Carnegie Mellon University
Students in class in the Tepper Quad

Your First Year

The first-year economics curriculum allows you to jump into meaty questions. You will learn how economists structure models, play with data, and investigate the predictive power of economic models using real data. Principles of Microeconomics and Principles of Macroeconomics introduces foundations of economic theory, applications, model-building, and data analysis; develops critical thinking skills; and develops economic research skills and intuition. 

By the end of the first year, you should be able to apply basic microeconomic and macroeconomic models to assess and explain business, government, and individual decisions. For example:

  • Are consumers worse off when Uber is taxed for surge pricing?
  • Does taxing immigrant workers make society better off?
  • Why do some economies grow and others don't?

Our principles courses are not calculus based. As you pursue them, you will also tool up with the mathematics and statistics courses that you need to advance in the curriculum.

First Year Highlights


Economics BaseCamp

Economics BaseCamp launches you into the CMU economic intellectual space — and gets you thinking like an economist. Presentations by our own research economists provide you with opportunities to learn, discuss, and debate.

Explore Economics BaseCamp


Principles of Microeconomics and Principles of Macroeconomics

Experience CMU's innovative and data-informed approach to the foundations of economics. You will begin with our Principles of Economics core. This core will introduce you to the building blocks of economics and will get you thinking like an economist. It integrates foundational economic theory, model building, and data analysis; develops economic research skills; and builds economic intuition.

Explore Core Courses


Global Challenges Competition: 24 Hour Hackathon-Style Event

The CMU Global Challenges competition is a new annual initiative organized by CMU's economics program that gives students the opportunity to learn about and tackle society's most pressing issues. During the 24-hour hackathon-style competition, small teams of students work intensively on a common and narrowly defined global problem that integrates economic reasoning and data analytics. The 2019 challenge was to design a policy that will enable the planet to maintain the 2 C temperature target of the Paris Agreement.

Find out More About The Global Challenges Competition