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M.A. in Economic Policy Analysis – UMBC

A Joint Program offered by the Department of Economics and the School of Public Policy.

The M.A. in Economic Policy Analysis will provide 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 and commonly required by employers.

With concentrations in:

The Economic Policy Analysis M.A. now classifies as STEM (CIP Code 45.0603: Econometrics and Quantitative Economics).  International students in this program can apply for a 2-year
STEM extension of F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT).





Program Description

Students in the Economic Policy Analysis (ECPA) M.A. program take classes in the Department of Economics, the School of Public Policy and other departments at UMBC. 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 economics courses teach students economic modeling and econometrics.

The M.A. in Economic Policy Analysis is flexible enough to accommodate students with different backgrounds, interests and career objectives. The program is designed for students from a variety of undergraduate majors, including but not limited to: economics, public policy, political science, information systems, mathematics, computer science, sociology, history, and business. The program is designed for:

  • Managers and policy analysts who are already employed and engaged 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.
  • Students who would like to prepare for further graduate study at the PhD level in Public Policy or Economics. Many ECPA graduates continue at UMBC for a Ph.D. in Public Policy. A student with an M.A. in Economic Policy Analysis has already completed a substantial amount of the course work required for a Ph.D.

Full or part-time students, students with schedules which permit only evening courses, or students with schedules which combine evening and day courses can all be accommodated. All required courses, and many electives, will be offered in the evening to accommodate the needs of students employed full-time.

The “accelerated pathway” is an attractive and cost-effective option for UMBC undergraduates. The accelerated pathway enables UMBC undergraduate students to take graduate courses as an undergraduate, reducing tuition charges and allowing students to complete both the bachelor’s degree and the Economic Policy Analysis M.A. in as few as five years.

Program Admission Requirements

Students applying for admission to the program must take the general GREs, provide three letters of recommendation, preferably academic, and fulfill all of the other admissions requirements set forth by the University of Maryland Graduate School. Contact the UMBC Graduate School for admissions materials. Applicants may apply on line at the UMBC Graduate School Website.

To succeed in the program students will need some undergraduate economics, mathematics and statistics background. We require that students complete courses in undergraduate macroeconomics, undergraduate intermediate micro-economic theory (preferably using calculus), intermediate statistics (which should include some study of regression analysis), calculus, mathematical economics (or a follow-up courses in basic calculus such as multivariable calculus and linear algebra), and undergraduate econometrics (or extensive course work in statistics) before registering for the core graduate theory and econometrics courses (ECON 601, 602, 611 and 612). The UMBC mathematical economics course, ECON 490, will provide students who have had at least one semester of undergraduate calculus with the mathematics background necessary to succeed in the M.A. program. For those who are unsure if they have sufficient background in mathematics, please read the description of ECON 490, or contact the Economic Policy Analysis Graduate Program Director. For those who are unsure if they have an adequate background in statistics, contact the Economic Policy Analysis Graduate Program Director.

Contact Information
Dr. Tim Gindling
Department of Economics
1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250
e-mail: tgindlin@umbc.edu / telephone: (410) 455-3629






If you are interested in applying, see our Admission Requirements.

Financial Assistance

Financial assistance is available to full-time and part-time students. Sources of financial aid include:

      • Economic Policy Analysis Research and Teaching Assistantships
      • The Hilltop Institute
      • Maryland Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (MIPAR)
      • The Shriver Center
      • Other UMBC Graduate Assistantship positions

For details on these types of financial assistance, see our Financial Assistance page.


Program Degree Requirements

A minimum of 36 credit-hours of course work are required. These 36 credits include: 15 credit-hours of required core Economics courses, 6 credit-hours of required Public Policy courses, and 15 credit-hours of elective courses.

Economics Core Courses

5 courses (15 credit hours)
      • ECON 601 Graduate Microeconomic Analysis
      • ECON 602 Graduate Macroeconomic Analysis
      • ECON 611 Graduate Econometrics I
      • ECON 612 Graduate Econometrics II
      • ECON 699 Seminar in Economic Policy Analysis

Public Policy Core Courses

2 courses (6 credit hours) from the following list:
      • 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
      • PUBL 607: Statistical Applications in Evaluation Research
      • PUBL 611: Causal Inference in Program Evaluation
      • ECON 605: Benefit-Cost Evaluation
      • ECON 661: Microeconomics of Public Finance


5 courses (15 credit hours)

Elective courses may include appropriate courses from Economics, Public Policy, Data Sciences, Geography and Environmental Systems, Sociology, Mathematics, Statistics, or other programs at UMBC. Students may take courses from UMB, College Park or other University of Maryland System campuses. A minimum of 2 elective courses must be economics classes, although students may request an exception to his rule from the ECPA Graduate Program Director.

Elective Concentrations:

The Economic Policy Analysis M.A. recommends that students choose electives to fit one of the following three concentrations:

      • Economic Policy: For students who would like to focus on the economic tools used in policy analysis. This is the broadest and most flexible concentration.
      • Public Policy: For students who would like a comprehensive study of the public policy process, including the techniques of evaluation of public policies and the political and sociological aspects of the public policy process. This concentration is strongly recommended for students who plan to continue on to the Public Policy Ph.D. at UMBC.
      • Economic Policy and Data Sciences: For students who are interested in learning more about computer programming languages and statistics programs that are relevant to Economic Policy Analysis. This concentration is offered in collaboration with the Master’s of Professional Studies in Data Sciences at UMBC.

Capstone Project

Students undertake the research for, write, and present a major policy paper in the capstone course, ECON 699. This capstone project policy paper must be approved by both the student’s primary advisor for the project and the instructor of the ECON 699 capstone seminar. For more details, go to Program Degree Requirements.


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