Master of Science in Quantitative Economics

Starting in Fall 2024, newly admitted graduate students from 16 Western states and territories (Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, Guam, and Northern Mariana Islands) may be eligible to pay the California resident tuition rate. For more information, visit the Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP) page.

A master’s in economics is often ranked as one of the highest paying among all master’s degrees. In addition to equipping students with advanced quantitative skills to help them succeed in high-demand careers as data or economic analysts, researchers, and more, the M.S. in Quantitative Economics (MSQE) provides a strong foundation for Ph.D. programs in Economics and other growing fields, such as healthcare and public policy.

The MSQE is also STEM certified, allowing international students with an F-1 visa to extend their typical 12-month post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) in the U.S. by an additional 24 months. In total, MSQE graduates can participate in OPT for up to 36 months.

Hear what student Jiaxi Wang has to say about our M.S. in Quantitative Economics program:

Program Overview

University admission requirements

For admission to the M.S. in Quantitative Economics program, students must meet the University’s minimum admission requirements, including a 3.0 GPA and an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution (or equivalent).

International students must also meet an English Language proficiency requirement as stated in the University Requirements for International students.

Prerequisite coursework

The MSQE program requires the following prerequisite coursework (or equivalent) completed with grades of B or better:

  • MATH 226 Calculus 1
  • ECON 301 Intermediate Microeconomic Theory
  • ECON 302 Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory
  • ECON 311 Statistical Methods and Interpretation
  • ECON 312 Introduction to Econometrics

Students who have completed theses courses with grades of B or better qualify for the “classified” status upon admission and can proceed with graduate coursework without restrictions.

Students who have not taken or do not have grades of B or better in all of the above five courses, or who did not major in economics but earned an overall GPA of 3.0 or better, may be admitted conditionally (“conditionally classified” status). Students admitted conditionally must complete prerequisite coursework prior to taking MSQE core courses. Note that courses taken to satisfy the prerequisites cannot be applied toward the MSQE degree.

Written English proficiency

All applicants to the program are also expected to meet the Level 1 Written English Proficiency Requirement. The requirement can be satisfied by one of the following:

  • an undergraduate degree from an institution located in a country in which the native language is English
  • a score of at least 4.0/6.0 on the GRE or GMAT Analytic Writing Assessment
  • a minimum score of 24/30 on the Writing section of the Internet-based test (iBT) TOEFL
  • a score of at least 6.5/9.0 on the IELTS writing test, or a concordant score on the Pearson Test of English

Students who do not meet the requirement may be admitted conditionally, with the requirement that they complete an appropriate English writing course in their first semester.

For additional information, see the MSQE page in the Academic Bulletin.

How to Apply

The Department of Economics typically offers fall admission to the MSQE program. Spring admission can be considered by exception. Spring admission can be helpful for students who need to complete prerequisite courses.

The standard application window for fall admission is October 1st to May 1st. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, and admission decisions are typically made within 8-12 weeks of application submission.

Step One

Access the online application through the Cal State Apply site to begin your application and create a profile. Note that a $70.00 non-refundable application fee is due at the time of submitting a completed application. Application fee waivers may be available for some domestic applicants. International/F-1 applicants are not eligible for an application fee waiver. Refer to the Graduate Studies’ FAQs page for additional information.

Step Two

After you’ve completed My Profile, you will have access to My Application. In the Documents section you will find information about uploading the following documents.

  • Personal Statement (required): The personal statement must be between 500-800 words and should address the reasons for your interest in economics (including any specific areas/fields of interest), your future scholarly and/or career objectives within the field, and your reasons for pursuing an M.S. in Quantitative Economics at San Francisco State University. You may discuss any prior academic, personal, employment, etc. achievements and experiences that reflect upon your interests and potential to succeed in the program. 
  • Unofficial Transcripts (required): Applicants are required to upload copies of transcripts from every college or university attended, including study abroad coursework and community college coursework even if transfer credit appears on the degree transcript. Photographs are not accepted. The Division of Graduate Studies may request official transcripts at any point during the application review process. Applicants who are admitted to the program will then be required to submit official transcripts to the Division of Graduate Studies in order to secure their offer of admission.
  • Test Score Report (GRE/GMAT): Not required. 
  • English Language Proficiency Test: All graduate applicants whose native language is not English and whose preparatory education was principally in a language other than English must demonstrate English language proficiency. You may upload your unofficial TOEFL or IELTS/PTE score report, but you must request to have your official score report sent to San Francisco State University’s Division of Graduate Studies. The English language testing requirement is waived for applicants who have earned a U.S. Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. 
Step Three
  • Letters of Recommendation (required): The Department of Economics requires M.S. program applicants to submit two letters of recommendation, preferably from former professors who know your university-level work and can comment on your prospects for success in an M.S. in quantitative economics program. Personal and employer references, however, may be submitted if you cannot obtain letters from former instructors. Recommenders should be able to comment on your work habits, mathematical and quantitative ability, writing ability, and any other characteristics that would reflect on your ability to succeed in the program.

Instructions for requesting letters of recommendation can be found in the Recommendations section of My Application on the Cal State Apply website. Note that the Department only accepts recommendation letters provided directly by the evaluators.

Check Your Application Status

Once you have submitted your application, you may check your application status online. General information can be found on SF State’s Graduate student admissions and International student admissions pages.

Financial Affidavit and Medical Insurance for International Students

Applicants who need a student visa must present proof of financial resources and health insurance once they are admitted into our program. Please follow the instructions on the SF State I-20 page to submit proof of financial resources and Medical insurance.

Program Features and Benefits

For detailed program information, see the University Bulletin.

  • Classes are offered at our vibrant main campus, where students from across the globe immerse themselves in an enriching campus life and find exciting opportunities for personal growth and professional development through hundreds of student clubs, fellowship programs, internships, industry networking events, community service adventures, interdisciplinary activities, and more.
  • Courses are taught by distinguished faculty – scholars and practitioners – dedicated to excellence in teaching and innovative research.
  • Students can choose between a convenient part-time or devoted full-time class schedule.
  • Students develop relevant 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 strong quantitative training prepare graduates for in-demand careers. They compete successfully for positions as analysts, researchers or administrators in the corporate sector, government agencies, and non-profit organizations.
  • Our graduates have been hired in advanced positions with public utilities, economic consulting firms, research divisions of large companies, and with local and state government agencies.
  • Through its rigorous curriculum, the program also offers a solid foundation for students interested in continuing their graduate studies in Ph.D. programs elsewhere.

Is the Master of Science in Quantitative Economics program right for you?

  • Although students with or without an undergraduate degree in economics are encouraged to apply to the program, those with a strong undergraduate foundation in economics, mathematics and/or statistics will be much better prepared for the program’s curriculum.
  • A well-prepared student can typically complete the program in 12 to 18 months.
  • Students who need to complete prerequisite coursework in mathematics, statistics or economics usually complete the program in 18 months to two years.

Tuition and Fees

MSQE is a 30-unit program. Students may complete the program in as few as 2-3 full-time semesters or take as many as 5 or more part-time semesters. MSQE program costs depend on the student’s chosen course load (part-time or full-time) and residency status.

Semester Tuition and Fees for Fall 2024*:

Residency Status

Part-Time (6 units or less)

Full-Time (6.1+ units)

California residents



Non-residents and international students

$3,141 plus $420 per unit**

$4,737 plus $420 per unit**

*Tuition and fees may be subject to change. For more information about payments and fees, see the Bursar’s Office.
**International students must register for a minimum of eight units every fall and spring semester.

Note: students in the M.S. in Quantitative Economics program are not subject to Graduate Facility and Professional Program Fees.

The table below shows overall approximate MSQE degree tuition costs for typical pathways (based on Fall 2024 tuition).

Approximate Degree Costs:

Residency Status

Part-Time (5 semesters)

Full-Time (3 semesters)

California residents



International students



Resident Tuition Rates for WRGP States

Starting in Fall 2024, newly admitted graduate students from 16 Western states and territories (Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, Guam, and Northern Mariana Islands) may be eligible to pay the California resident tuition rate. For more information, visit the Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP) page.

Financial Aid

General information about financial aid is available on the website of the Office of Student Financial Aid. Eligible California residents are encouraged to apply for a State University Grant.

The Economics Department offers a limited number of grader/tutor/research assistant positions, subject to department need and funding. These positions are part-time (roughly $1500 per semester for 5/hours per week) and do not carry a tuition waiver. Such positions are not normally offered to first semester incoming students.

Additionally, the Economics department awards several modest scholarships to our graduate students. These scholarships to not carry a tuition waiver.

M.S. in Quantitative Economics Overview

To complete the MSQE program students must take 30 units:

  • 18 units of core courses
  • 6-12 units of elective courses, depending on the choice of the Culminating Experience

All degree courses must be taken for a letter grade. CR/NC grades cannot be used toward MSQE degree completion.

Additional information can be found in:

Core Courses (18 units)

MSQE students must take six 3-unit core courses:

  • ECON 715 Mathematical Economics
  • ECON 731 Econometric Methods and Applications
  • ECON 701 Seminar: Microeconomic Theory
  • ECON 702 Seminar: Macroeconomic Theory
  • ECON 825 Applied Time Series Econometrics
  • ECON 830 Advanced Econometric Methods and Applications

All core courses must be taken for a letter grade and completed with grades of B or better.

Elective Courses and Culminating Experience (12 units)

Students must take 6-12 units of elective courses depending on the choice of the Culminating Experience. Elective courses must be taken for a letter grade and completed with grades of B- or better.

Students may choose from a wide range of elective courses, including ECON paired graduate-undergraduate courses, up to 6 units of upper-division ECON undergraduate courses, and up to 6 units of certain courses outside of ECON. All elective courses must be approved by an economics faculty advisor or the Graduate Program Coordinator. For details, including the list of previously approved outside electives, refer to Economics Graduate FAQs.

Students must also complete the Culminating Experience (CE). The current CE choices are:

  • ECON 896EXM Culminating Experience Exam. The CE exam is taken in spring and carries 0 units. Under this option, students must take 12 units of elective courses.
  • ECON 895 Research Project. This option is for students interested in independent economics research under faculty supervision. It is a 3-unit course. Pre-approval by a supervising faculty member and the graduate coordinator is required. Under this option, students must take 9 units of elective courses.
  • ECON 898 Master’s Thesis and Oral Defense (Note: the thesis route is being discontinued by the Department). ECON 898 carries 6 units. Under this option, students must take 6 units of elective courses.

Other Requirements

In addition to completing core and elective courses with a minimum of B and B- respectively, MSQE students must earn an overall minimum of 3.0 grade point average in all courses combined.

Students must also meet all other Advancement to Candidacy (ATC) Requirements.

Note that Level 2 Written English Proficiency requirement is evaluated as part of Culminating Experience assessment.

Attend an Information Session

Learn more and ask questions about the program, admission requirements, application process, curriculum, and more.

Dates and Zoom Link


Contact Us

Please contact the Economics Department Graduate Coordinator for questions about the program:

  • Associate Professor Kirill Chernomaz
  • Email:
  • Phone: (415) 405-2699
  • Address: Department of Economics, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Ave., San Francisco, CA  94132


Student Resources

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