MA in Economics

Fall deadlines for both M.A. programs is April 1st

The application will open December 1.

Spring deadlines for both M.A. programs is October 15th

The application will open July 1.

M.A. Programs

The Department of Economics offers two master’s programs that prepare students for the rigorous challenges of an increasing globalized society. Both programs require courses taken in Microeconomics, Macroeconomics and Econometrics. In contrast to the PhD, a master’s degree in Economics offers a more applied approach to understanding the fiscal and economic issues of our time.


The program requires applicants to have a solid foundation in Economics as well as an extensive mathematics background. The department looks for applicants who have taken at least a year of calculus and a semester of statistics. We also strongly encourage applicants to have taken Intermediate Microeconomics and Intermediate Macroeconomics prior to applying to the program.

Master of Arts in Economics

By far our most popular program, the M.A. in Economics is a 32 unit program which consists of 8 courses. Each course is typically 4 units.

Program Requirements

Core Requirements

ECON 500 – Microeconomics Analysis and Policy

ECON 501 – Macroeconomic Analysis and Policy

ECON 513 – Practice of Econometrics

  • A total of 32 units are required for the M.A. 
  • 20 units of elective courses in Economics to be chosen in consultation with graduate advisor. (At least three classes must be ECON grad courses; others can be Policy, Planning, and Development or Finance and Business Economics.)
  • No more than two 400-level electives can be applied to the degree. 
  • No more than 4 units of ECON 590 can be applied to the degree. 

A comprehensive examination is held at the end of the first year in May and tests students only on Micro and Macro. 

Application Instructions

All applicants must apply through the USC online application system located at We do not accept paper applications. The online application requires:

  • Statement of purpose. This is typically two pages in length, double spaced, and about your interest in Economics
  • GRE scores. We accept GRE scores that are no more than 5 years old. We like to see applicants with at least 150 on the verbal section and 151 on the quantitative section. We do not accept the GMAT. Our ETS department code is 1801 and USC (school code) is 4852.
  • Transcripts. USC must receive sealed and official transcripts from your respective university. They must be sent directly to USC Graduate Admissions, not to the Department of Economics. The address can be found when you begin the online application. If you are an international applicant, you must provide transcripts in English and original language.
  • TOEFL/IELTS. All international students are required to submit a valid TOEFL exam (only 2 years old) or IELTS unless you received an undergraduate degree from an English speaking school. International students can be exempt from taking language classes at USC if you have a combined score of 100 on the TOEFL with at least a score of 20 on each section. If you do not have a combined score of 100, or if you have below 20 on any section, you will have to take the ISE exam when you get to USC.
  • Three Letters of Recommendation. (Can be uploaded through the online application system).