The Master of Arts in Economic Policy Analysis
The Economic Policy Analysis MA program is a joint program, offered by the Department of Economics and School of Public Policy. The M.A. in Economic Policy Analysis provides students with a broad perspective on policy formulation along with focused training in economic analysis.
The program places special emphasis on the tools of data analysis commonly used by economists. In today’s economy, professionals in government and business have access to massive amounts of information and data. To use this information to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government policies and business projects, professionals must know how to organize and analyze it. The Economic Policy Analysis curriculum provides up-to-date techniques to draw practical lessons from data to contribute to the effective implementation of policy. The course of study combines a multi-disciplinary approach to policy analysis with focused study on the use of economic tools to analyze policy issues. The core economic courses present the tools commonly used by economists, including economic modeling, econometrics, cost-benefit analysis, and forecasting. The interdisciplinary nature of the program provides students with a broad perspective on policy formulation along with focused training in economic analysis and the use of quantitative tools.
The Baltimore-Washington area has a high concentration of professional policy analysts seeking to make effective use of the increasing amount of data available to them. The location of UMBC, less than a ten-minute drive from the headquarters of the Social Security Administration and the Health Care Financing Administration, and close to the national capital, make the M.A. in Economic Policy Analysis particularly attractive as a part-time program to mid-level professional policy analysts. For the M.A. program, all of the core courses and many of the elective courses are offered in the evenings to provide affordable upper division and graduate opportunitites for employed adults in the Baltimore-Washington region. Mid-level professionals can participate in the program as part-time students. Our program is the only M.A. in the state of Maryland that provides the opportunity for policy analysts to study the quantitative tools used by economists. In addition, UMBC’s proximity to the professional programs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, allows students in ECPA to take policy-related courses at UMB and students in the graduate and professional programs on that campus to take advantage of applied economics and policy courses relevant to their field of study.
The skills required of entry-level workers in the public and private sectors are also becoming more complex. This is especially true of jobs in areas such as economics and policy analysis because of advances in computer software and the availability of data. Students recently graduated with bachelor’s degrees can enter our M.A. program to gain the necessary skills to apply for higher level skilled and technical entry-level policy analysis jobs.
Up-to-date quantitative skills are especially important for those seeking employment or advancement in the public sector. Numerous and exciting job opportunities are available, but only for those who prepare well for an increasingly competitive, professional and technical public sector.
The M.A. in Economic Policy Analysis is designed for students from a variety of backgrounds who share an interest in learning quantitative techniques to analyze issues of public policy. The M.A. is flexible enough to accommodate students with different backgrounds, interests and career objectives. The program is appropriate for students with a variety of undergraduate majors. Incoming ECPA students have majored in economics, financial economics, political science, information systems, mathematics, computer science, business, and engineering.
Potential students in the program include:
- Managers and policy analysts who are already employed in policy formulation who would like to deepen their understanding of policy issues and/or develop their quantitative skills.
- Students who would like to pursue graduate study to prepare for entry-level positions in the economic policy field with international organizations, federal, state or local governments, consulting firms, corporations, or non-profit organizations. An attractive and cost-effective option for UMBC undergraduates may be the “accelerated pathway,” under which a student is able to take graduate courses as an undergraduate, reducing tuition charges and allowing students to complete both a BA and an MA in as few as five years.
- Students who would like to prepare for further graduate study at the PhD level in Economics or Public Policy. An attractive option may be to continue at UMBC for a Ph.D. in Public Policy. A student with an M.A. in Economic Policy Analysis will have already completed a substantial amount of the course work required for the Public Policy Ph.D.
- Foreign students, particularly those from developing countries and transitional economies who want to obtain skill in economic policy analysis.
Full- or part-time students, students with schedules which include only evening courses, or students with schedules which combine evening and day courses, can all be accommodated. All required courses and many electives are offered in the evening to accommodate the needs of students employed full-time.
The Economic Policy Analysis M.A. now classifies as STEM (CIP Code 45.0603: Econometrics and Quantitative Economics). Students in this program can apply for a 2-year STEM extension of F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT).