Toughest subjects in DLSU: The School of Economics

Everybody has their weakness: Achilles had that heel, Superman had Kryptonite, and Samson had his hair. In De La Salle University (DLSU), each and every college has courses that make students wet their beds at night, and give them anxiety attacks all throughout the term.

What about DLSU’s smallest and newest college? The School of Economics (SOE) is home to the country’s future policy makers and researchers, but even though it seems like nothing can take the differentials out of these students, there are some courses that induce nightmares and shaky hands. This month, The Menagerie asked a handful of Economics majors about which courses scare the living daylights out of them.

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Major Difficulties

The following subjects were given by the students to be the most difficult they have taken so far.



Placing 1st runner up in the beauty pageant of subjects that make one want to cry are intermediate microeconomics courses, MICREC1 and MICREC2, which greet students in full force during their second year. Instead of the high school knowledge tackled in ECONONE, MICREC1 and MICREC2 incorporate computations such as differential calculus to measure household and firm reactions to market forces.

After all, economics is not only about GDP, inflation, exchange rates, and the like. Instead, it really starts from the small structures of society such as households and firms. Students find intermediate microeconomics challenging due to the large amount of information that they have to comprehend. Given that exams are only administered two to three times during the term, every point is crucial.



Deemed the most difficult by some of our respondents are the econometrics subjects. At the heart of economics, it is completed in two terms here in DLSU. As one student said, this alien math subject is where statistics meets calculus meets the real world. If you’re scared of Xs and Ys, wait until you meet a plethora of Greek letters such as alphas, betas, lambdas, taus, and the rest of them, which will make you shake your head in despair and grind your teeth in frustration.

Usually handled by Dr. Cesar Rufino, econometrics is not for the faint of heart. Students have to study seven econometric models that are usually taught separately in foreign universities, and subsequently write their own research papers regarding a specific model. Some students say that this is of no use when they graduate, especially when they do not intend to pursue a career in research. Combining these facts together, getting a 1.0 in econometrics can already be considered a huge blessing.


The other side of the coin

Now it is time to change sides and ask which course is difficult to teach. Dr. Lawrence Dacuycuy is the dean of the School of Economics (SOE) and he shares with us that undergraduate Macroeconomics is no walk in the park.

“I think Macro is not straightforward to teach. Contrast ECONONE with Macro or with Microeconomics. Microeconomics is more appealing because you talk about behavior, you talk about outcomes that are expected, you talk about outcomes that deviate from what is considered to be optimal. In macro, it’s a different animal simply because there are concepts that are very difficult to explain.”

Standing on the shoulders of giants, there is a reason why economics students and graduates of DLSU hold their heads high. The School of Economics might be young and small, but based on its illustrious track record ever since its inception, it is destined for even greater things.

Words of advice for its students from Dr. Dacuycuy: ask questions if you don’t understand and form study groups. Heeding the advice of SOE’s distinguished dean is something to do if you want to survive the treacheries of studying economics.

*The article has since been edited for factual inconsistencies.

By Stephanie Tan

24 replies on “Toughest subjects in DLSU: The School of Economics”

“On the other hand, DLSU is the only university in the entire country that offers such subject that is taught by a distinguished professor.”

There are other PH universities that teach econometrics, and whose professors are also ‘distinguished’. 🙂 Econometrics professors in UP Diliman include among many Josef Yap, who was former president at the Philippine Institute for Development Studies; Stella Luz Quimbo, President of the Philippine Economics Society; and Geoffrey Ducanes who was awarded the outstanding Young Scientists Award in the field of Economics last year.. The author might be more careful with what he/she will write the next time.

Agree. Mayroon din kami sa UPLB taught by Dr. Yolanda Garcia, who in turn was awarded by DA for her researches on fishery economics.

“getting a 1.0 in econometrics can already be considered a huge blessing”. – no truer words than this.

Models, problem sets, 2 exams. Term paper, Attendance – these are the only requirements in passing the course. The learnings definitely outweigh these requirements. It is as if you could learn the world and you can learn the truth with this device only if you also put the effort and be an economist as you are right now.

Economics, the subject, the distinguished professors and classmates gave me a different perspective of our world. It has made me believe that all is connected and economist are figuring out relationships among all things and using it to make this ride a better ride.

I would like to thank our University, School of Economics and Professors and these courses.
One thing I have realized is, after you have finished all these courses, It is rest assured that the world that you are moving in is now better from the way it was. It is most definite because of you who took the time to learn the world using economics can now use its powerful ideas for the betterment of everyone; starting from yourself, the micro and the macro.

“On the other hand, DLSU is the only university in the entire country that offers such subject that is taught by a distinguished professor.”

Nope. Far Eastern University has Dr. Michael Alba. A former economics professor and dean in DLSU now president of FEU. He also teaches Econometrics. Mind you, Dr. Alba was the former president of Philippine Economics Society.

Wow. Did the LaSallian actually allow this to be published? Other than the fact that it’s badly written (poorly structured, inconsistent tense, heavy handed with passive voice, tiresome metaphors), the authors clearly haven’t done their research. I normally don’t mind subpar literary abilities, but journalists are expected to have a modicum of research skills at the very least.

Had research been done, the authors would have been able to project DLSU’s economics program in a more positive light. They’d know that there are other economics programs that have students dealing with both differentials as well as “alphas, betas, lambdas and taus” in freshman year, in the very first math and introductory microeconomics courses. In contrast, the article makes it seem as though DLSU springs such impossibly tough concepts on students, making La Salle’s program seem structurally inferior. I know this is untrue, but other students looking for good economics programs might not. I hope the authors realize that what they write reflects the quality of their school. If DLSU students think that basic economics concepts are as fearsome as this article makes them out to be, it calls into question La Salle’s teaching capacity. Are they teaching such an interesting field so poorly that students “wet their beds at night”, shake their heads and grind their teeth in frustration? Metaphors can be fun, but must be used appropriately.

Had research been done, the author’s limited understanding of the content would not show through so clearly. Because of the lack of understanding, the courses sound tough but without redeeming value. In reference to econometrics, the article says “Some students say that this is of no use when they graduate, especially when they do not intend to pursue a career in research.” That the authors don’t even cite one practical use outside of public research tells me that even a simple Google search wasn’t done. Search engines are our friends, people. An elementary example-

Then, the only compensation the article offers is that “DLSU is the only university in the entire country that offers such subject that is taught by a Distinguished Professor.” (more on that later) How does this serve to motivate people to take it up or for those currently taking it, to finish it? Another example of limited understanding, “…it seems like nothing can take the differentials out of these students.” Hell, I’m an economics graduate and I don’t know how you can take a differential out of someone. I don’t even know how a person can have dxs and dys in them to begin with… Bottom line, don’t use technical terms when they’re not needed. This isn’t an academic journal, no need for jargon.

Finally, my biggest peeve with the article— had research been done, appropriate distinction could have been made. “DLSU is the only university in the entire country that offers such subject that is taught by a Distinguished Professor.” Unless Taft is a country, this is patently untrue. Again, search engines are your friend! FEU has Dr. Alba. UPLB has a plethora of distinguished professors, especially in the niche of agri econ. Need I even mention the UP School of Economics, being the only CHED Center for Excellence in Economics in the Philippines? Dr. Quimbo is PES president, Dr. Ducanes was awarded outstanding Young Scientists Award in Economics, Dr. Yap was former PIDS president, Dr. Solon was consultant to the health secretary. Distinction isn’t even limited to those teaching econometrics. If you pull up the Philippine Economic Society’s webpage, many of the officers hail from UPSE too. Former NEDA chief Dr. Paderanga was even a La Sallian himself. I could cite many more examples, but my point remains- when authors fail to do their research, not only does it reflect badly on their skills and the school/entity they represent, they inadvertently step on people’s toes. Want to be a good writer? Don’t be careless.

I’m a student from DLSU SOE (finished my undergrad in 2011 and currently pursuing further studies) and fully support this. lol. I was also surprised when I read this article. Dr. Alba ftw! He was my professor in macro during my second year in DLSU (2009. Yes, he used to teach in DLSU too!). I think the author went full retard by using the word “country”. AFAIK, the term “distinguished” in DLSU is something internal. 🙂

agreed! If Distinguished Professor is an internal term, its silly to say “in the entire country”.. lol judging from the writing skills, though, not surprised

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