About the Department of Economics
Economics has the distinction of being a "charter member" of the University of Kansas. In the one curriculum announced by the 1866 catalog, a general course, designated simply as "Political Economy," was required in the senior year with Francis Wayland's Elements of Political Economy as the text. But, while the course was listed, there were no seniors to take it.
Today, the Department of Economics at the University of Kansas is a vital part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the University, and the community. There are about 350 students pursuing undergraduate economics degrees in the Oswald Program. Sixty-four students are enrolled in the graduate programs.
Economic literacy is essential to a liberal arts education because it provides a framework for understanding the forces that shape the global economy and society in which we live, as well as a systematic approach to decision making on both a personal and an institutional level. Among the questions that economics examines are why some countries are rich and others poor, how governments affect economic choices and welfare, and how globalization affects both individuals and societies. The mission of the Department of Economics is to create new economic knowledge and disseminate economic knowledge to our students and colleagues, the citizens of Kansas, and the world.