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Graduate

Program Requirements

Master of Science Degree

All students are required to complete the three core sequence classes: Statistics and Econometrics; Microeconomic Theory I and II; and Macroeconomic Theory I and II. Students are also required to demonstrate competency in the application of mathematics to economic problems. See the Rules of Satisfactory Performance for the different ways that math competency can be fulfilled. The department offers an optional (but highly recommended) mathematics review course (Math Camp), which takes place at the end of August.

The standard course load for a full-time student is four courses per semester. A grade of B- or above is considered passing. The one-year residency requirement means that the student is obligated to pay full tuition for two semesters unless a portion of tuition is waived through a tuition scholarship.

Students who wish to pursue doctoral studies after Tufts are strongly urged to take more advanced mathematics courses. Details on these and other academic matters will be obtained during the advising process. Please note that those students awarded Teaching Assistantships (TA) are required to attend the TA training program that is held before the beginning of classes in the fall semester.

(1) The Course-Based M.S. degree in Economics

The Course-Based track in the Master of Science program is designed to provide an understanding of the theoretical and empirical foundations of modern Economics: statistics and econometrics, microeconomic theory, macroeconomic theory, and mathematics. In order to achieve these objectives, there are six required core courses. This six-course core consists of three required two-semester sequences in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and statistics/econometrics.

The final two courses needed to complete the course-based track are elective courses. The electives may be selected from a variety of approved courses within the department, or from approved courses offered outside the department at Tufts or at nearby institutions. Electives could include classes offered in the Department of Economics as well as courses offered in such fields as Mathematics, Computer Science, Psychology, or Engineering. They could also include appropriate Fletcher School electives, potential University Seminars and the consortium: Boston College, Boston University, and Brandeis University. Students may petition for inclusion of other courses not currently on the list. In order to receive the Master of Science Course-Based degree, a student must complete a one-year residency requirement and must pass eight semester courses.

Table I describes how students can fulfill the requirements for the Course-Based track in the M.S. program in one year.

Table I
Fall Semester: Economics 201: Statistics
Economics 203: Microeconomic Theory I
Economics 205: Macroeconomic Theory I
One Approved Elective
Spring Semester: Economics 202: Econometrics
Economics 204: Microeconomic Theory II
Economics 206: Macroeconomic Theory II
One Approved Elective

NOTE: Click on the course numbers above to view recent syllabi for that course. We offer syllabi in order to give you detailed information about the level and content of the course. They are updated every year.

(2) The Research-Based M.S. degree in Economics (M.S.-Research-Based)

The Research-Based track includes the course requirements (8 credits) of the Course-Based track as well as 4 extra credits which include two master thesis credits, an Economic Research seminar and an additional Applied Econometrics elective course. Students in the M.S.-Research-Based program must complete twelve credits.

The Economic Research seminars, EC211 and EC212, are ½ credit courses taken each semester. They require that students attend seminars and lectures at the department on a semi-weekly basis. Students are expected to read the papers, present a summary of the paper to the instructor and actively participate in the seminar.

The Applied Econometrics graduate course will focus on an empirical analysis of the material learned in the six core courses. It will also provide additional econometric tools necessary for students to be able to carry out a substantive research project. Together, the Applied Econometrics course and the thesis will serve as a capstone for the M.S. Research-Based degree. In order to receive the Master of Science Research-Based degree, a student must complete a two-year residency requirement and must pass twelve semester courses.

The thesis must be a major research project that is conducted under the supervision of a member of the department. The completed thesis must be presented and successfully defended in an oral examination administered by a formal thesis committee. Thesis credit is awarded when a final draft is approved by the thesis committee. It is important to note that a Master's thesis must contain original work and cannot be submitted as a paper in other courses.

Table II indicates how students would typically complete the M.S.-Research-Based in degree Economics.

Table II
Year I
Fall Semester: Economics 201: Statistics
Economics 203: Microeconomic Theory I
Economics 205: Macroeconomic Theory I
One Approved Elective
Spring Semester: Economics 202: Econometrics
Economics 204: Microeconomic Theory II
Economics 206: Macroeconomic Theory II
One Approved Elective
Year II
Fall Semester: Economics 207: Applied Econometrics course
Economics 211: Research Methods Seminar (½ credit)
Economics 295: Master Thesis (1 credit)
Spring Semester: Economics 212: Theory Research Seminar (½ credit)
Economics 296: Master Thesis (1 credit)

NOTE: Click on the course numbers above to view recent syllabi for that course. We offer these syllabi in order to give you detailed information about the level and content of the course. They are updated every year.

Upper Level Electives
Prior to each semester, a list of approved elective courses is distributed to all students. The list includes upper-level undergraduate courses in the economics and mathematics departments and graduate courses at the Fletcher School. In addition, students can petition to take other upper-level undergraduate economics courses not included in the list of elective courses. The Elective Petition Form states the additional work that the Master's student must complete in order for these courses to count as M.S. electives. The petition must be signed by the student, the instructor, and the Program Director(s). Upon the department's approval, students may cross-register for one course per semester at Boston University, Boston College, or Brandeis University. Download the Cross-registration form, or you obtained it from the Student Services Desk on the seventh floor of Dowling Hall.

Transfer of Credit
A maximum of two graduate courses taken either at Tufts, as a non-degree student, or at another institution can be transferred for credit into the Master's program, subject to the approval of the Economics Department and the Graduate School. Students must submit the Petition for Transfer of Credit Form in order for these courses to be approved. In order for courses to be eligible for a transfer of credit, students must have received a grade of B- or better in the course and it must not have been used for credit for an undergraduate degree or another graduate degree.

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Rules for Satisfactory Performance

To exhibit satisfactory performance in the first year of the M.S. Program in Economics, a full-time student must:

  1. Pass (receive a final grade of B- or better) at least 3 of the 6 core courses (EC 201 – EC 206),
    and show Math Competency by the end of the second (spring) semester.

    OR
  2. Pass (receive a final grade of B- or better) at least 4 of the 6 core courses (EC 201 – EC 206) by the end of the second (spring) semester.

Students who receive a final grade of C+ or worse in any of the 3 core courses in the first semester will receive a warning that they are at risk of not satisfying the criteria for satisfactory performance. These students are expected to meet with their advisor to review their academic record prior to the beginning of the second (Spring) semester.

Students who pass only 1 of the 3 core courses in the first semester will be strongly encouraged to take remedial courses (e.g. an undergraduate calculus course, intermediate microeconomics or macroeconomics) during the second (spring) semester.

To exhibit satisfactory performance in the second year of the M.S. program, a full-time student must complete the requirements for the M.S. degree in economics by the end of the second year (including Tufts Summer School) OR receive an extension from the graduate director to complete the M.S. thesis the following fall semester.

Failure to show satisfactory performance in the first or second year of the M.S. program in economics will result in withdrawal from the program.

Math competency can be shown by:

  1. Passing the REQUIRED math competency exam that is given at the start of the program,
    OR
  2. Passing (B- or higher) all 3 core courses in the first (fall) semester,
    OR
  3. Passing (B- or higher) all 3 core courses in the second (spring) semester.

Students who do not meet any of these four requirements by the end of the first year will have failed to demonstrate math competency. This can ultimately result in unsatisfactory performance in the M.S. program (see above).

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Graduation Requirements

In addition to having successfully completed the requirements listed above and having demonstrated competency in mathematics with respect to economic problems, students must complete the following items by their respective due dates in order to be eligible to graduate. Please refer to the Graduate Student Handbook for a complete list of deadlines.
  1. Submit the Recommendation for Award of Master's Degree form (Advisement Report). This form must be completed online, signed by your advisor and the chair of the department, and submitted to the Graduate School. A copy should also be provided to the Economics office. Note that only courses in which candidates for graduation received a grade of B- or better or satisfactory (S) may be counted towards the credits required for graduation.
  2. Complete graduate exit survey.
  3. Submit copies of the thesis, if applicable, to the thesis committee. Upon approval, the committee will send approval forms to the Graduate School. Students submit their final approved thesis online.
  4. Submit the online commencement information form, available on SIS.

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Preparing for a Doctoral Degree

For students who are considering a Ph.D. in economics, we recommend taking the Real Analysis sequence in the mathematics department (Math 135/136) and pursing the Research-Based track that includes writing a master's thesis. The former is an important way of showing the appropriate mathematics background that is required by many top departments and the latter is a way of showing significant research experience and the beginnings of a research agenda that will be continued at the Ph.D. level.

It is strongly recommended that these students discuss their plans with the director(s) of the master's program.

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GSAS Policies, Procedures, & Deadlines

For a full description of the Graduate School's Policies and Procedures with regard to registration, tuition and fees, academic policies, deadlines, degree requirements, Master's thesis requirements, and more, please refer to the Graduate Student Handbook on the Graduate Admissions website.

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Checklists/Forms

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