What you'll learn

The Bryan School’s MA in Applied Economics program provides you with a unique combination of economic theory, policy analysis, and data analysis skills that give you the ability to identify, understand, and solve real-world problems. In your first semester, you will develop foundational mathematical, economic theory, and econometric skills. You’ll also begin learning the same analytical software most frequently used by Fortune 500 companies and financial institutions. In your second semester, you will deepen your general economic theory and econometric skills and develop an understanding of the fundamentals of policy analysis.

In your third and final semester, you’ll choose how you wish to specialize. The most common choices are policy analysis and data analytics. You’ll also take a capstone course in applied microeconomics that will involve several empirical case studies. You’ll gain experience doing the type of work you’ll do after graduation, and that employers value so highly.

Hands-on Learning, Collaboration, and Flexibility

Our MA in Applied Economics program involves a significant amount of hands-on, real-world training analyzing large data sets. Our classes are small in size, and collaboration among students and interactions with faculty are highly encouraged. Our program is flexible. In addition to the third-semester specialization options noted above, full- and part-time options are available.

Our MA program is one of a select few where students interested in doctoral-level work may seek admission to the PhD program while completing their MA. Because these programs are highly integrated, much of the coursework undertaken in the MA program can count toward the PhD.

Available program curriculums

Part-Time Curriculum

Students interested in pursuing the MA in Applied Economics program part-time should talk with the Director of Graduate Studies before beginning courses. The details and length of time to complete the program can vary, but a typical part-time curriculum takes five semesters with students focusing on economic theory in the first two semesters, econometrics in the next two semesters, and capstone work in the final semester.

Full-Time Curriculum

Full-time students will complete the curriculum in three semesters, beginning with a special “math boot camp” course in early August.

Orientation (Summer – week before classes)

Orientation events will be held the week preceding fall semester classes and will provide incoming students essential program information. Incoming MA in Applied Economics  students will be required to attend career preparation workshops and will be invited to the department “Meet and Mingle” which provides an opportunity to meet with faculty and other program students.

Semester 1 (Fall)

ECO 619: Mathematical Economics
ECO-641: Microeconomics I
ECO-643: Econometric Methods
ECO-725: Data Methods in Economics

Comprehensive Exams (January)

In January, students take two comprehensive exams covering material from the fall semester. You must pass each exam with a grade of B- or better to meet this graduation requirement. You have two chances to pass each exam.

Semester 2 (Spring)

The spring semester is spent taking a final course in economic theory (Microeconomics II or Macroeconomics), a course in econometric theory, and a course in the fundamentals of policy analysis:

ECO-642:  Microeconomics II
ECO-646:  Macroeconomics

ECO-644: Econometric Theory
ECO-731: Applied Policy Methods

Semester 3 (Fall)

In the final fall semester, students take the capstone empirical economics course where they get hands-on experience doing the type of analysis they will do after graduation.  In addition, all students choose two electives:

ECO-721: Empirical Microeconomics
Elective 1
Elective 2

Students choose their electives from an array of graduate economics courses including data analytics, policy analysis, and more general economics field courses (such as education, environmental, health, labor, technology/innovation, and public economics).

Concentration options

Policy Analysis Concentration

Students who wish to complete a concentration in policy analysis follow the general requirements for the MA in Applied Economics with three refinements:

In the second semester, students take

ECO 642: Microeconomics II

In the third semester, students fulfill their elective requirements by taking

ECO 734: Public Policies Toward Innovation and Sustainability

plus one of the following economics field courses:

ECO-735: Labor Economics
ECO-736: Public Economics
ECO-737: Health Economics
ECO-738: Topics in Economics (topics vary)

Data Analytics Concentration

Students who wish to complete a concentration in data analytics follow the general requirements for the MA in Applied Economics with three refinements:

In the second semester, students take:

ECO-646: Macroeconomics

In the third semester, students fulfill their elective requirements by taking:

ECO-663: Predictive Data Mining


ECO-664:  Time Series and Forecasting

One other elective is taken in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies. Most students who complete a concentration in data analytics fulfill their elective requirements in Semester 3 by taking both ECO 663: Predictive Data Mining and ECO 664: Time Series and Forecasting.

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Have Questions?

Mr. Devante Monds

Graduate Recruitment Assistant
Bryan 389 bryangrad@uncg.edu

Dr. Dennis Leyden

Associate Professor
Bryan 460 DPLeyden@uncg.edu