Degree Requirements

The MA in Applied Economics can be completed in three semesters. 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 two-week intensive review of the mathematical techniques needed for graduate-level coursework in economic theory and econometrics. This “math boot camp” (ECO 619) counts for three semester hours of credit and is part of the 12 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 12 semester hours of core courses that 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 — either Microeconomics II or Macroeconomics — and three courses in which you begin applying economic theory and econometrics to real-world problems:

  • ECO 721: Empirical Microeconomics
  • ECO 725: Data Methods in Economics
  • ECO 731: Applied Policy Methods
  • Final Fall Semester

    Before your final fall semester, you will decide whether you want to pursue a concentration in Data Analytics or Policy Analysis.

    Data Analytics Concentration

    If you choose this concentration, you will take more courses that provide training in statistical tools and applied econometrics:

    • ECO 722: Time Series Analysis
    • ECO 723: Predictive Data Mining (capstone seminar)
    • Third elective course in analytical tools

    You may use that third elective course to 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 Educational Research Methodology, Geography, Health, Information Systems, or Business Administration.

    Policy Analysis Concentration

    If you choose this concentration, you will take three courses that focus on applying microeconomics and econometrics to economic fields of study. All policy analysis students take ECO 734: Public Policies Toward Innovation and Sustainability, which serves as the capstone course for this concentration.

    The remaining two courses can be selected from:

    • ECO 735: Labor Economics
    • ECO 736: Public Economics
    • ECO 737: Health Economics
    • ECO 738: Topics in Economics (topics vary)
      • You may choose to take one of these elective courses through another graduate department such as Educational Research Methodology, Political Science, or Health. This choice is be made in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies.