If there is one thing that economics professor Alberto Davila wants to make clear, it’s that the recently announced double major for economics and finance is not new. Davila, the chair for the Economics and Finance Department, always advised students to double major.
“It was an overlap in courses,” Davila explained. “What we essentially did was create a plan to fulfill the degree requirements for both majors.”
Before the announcement on Sept. 4 during the semester’s first meeting for the Economic Society, a student majoring in finance could take 30 hours of economics electives, and vice versa for finance majors.
The minimum number of hours required for either an economics or finance degree plan is 120, or four academic years with full course loads. However, the degree plan for the double major has a minimum requirement of 135 hours, one extra semester.
Salvador Contreras, an economics professor, explained why students couldn’t technically double major in both before the revision of the degree plan.
“Since there was so much overlap between these two degrees, we added this in for students wanting to take advantage (of the double major),” Contreras said.
Because the joint degree plan calls for only an extra 15 credit hours, the department saw it as a way to attract students to join the program.
“There’s something powerful about the package,” Contreras said. “It’ll have a significant impact on how students go out into the business world.”
Among the students who decided to change his degree plan to accommodate the double major was Jose Luis Briones, president of the Economics Society student organization.
“I think it makes a graduate more marketable when he’s looking for a job,” the 22-year-old Dallas native said. “The skill-sets one could learn from doing both majors would provide a greater understanding of business.”
Charles Danso, vice president of the Financial Management Association, another student organization, agreed with him.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to be more versatile since economics and finance go hand in hand,” said the 22-year-old native from Ghana, in West Africa.
Danso is a finance major who couldn’t switch to the degree plan because he’s planning on graduating in the spring, and will start grad school next fall.
“If it was announced earlier, I would’ve done the switch,” he said. “But I don’t have the time to do an extra semester of school.”
Davila said that so far, a total of seven students have transitioned to the new degree plan since its announcement, but the number is expected to rise.
According to Contreras, even though students were able to double major before, graduates who did so didn’t have it recognized on their degree. The information was available on their transcripts though.