Markets & Policy in Washington, DC

Understanding markets, monetary forces, human behavior, and organizational behavior is vital to governments, businesses, and organizations. American University's Master of Arts in Economics is an applied, policy-oriented program that will prepare you for your career as an economist in the public or private sector, working locally, nationally, or abroad.

With five distinct tracks of concentration, you can tailor your degree to fit your interests and advance your career. You will use state-of-the-art statistical software commonly employed in applied economics research. Our faculty combines high-quality teaching, serious scholarship, and real-world experience influencing economic policy. The majority of our faculty members have international experience, and there are rich offerings of courses dealing with global economic issues.

American University is located in Washington, DC, the most important city in the nation for policymaking. Our students engage in internships to get a head start on their careers and gain practical, hands-on experience. The extraordinary array of intellectual and professional opportunities offered by the nation's capital make American University the ideal place for you to study economics.

Tailor Your Degree to the Career You Want

The MA in Economics is a 30-36-credit program designed to ensure that our graduates make an impact by developing their ability to use economic theory to explain outcomes and make informed predictions; analyze data to rigorously answer questions, such as how specific policies will affect markets; and convey economic concepts and findings to a wide audience. A 15-credit hour core provides a solid foundation in economic theory and econometrics. Coursework will prepare you to interpret economic models, test hypotheses, and analyze human and organizational behavior to make a positive impact on society.

Students can choose from five distinct tracks within the program: general economics, development economics, gender analysis in economics, financial economic policy, and applied economics (online only). Most graduate level courses are offered in the evening, and the master's degree can be completed in either full-time or part-time status.

See all admissions and degree requirements.

Make a Difference in Your Career and the World

Consistently ranked as one of the best cities for job seekers, Washington, DC, offers access to an extraordinary array of professional opportunities for trained economists. Our faculty’s relationships with nearby institutions and the department’s strategic partnerships open doors in the nation’s capital, and 61 percent of students in the program complete an internship as part of their degree. These internships often lead to employment.

Our students and graduates find successful careers and rewarding internships with some of the world's most important institutions, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Deloitte, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund, J.P. Morgan, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

Knowledgeable Faculty Dedicated to Your Success

Classes are taught by a group of esteemed economists and scholars. Our faculty members have relationships with think tanks, research institutions, and international organizations around the globe. Their research accomplishments and experience influencing policy bring real-world applications into the classroom, combining theoretical knowledge and practical experience.

Recent placements of American University Master's in Economics graduates include the World Bank, the BLS, the Federal Reserve, the Interamerican Development Bank, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and Booz Allen Hamilton. In addition, many of our graduates have gone on to pursue PhDs in Economics.

We Know Success

% of Graduates are now Working, Grad School, or Both

Alum Drives Change in Haiti

I create vital innovative tools to boost growth and foster development.

After graduation, Marc Alain returned to Haiti, where he works as an operations analyst for the Inter-American Development Bank. He and his colleagues created Groupe ECHO, the first youth-led venture capital fund in Haiti. He also co-founded HFund, a closed-ended micro-venture capital firm. A Fulbright scholar, he teaches economics at College les Oliviers.

A Career in Economics: It's Much More than You Think

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Much more than finance, banking, business and government, a degree in economics is useful to all individuals and can lead to many interesting career choices. These four diverse individuals offer their insights on how a background in economics can be a tool for solving very human problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

 Yes! Prior to enrolling in any MA courses, however, students must show that they have met the prerequisites for the program including: Intermediate Microeconomics (ECON-300) and Intermediate Macroeconomics (ECON-301) (or Introduction to Economic Theory (ECON-603); Basic Statistics (ECON-202); and Applied Calculus (ECON-211). We are happy to waive these prerequisites for students who have completed comparable courses from another institution. Prerequisite credits are not counted toward your degree.

All MA students must complete 15 credit hours of core courses, including Introduction to Mathematical Economics, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, and Econometrics I and II. Students choose from one of five tracks: General, Development Economics, Gender Analysis in Economics, Financial Economic Policy, and Business Economics. Depending on the track chosen, students complete their degree by taking an additional 15 to 21 credits of electives or required courses.

Full-time students typically complete the program in two years or less, taking nine credit hours per semester. For part-time students, it will take longer to complete the required 30 to 36 credit hours.

Students must complete 30 to 36 hours of approved graduate work, depending on the specific track chosen by the student. Full-time students typically enroll in 9 credit hours per semester, which allows students to complete the program in as little as 1.5 to 2 years. Part-time students choose to take fewer than 9 credit hours per semester. All of our MA courses are offered in the evening.

Still have questions? Send us an email: econ@american.edu