• Course Introduction

        • Time: 27 hours
        • Free Certificate
        Economists divide their discipline into two areas of study: microeconomics and macroeconomics. In this course, we introduce the principles of macroeconomics: the study of how a country's economy works as we try to discern among good, better, and best choices for improving and maintaining the nation's standard of living and level of economic and societal well-being. Historical and contemporary perspectives on the role of government policy surround questions of who gains and loses within a small set of key interdependent players. These beneficiaries include households, consumers, savers, firm owners, investors, government officials, and global trading partners.

        Microeconomics studies how supply and demand determine prices in a given market. In macroeconomics, we examine changes in the price level across all markets. The main goals of the macroeconomy are to achieve economic growth, price stability, and full employment. Macroeconomic performance relies on measures of economic activity, such as variables and data at the national level, within a specific period. Macroeconomics analyzes aggregate measures, such as national income, national output, unemployment and inflation rates, and business cycle fluctuations. In this course, we prompt you to consider national and global issues and various competing perspectives, tools, and alternatives.

        • Course Syllabus

          First, read the course syllabus. Then, enroll in the course by clicking "Enroll me". Click Unit 1 to read its introduction and learning outcomes. You will then see the learning materials and instructions on how to use them.

        • Unit 1: What is Macroeconomics?

          Microeconomics studies exchanges among individual consumers and firms in the market to purchase goods and services. In contrast, macroeconomics focuses on exchanges across all of the markets within a country. We consider the interrelated actions of consumers, businesses, government agencies, financial intermediaries, and global trading partners as they exchange resources, goods, and services and facilitate currency and quantity flows. Microeconomics examines how to achieve profit maximization. Macroeconomics explores how to achieve overall economic stability and growth nationally.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 5 hours.

        • Unit 2: Gross Domestic Product, Inflation, and Unemployment

          In macroeconomics, we study the total output an economy generates. Economists use gross domestic product (GDP), the monetary value of all final goods and services produced within a country's borders in one year, to measure a country's total output. Macroeconomics tend to use real GDP, rather than nominal GDP, for their comparisons since real GDP removes the effect of inflation. Measuring growth in current dollars (which does not account for inflation) rather than constant dollars might indicate a false sense of economic growth or decline.

          Governments focus on three key indicators of economic growth: an increase in real GDP over time, full employment, and price level stability. Unit 5 explores how governments form, implement, and evaluate their fiscal and monetary policies to achieve these three goals. In this unit, we uncover scenarios and philosophical debates about the government's role in a market-based economy. We examine whether GDP accurately measures societal well-being, quality of life, and standard of living.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 6 hours.

        • Unit 3: Aggregate Demand, Supply, and Equilibrium

          In this unit, we explore the forces affecting growth, inflation, and unemployment at the aggregate level, such as output, income, or the components within GDP. Aggregate demand is the total amount of goods and services people want to purchase. It measures what people want to buy rather than what is produced. The aggregate demand is the sum of consumption, investment, government expenses, and net exports. Aggregate supply is an economy's total output at a given price level. We consider aggregate supply in the short run and the long run.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 3 hours.

        • Unit 4: Money, Banking, and Monetary Policy

          Monetary policy refers to the methods government agencies, such as the U.S. Federal Reserve, use to convince banks, businesses, and individuals to change their interest rates, money supply, and demand for money. Money serves as a medium of exchange, a store of value, and a unit of account. These three functions enable individuals to avoid the bartering system – we pay businesses money for their services rather than offer a loaf of bread or another value item in exchange. The ways we define and measure money are important to managing an economy. Savings and investment are key elements within the circular flow model and function of interest rates.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 5 hours.

        • Unit 5: Fiscal Policy

          Governments use policies and tools to steer the macroeconomy toward three primary goals: full employment, price stability, and economic growth. In this unit, we study fiscal policy, which involves taxing and spending policies, including the fiscal legislation Congress enacts in the United States.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 4 hours.

        • Unit 6: International Trade and Finance

          This unit examines the macroeconomic effects of international flows of financial capital and goods and services. The determinants of exchange rates are identified, and the connection is made between financial capital flows and the trade balance. The unit explores the effects of exchange rates on a country's economy and the economies of its trading partners. The welfare effects of trade are also studied.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 4 hours.

        • Study Guide

          This study guide will help you get ready for the final exam. It discusses the key topics in each unit, walks through the learning outcomes, and lists important vocabulary. It is not meant to replace the course materials!

        • Course Feedback Survey

          Please take a few minutes to give us feedback about this course. We appreciate your feedback, whether you completed the whole course or even just a few resources. Your feedback will help us make our courses better, and we use your feedback each time we make updates to our courses.

          If you come across any urgent problems, email contact@saylor.org.

        • Certificate Final Exam

          Take this exam if you want to earn a free Course Completion Certificate.

          To receive a free Course Completion Certificate, you will need to earn a grade of 70% or higher on this final exam. Your grade for the exam will be calculated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first try, you can take it again as many times as you want, with a 7-day waiting period between each attempt.

          Once you pass this final exam, you will be awarded a free Course Completion Certificate.

        • Saylor Direct Credit

          Take this exam if you want to earn college credit for this course. This course is eligible for college credit through Saylor Academy's Saylor Direct Credit Program.

          The Saylor Direct Credit Final Exam requires a proctoring fee of $5. To pass this course and earn a Proctor-Verified Course Certificate and official transcript, you will need to earn a grade of 70% or higher on the Saylor Direct Credit Final Exam. Your grade for this exam will be calculated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first try, you can take it again a maximum of 3 times, with a 14-day waiting period between each attempt.

          We are partnering with SmarterProctoring to help make the proctoring fee more affordable. We will be recording you, your screen, and the audio in your room during the exam. This is an automated proctoring service, but no decisions are automated; recordings are only viewed by our staff with the purpose of making sure it is you taking the exam and verifying any questions about exam integrity. We understand that there are challenges with learning at home - we won't invalidate your exam just because your child ran into the room!


          1. Desktop Computer
          2. Chrome (v74+)
          3. Webcam + Microphone
          4. 1mbps+ Internet Connection

          Once you pass this final exam, you will be awarded a Credit-Recommended Course Completion Certificate and can request an official transcript.