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Arts and Letters announces new concentration

| Sunday, March 30, 2014

Meg Handelman | The Observer
concentration_financial_econMaria Massa

The College of Arts and Letters announced it will add a new concentration in financial economics and econometrics for the fall 2014 semester, according to a Notre Dame press release. The concentration will accept applications from sophomore economics and international economics majors, the press release said.
“This year, we had roughly 40 applicants,” professor of economics Timothy Fuerst said. “We are still in the process of making choices, but we plan to accept about 25 of these students … We anticipate that it will grow steadily, with likely 50 students being part of cohorts in the more distant future.”
Admission decisions will be based on applicants’ overall GPA, mathematical background and performance in prior economics classes, according to the press release. The decisions will be made by Monday, the press release said.
The concentration came about from a desire to expand the qualitative skills of the economics majors in combination with a growing interest in the economics of financial markets, Fuerst said.
Richard Jensen, professor of economics, said the concentration in financial economics and econometrics will offer students practical experience and increase the University’s competitive edge.
“This concentration will provide students not only a thorough understanding of financial institutions and instruments, but also rigorous analytical and econometric training in financial markets that is currently available at only a handful of the top-20 universities,” Jensen said in the press release.
Although the new concentration might appear to be similar to the finance major available in the Mendoza College of Business, it will serve a different group of students through a distinct educational strategy, Fuerst said.
“The economics major is within the Arts and Letters College, so that there is a wider variety of non-economics electives available to students,” Fuerst said. “In contrast, Mendoza provides a more complete business background but with less flexibility in other electives.
“Second, we approach finance from the perspective of an economist. For example, what is the best way to model and thus understand the behavior or market actors? How do these behaviors affect markets and asset prices?”
The concentration will include five additional classes, with three newly-created course offerings being required: financial economics, asset pricing and financial econometrics, the press release stated. These courses will fulfill the elective requirements of the economics or international economics major.
“We’ve been delighted by the growing student interest in economics and the strong response to our new international economics major and the business economics minor open to all Arts and Letters students,” John McGreevy, dean of the College of Arts and Letters, said in the press release. “The financial economics and econometrics concentration offers yet another terrific option for students with these interests.”
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