Master of Arts in Economics
About the Degree
The mission of the master's program in the Department of Economics is to provide our students rigorous training in economic theory and econometric analysis which will help develop skills required in the investigation of economic problems in a wide variety of settings, both microeconomic and macroeconomic in nature. Upon completion of the program students will be prepared for professional careers in business, banking, financial services, government, consulting, and not-for-profit organizations, as well as for further graduate studies.
The masters' degree program requires the successful candidate to complete 30 graduate credit hours in economics. A full-time graduate student that begins the program in the fall semester (August) will complete his/her degree at the end of the fall semester the following year (December).
The program does not offer concentrations/tracks but each cohort will typically take two related elective courses in such areas as international economics and regional/public sector economics. Specific elective offerings vary by cohort and depend on staffing availability.
The MA degree program provides students with a balance between a core of microeconomic, macroeconomic, and econometric theory and a wide variety of applied courses. Students get experiential learning in the form of internships and writing several research papers on current economic policy issues using empirical data. All courses are developed with the intention of increasing students’ critical thinking, hypothesizing and solving problems, and understanding and analyzing data in decision-making.
Salary and Career Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in its job outlook concludes that employment of economists will increase by 14 percent between 2012 and 2022. The BLS states that “[j]ob prospects should be best for those with a master’s degree or Ph.D., strong analytical skills, and related work experience.” (http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/economists.htm) Finally, a recent Wall Street Journal article (March 17, 2014) observes a surge in demand for corporate economists as firms cope with “more data available than ever before and markets increasingly unpredictable”.
The National Association of Business Economists (NABE) conducts a biennial survey of its members about their base salary and their level of educational attainment. The results from their 2014 survey are summarized in the table below.
|Degree||Median base salary|
All students get hands-on experience working with data throughout the degree program which allows them to apply their classroom-taught economics theory to analyze real-world economic problems in various ways such as group projects, individual job market research papers and internship opportunities. Upon graduating students are either placed in degree-appropriate job positions in well-reputed firms and banks in the public and private sector. Additionally, students tracked in the past 5 years have been very successful in being promoted to higher levels of leadership and work-responsibilities within a few years of being hired at their initial entry-level position.
All students are provided with laptops which allow them to conduct intensive empirical research on various economic research topics in most classes in the program. Students get experiential learning in the form of graduate internships and writing a job market paper where they apply economic theory and econometric techniques to research a new economic problem. Students are also supported to attend professional economics conferences where they present their research findings. Several classes are held in the computer lab which further allows them to get hands-on training and experience in using empirical techniques. All students get individualized advising from the Graduate Director so that they complete the degree program in a timely fashion and achieve their career goals. This has resulted in the degree program having high placement rates with close to 100 percent of students finding jobs in degree-relevant positions in large-reputable organizations after graduation.
Graduate Coordinator: Dr. Sucharita Ghosh
College of Arts and Sciences, Room 446
Graduate School: Heather Blake
Polsky Building, Room 467