To apply to the program, see MA Economics Admissions
Additional information on this page:
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 analysts, 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:
For admission to the graduate program in economics, a student must meet, at minimum, the general University requirements. International students must also meet an English Language proficiency requirement as stated in the University Requirements for International students. To qualify for classified status, a student must satisfy the following criteria:
- Earn a 3.0 grade point average in an undergraduate major in economics (or equivalent);
- Complete courses in intermediate micro and macro theory (ECON 301 and 302 or equivalents) with grades of B or better;
- Complete a semester of calculus (MATH 226 or equivalent) with a grade of B or better;
- Complete a semester-length course in Statistics (Econ 311 or equivalent) and in Econometrics (ECON 312 or equivalent) with grades of B or better.
Students who have not taken and/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 grade point average of 3.0 or better, may be admitted conditionally. Students admitted conditionally cannot apply courses taken to satisfy the program prerequisites toward their graduate program.
The department of economics typically offers fall admission only with an application window of October 1 to May 1; however, for students needing to complete additional preparatory courses, spring admission can be considered.
To apply to the Economics MA program, please follow the steps below.
Access the online application through the Cal State Apply site to begin your application and create a profile. A $55.00US nonrefundable application fee is required of all applicants.
After you’ve completed My Profile, you will have access to My Application. Here you will find four quadrants. Program Materials is the quadrant where you will find information about uploading all the following documents.
- Personal Statement. 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 MA in 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 economics MA program.
- GRE or GMAT Test Score Report. The Economics Department requires MA applicants to take either the GRE or GMAT. We ask that you upload unofficial GRE/GMAT scores, but official score reports must be sent directly by the testing center to the university. For the GRE, please use the University code number 4684 for San Francisco State University. For the GMAT, please use our program code F87-HP-34. Note that while we pay particular attention to the quantitative section on these tests, we do not have a strict minimum required score; all applications are evaluated in their entirety.
- TOEFL (or IELTS/PTE) Test Score Report. All graduate applicants, regardless of citizenship, whose native language is not English, must demonstrate English language proficiency. You may upload your unofficial TOEFL or IELTS 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 will be waived for applicants who have earned a U.S. Bachelor’s or Master’s degree.
- Unofficial Transcripts. Applicants are required to upload legible unofficial copies of complete transcripts from each college or university attended. Photographs or screenshots will not be 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.
- Letters of Recommendation. The Department of Economics requires MA 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 economics MA 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.
Please refer to the instructions on the Cal State Apply website. The Program Materials quadrant within My Application is the quadrant where you will find information about requesting letters of recommendation.
Once you have submitted your application, you may check your application status online. General information can be found on SF State’s Domestic student admissions and International student admissions page.
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.
Updated Tuition and Fees for Spring 2018* (Note: Students in the MA economics program are not subject to any additional graduate business program fees)
Non-residents and international students
$2,840 plus $396 per unit
$4,346 plus $396 per unit
* Tuition and fees may be subject to change
For more information about payments and fees, please see the Bursar’s website. International students must register for a minimum of eight units every fall and spring semester.
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.
Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated.
Core Requirements (18 units)
- ECON 715, Mathematical Economics
- ECON 731, Econometric Theory
- ECON 701, Seminar: Microeconomic Theory
- ECON 702, Seminar: Macroeconomic Theory
- ECON 825, Applied Time Series Econometrics
- ECON 830, Advanced Econometric Methods and Applications
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.
Download common FAQ (pdf) graduate students commonly have about the program.
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