Graduate Studies


Admission | Courses | Program | Requirements | Integrated Degree | Profile

Chairperson:  Tej Kaul
Graduate Committee Chairperson: Steven Rock
Office: Stipes Hall 430
Telephone: (309) 298-1153 Fax: (309) 298-1020
Location of Program Offering: Macomb

Graduate Faculty

  • Farideh Dehkordi-Vakil, Ph.D., University of Iowa
  • Tej K. Kaul, Ph.D., Birla Institute of Technology and Science
  • Kasing Man, Ph.D., University of Chicago
  • Alla Melkumian, Ph.D., West Virginia University
  • Steven Rock, Ph.D., Northwestern University

Associate Professors

  • William J. Polley, Ph.D., University of Iowa
  • Thomas R. Sadler, Ph.D., University of Tennessee-Knoxville
  • Shane Sanders, Ph.D., Kansas State University
  • Bhavneet Walia, Ph.D., Kansas State University

Associate Graduate Faculty
Associate Professors

  • Anna Valeva, Ph.D., University of California-Santa Barbara
  • Tara Westerhold, Ph.D., University of South Carolina

Assistant Professors

  • Shankar Ghimire, Ph.D., Western Michigan University
  • Jessica Lin, Ph.D., Binghamton University
  • Keva Steadman, Ph.D., Binghamton University

 Program Description

The Department of Economics and Decision Sciences offers courses leading to the Master of Arts degree in Economics. Elective concentrations are available for students interested in the areas of teaching, business, commercial banking/financial institutions, government, community/economic development, international economics, agricultural economics, quantitative economics, or energy and natural resources. Further information concerning the program and areas of specialization may be obtained from the department's chairperson. The purpose of the M.A. program in economics is to provide students with a firm foundation for achievement of their goals; furthering their education at the doctoral level; teaching at the secondary or junior college level; or working as professional economists in business, government, or other institutions. The Master of Arts degree is not reviewed for accreditation by AACSB International.

Note: Students have the option to earn a Master’s Degree in Economics simultaneously with a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Business Analytics. Interested students should talk with their graduate adviser to explore this option.

Integrated Baccalaureate and Master’s Degree Program

Go to integrated programs for details and program offerings.

 Admission Requirements 

For admission to the Master of Arts in Economics program, students should have undergraduate preparation in economics to include intermediate micro- and macroeconomic theory as well as a semester each of calculus and statistics. Students without the recommended background will be required to complete one or more of the following courses depending on the area(s) in which additional preparation is necessary: ECON 509 (with grade of S), ECON 381 (with grade of C or better), and STAT 171 (with grade of C or better). These courses or their equivalents must be completed before the student may enroll in the core graduate economics courses.

 Degree Requirements

I. Core Courses: 12 s.h.

Macroeconomic Theory

ECON 500 Macroeconomic Theory and Policy (3)
ECON 502 Macroeconomic and Growth Theory (3)

Microeconomic Theory

ECON 503 Applied Price Theory (3)
ECON 504 Price Theory (3)

Applied Economic Techniques

ECON 481G Mathematical Economic Techniques (3)
ECON 506 Econometrics I (3)

II. Select one of the following exit options: 18 s.h.

A. Thesis

Electives (12)
ECON 600 Thesis Research (3)
ECON 601 Thesis (3)

B. Internship Electives (15)

Electives (15)
ECON 599 Internship (3)

C. Non-Thesis/Non-Internship Electives (15)

Electives (15)
*ECON 507 Econometrics II (3)

III. Required Assessment Exam (0)

ECON 603 Comprehensive Examination (0)

IV. Department Research Seminar

ECON 602 Department Research Seminar, 2 semesters (0)

*To satisfy non-thesis research requirement, must be taken after at least one microeconomic and one macroeconomic core course has been completed.


The capstone courses (ECON 507, 599, or 601) are fundamental in providing the knowledge and tools necessary in formulating economic hypotheses and analyzing final results. Students must complete 30 semester hours and may follow either a Thesis or a Non‑Thesis Option. Consultation with the department's graduate advisor concerning course selection is required to insure completion of all requirements. Students wishing to take a readings and/or internship course must receive approval from the economics and decision sciences department prior to registration.

Students may select courses outside of the economics courses which will assist them in achieving their career goals. A maximum of six hours of related courses from other disciplines is allowed with permission of the graduate committee chairperson. The student may petition for an additional three hours of related course work outside of the economics courses. All special permissions or petitions must be approved prior to registration. Transfer and extension credit will be accepted in accordance with current School of Graduate Studies policy.

While all economics graduate students must complete the required core courses (ECON 481G, ECON 500 or 502, 503 or 504, and ECON 506), it is possible to elect courses that will enhance specific career objectives. Examples of elective concentrations are decision sciences, quantitative economics, general business economics, commercial banking/financial institutions, pre–Ph.D., public service, international trade, agricultural economics, or energy and natural resources.

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate

The department offers post-baccalaureate certificates in Business Analytics and Community Development (community development is jointly offered with the Department of Geography). . For program details, go to the post-baccalaureate certificates page.

 Course Descriptions

Economics (ECON)

408G Economics for Decision-Makers. (3) This course develops the macro- and micro-economic concepts most useful for decision-makers. Topics covered include measures of aggregate economic activity, unemployment, inflation, business cycles, monetary policy, fiscal policy, international trade, market demand and supply, and alternate market structures. (Not open to students who have taken ECON 231 or 232, cannot be used to meet any requirements of the BA, BB, or MA economics degrees or to meet the economics requirements in any BB degree. It is designed only for the Pre-MBA minor and graduate students in areas other than economics.) Prerequisites: STAT 171 with a C or better.

410G Economics of Crime & Punishment. (3) Uses economic principles and statistical methods to analyze trends in crime, the economic approach to modeling crime, as well as the economic impacts from criminal behavior, as well as to evaluate various policies in criminal justice using economic principles. Prerequisites: 3 s.h. of ECON credit; DS 303 or LEJA 303, or permission of the instructor.

420G Economic Development. (3) A study of less developed countries; problems such as population growth, urbanization, agricultural transformation, unemployment, education and training, and capital formation are addressed. Solutions to these problems are examined and evaluated based on feasibility and practicality. A multi-disciplinary approach is used. Prerequisite: ECON 232.

425G Money Markets, Capital Markets, and Monetary Theory. (3) An institutional and theoretical study of money and capital markets in conjunction with monetary policy. Prerequisite: ECON 231.

432G Public Finance. (3) Studies the role of government in promoting a system of effective markets. Includes analyses of the causes and implications of market inefficiencies, the economic rationale for government intervention in markets, and the criteria used for public investment decisions. Prerequisite: ECON 330 or 331.

435G Comparative Capitalist Systems. (3) A study of the process of transition from socialism to capitalism to include a study of the various forms of capitalism practiced by the major industrialized capitalist nations. The emphasis of the course is on actual transition processes and case studies. Prerequisite: ECON 232.

440G Labor Theory. (3) Understanding labor market dynamics using theory and empirical methods. Topics of focus include labor supply and demand, labor force composition and trends, human capital, wage differentials, migration, minimum wage, trade unions, and occupational licensure. Prerequisite: ECON 232 or permission of the instructor.

445G Game Theory and Economic Behavior. (3) Analysis and solution of non-cooperative games toward a deeper understanding of economic behavior. Applications include auction design, bargaining, firm market entry games, information economics, and prisoner’s dilemma type games in general. Prerequisites: ECON 232, and MATH 137 or ECON 381, or permission of the instructor.

451G History of Economic Thought. (3) A study of the origins and development of economic thought to mid-twentieth century. Includes the mercantilist, physiocratic, classical, historical, and marginalist schools. Prerequisite: ECON 232.

460G Urban and Regional Economic Analysis. (3) A study of the economics literature on urban and regional economic development theories and techniques. Particular attention is paid to economic policies to stimulate employment and foster income growth. Various measurement techniques for monitoring economic development are examined. Prerequisite: ECON 232.

465G Economics of Energy. (3) A study of primary and secondary sources of energy as they affect the levels of production and consumption in the economy. A general survey of the economic and regulatory problems of coal, petroleum, natural gas and nuclear industries (including those of utilities) and a brief discussion of the problems and prospects of alternative sources of energy in the context of national energy policies and individual decision making. Prerequisite: ECON 231 or 232, or permission of the instructor.

470G International Trade. (3) A study of the theoretical and institutional aspects of international trade; effect of trade and factor movements on economic welfare; problems of international disequilibrium; and the search for economic stability and growth through international cooperation. Prerequisite: ECON 232.

471G International Monetary Economics. (3) A study of exchange rate determination, monetary and fiscal policy in an open economy, balance of payments crises, the choice of exchange rate systems, international debt and global financial imbalances. Prerequisites: ECON 231 or permission of the instructor.

481G Mathematical Economics. (3) Introduction to the mathematics most frequently used by economists-basic set theory; linear algebra; differentiation; comparative statistics; optimization; constrained optimization; linear programming. Prerequisites: ECON 381 (Grade of C or better) or passing department placement exam.

487G Econometrics. (3) Extensions of the single equation regression model, estimation, and testing; multicollinearity, heteroskedasticity, and errors in variables; maximum likelihood estimation and binary response models; simultaneous equation models and estimation. Interpretation and application of econometric models and methods is emphasized. Prerequisites: MATH 137 or ECON 381, ECON 232, DS 303; or permission of instructor.

500 Macroeconomic Theory and Policy. (3) An examination of current macroeconomic theory. The emphasis is on understanding a generalized model of the economy with multiple causal variables. Differences in interpretations of economic data and theoretical approaches are analyzed. Theory is applied to the current economic conditions. Present and proposed policies are discussed to illustrate the use of theory in solving economic problems. Prerequisite: ECON 509 or equivalent.

501 Readings in Economics. (1–3, repeatable to 3) Graded S/U. Prerequisites: Permission of Department Graduate Committee Chairperson.

502 Macroeconomics and Growth Theory. (3) A study of the aggregate theory of income, employment, and price levels using both comparative statics and dynamics, along with a discussion of business cycles and growth theories. Prerequisite: ECON 481G or permission of the graduate advisor and ECON 509 or equivalent.

503 Applied Price Theory. (3) Application of economic theory and methods to managerial decision making. Topics include demand, cost and production analysis and estimation; forecasting; pricing policy; risk and uncertainty problems; and capital budgeting. Prerequisite: ECON 509 or equivalent.

504 Price Theory. (3) An analysis of consumer and firm behavior, market and multimarket equilibrium, and welfare economics. Prerequisite: ECON 481G or permission of the graduate advisor and ECON 509 or equivalent.

506 Econometrics I. (3) Elements of the theory and practice of econometrics: including univariate and multivariate single equation models, statistical problems such as multicollinearity, special techniques and applications, and an introduction to simultaneous equations models.  Students will complete a project involving hypothesis formulation, data collection, analysis using statistical software, and written presentation of results. Prerequisite: ECON 509 or equivalent.

507 Econometrics II. (3) Advanced econometric estimation to include estimating micro and macroeconomic functions through simultaneous equation systems, dummy dependent variable models; and multivariate analysis. Class culminates in an independent research project.  Prerequisites: ECON 481G or permission of the graduate advisor, and ECON 506.

509 Fundamentals of Economic Theory. (3) An accelerated study of the foundations of economic analysis. Focus is on developing the concepts and modeling techniques commonly utilized in the advanced study of macro- and microeconomics. Master of Arts students in economics must receive approval from the graduate advisor before registering. Graded S/U. Prerequisites: ECON 408G or ECON 231 and ECON 232 or equivalent; STAT 171 or equivalent with grade of “C” or better.

515 Economic Development. (3) The theory of economic development stressing the role of entrepreneurship, innovation, capital formation, saving, investment, labor, and foreign assistance. The effect of the changing social and value structures of developing countries on the economic system is also examined.

525 Monetary Theory and Policy. (3) A study of the theoretical and empirical work in money demand, money supply multiplier, output effect of monetary policies, alternative techniques of monetary policy formulation and implementation, multi-asset financial markets, and inflation. Prerequisite: ECON 500 or ECON 502.

528 American Economic History. (3) A study of the development of the American economy from the colonial period to the present. The course explores both the successes and the failures of the United States economy. The emphasis is on how economic, political, and legal frameworks have interacted to create the American experience. Prerequisite: Any combination of six hours from ECON 231, 232, 328, HIST 105, 106, 300; or graduate standing in a business discipline, economics, history, education (history or related specialty); or permission of the instructor.

535 Small Community Development. (3) This course emphasizes the practical knowledge required to deal with non-metropolitan development issues. The emphasis will vary with changes in the development environment. Topics will include economic trends, federal and state resources available to support economic development, and special problems and opportunities in small community development.  Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor.

538 Economics for Managers. (3) The application of relevant theories and methods from microeconomics, macroeconomics, labor, international economics, and regulatory economics to managerial decision making in profit and nonprofit organizations. Topics include market structure, production and cost, foreign exchange and international trade, and public policy toward business. Master’s in economics students must receive approval from the graduate advisor before registering. Prerequisites: ECON 408G, or ECON  231 and ECON 232, or equivalent.

548 International Economic Relations. (3) An analysis of the fundamental economic principles, forces and governmental policies which determine the economic relations between countries under changing world conditions. Master of Arts in Economics students must receive approval from the graduate advisor before registering. Prerequisites: ECON 408G, or ECON 231 and ECON 232, or equivalent.

550 Economic Topics and Curriculum Development. (1–3, repeatable to 3) A course designed to assist classroom teachers in the development of elementary and secondary curriculum incorporating economic concepts. This course will also provide an opportunity for teachers with a basic understanding of economics to adapt the latest computer–based television and print matter curriculum materials to the needs of their classes and students. Check with the advisor to determine applicability of this course in your degree program. Graded S/U.

599 Internship. (1–12, repeatable to 12 hours) Only three hours per semester can be included in the degree plan. With prior approval of the graduate advisor, up to six hours can be included in the degree plan for internships covering the entire academic year. Graded S/U. Prerequisites: Graduate standing and permission of departmental graduate advisor.

600 Thesis Research. (3) The grade in ECON 600 will remain an incomplete until ECON 601, Thesis, is completed. Graded S/U.

601 Thesis. (3) Graded S/U.

602 Department Research Seminar. (0) A survey of contemporary theoretical and applied economic research. Graded S/U. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

603 Comprehensive Examination. (0) All majors are required to satisfactorily complete the knowledge assessment examination prior to graduation.  Graded S/U. Prerequisite: Economics major.

Agricultural Economics (AGEC) cognate courses which may be taken as part of the Economics Master of Arts Program

442G Marketing Grain and Livestock Products. (3) Basis hedging for grains, feeds, livestock, and meat.  Three hours lecture. Prerequisite: AGEC 333.

443G Agricultural Finance. (3) Financing problems and opportunities in agriculture. Sources of finance, financing costs, analysis of investment opportunities, financial management, and estate planning. Three hours lecture. Prerequisite: AGRI 220 or permission of the instructor.

447G Commodity Markets and Futures Trading. (3) Futures trading institutions, technical analysis, multiple hedging, and speculation. Three hours lecture.

449G Advanced Farm Management. (3) Effective combination of resources in agribusiness planning and management. Emphasis placed on use of available agribusiness management software. Two hours lecture; two hours lab. Prerequisite: AGEC 349 or equivalent.

455G Advanced Agricultural Marketing. (3) Options on futures, applied research methods, current events. Prerequisites: AGEC 442 and 447, or permission of the instructor.

457G Market Profile®. (3) Use of the Chicago Board of Trade Market Profile® and Liquidity Data Bank® for hedging and speculation.  Three hours lecture. Prerequisite: AGEC 445.

Quantitative Economics cognate courses which may be taken as part of the Economics Master of Arts Program

Decision Sciences (DS)

435G Applied Data Mining for Business Decision-Making. (3) This course provides an introduction to data mining methods for business applications. Students will learn the basics of data selection, preparation, statistical modeling and analysis aimed at the identification of knowledge fulfilling organizational objectives. Prerequisite: STAT 171 or equivalent or permission of instructor.

490G Statistical Software for Data Management and Decision–Making. (3, repeatable to 6 for different titles) This course provides students with the basic concepts of statistical computing. Students will gain experience with statistical software packages, such as SAS or SPSS, and their applications. Methods of data preparation and validation, analysis, and reporting will be covered. Prerequisite: STAT 171 or equivalent, or PSY 223, or SOC 324, or POLS 284, or permission of department chairperson.

500 Introduction to Business Analytics. (1) Business analytics generally refer to the use of statistical and quantitative analysis for data-driven decision-making. This course introduces students to the foundations of business analytics problems and applications. Lectures will be supplemented with current business world examples. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

503 Business Statistics for Managerial Decision–Making. (3) A survey of statistical methods useful for managerial decision–making. Topics discussed include descriptive statistics, probability and probability distributions, statistical inference, analysis of variance, regression, contingency tables, and nonparametric statistics.

523 Management Science Techniques and Business Analytics. (3) Applications of management science tools and techniques for effective decision–making with emphasis on model building. Topics include PERT/CPM, transportation models, linear, goal, integer and dynamic programming, and queuing theory. Prerequisite: DS 503.

533 Applied Business Forecasting and Planning. (3) A survey of the basic forecasting methods and techniques essential for modern managers. Topics include moving average and decomposition techniques, ARIMA processes, regression techniques, and technological methods such as Delphi and S-curves. Prerequisite: DS 503 or STAT 171 or equivalent.

535 Applied Data Mining for Business. (3) This course provides an introduction to data mining methods and techniques for business applications. Students will learn the basics of data preparation, information retrieval, statistical modeling and analysis aimed at the production of decision rules for specific business goals. Prerequisites: DS 503 or permission of the instructor.

540 Applied Stochastic Models in Business Analytics. (2) This course introduces stochastic models for studying phenomena in management science, operations research, finance, actuarial science, and engineering. Heuristic minded approach aimed at developing “probabilistic thinking” is taken in the treatment of probability concepts, stochastic processes, model simulation, and applications. Prerequisite: DS 303 or equivalent, or permission of the instructor.

580 Business Analytics and Forecasting. (3) This course introduces analytical models and tools used for continuous iterative exploration and investigation of past business performance to gain insight and drive decision. Predictive modeling, forecasting, and design of experiments will be covered. Prerequisites: DS 303 or equivalent, or permission of the instructor.

600 Independent Research. (1–3) Independent research and study of selected topics in decision sciences. Prerequisites: Completion of six graduate hours in decision sciences and permission of the Department Chairperson.

620 Decision Sciences Internship. (1–6, not repeatable) Integrates decision sciences theories with application to actual business practices. Students are exposed to a variety of positions within the business firm during the semester. All internships are supervised by a faculty coordinator and an executive in the business firm. Analytic reports of work accomplished by each student are presented to the coordinator. Graded S/U only. Prerequisites: Completion of six hours of decision sciences courses and written permission of the Department Chairperson.