MA in Economics

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The MA in Economics is a terminal master’s program that equips its graduates with the advanced knowledge and quantitative skills required for an economic analyst in the business world, the consulting industry, a central bank or government. The training provides a thorough understanding of fundamental economic principles, application of mathematical methods and modeling, and the use of computer software for large-scale data analysis. It is accomplished through the economics core (four courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics, statistics, and econometrics) and four elective courses. These courses are designed exclusively for master’s students, distinct from our PhD and undergraduate offerings. The elective courses develop quantitative skills and specialized knowledge in nearly all major areas of economics and are taught largely by our own research faculty. The entire program may thus be completed in one academic year. The MA in Economics 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).

Course Requirements

Candidates must complete a minimum of eight semester courses (32 credits). The following courses in micro- and macro-economic theory, statistics and econometrics are required.

  • CAS EC 501 Microeconomic Theory. Covers fundamental economic principles and the mathematical modeling of households and firms, markets and prices, uncertainty and information; quantitative analysis of cost-benefit and economic efficiency.
  • CAS EC 502 Macroeconomic Theory. Covers mathematical models of economic growth and monetary theory, with reference to real-world macroeconomic data; quantitative analysis of macroeconomic policy.
  • CAS EC 505 Elementary Mathematical Economics. Provides the essential mathematical background needed for the other core and elective courses. A determination is made whether it is appropriate to opt out of EC 505 by taking the mathematics placement exam. EC 505 will count as one of the MA electives.
  • CAS EC 507 Statistics for Economists. Provides the mathematical foundation of statistical methods, and quantitative training in data analysis through the use of statistical software.
  • CAS EC 508 Econometrics. Provides in-depth understanding and quantitative training in econometric methods most widely used in economic research and policy analysis. Rigorous mathematical theory will be combined with practice involving data and computer programs.

EC 501, EC 502, EC 507, and EC 508 are the core courses and cannot be counted as electives.

The remaining courses are to be chosen from a broad range of elective courses. Each elective course provides in-depth knowledge in a specific area of economics. The elective curriculum makes effective use of the students’ analytic and quantitative skills acquired through the core courses, and reinforces this training by providing further opportunities for the application of mathematical modeling and quantitative methods. All elective courses emphasize critical thinking and problem solving; some elective courses are designed to advance the students’ knowledge of quantitative methods; and many elective courses require students to undertake independent research or scholarship.

For exact program requirements, see the departmental rules and regulations.

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 he or she has completed the economics core courses. This examination is offered twice a year.

Time Requirement

All courses and examinations must be completed within three years of the original registration at Boston University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. International students may be subject to additional restrictions imposed by the terms of their visas, as governed by the International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO).

The MA Program Rules apply to all master’s degrees.