I am mid aged person going back to school and planning to take MicroEconomics I and Econometrics in the Summer. In order to take these classes, I am planning take Calculus as Pre-requisites.

However, we have two levels of Calculus taught in Summer. Calculus - I which is of beginner's version and Calculus - II which is of Advanced Beginner's version.

Though, I dont have much details on each of them.

My question is, whether taking Calculus - I ( Beginner's version ) will be helpful for taking those two Economics classes?

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    This is a question for the econ teachers. I have taught both of these courses and it is possible to teach them with and without calculus. Usually classes for non-econ majors are taught without calculus used but that varies by school. – Dawn Apr 30 '18 at 0:30
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    In any system I've heard of, you must have mastery of Calculus I before being able to understand Calculus II. They are sequenced/scaffolded like that. – Daniel R. Collins Apr 30 '18 at 1:12
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    Agree, mastery of the calc 1 material is normally an absolute requirement for calc 2. OP seems to be saying that the situation in his school his different, but in that case, this question isn't really answerable, as we don't know the school or classes in question. – cag51 Apr 30 '18 at 1:38

I believe it depends on the Microeconomics class you take. Some Micro classes are calculus heavy but primarily at the upper division level, intro Micro classes generally are not, the equivalent to Econ 100 (versus Intro Econ/Econ 001) I took in school was Calculus heavy, but it involved methods you wouldn't learn in a standard Calculus I or Calculus II (presumably) e.g. Lagrange multipliers.

Swallowing my pride, I also took a Calculus II equivalent for "non-science" majors, this class introduced Lagrange Multipliers, while the "science" track wasn't introduced to the method until multivariate calculus.

so my advice would be to talk to an advisor and or faculty to see if one of the classes is better suited to what you will be studying, as far as Econometrics goes, someone else will need to take that one.

  • Well, i talk to my advisor. . he mentioned me to take both .. ! this is based on my background. As i dont have (or) dont remember calculus which i might have studied more than 15 years ago – goofyui Apr 30 '18 at 0:20
  • I am not interested to take both .. due to my time constraint ..in order to choose one . .. i need to have better understanding on which will suit me .. and other concern is.. , if i take calculus II .. i should be able to go through without having calculus I background – goofyui Apr 30 '18 at 0:21

I think from knowing other students who are Economic Majors the farthest you have to go into the calc series is Business calc or an equivalent is elementary calculus. The reason I don't think you have to take Calculus 1 is because, the course objective in calc 1 is not geared towards your path. I may be wrong since every school is different. But for the most part, I think you don't have to take it. I took microeconomics and I had no issue at all I don't ever remember doing any difficult computations involving finding rate of change and such.


At undergraduate level, most microeconomic theory is presented graphically, using simple linear functions and without any explicit use of calculus. Knowledge of calculus helps to understand some aspects of what is going on behind this presentation, but the focus is usually on understanding and replicating graphical explanations of economic phenomena (e.g., "This line moves left, so now the equilibrium point has a higher price", etc.).

At graduate level study (and sometimes upper-undergraduate level) this theory is translated into explicit mathematical form involving algebra and calculus. At this point you will need to be able to make the transition from graphical understanding to mathematical understanding, and you will need to be able to apply calculus to solve optimisation problems and analyse the behaviour of quantities arising from these optimisation problems. Most theorems in microeconomics involve constrained optimisation problems involving differentiation of functions and results associated with optima of functions (e.g., duality, envelope theorem, etc.).

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