Because of globalization the number of students in U.S. colleges and universities who go abroad to study economics is increasing. The Princeton economics department encourages students to study abroad. But because the study of economics is sequential (courses must be completed in a particular order), students need to plan well ahead and carefully to spend a semester or year abroad.
The Economics Department provides extensive information about preparation for study abroad for potential economics majors (.pdf) on its departmental website. If you are interested in or planning to concentrate in economics, you should read this document carefully.
The best times for economics majors to study abroad are Sophomore Spring and Junior Spring. See details in the Department's document linked to above.
Because the Economics Department only rarely permits core courses to be taken abroad, and because core courses may not be postponed to senior year, potential economics concentrators planning to study abroad must complete the appropriate core courses in their sophomore year. It is almost never feasible to spend a semester abroad in the senior year.
Economics students planning to study abroad should be aware of the following policies adopted by the department.
- Prerequisites: The department will allow students to fulfill prerequisites to the department (ECO 100, 101, and 202) abroad, provided the departmental representative pre-approves the course(s). We will also accept fulfillment of our mathematics prerequisites (MAT 103 for our less-math track and MAT 200 for our more-math track), but you must obtain pre-approval from the mathematics departmental representative for this and have him/her send us an e-mail confirming this approval. Of course, the issue of fulfilling prerequisites abroad is potentially relevant only if you are spending a sophomore semester abroad. We do not accept majors unless they have already completed all of our prerequisites.
- Core courses: Core courses [ECO 300 (offered in the fall) or 310 (offered in the fall and spring), ECO 301 or 311 (offered in the spring), and ECO 302 or 312 (offered in the fall)] must be taken before senior year. These courses offered elsewhere meet the standards we expect at Princeton only in very exceptional circumstances. Therefore, students should take in their sophomore year the core courses of the junior semester in which they plan to study abroad. That, in turn, often requires completion of their prerequisites (for example, ECO 202 for ECO 302 or 312 and MAT 200 for ECO 310, 311 and 312) in the freshman year.
- Other departmental courses: One economics course can be pre-approved as a departmental per semester on study abroad. We especially encourage taking courses in which your host university’s faculty has special expertise, for example, courses on East Asian economies when studying in a country of that region. N.B. Only participants on the Study Abroad Program may take economics courses outside of Princeton for departmental credit.
- Junior independent work (JIW): Economics juniors undertake a year-long research project. During the fall term, juniors investigate a topic and write a prospectus for a research project, due in December. The junior paper, due in April, builds on the prospectus. Juniors are divided into advising groups led by a faculty member and participate in a series of lectures and workshops that expose students to common tools used in economics research. Juniors who intend to study abroad in the fall or for the entire junior year should submit their JIW advising group request form as early as possible. Similar to juniors at Princeton they will be assigned to an advising group. Juniors abroad should keep in regular contact with their advisor and review material posted on the Blackboard site for the class as a whole and their advising group. They will receive a grade for participation but not for attendance during semester(s) they spend abroad. When evaluating a student for participation, the JIW advisor will consider whether the student kept in touch regularly, turned in drafts as expected, etc. Juniors abroad are expected to follow the deadlines in the junior calendar.
- Independent work: The department strongly encourages independent work on international topics, and has many faculty members specializing in international economics and economies of specific regions. Study abroad during the junior year can most fruitfully be used for such work, combining resources available at Princeton and the host university, and also for advance preparation for the senior thesis.
- Senior year: The department does not encourage students to spend their senior year or a senior semester abroad.
In recent years, economics majors have studied at the following institutions:
- Argentine Universities Program (COPA-IFSA-Butler), Buenos Aires, Argentina
- CIEE Study Center, Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), Buenos Aries, Argentina
- University of Melbourne, Australia
- University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
- University of Sydney via IFSA-Butler, Sydney, Australia
- Chinese University of Hong Kong, China
- University of Hong Kong, China
- London School of Economics and Political Science, England
- Worcester College, Oxford University, Oxford, England
- Pembroke College, Cambridge University, England
- University College London, England
- Berlin Consortium for German Studies, Germany
- University College Dublin, Ireland
- Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
- Bocconi University, Milan, Italy
- Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia
- University of Cape Town, South Africa
- Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain
- CIEE Study Center at University of Carlos III, Madrid, Spain
In the past, year-long macroeconomic courses of adequate quality have been found at the London School of Economics and University College London. Suitable semester long courses in macroeconomics have also been offered by Oxford and Bocconi.