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Economics MA

Admission Requirements

  • Honours degree in economics from a recognized university, or the equivalent, with a cumulative GPA of 3.00.
  • Proficiency in English. Applicants whose primary language is not English must demonstrate that their knowledge of English is sufficient to pursue graduate studies in their chosen field. Please refer to the Graduate Admission page for further information on the Language Proficiency requirements and exemptions.

Some applicants may be required to pass a qualifying program, as a condition for entry into the regular MA program.

The Economics Co-operative Program is offered to those enrolled in an MA Program in Economics. The academic content of the Co-operative Program is identical to that of the regular program, except that students complete one internship which spans one or two terms. Students are supervised personally and must meet requirements specified by the Faculty of Arts and Science, the School of Graduate Studies and the Institute for Co-operative Education.

Degree Requirements

Fully-qualified candidates are required to complete a minimum of 45 credits.

12 credits – Required Courses

ECON 612 - Microeconomics I (3 credits)
ECON 615 - Macroeconomics I (3 credits)
ECON 680 - Econometric Theory I (3 credits)
ECON 696 - Research Methodology in Economics (3 credits)

15 credits – Chosen from

Five courses selected in consultation with the Graduate Program Director.

Each MA student is required to complete one field of specialization by successfully completing two courses from the sequences offered in any of the following areas: Econometrics; Economic Growth and Development; Financial Economics; Industrial Economics; International Economics; Labour Economics; Macroeconomics; Microeconomics; Public Economics.

18 credits – Master's Thesis

ECON 705 - Master’s Thesis (18 credits)

Academic Regulations

  1. Academic Standing. Please refer to the Academic Standing section of the Calendar for a detailed review of the Academic Regulations.
  2. Residence. The minimum residence requirement is one year (3 terms) of full-time study, or the equivalent in part-time study.
  3. Time Limit. Please refer to the Academic Regulation page for further details regarding the Time Limit requirements.
  4. Graduation Requirement. In order to graduate, a student must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.70.


Elective Courses

A selection from the following courses will be offered each year. Information about the particular offerings in a given year is available from the Department. All courses are one-term, 3 credit courses unless otherwise indicated.

Economic Theory

ECON 612 Microeconomics I
Prerequisite: ECON 501 and 525; or equivalent.
This course is devoted to modern consumer and producer theories. Consumer theory is presented first, and at some length, due to its inherent importance, as well as the overlap between the methods and results in this area and in producer theory. Producer theory is dealt with next. In this section of the course, the similarities and differences between these two important building blocks of modern microeconomics are emphasized.

ECON 613 Microeconomics II (4 credits)
Prerequisite: ECON 612.
This course covers a number of topics in microeconomic theory. Main topics include general equilibrium theory and welfare economics, topics in the theory of information, contracts and principal-agent problems, and selected topics in game theory.

ECON 614 Game Theory
Prerequisite: ECON 612.
This course offers an in-depth coverage of some important topics in mostly non-cooperative but also cooperative game theory. Although formal reasoning, precise definitions and proofs are part of the course, emphasis is placed on the importance and use of the various concepts in economics. Main topics include Nash equilibrium and subgame perfection, correlated equilibria, rationalizability, zero sum games, repeated games, (perfect) Bayesian Nash equilibrium, core Shapley value, bargaining problems, and stable sets.

ECON 615 Macroeconomics I
Prerequisites: ECON 503 and 525; or equivalent.
The objective of this course is to introduce students to advanced theories and mathematical tools for rigorous analysis of various macroeconomic issues. Topics covered include consumption, investment, inflation and economic growth theories including Solow, Ramsey-Cass-Koopmans, and endogenous growth models.

ECON 616 Macroeconomics II
Prerequisite: ECON 615.
This course studies various issues in macroeconomic theory within a dynamic general equilibrium framework. Topics covered vary from year to year. However, the first part of the course is usually an initiation into useful techniques such as dynamic programming and the numerical methods.

ECON 618 Monetary Economics
Prerequisite: ECON 615.
This course includes the theory of money, monetary policy, payment systems, and banking. Among the available models, there will be a particular focus on the New Keynesian model as a framework to analyze monetary policy. Alternative models of money, such as search-theoretic models, are also studied.

ECON 619 Political Economy
Prerequisites: ECON 614 and 615.
This course studies how conflicts of interest are resolved through political institutions in democratic countries. In the first half of the course, tools and models that are useful in the analysis of voting and elections, bargaining in legislatures, and special interest politics are studied. In the second half, these tools are applied to examine: (1) how macroeconomic polices are made through the political process; (2) why inefficient policies may be chosen in the end; and (3) how constitutions (indirectly) shape public policy and consequently the economic outcomes of nations.

Economic Growth and Development

ECON 622 Economic Development
Prerequisites: ECON 501, 503 and 525; or equivalent.
Modern theories of economic development are presented. Topics include microeconomic reform and transition in developing economies, income inequality and enterprise and, foreign investment and technology flows as a means to development. In addition, analytical techniques used in the study of structure and functioning of developing economies are presented.

ECON 623 Growth and Development
Prerequisites: ECON 501, 503 and 525; or equivalent.
This course examines a series of models that are relevant to the study of economic growth and development. These two issues are studied from a macroeconomic perspective; that is, emphasis is placed on highly stylized models characterized by rational decision making within a dynamic environment.

ECON 624 Topics in Economic Development
Prerequisites: ECON 501, 503 and 525; or equivalent.
Why are some countries poor and others rich? What can account for cross-country differences in fertility and mortality rates? In gender gaps, civil war, and school attainment? Why did the industrial revolution start in Europe? Why did Europe colonize the rest of the world, rather than the other way around? Why are some former colonies (e.g., U.S., Canada) so much richer than others (e.g., India and Zimbabwe)? This course presents research which addresses these issues. While emphasis in on theoretical research where overlapping-generations models are used to generate multiple steady-state equilibria, empirical work is also examined.

Financial Economics

ECON 642 Financial Economics I
Prerequisites: ECON 501, 503 and 525; or equivalent.
This course is the first of a two course sequence in financial economics, and is intended to provide an introduction to contemporary theoretical and empirical modeling in financial markets. The course provides a foundation for more advanced work in financial economics while allowing students without an exceptionally strong mathematical background to become familiar with the discipline. Theoretical topics include measures of risk aversion, stochastic dominance, individual portfolio choice under uncertainty, the capital asset pricing model (CAPM), and the arbitrage pricing theory (APT). Empirical topics include tests of CAPM and the APT, the efficient markets hypothesis, performance evaluation, and event test methodology.

ECON 643 Financial Economics II
Prerequisites: ECON 642 and 680.
This course is the second of a two course sequence in financial economics, and is intended to provide an introduction to several advanced topics in theoretical and empirical financial economics. Theoretical topics include the valuation of state contingent securities, dynamic asset pricing, and continuous time methods. Empirical topics include the time-series properties of returns, traditional structural estimation of asset pricing models of maximum-likelihood (ML) and the generalized method-of-moments (GMM), calibration and simulation, variance bounds tests, and an introduction to empirical methods for continuous time models.

Public Economics

ECON 656 Public Finance: Expenditure
Prerequisites: ECON 501 and 525; or equivalent.
This course deals with welfare economics and the role of the government in supplying goods. The principal topics are the optimal supply of public goods, voting mechanisms and models of preference revelation, consumer’s surplus, externalities in production and consumption, optimal pricing models, the theory of clubs, inequality, cost-benefit analysis, federalism and federal-provincial relations in Canada.

ECON 657 Public Finance: Taxation
Prerequisites: ECON 501 525; or equivalent.
This course analyzes both the descriptive and normative effects of alternative taxation policies on economic behaviour. In the descriptive part it deals with work-leisure choice, saving decisions and the incidence of the corporation income tax. The normative part deals with the optimality issues of income and commodity taxation. Emphasis is given to both analytical and policy considerations.

ECON 658 Environmental Economics
Prerequisites: ECON 501, 525; or equivalent.
This course deals with the inter-relationship between economics and the physical environment. The objective is to depict the problem of environmental quality as an economic problem. The course focuses on the use of concepts and instruments derived from public finance for the resolution of environmental issues. Numerous case studies are discussed.

International Economics

ECON 661 International Trade
Prerequisites: ECON 501, 525; or equivalent.
This course provides a systematic treatment of neo-classical international trade theory, including the theory of comparative advantage, the theory and practice of commercial policy, trade and welfare, and customs union theory. The course emphasizes the interaction of trade theory with policy questions.

ECON 662 International Finance
Prerequisites: ECON 501, 503 and 525; or equivalent.
Selected topics in international finance or open economy macroeconomics are analyzed with modern dynamic general equilibrium models. These include deviations from the law of one price and from purchasing power parity, pricing to market, exchange rate determination, the international transmission of business cycles, the international financial system and crises, sovereign debt and default, global trade imbalances, currency unions (like the European Monetary Union), customs unions (like the European Union), and optimal monetary and fiscal policy in an open economy setting.

Industrial Economics

ECON 673 Industrial Organization
Prerequisites: ECON 501, 525; or equivalent.
This course surveys economic models of industrial behaviour. Topics covered include theories of oligopoly, effects of potential entry, product differentiation, advertising, technological change, vertical integration, monopoly and merger issues.

ECON 674 Economics of Regulation
Prerequisites: ECON 501, 525; or equivalent.
This course examines economic theories of regulation as applied to monopolized and competitive industries, together with their policy implications. Topics covered include natural monopoly, contestable markets, effects of “traditional” regulation (such as rate of return and Ramsey pricing), together with an examination of recent theories of optimal regulation under asymmetric information. Topics in the regulation of industries include minimum quality standards, licensing, and predatory business practices.

Labour Economics

ECON 677 Labour Economics I
Prerequisites: ECON 501, 525; or equivalent.
This course covers selected topics in the field of labour economics. The focus of the course is on microeconomic analyses and issues. The emphasis is on the application of some of the ideas from the theories of information, uncertainty, and incentives to the understanding of labour markets and institutions. Topics covered include wage and wage differentials, discrimination, human capital, life-cycle models of labour markets, effects of asymmetric information, self-enforcing implicit contracts, efficiency wage models, principal-agent problems, team production and tournaments.

ECON 678 Labour Economics II
Prerequisites: ECON 612 and ECON 680.
The main objective of this course is to examine a relatively small number of topics in modern labour economics and, ultimately, their empirical and econometric application. The topics covered include static and dynamic models of labour supply, dynamic models of job search and job matching, econometric analysis of labour market transition data, unemployment insurance, and unemployment theories.


ECON 680 Econometric Theory I
Prerequisites: ECON 521 and 525; or equivalent.
The general aim of this course is to discuss some of the fundamental methods of econometrics and their theoretical justification. The course begins with a mathematical and statistical review and moves on to a thorough discussion of the general theory of least squares (including instrumental variables) and maximum-likelihood, their justification and associated tests of significance. Applications include linear, single-equation and simultaneous equations models, some non-linear models, and specification analysis. Students are expected to undertake various exercises, including computer-based applications.

ECON 681 Econometric Theory II
Prerequisite: ECON 680.
This course covers advanced topics in estimation and inference in non-linear econometric models including asymptotic theory, generalized method of moments, quasi-maximum likelihood, simulation based methods, non-parametric and semiparametric estimation, bootstrap methods and robust estimators.

ECON 682 Applied Econometrics: Time-Series
Prerequisite: ECON 680.
This course provides an introduction to statistical techniques for analyzing time-series data. Topics include Box-Jenkins methodology, spectral analysis, forecasting, tests for unit roots, multivariate time-series analysis: vector autoregressions, causality, co-integration, and nonlinear time-series models such as ARCH models.

ECON 683 Applied Econometrics: Microeconometrics
Prerequisites: ECON 680 or equivalent, and one successfully completed graduate level course in econometrics, or permission of the instructor.
This course provides an introduction to statistical techniques and practical aspects of microeconometric analysis. Topics include binary response models, censored and truncated regression models, analysis of categorical survey data, instrumental variables, treatment effects, panel data models with fixed and random effects, analysis of transition data, estimation by simulation, and estimation of dynamic programming models.

Mathematical Economics

ECON 690 Mathematical Economics

Research, Theses, and Preliminary Examinations

ECON 694 Reading Courses in Economics
With the permission of the Graduate Studies Committee a supervised reading course in a specialized area in which no course is offered by the Department.

ECON 695 Seminar in a Special Topic
Recent Special Topics have included: Monetary Economics; Game Theory; Workshop in Advanced Economic Theory; Applied Industrial Organization; Empirical Trade; Political Economics; Natural Resources and Environmental Economics Workshop.
 This course may be taken more than one time for credit, provided the subject matter is different each time.

ECON 696 Research Methodology in Economics
This course introduces students to the approach followed by economists to conduct scientific research and produce knowledge. Students learn how to formulate a pertinent research question, how to perform a critical evaluation of the relevant literature, how to determine the appropriate methodology to answer this question, and how to communicate findings effectively. The course also examines common pitfalls in data gathering and data analysis.

ECON 705 Master’s Thesis (18 credits)
A thesis demonstrates a student's ability to carry out original independent research in Economics. The topic of the thesis must be approved by the Graduate Program Director and a full-time member of the Department who is prepared to act as a supervisor. The thesis is examined in accordance with the guidelines outlined in the Thesis Regulations section.

Cognate Courses

In addition, graduate students in economics may be permitted to register for a limited number of courses offered in the MSc program in the John Molson School of Business. In all such cases, prior permission of the Department of Economics and the John Molson School of Business is required.

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