MA or PhD?


The department offers the Master of Arts (MA) degree and the PhD degree in Economics.

The MA program is a 33-credit, 2-year degree that provides professional training for students aiming to work with consulting firms, government agencies, self-employment, or corporations; or for students pursuing Master's work as an exploratory step toward possible PhD studies. Though not intended as a first step to the department's PhD program, credits earned in the Master's program can be counted toward the PhD if a student wishes to continue and is approved to do so.

The department will admit, directly into a 72-credit PhD-track program, students who have suitable undergraduate background at the Bachelor's degree level, as well as students seeking to transfer from a Master's program. (Of the 72 credits, up to 9 may be transferred from a Master's program elsewhere, and up to 30 may be transferred from the Master's at CSU.) Regardless of background, students applying to and admitted to the PhD track will officially have MA status during the first two years and then "move up"; exceptions are possible upon request, for students whose financial sponsorship requires them to have PhD status from the start. The PhD program prepares students for academic careers at universities and colleges in the US and around the world, as well as for advanced assignments in government agencies or the private sector. The department has a 100% placement record for its PhD graduates, in all recent years.

Students applying to either the MA or PhD program must have appropriate undergraduate training. This may include an economics Bachelor's degree or similar program of study, and must include satisfactory undergraduate course work in intermediate microeconomics, intermediate macroeconomics, econometrics, and calculus. Applicants who do not meet prerequisites may in some cases may be granted conditional admission, with the expectation that they will meet missing requirements in the summer before entering the program, or have admission deferred until they satisfy the requirements.