District of Columbia Economics Graduate Schools and Programs

Types of Economics Graduate Schools & Degrees

Interested students could find Economics Graduate Schools for Masters and PhD in Economics programs. Also, some schools award graduate certificates for those who want to add on to current skills and knowledge.

Economics graduate degrees may be more theory-focused or applied and industry-focused. Theory oriented programs might prepare students to conduct independent research. Applied programs might highlight professional skills and practical (mathematical) analysis.

Most programs, regardless of this emphasis, require coursework, and assessment is usually in the form of a supervised thesis, dissertation and/or final project or exam. Some economics graduate schools might provide students with the chance to undertake relevant internships, teach and/or study abroad.

Apply to an Economics Graduate School

Economics graduate programs might appeal to students from different academic backgrounds although admission requirements vary from one economics graduate school to the next.

Applicants do not usually need a Bachelor's degree in economics, although it is often recommended that they have a solid background in math. For students who lack prior coursework in calculus or linear algebra, or just want refresher courses, some economics graduate schools might offer a ‘math boot camp’.

In terms of other application requirements, students typically furnish transcripts of past education. Also, a personal statement that describes things such as career goals, special interests within economics and reasons why attending the

university is meaningful. Additional material could include a resume or CV, letters of reference, and GRE scores.

Economics Graduate Programs and Schools

Masters in Economics Programs

Economics graduate schools may award a Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS) in economics or applied economics. These programs might take 1 to 2 years, but it depends on the school, country and curriculum. You might also sometimes pursue a MA or MS part time. Or, find a Masters that rolls into or prepares you to pursue a PhD.

Masters in Economics curriculums may offer courses that are like those in a PhD program -   microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, and a focus area. In some universities, MA programs stress theory, the history of economics, law and policy while MS programs are often more technical. However, most Masters in Economics focus on the practical application of economic theory and thus cover a wide range of topics in addition to statistical analysis.

To earn their degree, some students might engage in directed research to then present a Masters thesis, engage in directed reading and research or write a project report based on an internship with a department of a business, industry, or government.

PhD In Economics Programs Schools

A PhD in Economics is the highest degree that economics graduate schools might award. As a research-focused program, it typically requires students to develop breadth and depth of knowledge, and to contribute original thought through publishable written work.

Students who work towards their PhD on a full-time basis may take about 5 years or more beyond the Bachelor's degree. A Master's is not usually required to enter a PhD, although some students may enter a joint Masters/PhD economics program.

Usually, students spend two years taking a full load of courses. The first year could be devoted to microeconomic and macroeconomic theory, econometrics, and usually some additional mathematics or statistics courses. After the first year, students may need to pass exams (prelims) in these fields to be allowed to continue in the program. Every program has slightly different exam formats, but may limit the number of times a student could take these exams.

Second year PhD students might focus on their field of emphasis (E.g. international economics, monetary economics, labor economics). Students could also choose to focus on advanced microeconomics, macroeconomics, or econometrics. From there, PhD students typically devote time to their dissertation research.

When surveyed, 58% of Economic Analysts reported they earned a Doctorate degree, and 29% reported they earned a Masters degree.i

Economics Graduate Certificates

Some economics graduate schools may offer certificate programs. Certificates are typically structured non-degree programs that consist of several credit-bearing University courses that target a single theme. Sustainable development and economic policy are two examples.

What Might I Study in Economics Graduate Programs?

Each economics graduate school may offer a unique syllabus of core courses and electives. Some universities with on-campus economics graduate programs may deliver courses via lectures. Lecturers may be active in academic and applied research and students may get to closely interact with their professors and classmates to help discover the relevance of the course material.  Curriculums often address the following key economics courses

  • Microeconomics looks at basic consumer and producer theory. Coursework might discuss the behavior of markets, households, firms, buyers and sellers. At more advanced levels of study, micro-theory coursework could discuss risk, uncertainty, game theory and information economics
  • Macroeconomics analyzes the entire economy and could look at patterns of production, consumption, savings and capital. Moreover, macro-theory might discuss factors that influence this big picture. Labor, inflation, business cycles, economic growth, fiscal policy are some examples
  • Econometrics focuses on the application of statistical tools to economic data. Coursework could discuss estimators, economic history, and linear regression models
  • Mathematics for Economists courses may help students acquire a deeper grasp of how and why each method of analysis or theory works, and which approach may be more suitable to apply to a specific problem
  • Statistics courses usually tackle things like probability theory, random variables, expectation, conditional and multivariate distributions. Other topics in mathematical statistics may also be presented that could include moment estimation, hypothesis testing, asymptotic theory, and maximum likelihood estimation

Economics Graduate Degree Concentrations

One of the differentiators between economics graduate schools is their choice of emphasis tracks. A concentration could allow students to tailor their studies to support career goals and or research interests. Some examples are listed below.

Accounting and Control: Students who want to immerse themselves in the world of governance, control and accounting might choose a focus in Accounting and Control. Coursework could cover topics like transfer pricing, management accounting, mergers and acquisitions. A course in empirical analysis might familiarize students with STATA software. 

Corporate Finance and Control: A focus on Corporate Finance and Control might stress the financial management and governance of firms. Students could learn about international financial markets, financial risks, and financial reporting.

Economics, Behavior and Policy: A focus in Economics, Behavior and Policy could discuss aspects of psychology, sociology, public choice, political economy, culture, and philosophy. Courses might explore issues such as environmental protection, health-care sustainability, poverty and financial decisions. Students might learn how behavior economics might inform policy.

Financial Economics: A focus in Financial Economics might help students analyze and understand the ways global financial markets work. Courses could discuss aspects like financial risk management, asset pricing and monetary policy

International Business: A focus in International Business might help students to understand the global economic situation that multinationals operate in. Courses might cover how these firms shape and are shaped as they study current issues. Students might gain the skills to develop successful business strategies and international (trade) policies.

International Economics and Development: A focus in International Economics and Development might analyze and compare the economic development of developing countries. Students might study issues such as inequality, pluralism and price behavior. A course in culture and institutions could explore economic theory. Topics might address the use of culture throughout the history of economics as well as its current use in international economics and politics, finance, economic development and international business.

International Political Economy: A focus in International Political Economy might cover the economic and political dimensions of global issues and the power struggles behind policy choices. Students might study to understand and explain the current issues and debates.

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