What Are the Prerequisites for a Master’s in Economics?

Most Master’s in Economics will have basic prerequisite requirements for graduate students. Some degree programs may expect students to be familiar with standard concepts, thinkers and schools of thought, but other degree programs may require students to have completed undergraduate level coursework. A few schools may even require the student to have completed graduate-level coursework related to their field. Check out our article on the average cost of masters degrees if you’re wondering what to expect for tuition. Economics is a unique field of study that bridges the gap between the social sciences and mathematics. It may be worth it to consider earning dual masters degrees online in economics and a related field.

Universal Prerequisites

Many Master of Economics degree programs require students to show evidence that they have completed basic classes in their major. This is usually an Introduction to Economics class that covers that fundamental issues, concepts and models. These topics include labor, inflation, scarcity, competition, unemployment, opportunity cost, resource allocation and price determination.

Classes on business, marketing and management may be recommended. For example, an introductory class in entrepreneurship will provide practical examples and theoretical frameworks for individual economics. Other prerequisites may include the economic history of time periods and geographic areas, like 18th century England, Western Europe and developing economies in Asia. Classes on old economic theories will most likely start out with mercantilism, then move through Adam Smith, Marx, Keynes and Regan.

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Common Classes and Potential Prerequisites

Graduate-level economics degree programs that are highly advanced or specialized may require students to take common first-year classes. These include classes in econometrics, microeconomics, macroeconomics and quantitative methods. Students may be expected to thoroughly understand statistical graphics, probability theory, multiple regression, hypothesis testing, estimate software and distribution models. When it comes to macroeconomics, students may be expected to already understand modern and past government policies that relate to common economic variables like output, income, inflation, employment and trade deficits. When it comes to intermediately challenging theories, students may need to demonstrate a knowledge of economic goals, monetary policies, macroeconomic fluctuations and national income growth. Basic classes in comparative economic systems will cover the principles and development capitalist, communist, corporatist, socialist and alternative systems.

Admissions Requirements

Many graduate degree programs, especially the popular ones at accredited universities, are quite competitive. The admissions committee in these schools may carefully and critically review GRE/GMAT scores, letters of recommendation, statements of purpose and previous academic results. They will most likely pay close attention to performance in previous academic work related to math, statistics and economics. Some admissions committees prefer to review resumes in order to evaluate professional experience and personal accomplishments. Most of these committees will identify students who prove that they can master the quantitative concepts and coursework in first-year courses. They will want to ensure that each qualified candidate can engage in independent research and successfully defend dissertations. There may be minimum GRE or GPA scores for admission, such as a GRE cut-off score of 150 to 165.

Students who pursue a Master’s in Economics should consider taking some relevant classes while they earn their undergraduate degrees. For instance, classes in international trade, industrial organization, public finance and global business may be very beneficial. Other useful classes include labor, monetary, non-profit, small business and health insurance economics.

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