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Economics | Frequently Asked Questions

What is the application deadline for the Economics Department?
The Economics Department at American University has what is called 'rolling admissions'. Rolling admissions works like this: We accept applications throughout the year. But to be accepted into a specific semester, you'd need to turn in your completed application 6 weeks before the prior semester ends. For example, if you want to enroll for Fall 2011, we'd need your completed application 6 weeks before the start of that semester. (*note: this is the deadline for a fully completed application with all materials turned in). There is no specific time period where it is "better" to turn in an application; we review them as they come in. Furthermore, we examine all applications as a whole. If one requirement is poor, then making sure you fulfill other application requirements above and beyond is always a good thing. The current academic calendar can be found here: 2009–2010 ACADEMIC CALENDAR
Application forms and details about applying can be found here: Undergraduate Admissions & College of Arts & Sciences Graduate Admissions



Where can I find more information about Financial Aid, Merit Awards, Scholarships as well as other funding options?
American University offers two types of financial awards to help you meet the cost of study: Merit-Based Graduate Awards and Need-based aid (U.S. Federal grants and loans).
1. Merit Awards consist of Fellowships, Graduate Assistantships, and Study Grants.
2. Need-based awards including grants and loans are U.S. federal resources which are awarded by the American University Financial Aid Office to U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident students. Both part-time and full-time students are eligible for need-based assistance.

We also suggest that students seek out additional, independent sources of financing to help cover the cost of study.
CLICK HERE for more in depth information about these financial awards and other options.



I want more information about an Undergraduate Degree in Economics!
The Economics Department at American University offers the BA, BS, Combined BA-MA, Honors and Minor programs.
All the information you need to know about these degree's and even a virtual advisor tool can be found under the 'Degrees & Programs section of the Economics Department homepage



I want more information about the Masters in Economics progam!
The Department of Economics offers several distinctive master's programs also called 'tracks'. These are General Economics, Development Economics, Financial Economic Policy, and Business Economics.
YES! Most courses for Masters students are offered in the evening so that the degree can be completed in either full-time or part-time status.
Degree Requirements: Depending on the track chosen, students must complete 30-36 hours of approved graduate course work. These hours will include 6 credit hours of core courses in economic theory, 6 credit hours to fulfill the research requirement, and 18-24 credit hours of elective or other required courses. All courses must be taken for a letter grade (the pass/fail option is not permitted). No more than 3 credit hours of ECON-691 Internship may be taken. All courses must be approved by the advisor and fit into a coherent educational program developed by the stuent in consultation with the advisor.
There is an excellent chart explaining the tracks and courses on this website- Master of Arts in Economics Degree Requirements
At this website, information including a virtual advisor, financial aid, and admission information can also be found.



I want more information about the PhD in Economics progam!
The Department of Economics offers a PhD degree with programs of study in either Political Economy or traditional Economic Theory. The PhD program emphasizes international and economic policy perspectives. The program offers diverse theoretical approaches including feminist, neo-classical, post-Keynesian and provides solid training in empirical methods which prepares graduates for teaching in colleges and universities, research positions in government departments or consulting firms, and policymaking.
YES! Most courses for PhD students are offered in the evening so that the degree can be completed in either full-time or part-time status.
Degree Requirements: A set of core theory courses, a set of “tools of research” courses, and four field courses in two fields of specialization, as well as two research seminars.
Core Theory courses: Students customize their core theory courses in two ways, first by choosing between two tracks: Mainstream and Heterodox Economics, and second by selecting a concentration in either micro or macroeconomics.
Tools of Research courses: All students have the same required “tools of research” courses, which are usually taken during the first two years. Mathematical Economic Analysis, Econometric Methods and Advanced Econometric Methods, Economic Thought, U.S., and Economic History or Economic History of Europe and the World. *Students must receive a passing grade of B- or better in each “tool of research” course.
Fields of Specialization: The Economics department offers the following fields: Comparative Economic Systems, Development, Gender, Industrial Organization, International Economics, Labor Economics, Monetary Economics and Public Finance. *Students will choose two (out of four choices) fields of specialization. In the first field, the student must both complete the course work with a passing grade of B- or better and pass the comprehensive exam in the field. In the second field, the student must complete the course work with a passing grade of B- or better, but need not take the comprehensive exam.
Seminars: All students must complete 2 research seminars; one of these must be either Empirical Microeconomics or Empirical Macroeconomics.
Comprehensive Exams: Doctoral students are required to pass three written comprehensive examinations. These are: a preliminary theory exam; an advanced theory exam; and, one field exam. The fourth comprehensive exam is an oral defense of the student’s dissertation proposal. The members of the student’s dissertation committee will serve as the student’s examiners.
............and finally............
the DISSERTATION: All students must complete a dissertation under the supervision of a faculty supervisor.

Even more information, including PhD requirements, can be found by following these link:
Doctor of Philosophy in Economics


I want more information about the Graduate Certificate in Economics!
A graduate certificate program allows you to pursue your specific career needs with a schedule that complements your work day. Most classes are offered in the evening and on weekends. Certificate credits can usually be transferred into graduate degree programs. If you are not interested in earning graduate credit, but want to obtain a competency-based credential, you should consider a noncredit certificate as a practical alternative. The Department of Economics at American University offers two different certificate programs for those individuals seeking to supplement their education with a graduate level certificate: a Certificate in Applied Microeconomics and a Certificate in International Economic Relations. Certificate programs are open to anyone with a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution.
*The following links will provide you with more, in depth, information:
International Economic Relations Graduate Certificate
Applied Microeconomics Graduate Certificate
Gender Analysis in Economics Graduate Certificate



I want more information about Non-Degree Enrollment!
A student who does not wish to or is not ready to pursue a degree program but desires to take credit courses may be qualified to enroll as a nondegree student. Nondegree students may register for any university course for which they have the necessary academic background and qualifications. Many students begin their studies in nondegree status and apply the credit they have earned toward a degree program in one of the schools or colleges of the university.
Full, in depth information about this option can be found here: Non-Degree Enrollment



What, where, when are the Comprehensive Exams? How do I sign up and who has to take them?
Comprehensive exams are an exam given that has been circumscribed by the syllabi of the required courses and recommended courses. Generally the emphasis of the comprehensive examination is on the last full sequence of the courses that are required for the comprehensive examination. A comprehensive examination requires a deeper and more synthesized understanding of the material than is expected in the courses required for that comprehensive examination. The Comprehensive Exam Website can be found by clicking on this link.
Where? Exams are always taken on the American University campus and testing rooms are scheduled based on the number of test-takers. To register, come to Room 104 in Kreeger Hall and speak to someone there.
When? Comprehensive Exams are given twice a year in January and June, usually within the first 2 weeks of each month. The examination date for your comprehensive will be set after the registration deadline. It is your responsibility to learn about the administration of the comprehensive examinations, including the dates by which you must register.
How do I sign up? Students must register with the department staff by the announced deadline, which is generally eight to ten weeks before the comprehensive examinations are given. The date of the registration deadline will be posted well in advance. To avoid missing the deadline, you are advised to apply for your comprehensive examination when you register for the semester before you plan to take your comp. To register, come to Room 104 in Kreeger Hall and speak to someone there.
What is the fee? There is a non-refundable examination fee of $25.00 for each exam.
Who has to take comprehensive exams? In short, everyone in a graduate program!
>Masters students are required to pass 1 comprehensive examination in their respective track.
*Information about the Master of Arts in Economics Comprehensive Examination can be found by clicking on this sentence.
>>Doctoral students are required to pass 3 written comprehensive examinations. These are: a preliminary theory exam; an advanced theory exam; and one field exam. The fourth comprehensive exam is an oral defense of the student’s dissertation proposal. The members of the student’s dissertation committee will serve as the student’s examiners.
*Information about the Doctor of Philosophy in Economics Comprehensive Examination can be found by click on this sentence.



What is the Summer Program in Applied Econometrics?
The primary purpose of the summer program in applied econometrics is to provide students, researchers and faculty with state of the art econometric methods for analyzing data in the Social Sciences. Examples include Bayesian Econometrics, Information and Entropy Econometrics, Applied IO, Generalized Method of Moments, Nonparametric and Forecasting, and Time Series.

Each day of the week-long course consists of morning lectures that develop the basic concepts and philosophy as well as their applications to real economic problems and data. Each afternoon, these methods will be applied and practiced in the computer lab. These daily tutorials and work in the computer lab provide students with “hands on” experience in using these methods with real data.

Registration, Program Information, History and Future courses can all be found by clicking on this sentence.



What about the Washington Semester in Economic Policy?
This one-semester undergraduate program draws on the unique environment of Washington, D.C. to introduce students to governmental policy making as it relates to the international and domestic economy. The program includes seminars, internships, and research. Students earn undergraduate credit that may be applied toward the requirements for the BA degree in the Department of Economics. See the web site for the Washington Semester for more information. American University website for Washington Semester.



Can I participate in Study Abroad?
The university offers a wide variety of programs of study in other countries such as Belgium, Argentina, the Czech Republic, Chile, France, and Italy. Many of these programs offer course credit that can be used for major and related course requirements. See the AU Abroad web site for more details.



Could you please send me some more information or provide links to more information?
Unfortunately, we do not send out packets other than very general information that is already listed on our website. All of this information, forms and explained details can be found through our website homepage.

Here are some important links to know about:
Application forms and details about applying: How to apply
Financial aid information, support forms and details: Tuition and Financing
Faculty List (click on names for detailed descriptions and research interests): Faculty list
The Economics Department home page: Economics department homepage
College of Arts & Sciences Graduate Admissions home page: CAS homepage
Student Resources (course descriptions, syllabi, virtual advising, forms, etc.)

For more information/links on Student Resources, please visit the Economics department homepage.