Master of Arts in Economics Degree Programs


Economic Analysis:
Key to Success in the Global Economy

The demand for economics expertise in business and government organizations exceeds the supply – and the gap is growing. As globalization of production and the competitiveness of international trade expand, the premium for high-quality economic analysis becomes ever greater. The Master of Arts in Economics at Claremont Graduate University offers a two-year course of study that will provide the analytical skills and real-world understanding necessary for success in our globally competitive markets.

MAE graduates find positions in business, government, and the nonprofit sectors of the economy, all requiring skills in economic analysis far beyond those developed at the undergraduate level. The M.A. in Economics also compares favorably in analytic rigor to the typical masters degrees in business administration, public administration and public policy – a fact not lost on employers. For students without previous work experience, internships are available to provide valuable experience, and in certain cases, academic credit.

Applications for Success

The Department of Economics at CGU has an applied focus, stressing precisely the kinds of analytical techniques and problem-solving capabilities of greatest interest to employers. Unlike graduate programs that mandate a year of pure theory, half of the courses in the first year master’s curriculum at CGU cover a wide variety of applications, ranging from international money, finance, and trade to public economics and economic growth. Students interested in business applications can branch out into corporate finance and the economics of management. Interdisciplinary courses offered in the Division of Politics and Economics (DPE) include public choice, domestic policy analysis, and international politics.

Students in the M.A. in Economics program come from diverse undergraduate backgrounds and have an equally wide range of career objectives. The M.A. degree is designed for both recent college graduates and mid-career professionals and may be taken on a full or part-time basis. Pre-requisites to the program are limited to a second calculus course, a course in intermediate microeconomic theory, and a basic course in statistics. Further mathematical skills are developed in the courses required for the M.A., allowing the student to learn mathematics as it applies to real economic issues. The M.A. in Economics has been used by many of our alumni as a passport to valuable and challenging careers as economic analysts. Others use the M.A. as a credential for admission to a Ph.D. program, either at CGU or elsewhere.

Master of Arts in Economics Degree


The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Economics is intended to prepare the student for a variety of applied analysis positions in both the private and public sectors.  The M.A. can also serve as a prelude to more advanced graduate work.

Program Requirements

 The M.A. in Economics is a 48-unit program, except for the concentration in Global Commerce and Finance (see details below), which is 36 units.  Students normally complete coursework in four semesters, though completion in three semesters is possible for well-prepared students.  Up to 16 units per semester may be taken where approved by the Advisor.  No master’s thesis is required for the M.A. in Economics.


Master of Arts Degree Coordinator:  Thomas Borcherding


General Degree Requirements


1)      Econ 313:  Microeconomic Analysis I  (4 units)

2)      Econ 302:  Macroeconomic Analysis I  (4 units)

3)      Econ 308 and Econ 382: Mathematics for Economists and Econometrics I (8 units)

4)      An approved Econ or SPE course in new institutional economics or political economy (4 units)

5)      At least three other courses must be 300-level or 400-level Econ or SPE courses or approved substitutes (12 units)


Students without Calculus 1 and 2 will also be required to take:  Econ 307:  Mathematics for Social Sciences (4 units)


Course Plans


Students with sufficient math background (Calculus 1 and 2) should follow:


First Fall               First Spring          

Econ 302             Econ 382                            

Econ 308             Elective

Econ 313              Elective


Second Fall          Second Spring

Elective                NIE/PE course

Elective                Elective

Elective                Elective


Students without sufficient math background must take Econ 307: Mathematics for Social Sciences (4 units)


First Fall               First Spring          

Econ 307             Econ 382                            

Econ 308             Elective

Econ 313              Elective


Second Fall          Second Spring

Econ 302             NIE/PE course

Elective                Elective

Elective                Elective



Students who begin in the spring semester should follow:


First Spring                         First Fall                

Elective                                Econ 302                            

Elective                                Econ 308

Elective                                Econ 313


Second Spring                   Second Fall

Econ 382                             Elective

NIE/PE course                   Elective

Elective                                Elective


If it is necessary for a student to take Econ 307, then Econ 302 can be delayed until the second fall.


Elective Courses:


One of the advantages of earning an M.A. degree from Claremont Graduate University is the opportunity to take Ph.D level courses that develop quantitative tools and techniques and a deeper appreciation of the institutional contexts that economic analysis must be conducted in. We recommend that M.A. students consider taking one or more of the following advanced courses as part of their electives. 

  • Econ 303 Macroeconomic Analysis II (dynamic general equilibrium models and growth)
  • Econ 316 Advanced Microeconomics I (constrained optimization and equilibrium)
  • Econ 317 Advanced Microeconomics II (non-cooperative game theory)
  • Econ 318 Foundations of Psychology & Economics
  • Econ 319 Applications of Psychology & Economics
  • Econ 383 Econometrics II (econometric techniques for micro-level data)
  • Econ 384 Econometrics III (time series econometrics and forecasting)


In addition, many M.A. students take one of the three (3) optional tracks in applied economics discussed below, or the concentration in Global Commerce and Finance (scroll to bottom). In general, students may take electives in any CGU department.  In addition to the Department of Economics, students may take electives in Management, Mathematics, Information Science, and Politics and Policy, subject to requirement #5, above.


1. Business & Financial Economics


The M.A. track in business and financial economics offers a program typical of applied economics and finance concentrations in many graduate schools of business, but with a much greater emphasis on rigorous analytical and quantitative methods. It is particularly attractive for students seeking careers in business, consulting, and financial institutions:


Required Courses:


1)       Econ 336 Financial Economics, or an alternative approved finance course

2)      SPE 324 Economics of Management and Organization


3)      Two additional approved courses related to business and financial economics. A partial list of possibilities:


  • Econ 265 Industrial Organization
  • Econ 267 Law and Economics
  • Econ 273 Economics of Innovation
  • Econ337 Behavioral Finance and Risk Management
  • Econ 350 International Money and Finance
  • SPE 301 Behavioral Neuroscience of Decision-Making


Faculty Contacts:   




 2. International Economic Policy & Development


This track offers a program roughly similar to applied economics programs in graduate schools of public policy, diplomacy and law, with the added availability of courses in international business and management, as well as politics.


Required Field Courses


1)       Econ 247  International Trade Theory and Policy (4 units)

2)      Econ 350  International Money and Finance  (4 units)

3)      Applied intl. economic policy or development course (4 units), such as: 

  • Econ 224 Asian Political Economy
  • Econ342 Asian Economic Development
  • Econ359 Finance and Development
  • Econ 374  Economic Policies in Developing Countries

4)      One course in the Politics of International Economic Relations such as:

  • PP 411  International Political Economy (4 units)

5)      Two additional approved courses (8 units) from the broad areas of international economics and development, international and comparative political economy and international management, such as:

  • Econ 358  Advanced Topics in Intl. Monetary and Financial Economics
  • PP 366  Political and Economic Development in Latin America
  • SPE 302  Political Economy of Development


3. Political Economy & Public Policy


This track offers a program roughly similar to the economic concentrations in schools such as the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a number of graduate schools of public policy and interdisciplinary graduate programs in applied political economy.  It provides a useful background for many positions in business and government, and is an especially attractive option for students considering pursuing a law degree.


Required Field Courses


One course from each of (1) and (2):


1)  Political Economy (4 units)

  • Econ 300  Political Economy and Social Inquiry or
  • Econ 343/286  Public Choice or
  • SPE 410 Foundations of Political Economy


2)  Applied Policy (4 units)

  • Econ 266  Government Regulation of Business
  • Econ 267  Government Policy Towards Business
  • Econ 273 Economics of Innovation
  • SPE 318 Seminar in Policy Analysis


Master of Arts in Economics - Concentration in Global Commerce and Finance


This Master's degree concentration requires 36 units and can normally be completed in two summers and two semesters.  It is designed for professionals in business, government,  international and non-profit organizations.  It provides a highly structured program drawing on applied economics and financial analysis, predictive modeling, political economy, new institutional economics, behavioral and neuroeconomics and finance to create a broad, robust framework for understanding global economic, political and financial interactions.


Students without a strong background in quantitative methods should consider starting in the summer with a two-course quantitative methods sequence.  Some electives will also be available during the summer. 


Students will also have the option of taking an additional twelve hours to earn a certificate of advanced study in their field of specialization.


Core Courses


1.        Econ351: The Global Political Economy

2.       Econ 350: Global Money and Finance

3.       SPE 471: Strategic Modeling for Politics, Economics and Business Decisions

4.      SPE 324: Economics of Management and Organizations

5.       Econ 336: Financial Economics OR Econ 337: Behavioral Finance and Risk Management

6.      TNDY401i: Nature of Political Inquiry

7.       PP481: Quantitative Research Methods


Elective Courses


Two additional approved courses from a specialization area such as


1.        Predictive Modeling (PP438)

2.       International Finance (Econ 358, Econ 359)

3.       International Trade (Econ 347, Econ 374)

4.      Economic Development (PP 336, SPE 302)

5.       Globalization (PP371, PP 411, PP417)

6.      Political Economy and Public Policy (PP 330, PP350)

7.       China and the Global Economy (Econ 342, SPE297)

8.      Financial Economics (Econ 336, Econ 337)

9.      Quantitative Methods (Econ 308, Econ 382, PP 481, PP 482, PP 487)

10.    Neuroeconomics and Behavioral Economics (SPE301, Econ318, Econ319).


Faculty contacts:   



Contact Information:

For program inquiries
Annekah Hall
Assistant Director of Admissions

For application questions


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