At its core, economics is the study of reasoned choice in the context of scarce resources and competing interests. The need to make such choices pervades the day-to-day lives of all of us as individuals and of society as a whole.

Along with the study of decision-making and the interactions between the associated individuals, economics examines many important social problems such as health care, pollution, resource depletion, poverty, social assistance, and the tax system.

In addition to being applied to the problems of society, economics is applied in many business fields including labour relations, banking and financial markets, and international trade and finance.

An education in economics is very different from one in business. While the latter provides training in specific areas of current interest to prospective employers, the former is a social science: it is an intellectual discipline that seeks to analyze and understand social phenomena.

The focus of an education in economics is on individual intellectual growth and development rather than on training for a particular job that may become less valued or obsolete in the not-too-distant future.

The Department offers a variety of undergraduate programs. An overview of each is provided under the first seven sub-headings of this section of our Web site. A general overview of undergraduate economics at Carleton is provided in our recruitment brochure found here.

Undergraduate program advising and course queries:

Renée Lortie, Undergraduate Administrator
Professor Radovan Vadovič, Undergraduate Supervisor

The Department also offers an eight-month program of study providing excellent core economics and econometrics training as well as a Post-Baccalaureate Diploma (PBD) that is essentially equivalent to the final year of our standard Honours program.

Student Quote: Frohan Foroutan

One of the best things about studying Economics at Carleton is that the professors have so many contacts in the field. The department hosts events throughout the year featuring world-class guest lecturers talking about current economics issues. They help connect real world situations to the theories learned in class.

Carleton’s Capital Advantage

Carleton’s location in the nation’s capital, Ottawa, gives you unique access to a wide range of resources in the public service. You will benefit from a wealth of research facilities and libraries in the city as well as the departments and agencies of the federal government, including: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Bank of Canada, Competition Bureau, Environment Canada, Finance Canada (Department of Finance), Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada, Health Canada, and Industry Canada.

Learn more about our Capital Advantage

Aggregate data on the career paths of many of our graduates can be found on the “Career Paths of FPA Bachelor’s Grads” page of the Faculty of Public Affairs (FPA) Web site.

Earnings Now—and Later

“A university education is a good way to secure a better salary, but which degrees offer graduates the best financial rewards? We’ve rounded up the top six study programmes for an enviable paycheque [multiply by 1.75 to convert the values in British pounds in the chart below to PPP-equivalent Canadian dollars (e.g., five years out, the average annual salary of economics graduates can buy £45,000 worth of goods at U.K. prices, which would cost £45,000 × 1.75 $/£ = $78,750 at Canadian prices)]:

(Amelia Hopkins, “6 Undergraduate Degrees that Offer the Best Salaries in the UK,” QS Digital Solutions at