Course Syllabus

Welcome to ECON101: Principles of Microeconomics

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

Analyze microeconomic principles and the economic decisions consumers, firms, and the government face regarding economic resources, scarcity, market demand and supply, production costs, and opportunity costs.


Course Introduction

Microeconomics is the brand of economics that pertains to consumer behavior and the economic decisions of producers and the government. It includes the topics of supply and demand, the elasticity of demand and supply, production costs, utility and profit maximization, and market structures.

When discussing the economy, we refer to the marketplace or economic system where the choices of all economic agents interact. This course explores how and why we make economic decisions and how our choices affect the economy. Each unit is a building block. By the end of this course, you will be able to grasp the major issues microeconomists face, including consumer and producer behavior, supply and demand, how different markets function, and the welfare outcomes of consumers and producers. We also examine how formal principles and concepts apply to real-world issues.

This course includes the following units:

  • Unit 1: Introduction to Economics
  • Unit 2: Supply and Demand
  • Unit 3: Elasticity and its Applications
  • Unit 4: Markets and Maximizing Individual Behavior
  • Unit 5: Introduction to Consumer Choice
  • Unit 6: The Producer
  • Unit 7: Market Structure: Competitive and Non-Competitive Markets
  • Unit 8: The Role of the Government in a Market Economy


Course Learning Outcomes

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

  • explain the basic assumptions in economic thinking to show how individual economic agents make rational choices for optimizing the use of scarce resources;
  • analyze the factors that affect market demand and market supply, and illustrate their interaction for achieving equilibrium in price and quantity;
  • explain the maximization principle in economics and the tools of government intervention for solving market failure when there are problems in the efficient allocation of resources;
  • explain how consumers make rational choices using the concept of utility, including the principle of diminishing marginal utility;
  • analyze how the producer applies the marginal decision rule to maximize profit in producing goods or services when combining factors of production – labor, capital, and natural resources – in both the short run and long run;
  • illustrate the interaction of market demand and market supply in the various perfectly competitive markets, non-competitive markets, and imperfectly competitive markets;
  • apply economic models in public finance, public choice, and for solving environmental issues; and
  • explain the economics of the environment, especially by applying economic tools for moving the economy toward an efficient level of environmental pollution.

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

This course's primary learning materials 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 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. To pass this course, you will need to earn a grade of 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.


Earning College Credit

This course is eligible for college credit via Saylor Academy's Direct Credit Program. If you want to earn college credit, you must take and pass the Direct Credit final exam. That exam will be password-protected and requires a proctor. If you pass the Direct Credit exam, you will receive a Proctor Verified Course Certificate and be eligible to earn an official transcript. For more information about applying for college credit, review the guide to college credit opportunities. Be sure to check the section on proctoring for details like fees and technical requirements.

There is a 14-day waiting period between attempts of the Direct Credit final exam. There is no waiting period between attempts for the not-for-credit exam and the Direct Credit exam. You may only attempt each Direct Credit final exam a maximum of 3 times. Be sure to study in between each attempt!


Tips for Success

ECON101: Principles of Microeconomics 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 32 hours to complete this course. We recommend that you work through the course at a comfortable pace that allows you to make regular progress. It's also a good idea to schedule your study time in advance and try to stick to that schedule as best as you can.

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.


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 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 log in to your Saylor Academy account and enroll in the course. If you do not already have an account, you may create one for free here. Although you can access the course materials 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.
  • If you plan to attempt the optional Direct Credit final exam, then you will also need access to a webcam. This lets our remote proctoring service verify your identity, which is required to issue an official transcript to schools on your behalf.

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



This course is entirely free to enroll in and 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.

This course also has an optional final exam that can give you an opportunity to earn college credit. This exam requires the use of a proctoring service for identity verification purposes. The cost for proctoring for this optional exam is $5 per session.

Last modified: Friday, January 19, 2024, 5:48 PM