wperry722

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Joined
Jun 21, 2020
Messages
14
Hey Everyone,

I am a rising senior, and I plan to apply for an AFROTC scholarship this fall. I want to study economics, but the Air Force does not recognize it as a technical major. Economics is still very heavy in math, especially calculus, so it feels technical-adjacent to me, where it isn't technical but is more likely to be approved than most other non-technical majors. What are the chances that I am allowed to pursue economics? Will my candidacy for scholarships be severely harmed because I want to study a non-technical major?

From what I've read on this site, 80-85%of AFROTC scholarship recipients study technical majors and the Air Force tells you whether or not you are authorized to study a non-technical major when you are offered a scholarship. Is this information accurate?

Thanks!
 

kinnem

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Oct 21, 2010
Messages
14,595
As you mention 85% (or thereabouts) of AFROTC and NROTC scholarships go to technical majors. When you apply for the scholarship you will list your intended major. Obviously 15% of the scholarship recipients are allowed to pursue a non-technical major. So yes, they would allow you to study economics, but they may not grant you a scholarship because that's your intended major. These scholarships are very competitive and economics doesn't help you run and maintain expensive ships and planes in a "hands-on" leadership capacity.

All that being said, I recommend pursuing the major you desire. You'll thrive that way and if granted a scholarship you will thrive in AFROTC. There is no point in being miserable through at least 4 years of college majoring in something you have no interest in.

I'm assuming you want to fly, so I'll make a suggestion. NROTC Marine Option doesn't care what you major in and there is a chance to fly for the Marine Corps. I emphasize chance because nothing is ever guaranteed and if you aren't able to become a pilot for any reason, you will still be serving as a Marine in some capacity. You might consider NROTC MO as a backup to AFROTC. Of course the Army has pilots too, but most of the flying is done by warrant officers.
 

ThePilot18

The most Texan American you'll ever meet
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Nov 24, 2019
Messages
73
wperry722: I am the same predicament you are in. Basically, even though many majors are technical, by the Air Force's terms they just don't need as many of those. Even in the scholarship application, when you fill out your major, it has all of these (https://www.afrotc.com/scholarships/desired-majors/) and then one other option: "general studies." Even if it is industrial engineering, biology, or technology and engineering studies, the AF is not in high demand for those. The scholarship is like an incentive in that way.

What are the chances that I am allowed to pursue economics?
In AFROTC, you can definitely do that major :)

Will my candidacy for scholarships be severely harmed because I want to study a non-technical major?
...And there's the kicker. I am exactly in your shoes- I'm also applying for an AFROTC scholarship for a major that would be seemingly technical but the AF deems it is not. To be frank, only 10% of scholarships are awarded to non-technical majors (10% goes to foreign language and the other 80% is technical). While the chances are a bit lower by going this route, don't let it deter you. If you have a great resume, good PT scores, and can ace the interview, you can set yourself up for success.

I will say this, though- don't pursue a technical major if it's only for the scholarship. Yes, you might get money out of it, but then you have to remember that it will be a difficult degree, with significantly more studying than other majors (which is why if you're awarded a scholarship for a technical degree your GPA requirement is lower since it is much harder to do).

Do want you want to do, seriously. Even if you don't earn a scholarship out of high school, you can prove yourself in your first year of ROTC to your unit and receive a college scholarship out of that (I think they call it a commander's scholarship).

If you have decided that you will do economics no matter what, go for it! Practice possible interview questions (I'm sure there are threads on here concerning those)

Good luck!
 

sheriff3

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Jan 14, 2013
Messages
1,285
I would think an econ degree would be very helpful in the AF.... Who else do they have to add up golf scores and figure out handicaps? :rofl:
 

thibaud

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Sep 28, 2017
Messages
321
Consider majoring in Math, which for AFROTC HSSP purposes is a technical major. Most Math departments at research universities these days will offer an Applied Math - Economics track in which about half or so of the courses required for the major include
- a basic 3-course sequence in Micro, Macro and Econometrics
- Operations Research
- Advanced Statistics
- Quantitative Finance

I would recommend you go to the Math Department - Undergraduate Degree requirements pages for each college or university you're interested in applying to and see whether the Math B.S. degree allows you to count a large number of the above types of courses against the major.

Most of the better schools have such a track, including U. Michigan, U. California, USC, Emory, Boston U., Tulane and all or nearly all of the Ivy+ schools.
 

wperry722

Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2020
Messages
14
Consider majoring in Math, which for AFROTC HSSP purposes is a technical major. Most Math departments at research universities these days will offer an Applied Math - Economics track in which about half or so of the courses required for the major include
- a basic 3-course sequence in Micro, Macro and Econometrics
- Operations Research
- Advanced Statistics
- Quantitative Finance

I would recommend you go to the Math Department - Undergraduate Degree requirements pages for each college or university you're interested in applying to and see whether the Math B.S. degree allows you to count a large number of the above types of courses against the major.

Most of the better schools have such a track, including U. Michigan, U. California, USC, Emory, Boston U., Tulane and all or nearly all of the Ivy+ schools.

Could I study both? Will the Air Force allow me to double major in Applied Math and Economics? One the AFROTC application, I am asked to list potential majors I would be willing to study. If I put down Economics and Applied Math as my first and second choices and the Air Force tells me they want me to study math (which is within their rights), can I elect to study major in both?
 

thibaud

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Sep 28, 2017
Messages
321
Don't mention Economics. No need to get tricky or complicated. There's no value to having "Economics" on your diploma; the value is in what you actually learned, the skills you actually mastered, whether you understand optimization methods and how to implement them or how to bootstrap a yield curve etc etc. Don't focus on labels! Stick with one label: Math -- or Applied Math if you prefer.

Here's what I recommend you do, beginning tomorrow:

1. Confirm with THE SCHOOL'S MATH DEPARTMENT that you can major in Math with a focus on or sub-specialization in Economics. Different schools will give this different names - regardless, the major will be Math. (nb. The degree must be a B.S., not a B.A. Very important for HSSP.)

2. List Math as your major - no need to get fancy and mention Economics if the degree is granted by the Math department and states "Mathematics" or "Applied Mathematics" - no difference in the view of the USAF, so long as the degree is a B.S., not a B.A.

3. Win scholarship, shine in ROTC, learn as much math and stats and programming as you possibly can. Far more valuable for whatever you wish to do than an Economics degree. (nb. If you really want to get an MBA at some point, you can get an MBA. Far more valuable than an undergraduate Economics degree, which frankly are a dime a dozen.)

Good luck!
 
Last edited:

New@This

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Jun 25, 2016
Messages
237
Economics is not a math degree. Most schools have it in either the business or Social science/sociology departments. Math is a technical degree with increasing mathematical theory and application. The math proponent or economics is relatively simple in comparison. The focus of economics is theoretical, research and public policy.

I would advise against viewing these as interchangeable. There is overlap and similarities but vast differences and the purpose and scope if the degree.
 

glen

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Feb 27, 2010
Messages
505
Will the Air Force allow double majors and minors - absolutely! Some colleges or universities allow you to study double majors and add minors without charging more for tuition. Why not check with your school to see if you can double major - math and economics, without extra charges, or as Thibaud suggests major in Math, and do a trac that includes economic theories - and your resume will shine. As majors many times involve classes that can count for either major, you may find this very doable. I recently spoke to a rising senior with an Air Force scholarship at my undergraduate school where a majority of cadets are double majors. She is double majoring in computer science and German language studies, and minoring in Cyber Operations - no problem for the Air Force. And the college charges the same tuition as if she was just taking one major.
 
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