budget deficits and national debts.
Why study Economics?
Althought administratively located in the Faculty of Arts, Economics lies at the intersection of the Faculties of Arts, Science and Business, and is the only discipline at StFX that can lead to a BBA, BA or BSc degree.
Economics is an essential component of an education in business administration since it can explain the behavior of markets and asset prices. The study of economics is also an integral part of a liberal arts education because it interprets the structure and organization of society while developing a student's ability to analyze problems logically. Students of disciplines such as political science, history, geography, sociology and anthropology find that economics enriches their understanding of these fields. Students of engineering, geology and other sciences benefit from familiarity with the economic causes and consequences of problems they tackle, such as declining fish stocks or the construction of a bridge. It is also an excellent complement to disciplines such as Physics or Chemistry, as students have increasingly combined their studies of those areas with a specialization in Economics (either a joint degree or as a second degree).
Governments and international organizations employ many economists to assist with the design and analysis of economic policy. For example, the Bank of Canada, Department of Finance, Department of Foreign Affairs and the International Monetary Fund all hire many Economics graduates.
Within the private sector, economics graduates can also be found working as journalists, lawyers, bankers and managers. Given this employment flexibility, surveys have shown that the salaries of economics graduates tend to be among the highest among social science and applied science graduates. A recent Canadian study finds that, out of 50 different disciplines, graduates of only eight disciplines earn statistically more than Economics graduates. In the United States, a 2015 report by Kiplinger finds that Economics ranks fourth among all majors for career and earning prospects, placing ahead of disciplines such as Nursing, Finance, Physics, Civil Engineering and Actuarial Mathematics.
This informative nine-minute video produced by the American Economic Association provides first-hand accounts of the types of careers that can be pursued with an Economics background.
Economics @ X
Although small in terms of faculty numbers, members of the Economics department can teach a broad range of courses and are active in many areas of research. Faculty members regularly present their work at national and international conferences and have published in many highly-ranked peer-reviewed journals, such as the Journal of Econometrics, the Journal of Economic Growth, Economic Inquiry and Econometric Reviews. Every summer they hire upper-year students to work as research assistants, thereby providing further valuable training to students.
In the past five years enrolment in Economics courses at St FX has grown by almost 80%, reflecting heightened student interest in this field and the department's strong teachers. Students graduating from the department's Honours programs are among the very best in the country, as reflecting in job placements, graduate school placements and national awards. As a group, our 2018 graduates were offered over $1.1 Million in graduate school funding, with the average offer being over $20,000, to puruse a 12-month master's program in Economics.
The department is responding to this higher demand by offering new courses and hiring new tenure-track faculty. In 2016 the department welcomed Brandon Malloy (Ph.D. Western Ontario), who specializes in Macroeconomics and International Trade. In 2017 we were pleased to welcome Fraser Summerfield (Ph.D. Guelph), who teaches Microeconomics, Labor Economics, Health Economics and Econometrics. Finally, joining us in 2018 is Diana Alessandrini (Ph.D. Guelph), who comes to us after teaching at Auburn University in Alabama these last few years. Professor Alessandrini specializes in Macroeconomics and Labor Economics, and will be teaching Public Finance I & II this year.
The department also had the honour of hosting the 51st annual meeting of the Canadian Economics Association (CEA) in June, 2017. Over 700 economists from academia and government, from across Canada and around the world, descended on campus over a four-day period to present their latest research. This was the first time that the CEA has chosen to hold its conference outside a major urban centre, and students had a unique opportunity to witness the behind-the-secnes conference preparations and to participate in its success.