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 and policy analysis.

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 two courses in which you begin applying economic theory and econometrics to real-world problems:

  • ECO 725: Data Methods in Economics
  • ECO 644: Econometric Theory

Final Fall Semester

All MA students are required to complete a capstone seminar, ECO 721: Empirical Microeconomics, during their final semester in the program.

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

You may substitute an elective course for ECO 722 to deepen your understanding of economic theory, econometrics, and mathematical economics by taking PhD level courses. 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 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.

The remaining course 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 your elective course 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.