New Student Guide

THE BIG PICTURE
Gordon’s Department of Economics and Business (ECB) offers four distinct majors: 

Each one can be completed comfortably over a four-year college program. That is true even if you have a term off-campus, or if you double-major (within the ECB Department or with many other majors). 

  • Your major courses should be spread out over all four years—but it is fine if you do not take an ECB course first semester.
  • Gordon’s “core” (or general education) requirements are as important a part of your education as your major. All Gordon students must take these courses, and many students register for mostly core in the first year, with only one or two major courses mixed in. That’s fine! It’s actually good to have a little seasoning and college experience before you push deep into your major.
     

WHICH MAJOR IS RIGHT FOR ME?

The majors are different, and their differences are explained in the sections on each major. 

Students who already have a specific career aim may need to take a particular major. For instance, if you already know that you want to be a CPA, you should be an accounting major; if you already know that you want to be a chartered financial analyst (CFA), you should be a finance major

But the good news is that any of our majors are good choices for students who right now have simply a general interest in careers in business or in non-profit and service organizations. Some of Gordon’s most accomplished graduates in business careers have come from each of our major programs—from economics, accounting, and finance as well as from business administration. You can see some examples of recent graduates’ starting positions here.

Our majors are also excellent preparation for many different kinds of graduate studies, across all kinds of business and non-business fields.
 

DO I HAVE TO DECIDE IMMEDIATELY WHICH MAJOR TO DECLARE?

No. Many new students do not have a clear sense of which major they want. It’s good to make an initial decision about a major when you enter so that you can be assigned an advisor in the ECB Department. But then in your first few semesters you take a broad range of courses in economics, management, and accounting—foundational to all of the majors— that expose you to them all. By the end of sophomore year, or earlier, a student will be able to make a well-informed judgment about which major is best and adjust accordingly.
 

CAN I FINISH IN FOUR YEARS AND STILL DO ALL THE OTHER GREAT THINGS GORDON OFFERS?

Yes! Any of the ECB majors can be completed in four years along with an off-campus semester, an internship or two, a minor or two, not to mention a missions trip or two. All these things are best plotted with your faculty advisor, but with some planning it is almost always possible to work everything in. One thing that really helps ECB majors do this is that all of our principles-level and required courses are offered every term, so students have lots of scheduling flexibility. Upper-level electives are offered every year (generally not every other year) which also helps.
 

CAN I DOUBLE MAJOR WITH ANOTHER ECB MAJOR?

Yes! It’s actually pretty easy to do, and about a third of all ECB students are double majors within the Department. This works well in four years because there’s a lot of overlap in the principles and quantitative courses required of all majors. (There’s a lot less overlap in the required upper-level courses junior and senior year.) So overall it’s relatively easy to combine ECB majors. Popular combinations are business and economics, economics and finance, finance and accounting, and business and accounting. In practice, many second majors inside our Department are declared during junior year.

The harder question is whether a double major is the right choice.  Some students find that a single ECB major (perhaps along with an ECB minor) is a better way to go, because it leaves more space for “free elective” courses in other departments. Your time at Gordon may be your best moment to study that United States history you’ve always wanted to learn, or literature, or language, or Bible, or philosophy…you get the idea.
 

CAN I DOUBLE MAJOR OUTSIDE THE ECB DEPARTMENT?

Yes, although some combinations are easier than others. If your second major is in the 30-45 credit range in size, you’ll be able to fit it in in four years relatively easily. But large majors (say, those that require 50 or 60 credits), are more difficult to combine with an ECB major in four years. These require particularly careful planning and strategizing with faculty advisors in both majors.
 

HOW DOES MY MAJOR “PLAY OUT” OVER MY TIME AT GORDON?
Most generally, something like this:

Years 1 & 2

  • These are the years to take foundational courses, most of which are required whether you’re an accounting, business, economics or finance major.
  • At this stage, you generally do not need to decide for certain which of the Department’s majors you want, or even whether you want to double major in the Department.
  • You’re in good shape if by the end of sophomore year you have had the following courses. All of them (except the accounting sequence and MAT141) are offered every term, so it’s easy to work them into your schedule.
    • ECB201 Principles of Microeconomics
    • ECB202 Principles of Macroeconomics
    • ECB217 Principles of Accounting I*
    • ECB218 Principles of Accounting II*
    • ECB211 Statistics for Business and Economics
    • ECB245 Principles of Management*
    • MAT134 Survey of Calculus, or MAT141 Calculus I, or equivalent 

*Most students take the ECB217/218 accounting sequence sophomore year. These courses and ECB 245 are not required of Economics majors.

Years 3 & 4

  • These are the years in which to focus on upper-level coursework unique to your major—300-level courses and electives.
  • It’s also a great time for an internship and/or co-op, and for a term off-campus if that makes sense for you. 
  • Taking a “big picture” approach to planning your coursework for years 3 and 4 will help you work in all the remaining coursework for your major(s):
  • 300-level required courses:
    • ECB311 Intermediate Microeconomics
    • ECB347 Financial Management*
    • ECB377 Principles of Marketing*
  • Electives—8 credits or more, depending on major, at the 300 level
  • Additional required and elective courses, depending upon major
  • Internships/Co-op (optional)
  • Senior seminar(s), senior year:
    • ECB491 Senior Seminar: Economic Policy for econ majors
    • ECB492 Senior Seminar: Management, Policy and Ethics for accounting, business and finance majors 

*Not required for Economics major

For course details and the exact set of requirements for each major, please use the links on the left.


WHAT SHOULD I SIGN UP FOR IN MY FIRST TERM?

  • First term, and first year in general, is a great time to do some core courses, chosen from among the following:
    • COR107 The Great Conversation—required of first-year students
    • BCM101 Old Testament
    • BCM102 New Testament
    • PHI118 The Examined Life
    • HIS121 Historical Perspectives on Culture, Belief and Civilization
    • Language Study—0, 4, or 8 credits are required in the core, based on your prior coursework and languages
  • It’s okay not to take any ECB courses first semester.  Many ECB majors begin the ECB201and ECB202 Micro/Macro sequence in the second semester, or do it sophomore year.
  • So…a good first term program would choose 16 credits from among the following:
    • COR107 The Great Conversation
    • BCM101 Old Testament
    • PHI118 The Examined Life
    • HIS121 Historical Perspectives
    • Language Study (as appropriate)
    • MAT134 Survey of Calculus or MAT141 Calculus I (a good first-term choice only for students with a strong pre-calculus background)
    • ECB201 Principles of Microeconomic (can be considered by first-term students with Math SAT scores of 600 or above)
       

WHAT SHOULD I DO WHEN I GET TO CAMPUS IN THE FALL? 

  • Check the orientation schedule for the exact time and location of a meeting with ECB Department faculty, on the Monday morning before classes begin.
  • At this meeting, we first gather as a group for an information session about the Department and our majors.
  • You then meet individually with your faculty advisor to fine-tune your registration.  At that meeting any problems with your pre-registration are sorted out and your registration is finalized. 
  • It will be good to meet you that day, if not before!  We’re very pleased you’re coming to Gordon and look forward very much to working with you during your college career!