MA in Global Development Economics

This degree program is an intensive three-semester course of study designed for those seeking rigorous training in economics supplemented by training in the related disciplines of politics, international relations, public health, and infrastructure and environment. The economics core of this program is identical to that required of students taking the MA in Economics. In addition, the MA in Global Development Economics (MA GDE) includes a set of economics elective courses that focus on various aspects of development issues and the global economy. Candidates for the MA GDE will also join students from the MA in Global Policy (MGP) program in taking courses in governance and political economy, international public health, infrastructure and environmental planning, and a capstone seminar.

The program is intended for students interested in a career in the economic development of lower- and middle-income countries and in transition economies, including working as policy analysts and decisionmakers in government, nonprofit institutions, international organizations, and the private sector. The MA GDE is a STEM-designated degree program.

Applicants to this program should have, or be expecting, a bachelor’s degree in economics, economics and mathematics, or a closely related discipline (from an institution recognized by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences).

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.
  • Have the ability to apply mathematical methods, through modeling and large-scale data analysis.
  • Become conversant in current issues, knowledge, and policy debates on global development in the arenas of economics, international relations, the environment, and public health.
  • Acquire the practical experience needed for professional careers in global development.
  • Be able to conduct scholarly and/or nonacademic work in a professional and ethical manner.

Course Requirements

Candidates must complete a minimum of 12 semester courses (48 credits). Requirements in quantitative methods and micro- and macroeconomic theory, statistics, and econometrics are the same as those for the MA in Economics. The course requirements are as follows:

  • Four core courses in economics (CAS EC 501, EC 502, EC 507, and EC 508) plus, if needed, EC 505

These courses provide the basic analytic and quantitative training needed for the entire program. See the MA Program description for details.

  • Three core courses in global development policy

These courses provide the basic background in governance and policy analysis, environmental issues and policy, and global health and development. Current research in these areas is examined from a critical and analytical perspective.

  • Four elective courses in economics

A variety of MA economics elective courses are relevant and applicable to global development. Subject to departmental approval, some select courses offered by other departments can also be taken to fulfill the elective requirement for the MA GDE. All elective courses should make effective use of the students’ analytic and quantitative skills acquired through the economic core courses, and reinforce this training by providing further opportunities for the application of mathematical modeling and quantitative methods. In addition to the capstone course, many elective courses also require students to undertake independent research or scholarship. Some elective courses are designed to advance the students’ knowledge of quantitative methods.

  • A final capstone course

Every student must undertake a capstone project in collaboration with a small group of MA GDE and MGP students. The project often takes the form of a consulting report on a challenging and realistic development problem using real-world data. At the instructor’s discretion, results of an outstanding project may be presented to a real-world client. Quantitative and econometric methods are used extensively in the capstone projects.

For exact GPA requirements, see the department rules and regulations, available on the Department of Economics website and by request.

Language Requirement

There is no foreign language requirement for this degree.

Comprehensive Examination

Candidates must pass a written comprehensive examination that tests general knowledge of economic theory and quantitative methods. Every master’s student is expected to take the first available offering of the comprehensive examination after they have completed the economics core courses. This examination is offered twice a year.