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MA in Economic Policy

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MA in Economic Policy

The Master of Arts in Economic Policy (MAEP) is a one-year program that provides a thorough grounding in modern economics, blending both theoretical and empirical methods.


The primary purpose of the Master of Arts in Economic Policy program is to prepare students for employment as economic analysts in a variety of public and private-sector organizations.  

About the Program

Targeted to students keen on becoming economic analysts, the MAEP combines the study of public policy with rigorous economic analysis. The program offers specially designed required courses in microeconomics and macroeconomic theory and electives in fields such as monetary economics and industrial organization.


Our classes are small with no more than 25 students accepted each year. For those who qualify, there is a co-op option affiliated with this graduate program: the Work Integrated Learning (WIL) stream.

Program of Study  

Candidates for the Master of Arts in Economic Policy (MAEP) must complete eight courses.
The following five courses are mandatory:
  • One course in microeconomics theory for public policy (ECON 727).
  • One course in macroeconomic theory for public policy (ECON 728).
  • One course in econometrics (ECON 761 or 6G03 to be determined based on your current training).
  • A sequence of two courses in economic policy analysis (ECON 773 and ECON 774) – offered in Winter and ends in early August.


In addition to these compulsory courses, students take three electives. In the Fall term students will choose two electives from ECON 703, ECON 710, ECON 733, ECON 751, ECON 788 or one from outside the department if they do not want any of these (see the Courses tab below for a list). Those interested in Labour should choose ECON 781 in the Winter term. In the Winter term there is room for only one elective. In the summer, many students look for work placement in a co-op position (ECON 796). Please note the department does not offer elective courses in the summer term. Many of these elective courses provide students with an opportunity to undertake a substantial economic project of their own, most commonly but not exclusively, an original empirical economic analysis. Such work is supported by research facilities affiliated with the department, such as the such as the Secure Empirical Analysis Lab (SEAL), the Statistics Canada Research Data Centre (RDC), and the McMaster Decision Science Laboratory (McDSL).  Students in the MA in Economic Policy program who have successfully completed ECON 761 or ECON 6G03 may apply for the WIL stream associated with this degree program. 


Beyond courses offered by the department of economics, a student is allowed to take up to two one-term graduate courses offered by other departments, with the approval of the graduate chair (economics) and of the course instructor. Students in recent years, for example, have taken finance courses offered by the DeGroote School of Business, health-related courses offered by the Faculty of Health Sciences, and statistics courses offered by the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Students in the MA in Economic Policy program who have successfully completed ECON 761 may apply for the Co-op option associated with this degree program. 

In a typical year there are 15-20 students enrolled in our MAEP program, leading to small class sizes and substantial interaction between students and faculty. 

The application portal opens on November 15th and closes on January 14th


Learn more about the graduate studies application process and how to apply.   


Successful applicants will normally have an Honours Bachelor degree in Economics or its equivalent. The university requires entering Master’s students to have maintained a B+ average in courses (relevant to the Master’s program they are entering) during the final two years of their undergraduate programs. 

  • Please note: If you have a three-year undergraduate degree, it will not be equivalent to an Honours BA. You are advised to take a year of fourth year courses or a one-year MA and then consider applying again. If you do to choose to apply with a three-year there is no guarantee of admission. 


In addition to the regular requirements of the Graduate School, applicants must have, at minimum: 

  • Two courses in microeconomics theory beyond introductory economics
  • Two courses in macroeconomic theory beyond introductory economics
  • A university calculus course
  • One upper-level (third-year or above) university statistics or econometrics course, with econometrics preferred


However, a minor in Economics may also be acceptable, as the program is open to students who do not have an economics major but who have sufficient training in economics, mathematics and statistics (e.g., students with a minor in economics). 


In order for your online application to be considered complete, please ensure the following items have been uploaded prior to submission: 

  • Letters of reference 
  • Scanned copies of official transcripts – official transcripts are required only when offer has been made and accepted.*
  • Policy statement 
  • Statement of interest 
  • CV (curriculum vitae) 
  • Fee payment 
  • English proficiency requirements (if applicable). Originals sent directly to the Department of Economics.*


A student whose native language is not English, and who has not completed an English-language degree in a predominantly English-speaking country, must submit a TOEFL or IELTS (Academic) score. The minimum acceptable TOEFL score for the Dept of Economics is 580 (237 on the computerized exam; 92 iBT); the minimum acceptable IELTS score is 7.5. Please note, the minimum requirement for the Dept of Economics is higher than the School of Graduate Studies minimum of 6.5. 


*If your transcript states the medium of instruction was English or you submit a letter with your application from the University stating your medium of instruction was English then that will waive your ELP requirement and a test result will not be required.


Please note if you submit a score lower than 7.5, your application will not be reviewed. It is imperative that you meet the testing requirements noted above. 


Two Letters of Reference 


A complete application includes two confidential letters of recommendation from instructors most familiar with your academic work. McMaster University uses the Electronic Referencing System. You must enter the email addresses of your referees as part of the online application form. The system will automatically send an e-reference request on your behalf to the referees. 


As reference links are sent after your application is submitted, it is highly recommended that you apply at least one week before the January 15th deadline, as this will allow for references and other documents be received in time. 


Academic Transcripts 


Applicants must provide one official transcript of academic work completed to date once offer has been accepted sent directly from the issuing institution.  


Policy Statement 


Applicants must submit a policy statement that is a maximum of two pages single-spaced (one inch margins, 12pt font) and that includes the following three components: 

  • A concise statement of the policy issue 
  • A description of how economic analysis might contribute to addressing the policy issue 
  • A statement of how you anticipate that the skills and knowledge gained through the Masters program will enable you to conduct an economic analysis of the policy issue 


The statement should include your full name so that we can match it to the rest of your application. 


Statement of Interest 


All applicants must provide a one-page statement (12pt font, single-space, one inch margins) explaining why you would like to pursue the MA in Economics at McMaster University. 



Information on Graduate Program fees can be found on the Office of the Registrar website.



Students to whom we offer admission are automatically considered for financial assistance from funds available to the Economics Department – no special forms need be filled out. This funding is not guaranteed. Funding is awarded on academic excellence and the availability of funds (amounts vary from year to year.)   



There are some funds available for bursaries, awarded based on financial need. Students should apply directly to Student Financial Aid.   

Students in any graduate program of the Economics Department who have obtained a GPA of B or higher at the time of application and a grade of B+ or higher in ECON 761 OR ECON 6G03 may apply to be moved from the regular stream of their program to the work integrated learning (WIL) stream associated with their degree program. 

Learn more about the work integrated learning stream.

Apply for an MA in Economic Policy

Economics Courses

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Department of Economics
Kenneth Taylor Hall, 426
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
L8S 4M4

Contact Information

Ye (Cynthia) Zhao

Graduate Administrative Assistant


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