MA Economics

The Master of Arts in Economics provides students with a solid foundation in economic theory, quantitative methodology and analysis, and their real world applications.

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To apply to the program, see MA Economics Admissions.

The Program


Although students with or without an undergraduate degree in Economics are encouraged to apply to the program, students with a strong undergraduate foundation in economics, mathematics, and/or statistics will be much better prepared for the program curriculum. A well-prepared student can typically expect to complete the MA Economics program in twelve to eighteen months, while others needing additional mathematics/statistics/economics preparation will require an additional semester or two. The program requires students to develop skills in the mathematical modeling of economic theory and statistical analysis of economic data, as well as in writing and communicating economic ideas. An applied orientation and a strong quantitative training allow graduates to compete successfully for positions as researchers or administrators in the corporate sector, government agencies, and non-profit organizations. The program also offers a solid foundation for students interested in continuing their graduate studies in Ph.D. programs elsewhere. M.A. Economics graduates have recently been placed in advanced positions with public utilities, economic consulting firms, research divisions of large companies, and with local and state government agencies. A sizable number of MA graduates have continued on to pursue economics Ph.D. degrees as well as MBAs and law degrees from reputed universities in the United States and abroad.


For detailed program information, see the University Bulletin.

For questions about our graduate program, please contact:


The department of economics typically offers fall admission only; however, for students needing to complete additional preparatory courses, spring admission can be considered.

To apply for admission, you are required to submit the following to the Division of Graduate Studies and/or the economics department graduate coordinator, Professor Lisa Takeyama as specified below:

  • Official Transcripts from all colleges and universities attended (submit to both Graduate Studies and the economics department graduate coordinator (the latter may be unofficial); official transcripts should be sent directly from the student’s institution(s) of attendance).
  • Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores for the general test (submit to Graduate Studies only; use ETS institution code 4684) OR official GMAT scores.
  • Two or more letters of recommendation, preferably from undergraduate professors the applicant has taken courses with or worked with in some capacity (recommenders should submit their letters directly to the economics department graduate coordinator only; postal mail preferred).  
  • Statement of Purpose (submit either as part of your online application, or mail to the economics department graduate coordinator directly; your statement should address your academic and any relevant professional background, your qualifications and reasons for seeking an MA degree in economics from SFSU and any other information you would like the department admissions committee to know in support of your application)

Please visit the Graduate Studies site for more information regarding graduate applications, policies, and application deadlines. For information about tuition and fees, please see Student Services at the Bursar’s website.

Note to International Applicants: please read the FAQs for International Applicants and visit the Office of International Programs site for information pertaining to international students, including TOEFL/IELTS English Language requirements.

For further questions, please the contact economics department graduate coordinator:

  • Professor Lisa Takeyama
  • Email:
  • Tel: (415) 338-2499
  • Address: Department of Economics, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Ave., San Francisco, CA  94132

Degree Requirements

Besides meeting all general requirements for advancement to candidacy, students must earn a minimum of a B in ECON 715, 731, 701, 702, 825 and 830, and earn an overall minimum of 3.0 grade point average in all courses combined. No course taken toward degree completion may be taken on a CR/NC basis.

Economics (M.A.)

Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated.

Core Requirements (18 units)

Other Requirements (12 units)

Students opting for Written Comprehensive Examination are required to take 12 units of electives. Students opting for Master’s Thesis and Oral Defense are required to take ECON 898 Master's Thesis (6 units) and 6 units of electives.

Visit the SF State Bulletin for detailed program information.

Graduate Student FAQ

Download common FAQ (pdf) graduate students commonly have about the program.

To view the PDF, please download a PDF viewer.