AP and Other Policies

Study Abroad

Courses taken abroad count toward the major only if approved by your adviser. Be sure to work this out with your adviser well before you go abroad.

Summer Courses

Summer courses taught in the Department of Economics at Hopkins may be counted toward the economics major, on the same basis as those offered during the academic year. Summer courses from other universities will generally NOT be counted toward the economics major. Exceptions can be granted only in rare circumstances, and we strongly urge you to seek prior approval.

AP Policy

Students who use credits to satisfy the 180.101 Elements of Macroeconomics and 180.102 Elements of Microeconomics requirements must take additional courses to reach a total of ten courses in the department (or approved transfer or study-abroad courses; see above) to complete an economics major or six courses for a minor.

  • Macro. Students who score a 5 on the Macro AP exam may place out of Elements of Macroeconomics (180.101), and they receive university credit for this course.
  • Micro. Students who score a 5 on the Micro AP exam are invited to give a brief informal demonstration of their knowledge; if this is satisfactory, such students may place out of Elements of Microeconomics (180.102), and they receive university credit for this course. To take this diagnostic test, see Professor Bruce Hamilton.


Often, students in the Department of Economics are interested in pursuing internships off campus. Some internships offer significant hands-on job and career experience; some offer essentially academic experiences in a non-classroom setting, and some offer both.

If you are interested in an internship, the first thing you should do is check the university’s guidelines.

For those internships that are essentially off-campus jobs, the university and the department play no role other than notifying students of opportunities. Students find internships, and they balance the demands of the internship with the demands of their academic lives. Students do not get academic credit for these non-academic internships.

For those internships that have genuine academic content, we are happy to work closely with students and to make it possible to get deserved academic credit.

Guidelines for Internships with Academic Credit

The overarching principle is that an internship should qualify for academic credit only if it has genuine academic content (typically a significant reading list and a significant written evaluation or project). Unlike a classroom course, the student takes major responsibility for crafting the reading list and the written project. Below are our specific guidelines:

  • A student wishing to do a for-credit internship must find a faculty sponsor who is a member of the Department of Economics.
  • Before accepting the applicant, the sponsor will ask for a written proposal, laying out the reading and the writing project (or some acceptable substitute). Frequently, sponsors will help guide students to appropriate reading, but primary responsibility falls on the student.
  • According to university rules (see link above) internships cannot offer more than one credit. If your project warrants more than one credit, that can be given only through the rubric of independent study. We will attempt to match the number of credits with the amount and level of academic work in the internship/independent study.
  • The internship will be graded credit/no-credit by the faculty sponsor. Credit will be based only upon the academic component of the internship (likely the reading and the writing) If at the end of the term the faculty sponsor finds that the academic component of the internship was not successfully completed, credit will be withheld.
  • We will generally only consider applications for for-credit internships from students who have taken the relevant background courses. For example, we are unlikely to approve an internship at a financial institution from an applicant who has not pursued adequate background in our financial-economics courses.

Independent Study

Independent study works in many ways like an internship. The student finds a sponsor within the Department of Economics and develops a study plan including reading and most likely a written project. There are however some important differences:

  • Independent studies generally do not involve a placement off campus; they are more like on-campus courses but with only one student and that student taking a much more active role in designing the project.
  • The number of credits is not limited to one; it is determined by the faculty sponsor.
  • Instead of being graded credit/no-credit, it is graded pass/fail. Expectations for passing grades are somewhat higher than for regular courses.

Generally speaking, faculty members will be willing to serve as independent-study sponsors only for students who have demonstrated an ability to work independently and who have completed all of the courses which would ordinarily be thought of as prerequisites for a study of the kind proposed by the student.