Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
EC 203
Course Title:
Principles of Economics: Applications to Economic Issues
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Covers economic topics related to current events. Includes international trade and finance; energy and resource economics; poverty, discrimination, and income distribution in national economies and the global economy; economic development; financial market instability; environmental and sustainability issues; government and central bank policies and competing ideologies; other current or relevant topics. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115, and MTH 95 or equivalent placement test scores, and EC 200 or EC 201 or EC 202. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

Credits from this course qualify for general education purposes at Portland Community College and may be applied toward satisfying Associates Degrees at Portland Community College.  Books and other materials are at the discretion of each course instructor.  Prices for texts and/or other materials may be found at the Portland Community College bookstore. 

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon successful completion, students should be able to:

  1. Think critically and formulate independent and well considered conclusions about economic issues and policies.
  2. Effectively participate in the political process and the economy by utilizing an understanding of the historical evolution of economic systems, institutions and ideologies.
  3. Be better equipped to filter news and media based information by applying a more complete understanding of the different paradigmatic perspectives regarding current economic issues.
  4. Further develop civic understanding by virtue of greater awareness of the different public policy options for addressing economic issues and problems.
  5. Make rational decisions based on rudimentary marginal analyses.
  6. Be prepared to further their studies in Economics courses.

Course Activities and Design

This course may include lecture and discussion formats utilizing faculty expertise, texts, supplementary reading materials, films, speakers, and other classroom aids at the discretion of the instructor. Regular attendance and completion of assigned reading are essential to the successful completion of this course. Instructors will teach in accordance with the goals and objectives listed in this Course Content Guide. The course Content Guides are developed by college-wide subject area faculty and are approved by


Outcome Assessment Strategies

Traditional and nontraditional techniques will be used to assess student mastery of the content, competencies, and outcomes. These techniques can asses either products or processes:

            Products: multiple choice exams, essays, individual group projects, student demonstrations, research projects, other projects with specified rating criteria, and portfolios.

            Processes: interviews, documented observations, web searches, journals, student self-evaluations.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  1. Build a vocabulary of economic terms that will enable the student to find the daily reading of papers and periodicals easier and more meaningful.
  2. Develop the ability to summarize an argument, understand economic reports, and to discern between positive and normative statements.
  3. Develop the ability to acquire and analyze quantitative data and make mathematical computations using formulas.
  4. Develop the ability to use and apply theoretical models.
  5. Develop the ability to conduct cost/benefit analyses.
  6. Develop the ability to think clearly about social and environmental problems in an orderly and object way.

This course may all or part of the following:

  1. Monetary and fiscal policies and the different approaches to macroeconomic management. Specifically examines Keynesian Demand-Side and the Supply-Side approaches.
  2. International economics and economic globalization that includes imports and exports, international trade, trade deficits/surpluses, trade theory and specialization, domestic exchange equations, terms of trade, comparative advantage and absolute advantage, and free trade and protectionist arguments.
  3. International finance: exchange rates, balance of payments, current and capital accounts, and international financial market instability.
  4. Energy resources availability, alternative energy, environmental economics and economic sustainability.
  5. Income distribution, Lorentz curves and Gini Indexes, poverty, social security and welfare reform, labor markets and unionization; income distribution in both the national economy and in the global economy.
  6. Economic development
  7. Other current economic subjects or topics that are of particular interest to students and other PCC programs.

Instructor's Qualifications:

A Masters degree in economics or a degree in a related discipline with at least 30 hours of graduate credits in economics. A background of coursework in economic history and economic thought is preferred.