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Master of Arts in Economics

Program Description and Requirements

Current UHM undergrads - check out our 5-year BA-MA Program here!

MA students - read the following: Review details on the expectations about milestones and procedures (access limited to current students).

TThe public and private sectors need professionals with solid skills in economics and data analysis. Demand for such professionals is higher than ever before due to the increasing availability of socioeconomic data and advanced new quantitative methods. The Economics MA Program provides current and prospective private- and public-sector professionals from the U.S. and abroad with sophisticated data analytic tools, underpinned by solid training in economic fundamentals. Students in the program can draw on faculty expertise in microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, economic development, international economics, and public policy. They learn how to address issues in public finance, labor, and health, as well as resource and environmental economics. While students receive hands-on training in data analytics and economic modeling through structured coursework, they may also take advantage of the University's excellent offerings in Asian studies, languages, urban planning, international business, and other areas of study. The program length is 18 to 24 months. Part-time students may require a longer time period.

Students must accumulate 30 credit hours in economics, including at least 21 hours of 600- or 700-level courses. Up to 9 credit hours of 400-level courses may apply to the 30 credit hour requirement. Courses numbered 300-level and below cannot be applied to the M.A. degree credit requirements. University-wide regulations require a student to have a B average (3.0 GPA) for all courses completed at UH applied toward the degree, and a B average for all 600-level and 700-level courses.

The M.A. in economics requires

All first-year masters students must consult with the graduate chair prior to or during the first week of classes in their first and second semesters concerning whether they should take the additional core courses required for those on doctoral program or whether they should take other courses more appropriate to a terminal masters degree.

Review Sessions in Mathematics for Economics

Offered in late July or early August, the review sessions are optional for Ph.D. or M.A. students; attendance is highly encouraged! The review sessions provide a partial review of mathematics encountered by students in ECON 606 and 607 during August and September of their first semester. No credit is given for these sessions. There is no fee for UHM Economics students to enroll. Graduate students from other departments may attend on a space-available basis if they pay a fee.

Core Courses

Courses Title Semester
Econ 606 Microeconomic Theory I      Fall
Econ 607 Macroeconomic Theory I Fall
Econ 627 Mathematical Economics Fall
Econ 628 Econometrics I Spring

These courses will be offered only in the semester indicated. Students must complete Introduction to Statistics (Econ 321) or its equivalent, and a one-semester course in differential calculus (Math 241) prior to taking Econ 627 and 628. Two semesters of calculus are highly recommended. Students must also complete Intermediate Macroeconomics (Econ 300) and Intermediate Microeconomics (Econ 301) or their equivalent prior to taking Econ 606 and 607 in the fall semester. Many M.A. students will have completed these requirements while earning a B.A. in economics.

Area of Concentration Requirement

Each student will construct an area of concentration, consisting of at least two 600-level courses, subject to the approval of the graduate chair. A brief area of concentration proposal must be submitted to the advisor prior to taking the courses. These courses must be in economics, and they may not include the M.A. or Ph.D. core courses (Econ 606, 607, 608, 609, 627, 628 or 629). For example, one might pursue an interest in trade and development policy with an area of concentration consisting of Econ 660 and Econ 610 or in resource economics with Econ 637 and Econ 638.

Individual Project (for Master's Plan B)

By deafult, all Economics MA students pursue Plan B. As a capstone experience for the degree, the individual project is particularly important, allowing students to pursue an idea or problem in which they have a particular interest; to develop and apply critical thinking skills; to use a variety of economics tools and models; and to improve communication skills.

Students will select a faculty advisor and register for the individual project under Econ 732. The individual project is evaluated and a letter grade assigned on the basis of a written report and an oral presentation to invited faculty and students. Students who have completed the 7-course Ph.D. core may substitute a passing grade from either the microeconomics or macroeconomics qualifying exams for the individual project, if the student is MA en route to a Ph.D.

Optional Thesis (for Master's Plan A)

Students may choose to write a master’s thesis, a more formal endeavor than the individual project. An M.A. student choosing this option must complete 6 or 9 credit hours of thesis work and is exempted from the individual project. An M.A. thesis requires the formation of a three-member committee, approval by the committee and the Graduate Division, and deposit of the thesis with the Graduate Division. Students interested in this option should consult the Graduate Chair, the research supervisor, and Graduate Division rules pertaining to Masters Degree Plan A, as set out in the UHM catalog and in Graduate Division publications. View an on-line version of the UHM catalog.

Illustrative Schedule

The M.A. program is designed for a student to graduate in three to four semesters by scheduling courses as follows:

A more rapid schedule can be accomplished by registering for 400-level courses during the two summer sessions between the first and second years or completing the capstone project during the summer sessions between the first and second years. Part-time schedules can be worked out to suit individual students.

A student who may wish to apply to the Ph.D. program following completion of their M.A. must take 608 & 609 in their second semester and sit for the Ph.D. qualifying exams in May after their second semester. If admitted to the Ph.D. program, the transition is seamless and the M.A. graduate continues as a doctoral student in the following semester. All 600-level economics courses taken to fulfill M.A. requirements transfer to the Ph.D. program. As a result, a student making satisfactory progress should be able to complete the Ph.D. requirements with an additional 3 years of study. If the M.A. program described above is followed, a student may be able to earn both M.A. and Ph.D. degrees within five years.

Master's Degree on the Doctoral Track

An M.A. student whose ultimate objective is a Ph.D. degree may pursue the M.A. degree by following the Ph.D. course of study. The advantage of such a strategy is that both degrees may be earned within a 4-5-year period, as 600-level courses earned for the M.A. degree effectively transfer to the Ph.D. program.

The M.A. in economics on the Ph.D. track requires:

Please refer to the description of the doctoral program below for further details.

Master's Degree En Route to the Doctoral Degree

Highly qualified applicants with excellent preparation in mathematics, statistics, and economics who hold only an undergraduate degree, i.e., four-year bachelor's degree or equivalent, are invited to apply directly to the Ph.D. program. They may pursue the M.A. degree in economics en route to the doctoral degree in economics. Both degrees may be earned within a four-year period. They follow the same course of study as M.A. students on the Ph.D. track as described above. However, they are classified as Ph.D. students from their first semester.

Upon the recommendation of the graduate chair, a Ph.D. student who wishes to obtain an M.A. degree may do so when all the requirements for the M.A. degree have been completed. The M.A. degree must be awarded at the time of the completion of the M.A. program of study, not after a period of time has intervened nor retroactively. Candidates file a degree application for the M.A. following the usual procedures and deadlines.

An M.A. degree will not be awarded to a student who already has a similar degree from another institution. The University of Hawai'i will not duplicate degrees from UH or other institutions. Ph.D. students who already hold a M.A. degree in economics or an equivalent field may not use the M.A. degree en route option.