Course Syllabus

Welcome to ECON202: Intermediate Macroeconomics

Specific information about this course and its requirements can be found below. For more general information about taking Saylor Academy courses, including information about Community and Academic Codes of Conduct, please read the Student Handbook.


Course Description

Explore the dynamics of the macroeconomy, including topics like aggregate output, the interest rate, business cycle theories, how to stabilize the business cycle, the stock market, household and firm behavior in the macroeconomy, and current debates in macroeconomics.


Course Introduction

In this course, you will build on and apply what you learned in ECON102: Principles of Macroeconomics. You will use the concepts of output, unemployment, inflation, consumption, and investment to study the dynamics of an economy at a more advanced level. For example, now that you understand the relationship between supply and demand in general terms, you will be asked to examine the effects that short-run and long-run price changes have on full employment and output. As the course progresses, you will gain a better appreciation for how policy shifts and changes in one sector affect the rest of the macroeconomy (whether the effects are intended or unintended). You will also examine the causes of inflation and depression, and discuss various approaches to responding to them. By the end of this course, you should be able to think critically about the economy and develop your own unique perspective on various issues.

Remember that macroeconomics attempts to explain the role of government and the scope of total production in a national economy. Economists use abstract quantitative tools to develop concepts about how markets and systems work; basic assumptions are made and then relaxed to create more flexible and realistic models. This course will use a variety of mathematical techniques to describe how the macroeconomy changes over time.

This course includes the following units:

  • Unit 1: Gross Domestic Product and Decisions Under Uncertainty
  • Unit 2: Output, Employment, and Unemployment
  • Unit 3: Consumption, Savings, Capital, and Investment
  • Unit 4: Fiscal Policy
  • Unit 5: Monetary Policy


Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • explain the standard theory in macroeconomics at an intermediate level;
  • explain and use the basic tools of macroeconomic theory, and apply them to help address problems in public policy;
  • analyze the role of government in allocating scarce resources;
  • explain how inflation affects entire economic systems;
  • synthesize the impact of employment and unemployment in a free market economy;
  • build macroeconomic models to describe changes over time in monetary and fiscal policy;
  • compare and contrast arguments concerning businesses, consumers, and government, and make good conjectures regarding the possible solutions;
  • analyze the methods of computing and explaining how much is produced in an economy; and
  • apply basic tools that are used in many fields of economics, including uncertainty, capital and investment, and economic growth.

Throughout this course, you will also see learning outcomes in each unit. You can use those learning outcomes to help organize your studies and gauge your progress.


Course Materials

The primary learning materials for this course are articles, lectures, and videos.

All course materials are free to access and can be found in each unit of the course. Pay close attention to the notes that accompany these course materials, as they will tell you what to focus on in each resource, and will help you to understand how the learning materials fit into the course as a whole. You can also see a list of all the learning materials in this course by clicking on Resources in the navigation bar.


Evaluation and Minimum Passing Score

Only the final exam is considered when awarding you a grade for this course. In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the final exam. Your score on the exam will be calculated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first try, you may take it again as many times as you want, with a 7-day waiting period between each attempt. Once you have successfully passed the final exam you will be awarded a free Course Completion Certificate.

There are also end-of-unit assessments in this course. These are designed to help you study, and do not factor into your final course grade. You can take these as many times as you want until you understand the concepts and material covered. You can see all of these assessments by clicking on Quizzes in the course's navigation bar.


Tips for Success

ECON202: Intermediate Macroeconomics is a self-paced course, which means that you can decide when you will start and when you will complete the course. There is no instructor or an assigned schedule to follow. We estimate that the "average" student will take 91 hours to complete this course. We recommend that you work through the course at a pace that is comfortable for you and allows you to make regular progress. It's a good idea to also schedule your study time in advance and try as best as you can to stick to that schedule.

Learning new material can be challenging, so we've compiled a few study strategies to help you succeed:

  • Take notes on the various terms, practices, and theories that you come across. This can help you put each concept into context, and will create a refresher that you can use as you study later on.
  • As you work through the materials, take some time to test yourself on what you remember and how well you understand the concepts. Reflecting on what you've learned is important for your long-term memory, and will make you more likely to retain information over time.
  • Although you may work through this course completely independently, you may find it helpful to connect with other Saylor students through the discussion forums. You may access the discussion forums at
  • Multivariable calculus is a prerequisite for this course. If you are struggling with the mathematics as you progress through this course, consider taking a break to revisit multivariable calculus, focusing especially on optimization techniques. Do not get discouraged if some of the equations look daunting; try to break them down and understand what they mean in terms of theory or applications. For example, you can write what a concept means in words and then compare it to how the same ideas are expressed in an equation. Usually, the individual terms (or parts) of an equation correspond to a particular theory or policy implication. This should help you understand how the theory, policy issues, and quantitative methods relate to each other. After a set time, perhaps 15 minutes, set any puzzling material aside and return to it later with a fresh perspective.
  • Many of the assumptions in the models are somewhat unrealistic on the first inspection. For example, certain functions are used more for their differentiability rather than for their ability to describe real-world phenomena. As you progress in economics, these assumptions can be relaxed to build models that better approximate the actual environment.


Suggested Prerequisites

In order to take this course, you should:


Technical Requirements

This course is delivered entirely online. You will be required to have access to a computer or web-capable mobile device and have consistent access to the internet to either view or download the necessary course resources and to attempt any auto-graded course assessments and the final exam.

  • To access the full course including assessments and the final exam, you will need to be logged into your Saylor Academy account and enrolled in the course. If you do not already have an account, you may create one for free here. Although you can access some of the course without logging in to your account, you should log in to maximize your course experience. For example, you cannot take assessments or track your progress unless you are logged in.

For additional guidance, check out Saylor Academy's FAQ.



This course is entirely free to enroll in and to access. Everything linked in the course, including textbooks, videos, webpages, and activities, is available for no charge. This course also contains a free final exam and course completion certificate.

Last modified: Monday, September 28, 2020, 2:08 PM