About the Department

Heady HallThe Department of Economics is one of the oldest and most recognized units at Iowa State University. It is currently jointly administered by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Read the Department Governance Document.

Classified as a Carnegie Foundation Doctoral/Research University-Extensive, Iowa State University is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top public universities in the nation.

Iowa State University is located on the ancestral lands and territory of the Baxoje, or Ioway Nation. The United States obtained the land from the Meskwaki and Sauk nations in the Treaty of 1842. We wish to recognize our obligations to this land and to the people who took care of it, as well as to the 17,000 Native people who live in Iowa today.

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Undergraduate Programs

students discussing

Our undergraduate programs strive to train students to think independently and objectively about the inherent economic nature of many of the world’s problems, from basic decisions facing businesses and individuals, to the performance of the macroeconomic system, to global resource utilization issues.



Graduate Programs

classroom discussion

Our graduate programs emphasize rigorous analysis and advance training in economic theory, econometrics and several traditional and novel applied fields of inquiry. Research programs are targeted to a number of local, national, and international problems and cover a broad spectrum, ranging from theoretical disciplinary perspectives to applied economic and policy analysis, as well as contributing to exciting multidisciplinary efforts. Our engagement with Iowa’s economy and community is rooted in our extension programs, and also benefits from our faculty’s participation in a number of affiliated centers.


historical picture of econ classroomDepartment facts:

  1. Economics courses have been offered at Iowa State University since the institution first enrolled students in 1869.
  2. The department has existed under seven different names:
    1. Department of Mathematics and Political Economy (1878)
    2. Department of Economic Science (1898)
    3. Department of Economics, Sociology, History, and Government (1906)
    4. Department of Economic Science (1913)
    5. Department of Applied Economics and Social Science (1914)
    6. Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology (1921)
    7. Department of Economics (1930)
  3. The East Hall addition was completed in 1970, the 65th anniversary of the department.
    In 1982, it was renamed and dedicated as Earl O. Heady Hall.
  4. Three former faculty have won the Nobel Prize for Economics:
    1. Theodore W. Schultz (1979)
    2. George Stigler (1982)
    3. Leonid Hurwicz (2007)

A summation of the first century of Iowa State's development to the field of economics (1858-1958) can be found in I. W. Arthur's review.

Learn more about our history in our online timeline.