Masters in Economics - Economics has always been one of the most popular branches of the social sciences which focuses on the issues which impact financial decisions and situations. Contrary to popular belief, economics is not a separate subject area but instead encompasses a variety of the social sciences with other areas of study including mathematics, statistics, politics, psychology, law, and sociology amongst others. In a way, economics is an amalgamation of all of the social sciences and mathematics at both the local and global level of study. Economics is split into two primary domains of study, namely, macroeconomics and microeconomics which vary with scale of study. A masters in economics student is required to have satisfactory knowledge in both of the subdomains of economics. Microeconomics deals with interactions at a local level i.e. a household, company or an individual agent. Macroeconomics, on the other hand, focuses on interactions at a global scale, dealing with issues like inflation, monetary policy and economic growth, among others. In turn, the career options after masters in economics are diverse and plentiful for an economics graduate.

Masters in Economics: What, Where and How

Masters in Economics: Who is an Economist?

An Economist generally finds his or her place in various government organizations, business enterprises, and teaching and research positions in academic organizations, amongst others. Economists essentially are responsible for analyzing problems using statistical techniques and to investigate questions associated with the business/financial field or associated with public policy. Most universities around the world do not offer a sole degree for a masters in economics and instead offer the MS in economics degree as a by-product for enrolled PhD students. An economist is therefore, someone who holds deep understanding of economics at the doctorate level. Additionally, the career options after masters in economics are best suited for a person who displays interest in current affairs, or is passionate about the business and finance sectors. 

What can you do with a Masters in Economics?

Although the first thing that would come to mind after pursuing MS in economics would be to start a career as an economist, it is not the only option available for economics graduates. In fact, there’s a countless number of professions that could answer the question of what can you do with a masters in economics. Some of the career options after masters in economics include roles as a professor, consultant, budget analyst, market researcher, data scientist, statistician and many more. 

Masters in Economics: Eligibility

In order for a student to be eligible for most masters in economics programs, a number of eligibility conditions need to be satisfied. As most MS in economics programs are not standalone degree courses, often, a candidate’s enrollment in the doctorate program in economics at the concerned university is required to obtain a master's degree in the same. In some universities, candidates can only pursue a masters in economics if they aim to subsequent follow-up with the PhD program in economics in the same university. Other MS in economics requirements for eligibility include:

  • The candidate must have completed a bachelor’s program successfully in order to be eligible for a masters in economics. This generally includes both three-year and four-year bachelor's degrees from a recognized university. 

  • It is not necessary that the candidate have completed a bachelor’s qualification in economics although a background in economics would surely be helpful during the application consideration process. Additionally, an interest and passion for economics is necessary for all program applicants.

  • A working knowledge of mathematics specifically calculus and statistics is necessary for all MS in economics applicants. 

  • Enrolment in the PhD program in economics is often one of the most crucial masters in economics requirements for eligibility for a masters program especially at the top universities for postgraduate education in economics. 

  • The candidate must meet the minimum English language proficiency requirement for the desired institution of study in order to be eligible for the masters in economics or PhD program. This requirement can generally be satisfied using scores from any of the globally recognized English language proficiency tests, which include:

    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic

    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) iBT

    • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic

    • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE)

The minimum scores required in order to be eligible for some of the top universities for a masters in economics are given below.

English Language Proficiency Test Scores for Masters in Economics

University

English Language Proficiency Test

IELTS 

TOEFL iBT

PTE A

CAE

The University of Chicago

7.0

104

-

-

London School of Economics

7.0

100

65

185

University of Oxford

7.5

110

-

191

Columbia University

7.0

98

-

-

University of Cambridge

7.5

110

-

193

New York University

7.5

100

70

191

Bocconi University

6.0

99

-

Grade B2

National University of Singapore

6.0

85

-

-

The University of Melbourne

7.0

94

65

185

The University of British Columbia

6.5

90

59

-

Masters in Economics: Admission Requirements

A variety of admission requirements need to be satisfied for admission to a masters in economics program including standardized test scores, academic and professional documentation, supplementary material etc. Although the masters in economics requirements may vary from program to program and university to university, the general admission requirements for MS in economics include the following:

  • GRE test scores: Most masters in economics programs or doctorate programs require applicants to submit official GRE general test scores as a part of the application material.

  • Statement of purpose (SOP): The statement of purpose or SOP is an essay which generally ranges from one to three pages depending upon the university’s requirement. The SOP should highlight the candidate’s motivations, expectations from and reason for applying to the masters in economics program at the concerned university. 

  • Letter of recommendation (LOR): For admission to any masters or graduate program in economics, the university usually requires two to three letters of recommendation or LORs from a mix of professional and academic referees associated with the applicant. 

  • Academic transcripts: The candidate must provide official academic transcripts from all previous educational institutions of study. This includes any bachelor’s programs which the candidate may have completed or any other post-secondary qualifications earned by the candidate. 

  • Resume: The candidate’s resume should highlight all professional and academic achievements to the admissions committee. Additionally, any co-curricular or extra-curricular achievements which may be relevant to the program of application must also be highlighted. 

  • Writing Sample: For some of the top postgraduate programs in economics, the university requires applicants to provide a writing sample which displays the applicant’s written proficiency as well as the applicant's ability and familiarity with academic writing. 

Masters in Economics: Top Universities

The domain of economics is dominated by leading universities from the United States with most of the top universities for a masters in economics being located in the country. The best economics masters programs in the world are divided into integrated PhD programs and distinct masters programs. Some of the top universities in the world according to the QS world ranking as well as subject ranking in economics and econometrics are given below. 

Top Masters in Economics Programs in the World

University

Program

QS Rank

Program Duration

World

Subject

The University of Chicago

Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences (MAPSS) Economics Concentration

9

6

1 year

London School of Economics

MSc Economics

38

7

1 year

University of Oxford

MPhil in Economics

5

8

2 years

Columbia University

MA in Economics

16

10

2 years

University of Cambridge

MPhil in Economics

6

11

1 year

New York University

MA in Economics

43

15

2 years

Bocconi University

MSc in Economic and Social Sciences

-

16

2 years

National University of Singapore

Masters of Economics

11

20

1-2 years

The University of Melbourne

Master of Economics

39

23

2 years

The University of British Columbia

MA in Economics

47

27

1 year

Some of the best economics masters programs in the world which are integrated with a PhD in economics are given below. These graduate programs in economics offer the candidate with a PhD degree. There is usually a provision for applicants to obtain a masters qualification in their second or third year under certain academic requirements.

Top Universities for a PhD in Economics

University

Program

QS Rank

Program Duration

World

Subject

Harvard University

PhD Economics

3

1

5 years

MIT

PhD Economics

1

2

4 years

Stanford University

MA in Economics (for PhD students)

2

3

5 years

University of California, Berkeley

MA + PhD in Economics

27

4

5 - 6 years

Princeton University

PhD in Economics

13

5

5 years

Yale University

PhD in Economics

15

9

4-5 years

University of Pennsylvania

PhD in Economics

19

12

5-6 years

Masters in Economics: Fees and Funding

The tuition for various masters in economics programs varies primarily with the country and university of study. It is a globally recognized norm that government institutions are considerably cheaper than private colleges and universities. Additionally, education in the USA is generally more expensive than education in European nations or even in Canada. The tuition also varies with the program type, with there being differences in PhD programs and solo masters in economics programs. In order to understand the country-specific variations which may occur in the fee structure of masters programs, the tuition for some of the top programs has been given below. 

Tuition Fees for Masters in Economics

Country

University

Annual Tuition

United States



The University of Chicago

USD $87,543

Columbia University

USD $18,348 - $33,860 (per semester)

United Kingdom

London School of Economics

£28,608

Italy

Bocconi University

€13,474 

Singapore

National University of Singapore

SD $40,000

Australia

The University of Melbourne

AUD $44,032

Canada

The University of British Columbia

CAD $23,460

As many of the masters in economics programs are integrated PhD programs, the amount of funding options available for prospective students are manifold. Not only are many doctoral scholarships and fellowships available but students are also provided with other funding options to take into consideration. This includes teaching assistantships and research assistantships which are popular amongst postgraduate students and also offer hefty stipends apart from an concession in tuition. In many universities, either a research or a teaching assistantship is a requirement for all PhD students. Some notable scholarships for some of the best economics masters programs in the world at the top universities include:

Notable Scholarships for Masters in Economics

University

Scholarship/Funding

The University of Chicago

J.N. Tata Endowment For The Higher Education of Indians

London School of Economics

Graduate support scheme

University of Oxford

Grand Union DTP ESRC Studentship

Columbia University

MA Research Matching Funds

Bocconi University

K.C Mahindra Education Trust 

The University of Melbourne

Melbourne Access Scholarships

The University of British Columbia

NPRB Graduate Student Research Awards

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