I am a second year under-graduate student studying mathematics, but also taking courses in economics. I am not sure at this stage if I will continue with maths in my graduate school. My option B is economics. Roughly, I would give 60-40 in favour of math as far as my graduate study is concerned. My question is this: Which major should I focus for doing internship and research while I am doing my under-graduate before applying to grad school?


Today your interests lie in economics, but what if by the time you finish, you're interested in computational biology? Good luck selling Economics → Computational Biology to a graduate school admissions committee. On the other hand, with Mathematics as your base degree, you can cross over to most disciplines including Economics (with your chances boosted by further by internships in that discipline).

The bottom line is: the narrower your major discipline, the fewer your opportunities.

  • 1
    I'd like to add that if your major is too broad, it can also harm you, because you may be perceived as knowing very little about very much. – gerrit Jul 2 '13 at 20:31
  • The other big difference is that Math is a subject of few words. Many Mathematicians accept that presentation and verbal skills is not their strong point. Economics, on the other hand is more wordy. You are expected to write a lot. You obviously have the analytical skills but how much difficulty do you have presenting them - will you struggle/dread writing the essays required for economics? Something like that can spur you on or can make you lose interest very quickly. – cup Feb 21 '14 at 8:47

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