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College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Department of Economics

Degree Programs

MA Graduate Degree

Program Requirements

View the economics bulletin to get the full scope of coursework for the MA degree.


The program consists of 45 graduate-level credit hours. A credit breakdown is as follows:4 required courses (ECON 4050, ECON 4020, ECON 4030, and ECON 3670),5 elective courses, thesis development and defense (ECON 4993), and thesis research (ECON 4995). Each course is worth 4 credits, with the exception of ECON 4995, which is worth 5 credits.


A student must earn a grade of B- or better in each of the four required courses. The minimum grade for an individual elective course is C-, but the minimum GPA is 3.0. The student must also defend her/his thesis in an oral exam and pass it, and then she/he must complete whatever revisions the thesis committee suggests. ECON 4993 is graded on a pass/fail basis. Different students may take different amounts of time to finish the program, but it is best to plan on finishing in the second year of study. MA students typically take two courses per quarter, and first-year students each quarter normally take the 4000-level required course which is offered in each quarter. All of the 3000-level courses are also open to upper-division undergraduate students, but there are additional requirements for the MA students in these classes.

The three required 4000-level courses are offered in sequence:

  • ECON 4050 – Origins of Modern Economics – in Fall Quarter
  • ECON 4030 – Advanced Microeconomic Theory – in Winter Quarter
  • ECON 4020 – Advanced Macroeconomic Theory – in Spring Quarter

There is much value in taking these courses in this order, because of connections among them. The other required course, ECON 3670 – Econometrics – is usually offered in Fall and be taken in the second year of coursework. These courses give you the economic theory and tools expected of someone with an M.A. in Economics. Another course, ECON 3850 – Mathematics for Economists – is normally offered in Fall Quarter and is especially desirable to take as preparation for ECON 4030 and ECON 4020 if a student wants to make sure that his or her mathematical skills are adequate for doing economics.

Other courses

It is possible to take courses in other departments in the University, but to able to count such courses towards your Econ MA requirements, you must have received permission from the Department Chair and fill out the Graduate Course Substitution Form. A student considering pursuing a Ph.D. in Economics after finishing our program should also think about improving his or her math skills, perhaps by taking courses in the Math Department. Only under unusual circumstances will such courses be allowed to count towards your Econ MA requirements.