MA Economics & MA International Economics

Economic chart superimposed on urban landscape.

With AU's Economics MA, you will work to resolve society’s most important challenges. Our scholars create gender-aware macroeconomic toolkits, recommend tax policies to reduce income inequality, illuminate caregivers' socioeconomic contributions, improve health outcomes — and so much more.

Our engagement-oriented MA offers four specializations to fit your interests and goals: Applied Economics (on campus or online), Development Economics, Financial Economics, and Gender Analysis. We also offer an MA in International Economics.
Request Info    How to Apply

  • Mode of Study
    On campus or online
  • Requirements
    30-36 credits
  • Time to Complete
    18 mos. or your own pace
  • Course Scheduling
    Afternoons and evenings
  • Tuition and Funding
    $2000 per credit. All applicants automatically considered for merit scholarships; visit Tuition and Funding.
  • Admissions
    Start in fall, spring, or summer. No GRE or economics degree required. Designated as a STEM degree program; visit Admission and Requirements.

Research Breadth

Our students and faculty employ a wide variety of theoretical and methodological methods to address the diverse set of problems facing the world today.

National Partnerships

Partnerships with groups like the Institute for Women's Policy Research and National Association for Business Economics or current policy work help center students in vital research and launch careers.

MA Alum Reshaping Haiti's Economy

Social entrepreneur Marc Alain Boucicault leverages technology to reshape international socioeconomic dynamics.

Tailor Your Degree 

We prepare students for careers in a range of areas, from business to academia to public policy. Our students develop the skills to analyze data, explain outcomes and predictions, question theoretical frameworks, and convey concepts to a wide audience.

The MA culminates in students' self-designed capstone projects investigating issues within their selected field of Applied Economics, Development Economics, Financial Economics, Gender Analysis, or International Economics:

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


Four diverse individuals offer their insights on how a background in economics can be a tool for solving very human problems.

  • Applied Economics On Campus: Offers a rigorous combination of theoretical courses in economics and field courses such as labor, international finance, trade, and economic history.
  • Applied Economics Online: All courses can be completed online at times you choose. Offers a rigorous combination of economic theory, econometrics, and selected field courses.
  • Development Economics: Focuses on the micro- and macroeconomic concerns that affect developing countries; includes a required, two-course sequence on development economics.
  • Financial Economics: Choose from classes on financial economics from the Department of Economics and the Kogod School of Business
  • Gender Analysis: Applies gender analysis to a variety of economic problems, including those in labor economics, public finance, development, and international trade and investment. See also our Program on Gender Analysis in Economics.

See complete admission and course requirments for the on-campus Economics MA (Applied, Development, Financial, or Gender), MA Online, or International Economics MA.

Alumna Spotlight: Maeve Fryer

Maeve Fryer.Humanitarian aid programs aim to save lives, alleviate suffering, and maintain human dignity for victims of natural disasters, wars, famines, or other catastrophic events. Evidence-based and efficient interventions are critical. Monitoring and evaluation of such programs keep implementors accountable to the populations they serve.
Maeve Fryer, Monitoring and Evaluation Associate, Blumont

Three things drew Meave Fryer to American University’s Applied Economics MA program: DC’s robust job market, small and intimate classes, and faculty research that lined up with her interests — development and humanitarian economics with a focus on gender perspectives.

Meave has taken advantage of all these things during her time at AU. In June 2021, she began interning at a Virginia development and humanitarian aid agency. She’s now working as the agency’s monitoring and evaluation assistant, contributing to its mission of designing human development programs for some of the world's most challenging environments.

The work is a perfect fit for Meave, who wants to pursue development and humanitarian economics after graduation, in the monitoring and evaluation field. “Humanitarian aid programs aim to save lives, alleviate suffering, and maintain human dignity for victims of natural disasters, wars, famines, or other catastrophic events,” she says. “Evidence-based and efficient interventions are critical. Monitoring and evaluation of such programs keep implementors accountable to the populations they serve.”

Meave says her AU experience has helped her develop applied research skills to complement her background in international development. “I appreciate my professors for preparing me for life after graduation by not only teaching me how to use econometric tools, but always contextualizing them with real-world applications. The support of my cohort has also been key in making my experience at AU so fulfilling.”

Career Outlook

Consistently ranked as one of the best cities for job seekers, DC offers access to an extraordinary array of professional opportunities for trained economists. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the DC metropolitan area is home to over one-third of all economists nationwide. Nationwide employment of economists is projected to grow 6 percent from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations.

Our faculty’s relationships with DC institutions opens doors in the nation’s capital: 61 percent of our students complete internships with prospective employers. Our partnership with the National Association for Business Economics (NABE), the preeminent professional association for private-sector economists, further increases job opportunities — nearly 80 percent of jobs are never publicly listed — by giving our students access to NABE’s private listing of job openings.

Our students and graduates find successful careers and rewarding internships with some of the world’s most important institutions, including

  • Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System 
  • Freddie Mac
  • Interamerican Development Bank 
  • International Monetary Fund 
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP 
  • US Bureau of Labor Statistics 
  • US Department of Health & Human Services 
  • The World Bank Group

In addition, many of our graduates go on to pursue PhDs in Economics.

Ready to dive in?
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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 18 credit hours of core courses, including Introduction to Mathematical Economics, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Econometrics I and II, and the culminating Capstone Seminar.  

Students in the

  • on-campus MA in Economics can choose from one of four tracks: Applied Economics, Development Economics, Gender Analysis in Economics, or Financial Economics, and choose an additional 12 credit hours based on their track.  
  • online program must similarly complete an additional 12 credit hours.  
  • MA in International Economics program choose an additional 18 credit hour, including courses in International Political Economy, International Trade, and International Finance.

Full-time students typically complete the 30 credit hour MA in Economics program in 1.5 years, taking nine credit hours per semester.  Full-time students in the MA in International Economics program typically take 2 years to complete the 36 credit hour program.  Part-time students who can take 3 to 6 credits per semester will take longer to complete the required credit hours.  All of our MA courses are offered in the evening.

AU offers an online MA in Economics with a specialization in Applied Economics.

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