MA in Economics

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MA in Economics

The Master of Arts in Economics is a one-year program that offers a comprehensive understanding of advanced economics, combining theoretical and empirical methods.


Graduates of the program typically pursue one of two career paths. One track is immediate placement in a position as an economic analyst. Graduates are regularly hired by a variety of public and private organizations. The second track of study is advanced economics, usually at the PhD level.

About the Program

McMaster’s Master of Arts in Economics prepares students for the advanced study of economics. Students are required to study courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics but can also choose electives in a variety of fields including experimental economics, health economics, labour economics, monetary economics, population economics, public economics, international trade and international finance.


Students interested in building their work portfolios also have the option of pursuing the Work Integrated Learning (WIL) stream of the MA in Economics. This stream faciliates practical experiential learning opportunities that enable students to build their skills and contacts beyond the classroom.

The following courses are compulsory for MA in Economics students:
  • One course in microeconomics theory (ECON 721).
  • One course in macroeconomic theory (ECON 723).
  • Two courses in econometrics (ECON 761 and ECON 762).
  • A short course in mathematical methods MATH CAMP (ECON 765) – offered in the last two weeks of August.


In addition to these compulsory courses, students take four** electives during Fall and Winter. Two of these electives may be taken outside the department. 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 Secure Empirical Analysis Lab (SEAL), the Statistics Canada Research Data Centre (RDC), and the McMaster Decision Science Laboratory (McDSL). 


*All students registering in ECON 721 (Micro Theory 1) or 723 (Macro Theory 1) are required to take the mathematics preparation course. The department offers an intensive ten-day refresher course in mathematics in August, prior to the start of regular graduate courses for the fall term. Students are tested regarding their mathematics preparation in a two part examination. Part I covers topics related to 721-Micro Theory I and part II covers topics related to 723-Macro Theory I and matrix algebra. Each part has its own final examination. Students registered in 721 (723) must write the exam related to part I (part II). A student’s score on the part I (part II) exam counts as 10% of the student’s final grade in 721-Micro Theory I (723-Macro Theory I ). 


**MA students will have only space for one elective in the Fall term and they will have plenty of choice: ECON 703, 710, 733, 751, 782 and 788. The program expects students to take their elective courses during Fall and Winter and no electives are offered in the summer. In the summer regular stream MA students will take 701 to work on their final paper while WIL stream students will do a co-op placement course, ECON 796 


***Incoming students are strongly encouraged to register for ECON 4T03, in the summer prior, in order to be well prepared for first term micro so the preparation is strong and recent. 


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


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


The minimum academic requirements for admission into the MA program is Honours BA in Economics. 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. 

  • Advanced microeconomics and macroeconomics courses (that is, at least one course in each beyond the full-year intermediate courses). The equivalent courses at McMaster are ECON 4T03 and ECON 4TT3. 
  • One upper-level (3rd year or above) university statistics or econometrics course, with econometrics preferred. The equivalent course at McMaster is ECON (3EE3) 
  • Please note: If you only have a 3 year undergraduate degree, it will not be equivalent to an Honours BA. You are advised to take a year of 4th year courses or a one year MA and then consider applying again. If you do to choose to apply with just the 3 year there is no guarantee of admission. 


Successful applicants typically possess a major in Economics. 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). Please consider applying to the MAEP in this situation. 


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

  • Two Letters of Reference from your professors 
  • Scanned Copies of Official Transcripts – **Official transcripts are required only when offer has been made and accepted 
  • Statement of Interest 
  • C.V. (Curriculum Vitae) 
  • Application Fee 
  • **English proficiency requirements (if applicable)  Originals must be 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 on-line 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.  


Statement of Interest 


All applicants must provide a one-page statement (12pt font, single-space, 1-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 on the basis of financial need. Students should apply directly to Student Financial Aid 


Students in any graduate program of the Department of Economics 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 (WIL) stream.

Apply for an MA in Economics

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


Upcoming Events

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AWSOME: 4th Annual Workshop of Southern Ontario Macro Economics


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May 08, 2023
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Weekly Seminar Series: Stefan Sperlich


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July 12, 2023
12:30 pm
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We're Hiring: Exam Invigilators


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August 02, 2023
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Canadian Econometrics Study Group (CESG) 38th Annual Meeting


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October 27, 2023
6:00 pm