Program Category: 
M.A. Programs
Bernard Salanie
Director of Graduate Studies: 
Brendan O'Flaherty

Degree Programs: Full-Time: Free-Standing M.A.
Director of M.A. Program: G. Steven Olley

The free-standing M.A. program in Economics is intended for students who wish to improve their knowledge of economic theory and its applications, but who plan to pursue only the M.A. degree. The free-standing M.A. program may also be of interest to students seeking further training in economics before deciding whether to pursue a Ph.D. in economics. Students interested in earning a Ph.D. are advised to apply to the Ph.D. program directly.

The M.A. program has been designed to provide a technical and rigorous approach to the study of economic theory. At the same time, the program offers students the flexibility to take field electives in order to tailor their programs of study to their academic and professional goals. We welcome applications from all students who would like to pursue a free-standing M.A. degree in Economics at Columbia University.  Admission to the M.A. program is limited to highly-qualified applicants and study must be undertaken on a full-time basis.

The M.A. program in Economics requires successful completion of seven core classes and three elective classes. Students satisfy the course requirements for the M.A. degree in three semesters (four required classes in the fall, three required classes and one elective in the spring, and two electives in the fall of a second year). In addition, each student will be required to write a research paper in connection with one of her/his three elective classes. The research paper will have to demonstrate mastery of the field, along with the ability to think originally and to convey results clearly in writing.

Special Admissions Requirements: 

An undergraduate degree in economics is not required for admission to the M.A. program, but a strong background in undergraduate economics is highly recommended (principles of economics, intermediate microeconomics, and intermediate macroeconomics).  Substantial training in college-level calculus and statistics is also recommended (multivariate calculus, linear algebra, and statistics).  Applicants will be evaluated on the quality and breadth of their undergraduate preparation for the study of economics at the graduate level.

In addition to the requirements listed below, all students must submit one transcript showing courses and grades per school attended, a Statement of Academic Purpose and three letters of recommendation from academic sources.

All international students whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate degree is from an institution in a country whose official language is not English must submit scores of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS.

For more information, refer to the Admissions Information and Frequently Asked Questions pages at

Deadline for Fall Admission: 
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Resume Requirement: 
Writing Sample: 
GRE General: 
Degree Programs: 
Full Time

Letters of Recommendation: Yes (3)