Information About MA Degree

Our department offers admission only to students interested in earning a Ph.D. Our program is not designed for students who are interested only in a Master’s degree. However, our PhD students may obtain an M.A. degree during their program, either as a terminal degree for students leaving the Ph.D. program, or as an intermediate sign of achievement for students who are continuing in the Ph.D. program.

For students who are interested in applied economics but are not pursuing a Ph.D., the University of Maryland offers a professional masters in applied economics. This program is designed for working professionals; it is not appropriate preparation for a Ph.D. in economics. Contact masters@econ.umd.edu or visit http://masters.econ.umd.edu for more information.

Students can apply for a master's degree once they have satisfied the following requirements: (1) 30 hours of course work with a grade point average of 3.0 or better, with 24 of these hours in courses numbered 600 or above, and with no more than 12 of these hours in courses outside of economics; (2) pass both the micro and macro comprehensive exams at a master's level or better; (3) demonstrate competence in econometrics by passing both ECON 623 and ECON 624 with a grade of B- or better; and (4) prepare an acceptable research paper.

A detailed original research proposal, between 10 and 20 pages, is typically sufficient for the MA paper requirement, although completed original research papers may also be acceptable. An MA paper must contain an element of original research; a literature review would not be acceptable, for instance. Many of the department's second year field courses have term paper requirements that will suffice for the MA paper.

MA papers must be approved by a primary reader (typically the professor of the course for which a term paper was prepared) and must earn a grade of B or better to satisfy the MA requirement. MA papers must have a second reader as well, who is typically the Director of Graduate Studies.

Students who wish to apply for an MA degree must fill out and submit two forms to Vickie Fletcher: the department's MA paper form, signed by the primary reader, and the Graduate School's Certification of Master's Degree Without Thesis form. The MA paper form is available here. The Graduate School form is available from the Graduate School website.