In September, Augustana University began offering a quantitative economics (QE) major, alongside its economics major.
“Quantitative economics is your regular economics degree with an emphasis on the quantitative (side), meaning it has three parts — analyzing situations using models, empirical analysis and computer simulations,” said Dr. George Loginov, assistant professor of economics and coordinator of the QE program.
The main difference between the two majors, Loginov said, is that standard economics focuses on the broader cultural and historical perspective of the subject, and incorporates a course in the history of economic thought. Quantitative economics, he said, is applied economics with a focus on numbers.
The QE major consists of seven economics and four math courses, as well as two elective credits. To complete the major, students will also take a newly developed course — Game Theory & Math Economics.
“We're bundling (those subjects) together because there's a big overlap, but also game theory is really interdisciplinary,” Loginov said. “In principle, game theory belongs to economics, but it also belongs to math and other disciplines, so hopefully, it will attract a broader audience.”
What sets the two majors apart is an econometrics course — now a required course for the QE major, which Loginov said is a “game changer.”
“If you’ve taken econometrics, you’re a completely different student from the labor market perspective,” said Loginov. “Even though (the economics department) doesn’t have a thesis requirement, there is a project that is part of the econometrics course that’s at the level of a thesis. It's a semester-long research project students do as part of the course.”
AU’s quantitative economics is also a designated STEM (science, technology, engineering & mathematics) major, which is important for students like Azam Shaik ‘25, an international student from Hyderabad, India. International students with STEM degrees qualify for the optional practical training (OPT) extension — allowing graduates to seek employment in the United States for three years instead of one.
“The encouragement and hard work of the economics faculty at Augustana in setting up this program have opened up new possibilities for students like me,” said Shaik. “It's a game changer, particularly for international students interested in economics — offering a significant advantage with a 3-year OPT.”
Shaik was the first Augustana student to declare the quantitative economics major and is also majoring in data science and finance. After Augustana, he’s considering applying his skills within financial institutions or research organizations, and eventually, pursuing graduate school for applied economics or data science.
“I believe quantitative economics will enhance my ability to tackle real-world problems with a more data-centric and analytical approach — a skill that is highly sought after in today's competitive job market,” Shaik said.
To learn more about the quantitative economics major, visit augie.edu/QE.