STEM designation for the BA and BS in Economics

The Department of Economics submitted applications to change the CIP codes for the BA and BS majors. The applications were recently approved and Economics is now designated as a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) discipline.

The change in CIP codes is effective Autumn 2020.

1. What exactly is changing? Prior to Autumn 2020, Economics used code 45.0601. Now we will use CIP code 45.0603.
- Prior code: 45.0601 Economics — A general program that focuses on the systematic study of the production, conservation and allocation of resources in conditions of scarcity, together with the organizational frameworks related to these processes. Includes instruction in economic theory, micro- and macroeconomics, comparative economic systems, money and banking systems, international economics, quantitative analytical methods, and applications to specific industries and public policy issues.
- New code: 45.0603 Econometrics and Quantitative Economics — A program that focuses on the systematic study of mathematical and statistical analysis of economic phenomena and problems. Includes instruction in economic statistics, optimization theory, cost/benefit analysis, price theory, economic modeling, and economic forecasting and evaluation.

2. Why was the change requested? The requested CIP code change to 45.0603 Econometrics & Quantitative Economics, a STEM designation, reflects our long-established focus on quantitative and technical economic training. The field of economics has generally evolved to emphasize technical and quantitative methods and arguments. As our curriculum has evolved to reflect these changes, a change in the STEM designation of our undergraduate programs is appropriate.
The curriculum’s content is scientifically rigorous, using mathematical techniques and reasoning both in the development of theoretical economic models – using game theory and calculus - and in answering empirical questions with methods from statistics, econometrics and data science. In addition, in 2013 we added an econometrics requirement to the BA major, ECON 382, as we feel this skill set is necessary to keep in line with our peer institutions and our belief that all economics majors should be familiar with elementary regression techniques.
The tools and skills students acquire in our econometrics and technical economics based curriculum provides graduates with a robust understanding of economics, which leads to academic and non-academic options that transect a variety of career paths.

3. How will this change affect me? For many currently declared Economics majors, you will not notice a change. However, eligible international students on F-1 visas will now be able to apply to extend their Post-Completion OPT authorization by 24 months. International students may have already received updated I-20s from the ISS office, or should receive an updated I-20 soon.

4. Does this change the name of my major or degree? No. Students will still graduate with either a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Economics or a Bachelor of Science with a major in Economics.

5. Will the CIP code or STEM designation appear on my transcript? No. The UW does not include CIP codes or STEM designations on transcripts.

6. I am an international student. Who can I contact if I have a question? Use the “Contact ISS About Major or CIP Code Issue” form at 

7. Does the CIP code change apply to those who graduated before Autumn 2020? No. The CIP code change only applies to those who graduate in Autumn (December) 2020 and beyond.