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New major launches

Charitha Isanaka | Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Students hoping to combine language skills, cultural knowledge and economic know-how can now pursue a major in International Economics, a joint offering from the departments of Economics and Romance Languages and Literatures.

In a University press release, Department of Economics Chair Richard Jensen said the new major is suited for students hoping to make themselves more marketable to employers at home and abroad.

“This program will be an attractive option for ambitious, sophisticated and savvy Notre Dame undergraduates seeking to prepare themselves for successful international careers,” he said.

Professor Theodore Cachey, chair of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, said the major appeals to students already acquainted with foreign languages.

“Most students at Notre Dame have some significant second or third language in their academic history,” Cachey said. “Many students are also interested in studying economics, one of the largest majors in the College of Arts and Letters. We put the two together to offer this major.”

Cachey said the study of language and economics are more cohesive than some would think.

“This is a major for students who are coming from Economics and are drawn to languages, and vice versa. For example, students who have studied advanced Spanish will also study the Economics of Latin America and Europe,” he said. “This is a natural combination in this era of globalization.”

Professor Shauna Williams, director of undergraduate studies for the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, said the new major could pave the way to any number of professional opportunities.

“This is a great opportunity for freshmen and sophomores. It is a full major that offers limitless opportunities,” Williams said. “It opens the paths for working for international non-profit organizations, NGOs, and it a great pre-grad major.”

The program consists of eight courses through economics and a minimum of seven language courses, Williams said.
The departments are also hoping to establish a one-credit lecture course featuring distinguished alumni involved in international economics.

Williams said she is hoping to build off of strong initial interest.

“Students are learning about this new major. [First Year of Studies] has been helping us disseminate the information and we will be visiting classes to talk about the major,” she said. “The interest has been exceptionally strong, but this is what we anticipated.

Around 12 to 15 students have already signed up for the major.”