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Behavioral economics is a field that looks at economic decision-making from a social perspective and combines areas of psychology with economics. In behavioral economics programs at colleges and universities, emphasis is placed on studying economics from social and psychological approaches. There are behavioral economics programs at the master's and doctoral level of study, but not generally at an undergraduate level aside from basic introductory courses. Certificate programs are also available for those who have already graduated with a master's or doctorate degree in economics. Students who graduate from behavioral economics programs go on to hold a wide variety of positions in the economic and business worlds.
At the undergraduate level, economics is focused on learning and understanding the basics. Certain colleges and universities offer courses in behavioral economics, but there are not many programs that emphasize behavioral economics as a major or program. Students seeking an understanding of behavioral economics at an undergraduate level should attempt to take an introductory course to find out if it is a theoretical approach to economics that they are interested in.
There are master's degree programs available that have behavioral economics programs in which students can study the discipline on a deeper level. Master's programs often focus on theoretical and conceptual work along with a certain amount of research. Classes include behavioral economics statistics, econometrics and macroeconomics. Students can expect to expand upon their knowledge of behavioral economics while in these programs, and to be able to get a job as an economic consultant or researcher afterwards.
At the doctoral level, behavioral economics programs focus much more on the student's personal research and theories on the subject. Students are expected to write a dissertation, which is a long paper focusing on research that they performed in the field. Study also includes the areas of experimental behavioral economics, behavioral economic research and behavioral microeconomics. After attending a doctoral program in behavioral economics, students can find professional positions as college faculty, economic consultants and researchers.
There are certificate behavioral economics programs available to those who previously received a master's or doctoral degree in economics and want to learn more about the subject matter. Certificate programs generally take a few months to a year to complete and provide the student with a strong basis in the subject matter. A certificate is given to the student upon completion to show that she has had specialized training in the area of behavioral economics.