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Degree Requirements

A minimum of 36 credit-hours of course work are required. These 36 credits include: at least 15 credit-hours of required core Economics courses and 6 credit-hours of required Public Policy courses. The remaining 5 courses are electives, at least 2 (3 for students in the accelerated bachelors/masters program) of which must be Economics courses. The others may be chosen from a variety of disciplines tailored to suit the interests of the student. Possible electives include courses in economics, public policy, political science, sociology, math, computer science, engineering, or the life sciences.

Economics Core Courses

5 or 6 courses (15 or 18 credit hours) (See the Graduate Catalog for full course descriptions.)

  • ECON 601 Graduate Microeconomic Analysis
  • ECON 602 – Graduate Macroeconomic Analysis
  • ECON 611 – Advanced Econometrics I
  • ECON 612 – Advanced Econometrics II (Prerequisite: ECON 611)
  • ECON 699 – Seminar in Economic Policy Analysis

Public Policy Core Courses

2 of the following courses (6 credit hours). In consultation with their faculty advisor, students must choose two of the following courses:

  • PUBL 601 – Political and Social Context of the Policy Process
  • PUBL 603 – Theory and Practice of Policy Analysis
  • PUBL 613 – Managing Public Organizations
  • POLI 623 – Government Budgeting
  • SOCY 606 – Social Inequality and Social Policy


5 courses (15 credit hours).

Students are required to complete five elective courses-15 credit hours. The elective packages of courses may include appropriate courses from Economics, Public Policy, or other programs at UMBC, as well as courses from UMB, College Park, or other University of Maryland System campuses. Six credit-hours must be in Economics courses (for UMBC undergraduates in the “accelerated pathway,” 9 credit-hours must be in Economics courses).

  1. Economics Courses. Many of the Economics Department courses offered only at the 400 level or above may be counted toward the degree. Students may count Economics courses at the 600 and 400 level toward the MA degree. Graduate students should register for the 600 level course if a course is cross-listed at both the 600 and 400 levels. However, students who take undergraduate courses for graduate credit will be expected to write an additional paper related to the subject of the course using techniques learned in the Economic theory and econometric core courses.
  2. Other Electives. Students may choose their elective courses from a wide range of subject areas related to economics or public policy. Many ECPA M.A. students take elective courses in public policy, sociology, statistics, mathematics, and geography and environmental sciences.
  3. Areas of concentration. The ECPA M.A. program does not require a specific concentration of field. However, students may focus in a area in which they are interested, such as the economics of health policy; international economic policy; the economics of human resources; environmental policy; public economics; or urban, regional, state and federal public finance. Students can find details of potential areas of concentration on the concentrations page.

Comprehensive Examination

Students will write and present a major paper in Econ 699, the capstone seminar. In this paper, students are required to analyze a policy issue from an economic perspective, and to use empirical analysis to shed light on important underlying economic relationships and, when possible, to suggest future directions for policy. In this paper students pull together the skills and insights they have gained in the M.A. program. In addition to the instructor in Econ 699, each student will have a faculty advisor for this paper. (If the Econ 699 instructor and the faculty advisor are the same, the student will need to have a second reader).

Writing the major paper will follow a two-step process in Econ 699. Students will first be required to write a proposal for their study in consultation with their faculty advisor. The proposal will summarize the policy issue the paper will address and the methods that will be used to analyze the issue. Students present their proposals to the Econ 699 class, revise them and then distribute them to the economics department faculty. In the second stage, students will write and present the paper itself to the Econ 699 class. To complete the B.A. degree, students must receive a “B” or better on this paper from both the faculty advisor and the instructor for Econ 699.

Grade requirements for courses

All students in the MA program must a have a “B” average in the four entry-level courses: Econ 601, Econ 602, Econ 611, Econ 612. In addition, a student can have no more than one “C” in these four courses. Students may retake any course in which they did not receive a “B” to try to attain the “B” average or to replace a “C” in one of the core courses.

Seminar requirement

M.A. students will be required to attend professional seminars on economics or policy issues, either at department-sponsored events or in other settings related to their policy interests. Students must attend at least four such seminars during the last two semester of their program, and evidence of this attendance will be part of their grade in Econ 699.