Master of Arts in Applied Economics

The program consists of a Foundation program (waived for students who have completed equivalent course work in previous studies), an Economics Core, areas of concentration and provides for the completion of a research project in the concentration area and opportunities for internships and a master's thesis.

Courses are drawn from the Department of Economics but also include related courses taught in the School of Business and Management and the Departments of Computer Science and Mathematics.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand modern micro and macroeconomic theories and their applications to contemporary economic problems including: decision-making in conditions of risk and uncertainty, and the role of information; open economy macroeconomics and its application to exchange rate movements and financial crises; efficiency wage models, real business cycles; and endogenous growth.
  • Conduct original quantitative empirical analysis of a relevant economic problem specifically, students should be able to express an economic theory in terms of an observable model; formulate a strategy for collecting the data necessary to estimate a well-specified empirical model; determine the appropriate estimation method for the empirical model; utilize statistical software to conduct such estimation; and meaningfully interpret the results.
  • Carry out independent economic research including development of an original research question, compilation of a professional literature review, specification of a theoretical and testable empirical model; econometric analysis; and effective communication of the study's principal findings and policy implications.


These courses can be waived for students who have taken equivalent courses in previous studies.

Foundation Area I: Economics

Students must be familiar with the fundamentals of economic theory at the intermediate level.

  • ECON 311 Intermediate Microeconomics
  • ECON 312 Intermediate Macroeconomics

Foundation Area II: Mathematics

Students must be prepared to apply calculus and linear algebra to equilibrium, dynamic, and optimization models in economics.

  • MATH - 109 Calculus and Analytic Geometry I
  • MATH - 110 Calculus and Analytic Geometry II

Foundation Area III: Statistics

Students must have a basic knowledge of Statistics, including hypothesis testing, sampling, and probability distributions.

  • ECON 120 Economic Methods


33 units

* This does not including foundation courses, with a minimum of 24 of these 33 units must come from graduate Economics courses.


  • ECON 601 Microeconomics: Theory and Applications
  • ECON 602 Macroeconomics: Theory and Applications
  • ECON 615 Mathematics for Economists
  • ECON 620 Graduate Econometrics
  • ECON 690 Graduate Seminar


All students must pass the Master's Comprehensive exams in Microeconomics and Macroeconomics. The comprehensive exams are offered in the first weeks of both the Fall and Spring semesters.


Students must complete a research project in which they demonstrate mastery of essential elements of economic analysis. This research project must be completed as part of the Graduate Seminar (ECON 690), before taking the Graduate Seminar.

Students must present their completed research project in the Graduate Seminar (ECONG 690) before the Economics faculty and turn in a research paper.


Concentration options provide a framework by which graduate students may organize their program to achieve individual goals.

  • General Economics
  • Financial Economics
  • International Economics
  • Telecommunications Economics


General Economics

Students have the option to design (in conjunction with the graduate adviser) their own elective course work.


Students must choose a minimum of twelve (12) graduate units from graduate Economics offerings in addition to core courses, other units may be chosen from related areas such as mathematics or business administration. Additional opportunities also include directed research, a master's thesis, study abroad, internships, or a combination of the above.

All students must also complete a research project in which they demonstrate mastery of economic analysis.

Financial Economics

Students study domestic and international financial markets, as well as the principles for financial decisions by bankers, investment managers, and corporate financial managers.


  • ECON 650 Money, Banking, and Financial Institutions
  • ECON 651 Monetary Economics

three additional graduate Economics courses - recommend but not required:

  • ECON 616 Special Topics in Mathematics for Economists
  • ECON 655 Options and Futures
  • ECON 660 Industrial Organization
  • ECON 671 International Finance

A maximum of two of these courses may be met by M.B.A. courses when approved by the Economics graduate adviser.

Students must also complete a research project in the field of financial economics (ECON 690).

International Economics


  • ECON 670 International Trade
  • ECON 671 International Finance

three additional graduate Economics courses - recommend but not required:

  • ECON 651 Monetary Economics
  • ECON 672 Economic Development
  • ECON 673 Development Microeconomics
  • ECON 674 Development Macroeconomics
  • ECON 676 Natural Resource Economics and Development Policy
  • ECON 677 International Political Economy

Students must also complete a research project in the field of international economics (ECON 690).

Telecommunications Economics

The program is designed to prepare graduates for careers in telecommunications planning, analysis, and policy. Internships, guest speakers and site visits are included in the program.


Students must take 24 units of graduate Economics courses with a minimum of 5 courses from the following set:

  • ECON 670 International Trade
  • ECON 674 Development Macroeconomics
  • MBA 616 Systems in Organizations
  • MBA 651 Telecommunications Technology and Management
  • MBA 652 Telecommunications System Planning
  • MBA 653 International Telecommunications
  • MBA 654 Telecommunications Policy
  • MBA 659 Special Topics in Telecommunications

Students must also complete an interdisciplinary research project in the area of telecommunications applications, economics, or policy:

  • ECON 698 Directed Readings and Research
  • MBA 698 Directed Study



Students decide their remaining elective course work or an internship, and are also encouraged to seek an internship. Students choosing the internship option must complete ECONG 696.

On a limited basis students may substitute an internship for one elective course upon approval by the graduate program adviser.

Study Abroad

As part of the program, students may spend a semester or summer at a university abroad and earn six (6) units of credit toward their degree at USF. Students may choose this option as a substitute for the electives in their respective concentration areas. Overseas study must be approved by the program adviser and the coordinator of the area of concentration.


Students who wish to write a Master's thesis (ECON 699) must first fulfill the research requirements (ECON 690) before being allowed to begin their thesis.

Students who have completed ECONG 601 and 602 with a grade point average of 3.5 or higher, or who have undertaken outstanding research work (in ECONG 697 and 690), are eligible to write a Master's Thesis within their area of concentration. The petition for thesis completion must be addressed to the Economics Department along with the research paper and the endorsement of the research adviser. The completion of a Master's Thesis will follow the traditional procedure, which includes an oral examination, signature of the final product by three faculty members including the thesis adviser, and final approval by the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. A copy of the thesis will be made available for general consultation in Gleeson Library.

Not more than six (6) units of the basic program minimum of 33 units may be counted toward research associated with a thesis or research project. Students may register for additional research units over and above the basic program requirements.

Contact Info

MA in Applied Economics

James Anderson, Program Manager

Cowell Hall, Room 409, 2130 Fulton Street, San Francisco, CA 94117-1081 (415) 422-2711 (415) 422-6983