Economics at Ave Maria University sees the economy as a means for the fulfillment of the human person and emphasizes human dignity, solidarity, and subsidiarity. Economics majors come to appreciate the breadth of economics as a formal academic discipline, and to understand the many aspects of human experience to which the insights of economists are relevant. Situated within the Catholic intellectual tradition, and drawing upon the great social thinkers, Economics at Ave Maria offers students a better understanding of social realities and the means to improve them.

Explore the Economics Program

Welcome to Economics at Ave Maria University! The department is composed of a boutique group of social scientists with a passion for teaching and mentoring. Though Economics is a young department, students who have studied in our courses or programs have already gone on to graduate school at the University of Chicago MAPPS and Columbia University PhD Program; to research associate positions at top centers such as the American Enterprise Institute and Heritage Foundation; and to excel in private industries ranging from banking and finance to real estate investment. Some of our graduates are young entrepreneurs, and some are giving back to the next generation, accepting teaching jobs at both private and public schools.

As a small department, we owe these successes to doing a few things very well. One of our most popular programs is the Family & Society Program—a cluster of courses in social research focusing on the analytical study of marriage, family, demographics, neighborhoods, economic mobility, education and religion. Another feature of our department is the use of applied game theory in a variety of settings. Students may specialize in Managerial Economics and Strategic Analysis (MESA)—a unique interdisciplinary major drawing from Economics and Business. Finally, we feature the advanced study of Catholic social thought as a required and invigorating component of every economics program at Ave Maria. This course—unique to Ave Maria—has been developed around the exposition and analysis of Papal writings since Leo XIII, and draws upon the work of some of the greatest interpreters of papal thought in the late 20th century, including F. Russell Hittinger, George Weigel, and Michael Novak.

  1. Ave Maria University is home to the Stein Center for Social Research, a non-partisan, interdisciplinary research institute dedicated to understanding pressing social questions, including poverty, educational outcomes, religious trends, and demographics.
  2. Our students have the opportunity to participate in conferences, lectures and research projects based at the Stein Center—and to meet a variety of scholars who visit from around the country. A partial list of speakers in the past few years includes: Michael NovakArthur BrooksJohn SchindlerSamuel Gregg, and Mark Regnerus.
  3. Famous economics majors include serious politicians and business men such as Ronald Reagan, Warren Buffett, William F. Buckley, George H.W. Bush to public figures such as Cate Blanchett.

In addition to the core curriculum, economics majors take the following courses

  • ECON 201 Principles of Macroeconomics
  • ECON 202 Principles of Microeconomics
  • ECON 301 Intermediate Macroeconomics
  • ECON 302 Intermediate Microeconomics
  • ECON 315 Catholic Social Teaching and Economic Life
  • ECON 490 Senior Seminar: Applied Economic Theory
  • STAT 230 Applied Statistics

Elective Courses (three Required)

  • ECON Family, Gender, and Society
  • ECON 305 Fiscal Policy
  • ECON 310 History of Economic Thought
  • ECON 316 Market, State, and Institutions
  • ECON 330 Labor Economics and the Economics of Poverty
  • ECON 332 Strategic Thinking and Game Theory
  • ECON 403 Introduction to Econometrics
  • ECON 415 Special Topics in Economics
  • ECON 420 Economics and Ethics of Development
  • ECON 421 Globalization and International Macroeconomics
  • ECON 433 Industrial Organization and Public Policy

See the Academic Catalog for course descriptions


Career Facts

  • Economics is one of the most valuable undergraduate majors. According to Census data, the median salary for an Economics major is $69,000.
  • Economics is one of the most versatile undergraduate majors. An economics major is a great foundation for a career in business, law, or government.

Marilyn Ibarra-Caton, Ph.D.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics
Education: Ph.d., Economics, University of Georgia, M.A., Economics, San Diego State University, B.S., Economics, San Diego State University
Office: Prince 105
Phone: 304-7928

Gabriel Martinez, Ph.D.

Chair of the Economics Department, Associate Professor of Economics, Director of Online Education
Education: B.A., Interdisciplinary Studies, University of South Carolina; M.A., Economics, University of Notre Dame; Ph.D., Economics, University of Notre Dame
Office: Henkels 2056
Phone: (239) 280-1611
Curriculum Vitae: Download


Walter Nicholson, Ph.D.

Adjunct Instructor of Economics
Education: B.A., Williams College, Ph.D. Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Frank Shepard, D.P.S.

Chair of the Business Department, Associate Professor of Finance
Education: B.S., Accounting, Bentley College; M.B.A, Finance, Columbia University Graduate School of Business; D.P.S., Finance & International Economics, Pace University
Office: Henkels 2020
Phone: (239) 304-7345

Zachary Bartsch, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Economics
Education: Ph.D., Economics, George Mason University, M.A., Economics, George Mason University, B.S., Economics, University of Louisville
Office: Prince 104
Phone: 304-7929

The International Honor Society for Economics, Omicron Delta EpsilonExternal link now has a chapter at Ave Maria University. ODE is one of the world’s largest and oldest academic honor societies. The Ave Maria University Economics Department formally established the Sigma Chapter of Florida on March 1, 2010.
Omicron Delta EpsilonExternal link is dedicated to the recognition of academic achievement and promotion of economic knowledge. It seeks to recognize scholastic attainment and honor outstanding achievements in economics; to establish closer ties between students and faculty in economics within and among colleges and universities; to publish its official journal, The American Economist, and to sponsor panels at professional meetings and the Irving Fisher and Frank W. Taussig competitions.
Membership in an Honor Society sends a powerful signal to other students, faculty, potential employers, graduate school admission officers, scholarship awarders, and parents. Some of the benefits of membership in Omicron Delta Epsilon include: International recognition of scholastic achievement in economics.

  • A publication outlet for promising undergraduate and graduate student papers in The American Economist, the journal of Omicron Delta Epsilon.
  • Closer academic and professional relationships with the faculty at your university.
  • Closer professional and social relationships with fellow ODE members at your university.
  • Closer professional and social relationships with ODE members at other universities with Omicron Delta Epsilon chapters.
  • ODE sponsored meetings at the annual conventions of regional, national and international associations.
  • Eligibility to compete for the Frank Taussig and Irving Fisher AwardsExternal link (both cash prizes and publication of essays).
  • Eligibility to compete for the Outstanding Student Leader AwardExternal link.
  • One-year subscription to The American EconomistExternal link.

For more information on the application requirements please contact:
Dr. Gabriel Martinez


Lilla Lukacs (2014) is working at the American Enterprise Institute, a public policy research think tank in the heart of DC. Lilla has been at AEI for a little over a year now, and she works for the housing policy research team led by a former Senior Advisor in the Federal Reserve Board’s Division of Research and Statistics and a former Executive at Fannie Mae. She works on various projects, including an analysis of fundamental determinants of house prices in major US metros and the production of a monthly mortgage risk index.

  • Kathleen Mullally (2015) Ave Maria School of Law
  • Colin Smith (2014) Associate and member of the Business Training Program at Avesta Communities
  • Colby Popik (2012) Client Partner at Gartner, Inc. in Fort Myers, FL
  • Roman Samuels (2013), Wholesale for the Ave Maria Funds
  • Josh Johanni (2012), Client Analytics Consultant at The Fedeli Group
  • Sarah Richards (2012), Ambassador for The Dynamic Catholic Institute
  • Jessica Wasko (2010), Director of Operations at Providence House
  • Ryan Tompkins (2008), Market Research Analyst at CACI International, Inc.