The Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents approved a new academic program for a Bachelors of Science in Quantitative Economics at its regular meeting on Friday, Oct. 25. The program will commence in the next academic year of 2020.
The major requires 34 hours of coursework and is intended to develop student’s skills in data collection and analysis. Students will also write empirical papers for conclusions drawn from statistical analysis, understand relevant research questions and draw conclusions about the reliability of sets of data and research.
“[Quantitative Economics] is a program that will support students seeking career opportunities in business, government and the non-profit sector and will give them skills to do econometric analysis and big data analysis,” said Rhonda Longworth, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs
Although EMU already has a program for a BA in Economics, the program for a BS in Quantitative Economics differs in its content.
“Because it’s a Bachelor of Science, it does have a significantly higher math content and expectation that you can do that kind of analysis. And that’s what I think the job market is pushing towards so if you think about even your phone, your car or planes, they generate all this data and we use it to model different things and predict different things, or even just to analyze the data itself,” said Longworth. “These folks would have the skills to do that kind of big data analysis and be helpful to employers in any kind of government, non-profit corporate entity.”
Regent Eunice Jeffries provided a specific example of this demand in the workforce. David Walker, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Level One Bank, communicated in an email to Jeffries an interest in hiring EMU graduates with a BS in Quantitative Economics. Walker also expressed an interest in receiving resumes from current students interested in the degree for summer internships in 2020, 2021 and 2022 as well as an internship in the fall and winter that works well for students who take night courses while working to pay for their education.
“Graduates are going to find a path pretty easily, both internships while they’re going to school and jobs when they graduate and I think that’s increasingly important to students. The regents are asking us to be particularly attentive to that, in any program that we put in place,” added Longworth.
Another aspect of the program expected to attract students is the College Fed Challenge, a team competition for undergraduate students in which students analyze economic and financial circumstances and devise a monetary policy recommendation modeled after the Federal Open Market Committee.
“They have a student group that competes in the Federal Reserve Open Market Competitions and other things like that and I think they feel like that’s the kind of program that really gets highlighted and pushed up even further and gives students more opportunities to really be competitive in those high profile competitions that result in really good jobs,” said Longworth.
Longworth expects to receive interest in the program from students in the next academic year. Approval to begin the marketing of this program is pending. The addition of a BS in Quantitative Economics is a part of EMU’s ongoing iniative in improving and highlighting its STEM programs.