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An economist (also an economist ) is a person who has completed a degree in economics or who is professionally concerned with economic issues.

The term economist does not only refer to university graduates with the academic degree of “Diplom-Ökonom / in or Dipl.-Ök. (Dipl.-Oec.) ”, But is also a term used for graduates of other economics courses, such as business administration or economics .

Job description and concept

The professional profile of a university economist includes, among other things, a university career with the aim of researching and teaching as a professor in the field of economics. This includes studying business administration and / or economics with at least a good exam . This is usually followed by a job as a research assistant , previously as a research assistant , today as an academic councilor with a subsequent doctorate . After further work in research and teaching, a habilitation thesis must be submitted. After successful habilitation, you are entitled to teach as a private lecturer . After some time, outstanding scientists receive a call as professor of business administration or economics, and possibly even a call to a chair that becomes vacant .

Outside the university sector, economists work in government and international organizations such as central banks , finance ministries , the IMF or the World Bank , as well as in many private-sector organizations such as economic research institutes , banks and other large companies that have a need for forecasting and analysis of the economic situation. At the end of 2013, 1.1 million economists were employed subject to social security contributions and 0.51 million were self-employed.

Based on the term “national economist” or “economist”, the term “economist” is sometimes used colloquially synonymous for “ economist ” and “ business economist ” because they have completed an economics degree. The term “economist” is used directly in the term “ chief economist ”, which is particularly common in the banking sector, but also in industrial companies.

The professional association of German economists is the Federal Association of German Economists and Business Economists .

University degree

Teaching and study subjects

In economics courses, students are trained equally in microeconomic and macroeconomic subjects. An economics university degree includes the possibility of specializing in various special business administration and special economics , sometimes also in law and social science electives.

Accordingly, the chairs are designated as chairs for business administration or economics and at least one special subject.

In the field of university studies, especially at an economics faculty, the term economist (abbreviated WiWi) is mostly used in university language, in lectures and in literature as a synonym for a student in an economics degree.


Various economics courses are offered at colleges and universities. In Germany there was this far with the final degree in business administration , economics graduate , graduate in business administration , diploma commercial teacher , but also economics graduate or graduate economist or social economically oriented graduate Sozialwirt . As a result of the Bologna Process , the diploma courses at all major universities were converted into Bachelor and Master courses .

Economists usually do their doctorate as “Dr. rer. oec. "or" Dr. rer. pole.".


The following universities offer economics courses:

Federal Republic of Germany

German Democratic Republic

Graduated economists were also trained at various universities in the GDR :

Her training included institutional focuses, whereby the degree of Diplom- Ökon. (Dipl.-Ökon.) Was awarded in principle, regardless of the major.



See also


  • Helge Hesse: Economists lexicon. 600 portraits of entrepreneurs, politicians and thinkers in economic history. Economy and finance, Düsseldorf 2003, ISBN 3-87881-181-0
  • Nikolaus Piper : The great economists. Life and work of the economic thinkers. 2nd, revised edition. Schäffer-Poeschel, Stuttgart 1996, ISBN 3-7910-0806-4 (a series of articles in the weekly newspaper Die Zeit)

Web links

Commons : Economists  - collection of images, videos, and audio files
Wiktionary: Ökonom  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Federal Labor Office: Brochure Economists . Accessed January 21, 2020 .
  2. ^ Department of Economics, TH-Brandenburg. Retrieved June 11, 2018 .