Curriculum

The master’s program in Applied Economics requires completing 10 courses for 30 credits total, including six core courses and four electives with three credits each.  Full-time students will take three courses a semester plus one summer course and will be able to finish the program in three semesters. 

The core courses are listed along with links to the syllabi below:

For electives, students choose four 6000-level (or higher) courses to fit their particular interests. At least two electives must be in economics, while up to two of these electives may be taken at one of the Schools listed below

to fulfill the elective requirement. 

Courses in other graduate programs, such as Data Science, Geography, and Statistics, may meet this elective requirement, subject to approval by the Program Director.

Example electives in applied economics include (see detailed description below):

Example electives in economics and related areas include:

  • Survey of International Trade Theory and Policy (ECON 6283)
  • Survey of International Macroeconomics and Financial Policy (ECON 6284)
  • Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management (FINA 6223)
  • International Science and Technology Policy (IAFF 6141)
  • Technological Change and Diffusion (IAFF 6142)
  • Economics of the Environment and Natural Resources (ENRP 6102)
  • Managing in Developing Countries (IBUS 6402)
  • Financial Crisis and the Global Economy (IBUS 6304)
  • Policy Analysis (PPPA 6006)
  • Benefit-Cost Analysis (PPPA 6015)
  • Public and Nonprofit Program Evaluation (PPPA 6016)
  • State Politics & Policy (PPPA 6044)
  • Financial Accounting (ACCY 6101)
  • Financial Statement Analysis (ACCY 6106)
  • Managerial Accounting I (ACCY 6201)
  • Introduction to Data Science (DATS 6101)
  • Visualization of Complex Data (DATS 6401)

 


Schedule for Full-Time students

 

Below is a suggested three-semester schedule for full-time students.

 

First Semester

  • ECON 6300 Mathematical Methods for Economics
  • ECON 6374 Probability and Statistics for Economics
  • ECON 6305 Applied Macroeconomic Theory

Second Semester

  • ECON 6301 Applied Microeconomic Theory
  • ECON 6375 Applied Econometrics
  • Elective 1

Third Semester

  • ECON 6376 Time-Series Analysis
  • Elective 2
  • Elective 3

You may take Elective 4 in the Summer or during the academic year.

 

Part-Time Students

If you are attending the program on a part-time basis, I recommend that you take Econ 6300 (math) and Econ 6305 (macro) in your first semester and Econ 6301 (micro) and Econ 6374 (stats) in your second semester.


Description of Core Courses (3 credits each)

*ECON 6300 Mathematical Methods for Economics

This course is designed to give students the mathematical background required to appreciate and understand the use of mathematics in economic analysis. Multivariable calculus, integral calculus, and linear algebra with an emphasis on techniques for solving systems of equations, unconstrained and constrained optimization, comparative statics, difference equations, and analysis of dynamic models. Prerequisite: one semester of college-level calculus.

*ECON 6301 Applied Microeconomic Theory

 This course covers the principal areas of microeconomic theory: consumer demand, decision-making under uncertainty, production and costs, game theory, product markets, factor markets, and market failures. The course emphasizes the application of theory to microeconomic issues of interest to the private and public sectors, including product pricing, market entry and deterrence, tax policy, and environmental regulation.  Prerequisites: Mathematical Methods for Economics (ECON 6300).

*ECON 6305 Applied Macroeconomic Theory

The course will develop an integrated framework for analyzing the determination of macroeconomic variables, such as total production, unemployment, interest rates, and inflation. A key objective is to provide a link between economic theory and economic policy so that data interpretation and policy decisions are based on solid theory.  Prerequisites: Mathematical Methods for Economics (ECON 6300) or concurrent registration.

*ECON 6374 Probability and Statistics for Economics

Specific probability and statistical inference skills required for applied economic problems. Topics include laws of probability, limit laws, random events, independence and dependence, expectations, Bayes theory, etc. Data manipulation and analysis using SAS and Stata software. Prerequisite: Mathematical Methods for Economics (ECON 6300) or concurrent registration.

*ECON 6375 Applied Econometrics

This course will introduce students to the skills needed to evaluate and conduct econometric analysis with a primary focus on multiple regression analysis. The course will emphasize using econometric methods to estimate and test economic models and to address causal questions using observational data. Students will use statistical software, such as Stata, and will become proficient in using this software to perform basic econometric techniques.  Prerequisites: Mathematical Methods for Economics (ECON 6300) and Probability and Statistics for Economics (ECON 6374).

*ECON 6376 Time Series Analysis

The course is designed to give students the tools required to understand, implement, and interpret common models used in time series econometrics with an emphasis on intuition and application. Topics cover include time series properties of data, difference equations, stationary models, models with trends, multi-equation models, forecasting models, etc. Prerequisites: Mathematical Methods for Economics (ECON 6300), Probability and Statistics for Economics (ECON 6374) and Applied Macroeconomic Theory (ECON 6305).


Description of applied economics electives

ECON 6295.11 Applied Behavioral Economics             Instructor: Diane Lim

This course will first discuss/review the fundamentals of microeconomic and macroeconomic theory at an intermediate level and then critique where theories have failed to accurately explain or predict real-world behavior, motivating the more recent interdisciplinary "behavioral economics" approach. Can economists stray from the "one size fits all" approach and yet still have enough of a theoretical foundation to be able to predict economic outcomes?  Students will compare and contrast traditional vs. behavioral economics research applied to a variety of public policy issues.  Diane Lim is Principal Economist at The Conference Board. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Virginia and for more than 30 years has worked on public policy research in the academic, government, and nonprofit sectors.

 

ECON 6295.12 Applied Industrial Organization           Instructor: Elena Patel

This course will analyze the behavior of firms and consider the implications of market structure and resource allocation. We will focus on several key factors including the number of market participants, the role of transaction costs, product differentiation, imperfect knowledge, and market contestability. Special attention will be given to public policy issues of monopoly regulation and antitrust law in the United States. We will explore these issues using standard microeconomic empirical and theoretical tools with a special emphasis on game theory.  Elena Patel is a financial economist at the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Tax Analysis, and holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Michigan. Professionally, she works on issues related to corporate tax policy and supply-side health policy. Her outside research includes analyses of the behavioral incentives for firms in the hospital industry and the incentives of the business tax system in the United States.

ECON 6295.13 Labor Economics and Public Policy        Instructor: Diana Furchtgott-Roth

Labor Economics and Public Policy will take a close look at widely-discussed topics in labor economics including, but not limited to, unemployment, unions, immigration, the minimum wage, pensions, worker mobility, and inequality. Students will debate subjects such as what causes inequality; whether wages are stagnating; whether women and minorities are underpaid; whether the minimum wage should be raised; and how to reduce unemployment. Guest speakers will be invited to present alternative perspectives.  Readings will consist of academic journal articles in the public domain. Students will have a final exam and write two 1,500-word papers. Diana Furchtgott-Roth is former chief economist of the U.S. Department of Labor and former chief of staff of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. She is the author of five books, most recently Disinherited: How Washington Is Betraying America’s Young (coauthored with Jared Meyer, Encounter Books, 2015) and Women’s Figures: An Illustrated Guide to the Economic Progress of Women In America (AEI Press, 2012).

 

ECON 6295.14 Modern Macro Money                                                                           Instructor: Jason Seligman

This course in macroeconomics and monetary economics provides the applied economics student an opportunity to think about the evolving role of the central bank balance sheet in supporting stable growth and macroprudential evolution of a financial system.  Emphasis will be on facilitation of finance over the short- and medium-term. Conditional on the use of these tools, consideration will be given to modern tools for long term dynamic stability and associated positive and negative implications for capital and growth impacts.  Exercises are designed to develop critical thinking skills, policy proposals and adroit evaluation faculties. Jason Seligman is an economist at the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Economic Policy. He has published research on new monetary policies implemented since the Financial Crisis of 2007-2008, and in related macro and public finance areas.  Prior to his current tenue at Treasury he was previously on the faculty of the Ohio State University and, the University of Georgia as well as having served both at Treasury and at the President’s Council of Economic Advisers where he handled a Macro and Finance portfolio.  He earned his Ph.D. in Economics (Public Finance) from the University of California at Berkeley.

 

 

ECON 6295.15 Financial and Derivative Markets                                     Instructor: Kenneth Danger

This course is designed to provide students with a thorough introduction to the theoretical and practical aspects of financial and derivative markets.  Students will apply quantitative and statistical approaches to a variety of problems throughout this course.  A practical approach is adopted through the use of case studies and real life examples.  Students will learn about important interest rate markets, how asset prices are determined, securities markets and the important role that central banks play in financial markets.  Students will also learn how to price, value and use derivatives from a practical perspective.  Ken Danger is an Associate Deputy Director at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, where he works on matters related to derivative market manipulation. He holds a doctorate in Economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he focused on industrial organization, health economics, and finance. His outside research interests focus on financial markets, derivatives, and antitrust policy and law.

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