Degree Requirements

The MA in Applied Economics is a three-semester program. Graduation requires 33 credit hours and the successful completion of two qualifying exams.


Early August

You will begin the program in early August with a three-week intensive review of the mathematical techniques needed for graduate-level coursework in economic theory and econometrics. This “math boot camp” counts for three semester hours of credit and is part of the 15 hours taken during fall semester.

First Fall Semester

You will spend the first fall semester of the program acquiring a common core of knowledge of economic theory and econometrics. You will take 15 semester hours of core courses during the fall. These courses provide a solid foundation in microeconomics and econometric theory, as well as an introduction to applied econometrics.

If you are interested in pursuing the combined MA/PhD track, this is the time to meet with the Director of Graduate Studies to discuss the possibility of beginning PhD coursework during the spring semester.

Qualifying Exams

In January, you will take two qualifying exams covering material from the fall semester. You must pass each exam with a grade of B- or better to meet this graduation requirement. You have two chances to pass each exam.

Spring Semester

During the spring semester, you take a final course in economic theory and a course in applying economic theory for a total of 6 semester hours of credit in required courses.

You will take an additional 3 or 6 hours of coursework during this semester. It is at this point in the program that you branch out in specific fields in applied economics such as labor, health, public, and environmental. You may also deepen your understanding of economic theory, econometrics, and mathematical economics by taking PhD level courses in these areas. Additionally, you may, after consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies, choose to pursue special interests by taking coursework outside the Department of Economics in other graduate departments including Finance, Educational Research Methodology, Gerontology, Geography, or Information Systems.

Final Fall Semester

In your final semester, you will complete one remaining required course as well as additional electives to fulfill the 33-hour requirement for the master’s degree. The required course covers data analysis using the SAS software package. The remaining one or two courses are drawn from a list of approved electives, which, as described above, can include courses in PhD-level economics fields, advanced data analysis, and coursework in other graduate departments.