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Master's Degree Programs in Economics & Philosophy

Students interested in studying economics and philosophy can choose from a couple of different programs in the field that prepare them for a range of careers. Find out what common courses students in these programs take and common admission requirements.

How to Earn a Master's Degree in Economics and Philosophy

Most commonly, students can pursue a Master of Arts (MA) in Philosophy, Politics (or Political Science), and Economics. Some of these may even be offered as a unique 4+1 program where students earn their bachelor's and master's degrees in 5 years. Students in these programs may be required to complete around 33 credits for their master's and/or a final project, such as a thesis, practicum, or final paper. Graduates of these programs can pursue careers in business, law, public policy, and more, and coursework for these programs usually includes topics in economics and finance, philosophy, government and politics, some of which we discuss in more detail below.

Industrial Economics/Organization

Students in these courses learn how to incorporate the structure/conduct/performance analysis techniques used in industrial organization to examine market performance. Students may discuss how public policy affects the equity and efficiency of these markets, as well as the role of information structure. Other topics may include industry reports, information gathering, patents, regulation, mergers, and other economic theories. Some of these courses may utilize case studies and/or require an industry study project to give students hands-on experience with analysis techniques.

International Trade

Courses in international trade may examine the policies, methods, and theories involved in global finance. Students may examine international monetary and economic systems, as well as current issues in international investment and policy. These courses may discuss a range of models, such as new trade models, the Richardson model, and the Heckscher-Ohlin model. Other topics may include payments accounts, international monetary arrangements, imperfect competition, and empirical methods.

Monetary Economics/Policy

Whether the title is monetary economics or monetary policy, these courses discuss topics in both subjects. Students in these courses learn about monetary policy and the roles of different groups, like the government and banks, to reach macroeconomic stability. These courses may discuss how underlying economic structures influence policymakers, as well as uncertain factors in the future. Students may also examine debt management policies, money supply, banking operations, and more.

Political Philosophy

Courses in political philosophy may be set up as a seminar course that explores various topics in the subject or as a lecture-based course that focuses on answering a set of political philosophy questions. These courses may utilize readings as students explore topics in political authority, the functions of government, liberty, moral obligations, and more. Some of these courses may dive into ethical theories, like consequentialism, perfectionism, and other concepts, such as equality and autonomy.

Applied Ethics/Justice

While some political philosophy courses may discuss issues of social justice, some programs may include an entire course dedicated to the subject and/or a course in applied ethics that examines economic justice and other similar topics. They often explore some of the great thinkers throughout history including Aristotle, Plato, Kant, and look at how their philosophies speak to our ideas of social justice today. Students in these courses may explore readings from classical and contemporary thinkers in the field.

Admittance Requirements for Master's Programs in Economics, Political Science, and Philosophy

Every program is different but admission for master's degree programs in economics, political science, and philosophy may be selective, and students should be sure to follow the deadlines specific to their program of interest. For example, students in 4+1 programs may need to apply to the master's degree portion of the degree during their junior year of their bachelor's degree. Students to master's degree programs in the field typically need to have a bachelor's degree, some undergraduate experience in politics, economics, and philosophy, and/or meet a minimum GPA requirement, such as a 3.0 or higher. Students usually need to include their transcripts, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and/or a cover letter. Some programs may require a letter of recommendation to come from a university professor, preferably from one of the departments involved in the master's degree program.

Students can pursue an MA in Philosophy, Political Science, and Economics, with some programs allowing students to complete the program in as little as 1 year. Students in these programs are usually required to complete a final project of some sort and coursework in all three subjects.