Economics, Finance, Legal Studies

The Department of Economics, Finance and Legal Studies is home to world-class teaching and research faculty and offers a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Our various specializations in finance allow students to seek careers in banking, financial services, real estate, insurance and risk management, corporate financial management, investment management and international finance.

Our specializations in economics enable students to attain deeper insights into the economic forces that shape health care provisions and utilization, international trade and development, markets for labor and natural resources, and domestic and international macroeconomic and monetary policies.

Additional courses in business law, and law and economics are available to students interested in exploring the legal and institutional frameworks within which modern businesses and markets must operate.

Our degree programs appeal to students with a desire to learn and apply quantitative and analytical methods in decision-making at all levels of the private and public sectors. The department also offers a variety of special programs for top achieving undergraduate students.

The department offers graduate programs at the master’s level in finance (MSF), and economics (MA); and at the doctoral level in finance (Ph.D) and economics (Ph.D). Information on our graduate programs in economics and finance can be found on the Manderson Graduate School of Business site.

The department hosts a weekly seminar series throughout the academic year that features leading researchers and academics from around the world. Students are encouraged to routinely attend and participate in the department’s seminar series.

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Economics majors are well versed in math, acting as exceptional logical thinkers with an interest in human systems. A degree in Economics takes Culverhouse graduates from the classroom to the boardroom with excellent preparation for those interested in a wide array of fields.

Culverhouse students working toward an undergraduate degree in Economics must select either a specialization or an additional major. For students whose interests go beyond a single area, economics may be the only major.

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Careers in Finance allow graduates to choose which of today's market sectors will define tomorrow's economies. The undergraduate Finance program offers courses designed to develop the student's analytical skills and abilities. Undergraduate students seeking a degree in finance must select an additional major or specialization.

Culverhouse graduates who complete a bachelor's degree in Finance enjoy careers in banking, financial services, corporate finance, investment management, real estate, insurance enterprise risk management, consulting and the public sector.

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Actuarial Science is a perennial “best job” for future-oriented minds with a mathematical prowess. As a student specializing in the sciences, you will take important steps toward certification with a specialization in Actuarial Science that includes calculus courses, educational experience requirements and prep work for two actuarial examinations.

As a career actuary, you will join an elite group that estimates the probability of future events, develops ideas for coping with unexpected losses and helps shape the way society deals with risk. Actuarial Science offers a wide variety of career paths consistent with many attractive lifestyles. As an actuary, you may work in a small town, a city or anywhere that your mind and math can take you.

Students taking this specialization must complete the calculus sequence. Non-finance majors will need to take FI 410 and FI 414.

Click here for more information on the IRMAS Program (Insurance, Risk Management, and Actuarial Science) at Culverhouse.

An institution's capital is only valuable when it is effectively managed—regardless of how much capital there is.

This realm of finance analyzes valuation, incorporating risk as it applies to both certainty and uncertainty—ultimately making every venture less of an adventure. Students will learn how corporate decisions involve, for example, capital structure choices and payout policies, and the effects of market imperfections on such decisions.

Training in this area will prepare students for fast-paced careers in corporate finance. An entry-level position might be as a financial analyst in a corporate controller’s office or as a chartered financial analyst. Promotions could lead to capital budgeting manager, controller, chief financial officer or even chief executive officer. This specialization is for cautious-minded, forward-thinking students.

Culverhouse ranks among the top schools in the world for students seeking a career in insurance management. Modern economies could not exist without risk management insurance and financial services. Every individual and organization faces the risk and possibility of loss from a number of factors. Students in this concentration learn to manage complex risks, which prepares them for one of the many rewarding career paths in insurance, financial services and risk management. This specialization allows students to enter the job market with comprehensive insurance of their own.

Click here for more information on the IRMAS Program (Insurance, Risk Management, and Actuarial Science) at Culverhouse.

International business permeates today's business school curriculum. Students specializing in International Economics will come to understand many aspects of the international economy including the reasons why nations trade, why there is a presumption of gains from trade and the ways in which trade affects income distribution. Students will also learn about international aspects of the business cycle and the determinants of exchange rates and the trade deficit. Students must major in Economics, have at least three years of a foreign language and spend a semester abroad. Starting locally, students will gain an understanding of why businesses in today's globalized markets need to think locally, but sell globally.

Culverhouse understands that for some students, domestic markets and ventures aren't enough. The International Finance specialization is for students serious about finance but drawn to how the world does business. Studying International Finance gives students a useful institutional background to pursue a career within the international financial markets.

There are in-depth analyses of foreign exchange rate determination, the balance of trade and payments, and international capital flows. In this concentration, students will examine the effectiveness of fiscal and monetary policies in an open economy where different exchange rate regimes are fully examined. The program prepares students for research-oriented jobs in government agencies and international organizations. International Finance is for students with a broad interest in global investing.

Students specializing in International Finance must major in finance, have at least three years of a foreign language and spend a semester abroad.

Investments grow with their investors. This specialization equips students to succeed in investment management, which includes financial-statement analysis, debt securities, equity securities, derivative instruments, portfolio management and financial risk management.

Large financial services firms such as commercial banks, investment banks, and large funds like state retirement systems and mutual fund families, continue to need well-equipped professionals to meet their management needs.

The financial derivatives area, now over $500 trillion in size, is also labor-intensive and requires professionals with quantitative skills. The Investment Management concentration lays a foundation for young professionals working here.

Making the investment was smart. Keeping it smart is where students in this specialization invest their futures.


It is practically a truism that government and private enterprise are, in spite of their constant interaction, considered separate entities. In order to better understand how the government should implement policy, it is necessary to understand the behavior of an economy during its business cycle. This requires a fluency in macroeconomic policy and knowledge of how quid influences quo. Students will learn how policymakers deal with longer-term problems such as the viability of Social Security and the federal deficit. A concentration in Macroeconomics and Monetary Policy provides students with an awareness of current events, theoretical models and the statistical tools that macroeconomists use to study a policy's effect on markets.

This course of study qualifies the student to sit for the Certified Financial Planner™ exam. The course selection extensively covers all aspects of personal finance including investments, estate planning, taxation, risk management and insurance, employee benefits, and retirement planning.

Graduates of the Personal Wealth Management Specialization often land careers working in or with securities firms, bank trust departments, mutual funds, insurance companies, investment advisory firms, and pension and accounting firms. Students will graduate with extensive knowledge of all areas of personal finance and wealth management.

Note: Non-Finance majors will need to complete FI 414 Investments to sit for the Certified Financial Planner™ exam.

Serving the common good requires an uncommon skill set. Public policy is seldom the invention of the public and is created and implemented by people whose primary policy is helping others. Public Policy and Law students will find opportunities at all levels of government, including federal, state and local. Post-graduation opportunities for students include implementing policies that improve the lives of our nation's citizens. The costs and benefits of social policies such as No Child Left Behind and Medicare are not created without considering how they will utilize resources and impact the system that they are ultimately created to serve. A career in government can be as enterprising and advantageous to the participant as a career in the private sector. When serving the public is a student's calling, Culverhouse answers. Students must take three of the following courses.

Where economies become volatile and markets unpredictable, more advanced forecasting methods must be engaged to explain what lies ahead. Just as basic mathematics turns to calculus to explain complicated systems, Culverhouse students turn to Quantitative Economics to explain diverse, new and evolving systems.

The specialization in Quantitative Economics focuses on the use of mathematical and statistical tools to analyze both micro- and macroeconomic problems.

Students will learn optimization theory, decision theory, economic modeling, economic forecasting and econometrics. The program prepares students for research-oriented jobs in government, business or consulting, and for graduate programs in economics and finance. An eye for numbers is advised; a passion for mathematics is required.

Students must major in Economics and complete the calculus sequence, and MATH 237.

As the complexity of our surroundings increases, so does the need for finance managers who can understand it.

The Quantitative Finance specialization provides young Culverhouse professionals with a strong mathematical foundation suited to careers in nuanced and highly specialized areas of finance. A heavy emphasis is placed on calculus, statistics and financial derivatives. Students here, distinguish themselves through a superior quantitative foundation utilized particularly in investment management and financial risk management.

Quantitative Finance is a useful concentration for those who know they will be pursuing advanced degrees. The quantitative skills acquired ease the burden of higher-level concepts encountered in graduate school. As our society advances technologically, the demand for professional finance personnel with quantitative skills does too.

Students must major in Finance and complete the calculus sequence, and MATH 237.

For students in the Real Estate specialization, bringing work home means giving people's work a home. What was once thought of as expertise required only for individuals seeking a career in residential and home sales has continued to grow into commercial markets, creating highly regarded career opportunities with it.

The Real Estate concentration combines many different academic disciplines including economics, finance, sales, marketing and law.

Commercial brokerage, appraisal, mortgage banking, property management, asset management and portfolio analysis are common areas of employment for Real Estate students. With the growth of large national and international real estate investment trusts, there is an even greater demand for people who can apply sophisticated investment management strategies to maximized returns in a sector where demand is always rising but supply rarely is.

Click here to visit the Real Estate website.

Value investing rests on the simple premise that when putting money to work, you should get more than you pay for.

This specialization provides students with practical skills and experience in assessing value, including business/industry research and analysis, financial-statement analysis and company valuation. Such skills are vital and broadly applicable to any number of career pursuits in such fields as investment management, investment banking, venture capital, private equity, management consulting, corporate strategic planning, corporate business development and even starting one's own company.

The Value Investing Specialization consists of three courses:

Finance 417: Value Investing Principles and Practice

Finance 418: Advanced Value Investing (first available in Spring 2018)

Accounting 444: Financial Analysis for Investing

The Department of Economics, Finance, and Legal Studies offers graduate programs in Economics and Finance at both Masters and Ph.D levels. Students wishing to apply for our MSF, MAE, and Ph.D tracks are encouraged to read the Economics(linked to PDF) and Finance(linked to PDF) Graduate Program Guides, which cover the finer details of graduate study in the department. Websites specific to our programs can be found below:


Below are short descriptions of some programs that are offered by the Department of Economics, Finance and Legal Studies that are primarily directed toward outstanding students. The Finance and Economics Programs have attracted some of the most outstanding undergraduate students in the University. In addition, our Master of Science in Finance has attracted many of our most highly qualified graduate students. We have several options in the programs that have been in place for several years and we have recently added new programs that may be of interest to you.

For the programs listed below, we are looking for students who wish to take a curriculum that is far more challenging than usual. These programs generally require the additional math classes that are necessary for advanced graduate work. A brief description of the various options is given below. If you are interested in one of these programs, please email Dixie Hamner at

Quantitative Finance

The curriculum for quantitative finance contains all the core finance classes plus basic engineering math classes. This is an excellent major for those who have a strong quantitative background and wish to study finance. It is excellent training for graduate school and for some of the more technical areas of employment in finance.

Quantitative Economics

Our regular economics program is quite flexible and can accommodate students who plan to take the usual sequence of math classes; however, we advise all of our students to take as much math as possible. Taking more math classes expands your opportunity for additional work in economics. The quantitative economics curriculum incorporates the math requirements that the faculty believe are necessary for students who want to pursue a Ph.D. in economics.

Double major in Finance and Math

This course of study is very similar to the Quantitative Finance major. This option requires a few additional math classes that permit students to receive both majors. Graduates in these majors have a wide range of opportunities for graduate study and employment.

Double major in Economics and Math

Students who are interested in studying math often look to apply their study to the "real world" and economics is an excellent venue for those applications. Likewise, advanced study in economics often requires rigorous training in math. This degree satisfies both of those needs and is outstanding preparation for those who plan to pursue a Ph.D. degree in economics.

The University Scholars Program

The University Scholars program allows the department to identify students with outstanding potential at an early stage of their undergraduate program and invite them into a program that leads to both the undergraduate degree in Finance or Economics and a Masters degree (MS Finance/MA Economics/ MS Statistics) usually within 4 years of starting the Undergraduate program.

Certificate in Analytical Excellence

This certificate is for those students who have completed the regular calculus sequence and 3 additional analytical classes. This signals to employers and other that the holders of this certificate has made a conscience effort to develop their analytical skills.

Amanda Geiger205-348-6295
200 Alston Hall 
Box 870224
Dixie Hamner205-348-8983
204 Alston Hall

Graduate programs
Debra Wheatley205-348-6683
200 Alston Hall 
Box 870224