Should I Get A Master’s Degree In Economics?

Before answering this question, it’s important to understand that any decision to obtain postgraduate education is a move done to allow you to focus on the career you have in mind. The same holds true for aspiring economists. Obtaining a master’s degree in economics will empower you with the skills you need to work not only as an economist but in a lot of other related occupations in business, government, banking or the academe as well.

A master’s degree in economics can either be considered as a terminal degree or as a stepping stone to advanced studies such as that of a PhD in economics. When obtained as a terminal degree, part of the requirements is a master’s thesis. On the other hand, some PhD programs also award students with a master’s degree in economics after they have successfully completed all the requirements of their first year.

If you really want to be a practicing economist then you should work towards getting your master’s degree in the field. A master’s degree program will typically include courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics, statistics or econometrics and math for economists. Through your coursework, you will learn analytical skills that will enable you to find solutions to complex problems. You will also learn a great deal about conducting research—a very important part of the job of economists.

With a master’s degree in economics, you will open the doors for employment with various agencies of the federal government, such as with the Federal Reserve, the Federal Trade Commission or the General Accounting Office, among others. You may also pursue a career in the business sector by working as an economist for banks, brokerage firms or credit agencies. Organizations with operations around the world, such as the World Bank, also hires economists so if you are looking for a career as an international economist then a graduate degree would be very beneficial in this regard. If you would rather focus on doing research then organizations that do studies about issues affecting the economy, such as the National Bureau of Economic Research, also has a need for economists. In case you want to focus on teaching economics in the field of higher education, a master’s degree would be the minimum requirement for entry.

Another reason to pursue a master’s degree in economics is if you have an undergraduate degree in another field but realized later on that you really wanted to work as an economist. Yes, it is possible to enroll in postgraduate studies in economics if you have a bachelor’s degree in another area but note that many schools want to see that you have a strong background in math before accepting you in their master’s program. This means you should have taken subjects like calculus, linear algebra, statistics and differential equations, among others, in your undergraduate degree. More importantly, you should have good grades in them too.

A number of schools now offer a master’s degree in economics through distance learning options. Online learning gives you the flexibility to gain that much needed experience in a related or entry-level economics job while you are earning your master’s degree which will pave the way for you to finally work as a full-fledged economist.

Career Spotlight: Economist



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