Overview of Course Sequences

I. Introduction

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An important feature of the MA program in Economics is its flexibility, as there are several themes and numerous course sequences that students can choose from. We recommend that terminal MA students pursue a thesis option of one variety or another. In this option, students acquire theoretical and empirical skills through coursework, and demonstrate competence and creativity in the Masters thesis. The coursework can be completed in two semesters, and the thesis can be developed and finished at a pace of the students’ own choosing. We also offer a non-thesis option for students who wish to take a challenging course sequence emphasizing theoretical skills required for the PhD.

II. Basic requirements within the thesis option

30 hours of coursework, including 6 thesis hours
Two semesters of 4 courses each prepare the student for thesis work

At least 2 of the 8 courses must be in economic theory

At least 1 of the 8 courses must be in econometrics

  • Option 1: Econ 605, preferably including Econ 606
  • Option 2: The more difficult PhD course sequence both 806 & 807

Up to 6 hours of courses may be taken outside the department
Obtain prior approval for external courses from the graduate program coordinator

III. Four Alternative Themes for the Masters Degree in Economics

The themes listed below are meant to give guidance to students when choosing courses. These built around various combinations of course in economic theory and econometrics. Specialization in a variety of fields is possible within each theme.

A. The Standard Theme

In this theme, students take micro theory (Econ 801 or Econ 823) and Econmetrics (Econ 605 or Econ 806) in the fall semester, before focusing on to field courses in the second semester. If feasible, we advise students to take at least one field course in the fall semester as well, unless additional work in mathematics is required to succeed in the theory courses.

Sample Course Sequence For Standard Theme

Sample Course Sequence For Standard Theme
Fall Spring Summer or Fall
Econ 801 – Micro I (or Econ 823) Econ 606 – Adv Econometrics Write MA thesis
Econ 605 – Econometrics Econ 805 – Macro I  
Field courses Field courses  

Important notes:

  • MA students with solid quantitative skills can replace the 605/606 sequence in Econometrics with the more challenging and theoretical 806/807 sequence.
  • Since 801 & 823 are offered only in the fall semester, entry into the program during the spring semester does not prepare the student to finish within 12 months.

B. Micro-Focused Theme

Students can specialize by taking a two course sequence in micro theory. Taking an advanced theory course demands very good quantitative skills of the student, hence the Math Econ course is recommended.

Sample Course Sequence for Micro-Focused Theme

Fall Spring Summer or Fall
Econ 801 – Micro I Econ 802 – Micro II Write MA thesis
Apec 804 – Math Econ Econ 606 – Adv Econometrics  
Econ 605 – Econometrics Two Field Courses  
Field course or Math Econ    

C. Quantitative Theme: (Non-thesis option)

The non-thesis option allows students to develop advanced skills in economic theory. It is thus a challenging option. It requires that among the thirty hours of coursework, students pass each course in the PhD core sequence. Currently, the PhD core consists of one Macroeconomics course, and three-course sequence Microeconomics and Econometrics. MA students with outstanding quantitative skills can this finish this option in three semesters.

IV. Recommended Field Courses for Masters Students

  • Econ 610 – Economic Development
  • Econ 611 – Economics of Education
  • Econ 625 – Antitrust Economics
  • Econ 655 - Applied Microeconomic Research+
  • Econ 657 - Natural Resource Use, Technology, and Policy
  • Econ 820 – Public Economics I +
  • Econ 821 – Public Choice
  • Econ 824 – Industrial Organization I
  • Econ 826 – Economic Theory of Regulation +
  • Econ 827 – Property Rights
  • Econ 836 – Research in Economic Education +
  • Econ 855 – Financial Economics +

The following courses are pending approval by the graduate curriculum committee

  • Econ 602 – Comparative Econ Systems
  • Econ 614 – Research in Applied Microeconomics (new course)
  • Econ 660 – Cost Benefit Analysis

+ Course with significant quantitative or theoretical content

V. GS2 and Graduate School Deadlines

Students must consult the Graduate School webpage and be aware of all Graduate School requirements and forms. Deadlines for these are listed here.

In particular, students should pay attention to the deadlines for filing the GS2 Form, which is the plan of study. This form lists the courses that the student will count toward the MA degree and also lists the members of the student's committee. The student's committee is comprised of a minimum of three members. The student's thesis advisor is the chairman of this committee. As soon as a student has a thesis advisor, a GS2 should be filed. This form can be amended at any time at the student’s discretion.