Master's Degree Programs in Economics & Data Science
Students interested in studying economic theory and big data techniques can choose from a couple of different master's degree options. Here we examine the common courses and requirements for these degree programs in greater detail.
How To Earn a Master's in Economics and Data Science
Although the United States is not home to institutions that usually offer master's degree programs specifically in economics and data science, students can pursue closely related programs, such as a Master of Science (MS) in Economics and Computation or an MS in Applied Economics and Data Intelligence. In general, these degree programs help further students' knowledge in economic theory and how to handle big data, and may require between 30 and 36 credits. Students in these master's degree programs may be required to complete a final culminating experience, such as a paper, project, portfolio, and/or exam, as well as core economics courses, computer and data-related courses, and electives, some of which we explore here in more detail.
Students generally take one or more courses that explore microeconomic concepts and theories, like producer and consumer theories. These courses help equip students with quantitative and graphic techniques used in the field to analyze market interactions. Students in these courses may discuss specific topics in equilibrium, price, economic efficiency, supply and demand, and economic welfare.
Students typically begin with an introductory course in econometrics that focuses on statistical modeling in the field. Some of these courses may include extensive experience with computer software used in the field to help build mathematical models for analysis. These courses examine how to use these statistical methods to study the inference and estimation of econometric models. Other specific topics may include regression analysis, specification, and model building.
Usually, students move on to an advanced course in econometrics after completing the first course in the subject and build on the skills needed to test economic theory. Students may study advanced multivariate regression analysis and other econometric skills used to estimate in the field. Specific topics discussed in these courses may include measurement error issues, instrumental variables, panel data models, nonlinear estimation, discrete choice, and more.
Depending on the program, students may take a more focused course that explores basic software concepts and programming skills or a broader course that provides an overview of the operating systems used in the field of computation. In general, these courses are designed to equip students with the necessary technology skills and knowledge for the field. Courses in software concepts may examine programming constructs, algorithms, and data types, while courses in operating systems look at distributed systems and concepts in process and memory management.
Although these courses may go by different names, students usually take a course that helps teach them how to handle big data through database systems and/or data management techniques. Courses that focus on database systems train students in specific skills needed to make use out of vast quantities of data, such as skills in query processing, hashing, and indexing. Other courses may focus on data management and discuss techniques for designing these database systems in a way to make it easy for organizations to access corporate data resources.
Admittance Requirements for Master's Programs in Economics and Data Science
Applicants to a master's degree program in the field of economics and data science need to have a bachelor's degree, and although this degree does not have to be in any particular field, it is most beneficial to students to have a degree in economics or a computer science-related subject. Depending on the program, students are usually required to have prior coursework in areas like calculus, statistics, and/or microeconomic theory. These degree programs typically require students to take and submit test scores from the GRE (usually just the general exam, not the subject test) or GMAT, and some programs may require students to meet a specific score, such as a GMAT score of 550 or higher, for admission. Some applications for these master's programs may require applicants to submit their transcripts, a statement of purpose or supplemental questionnaire, a resume, and/or a writing sample. International students are also required to submit English proficiency test scores.
Students can choose from a couple of different master's degree program options that explore topics in economics and data science. These degree programs typically include a culminating experience of some sort and may require between 30 and 36 credits of economic and data science-related coursework.