From piggybanks to the World Bank, explore what makes economies tick

A globe on a desk.

How do you turn a poor country into a rich country? What can government do to stimulate new industries like biotechnology and green energy? Economists make sense of the world.

Get ready to wrestle with important and complex questions: How do you turn a poor country into a rich country? How can we avoid another global financial crisis? What’s the best way for governments to stimulate new industries like biotechnology and green energy?

In first year, you’ll cover the fundamentals of micro- and macro-economics. In upper years, you can analyze how those principles play out in a wide range of sectors, including public policy, labour economics, health economics, finance, sport, and more.

Whether you’re aiming to work in the public sector, the private sector, or academia, your Economics degree from Waterloo will give you the skills and knowledge you need, along with co-op experience to back you up.

Program highlights

Academic and social support. Whether it’s the mentorship program, a professor-student social, or a games night, Waterloo’s Economics Society organizes supportive social and academic events.

Build an awesome résumé. Choose the co-op program and graduate with 20 months of relevant experience on top of your academic learning.


What will you learn?  

First-year courses

During your first year, you'll take two introductory Economics courses. Plus, you'll have electives to explore an additional major of your choosing.

In upper years, 40% of the classes you'll take will be Economics courses.

Learn about courses you'll take for your Economics degree.

Customize your degree

You can add additional areas of expertise to your major by including one or more of the areas of focus in Economics.

  • Financial Economics
  • Public Policy
  • Econometrics

Popular areas of focus for Economics students include Financial Economics and Human Resource Management, two of the many minors available to all Waterloo students.


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Co-op = relevant paid work experience

Waterloo's co-op program, the largest in North America, is an amazing way to explore potential careers, learn to interview for jobs, graduate with up to two years of valuable experience – and make money!

Sample co-op job titles

  • Information technology/finance support
  • Economist/statistician
  • Assistant internal auditor
  • SAP merchandising/change management
  • Project control officer
  • Associate business analyst
  • Sales operations coordinator

Co-op work-study sequence

Starting in second year, you'll normally alternate between school and work every four months, integrating your classroom learning with real-world experience. You can return to the same employer for a couple of work terms to gain greater knowledge and responsibility or work for different employers to get a broad range of experience.

The study/co-op sequence is the same whether you study Economics through Honours Arts or Honours Arts and Business.

Year September to December (Fall) January to April (Winter) May to August (Spring)
First Study Study Off
Second Study Co-op Study
Third Co-op Study Co-op
Fourth Study Co-op Co-op
Fifth Study Study -

Your first work term will be halfway through second year (January to April 2026).

Learn more about co-op →



Apply to Honours Arts or Honours Arts and Business and choose Economics as your major at the end of first year.

Ontario students: six Grade 12 U and/or M courses including

  • any Grade 12 U English (minimum final grade of at least 70%)

Mathematics of Data Management is recommended as helpful background for the program.

Admission average: Low 80s (co-op and regular)

Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements for Honours Arts or Honours Arts and Business.

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Questions about courses, programs, requirements, careers?

Please contact our Faculty of Arts recruitment team who can answer any questions you have.