The program gives outstanding, qualified undergraduate majors an opportunity to earn both a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College and a Master of Arts degree from The Graduate School. Because the program is very demanding, it is open only by invitation, and admission is highly selective. Interested students should talk with the Director of Undergraduate Studies early in their careers at Northwestern. The program provides excellent preparation for further graduate study in economics or for professional positions in economic research.
Potential candidates must carefully plan their first three years of undergraduate study in order to qualify for consideration. The following conditions must normally be met by the end of the candidate's junior year.
- An exceptionally high grade point average (at least 3.6) in economics and other courses.
- Completion of Economics 381-1,2 Econometrics.
- Appropriate preparation in mathematics, normally Mathematics 320-1,2 Real Analysis and its prerequisites (Mathematics 291-3 or 300 and 234 and 240), and Mathematics 250 Elementary Differential Equations. The MENU and MMSS programs are particularly well-suited for this preparation.
In the senior year, the candidate must satisfy The Graduate School's requirements of three quarters of full-time graduate study, which consist of at least three, but no more than four, courses each quarter bearing graduate credit. Graduate-credit courses are those listed by The Graduate School; they include most courses at the 300 level and above. The following departmental requirements must be completed for the master's degree:
- Economics 410-1 Microeconomics.
- Economics 411-1 Macroeconomics.
- Economics 410-2 and 410-3 Microeconomics or Economics 411-2 and 411-3 Macroeconomics.
- One course in economic history or economic development from the following list: 315, 323-1, 323-2, 324, 325, 326, 420-1, 420-2, 425-1, 425-2, 425-3.
- One additional graduate-level (300 or 400-level) economics course to be selected in consultation with, and approved by, the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
- A thesis, either an independent one for the MA or one for honors in Economics or MMSS that is administered through those programs under an Economics advisor. The thesis must be an original piece of economic research of journal-article length. The thesis must be submitted no later than four weeks before the end of the student’s final quarter and found acceptable by two graduate faculty readers. A final oral examination on the thesis is conducted by the faculty readers. Students writing an independent thesis must enroll in Economics 499, Independent Study, for the quarter in which the thesis is submitted. Students writing a suitable thesis for honors in their undergraduate degree must register for an additional graduate-level (300 or 400-level) economics course that is selected in consultation with, and approved by, the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
- The Economics Department offers an intensive, four-week mathematics course, (Economics 401 Mathematical Methods of Economic Theory) immediately prior to the fall quarter, which provides the proper mathematical background for new graduate students before they are immersed in their first-year economics courses. The course is of significant benefit to all students, addressing topics even mathematics majors may not have seen. The topics include linear algebra, multivariate calculus, convexity, constrained optimization, and some dynamics. This non-credit course is required for BA/MA candidates.
- An average grade of B (3.0) is required in courses taken for the MA degree, and candidates must have no incomplete grades on their records.
Undergraduates interested in this program should consult the Director of Undergraduate Studies early in their studies, certainly no later than the fall quarter of the junior year.
After obtaining the approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies, students submit a formal application to enter the program to The Graduate School.Back to top