BA/MA in Economics

The BA/MA program in economics allows academically outstanding undergraduate students to complete an MA degree from the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at the same time as the BA. 144 credits are the minimum for this program. It requires the MA Economics Core (four courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics, statistics, and econometrics) and four elective courses on the master’s level, replacing four undergraduate electives. Thus, the dual BA/MA degree requires 16 additional credits (see below), and at least one semester of additional time, beyond the BA degree.


Admission to the BA/MA program requires individual application for each student, and evaluation of each application by the Master’s Admissions Committee. Applicants must already be majors in Economics, and making good progress on satisfying the requirements listed below. The BA/MA program can be combined with undergraduate minors. For information on application requirements and deadlines, please see the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences’ BA/MA and BA/MS Program Application website.

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate a thorough understanding of fundamental economic principles and be able to apply these ideas to analyze public policies, business practices, and real-world events.
  • Locate the necessary data to analyze and evaluate world events, and analyze data using appropriate econometric methods.
  • Have the ability to apply mathematical methods, through modeling and large-scale data analysis.
  • Acquire in-depth knowledge in several areas of economics, as well as a broad perspective on the subject.
  • Be able to conduct scholarly and/or nonacademic work in a professional and ethical manner.


All required courses are 4 credit hours.

Course Requirements for the BA Degree

(For full BA requirements, please see the BA in Economics Bulletin page.)

  • CAS EC 101
  • CAS EC 102
  • CAS EC 201
  • CAS EC 202
  • CAS EC 203 or EC 303 or MA 115 or MA 213 or QST QM 221
  • CAS EC 204 or EC 304
  • Electives: five other courses selected from CAS EC 320 through EC 599, including EC 501 and 502, EC 507 and 508

Course Requirements for the MA Degree

Candidates must complete a minimum of eight semester courses (32 credits). The following courses in micro- and macroeconomic theory and quantitative methods are required:

  • CAS EC 501
  • CAS EC 502
  • CAS EC 507
  • CAS EC 508
  • In addition, candidates must complete four MA elective courses (16 credits) selected from CAS EC 509 through EC 599, or their approved equivalents. These MA electives cannot be used to simultaneously fulfill their BA elective requirement, but CAS EC 501, EC 502, EC 507, and EC 508 can be used to simultaneously fulfill the BA elective requirements.

A determination is made whether it is appropriate to opt out of EC 505 by taking the mathematics placement exam. If taken, CAS EC 505 will count as one of the MA electives.

MA Comprehensive Examination

Candidates must pass a written comprehensive examination that tests general knowledge of economic theory and quantitative methods.

MA Grade Requirements

To be eligible for the MA degree, all eight courses counted toward the MA degree and the comprehensive examination must be passed with grades of B– or better.

For more detailed information on program requirements, see the department rules and regulations, available on request. General information on BA/MA programs is provided in the BA/MA and BA/MS Programs section of this Bulletin.

Honors in the Major

Students may earn the distinction of departmental Honors in the Major by achieving a 3.5 or greater GPA in their economics courses (including required mathematics and statistics classes) and successfully completing the two-semester honors thesis classes CAS EC 401 and EC 402 (students may count these classes as fulfilling two of the required five electives in the major). The CAS EC 401/402 sequence culminates in a thesis (written under the supervision of an economics department faculty member) and oral defense of the thesis before a committee of three faculty in April. Students must complete CAS EC 204 or EC 304 before enrolling in CAS EC 401. Qualified students who are interested in writing a thesis should contact Professor Todd Idson, director of undergraduate studies in the economics department, no later than the second semester of their junior year, and if approved will be directly registered in CAS EC 401 by the Department of Economics staff.