Courses & Requirements


The minimum recommended preparation includes intermediate-level micro-economics and macroeconomics, one year of calculus, and an introductory course in statistics. Students admitted with deficiencies are expected to pass satisfactorily (a grade of B or better) the deficient courses during their first semester.

In addition, most students will be required to complete the following which are prerequisites for the core theory and economics courses.

ECON 590 Economic Statistics and Econometrics (3)
ECON 591 Mathematical Methods for Economics (3)

Core Requirements

Core requirements for a Master of Arts in economics:
ECON 660 Microeconomic Analysis I (3)
ECON 661 Macroeconomic Analysis I (3)
ECON 690 Econometrics I (3)
ECON 690A Econometrics Laboratory (1)

One of the following:

  1. ECON 699A, Master’s Thesis (6)
  2. ECON 699B, Master’s Research Paper (3)
  3. A substantial research paper written in a 500- or 600-level economics course and approved by the professor teaching the course.

Elective Courses

In addition to the required courses, students must choose elective courses in applied fields such as public economics, labor economics, or financial economics for the remaining hours. Those whose interest is in general economics or who can plan to enter the Ph.D. program may elect additional work in economic theory. With the prior written consent of the Director of Graduate Studies, students may elect to enroll in up to 6 semester hours of courses that are related to the student's field of study and are offered outside the Department. Although students may earn up to three hours in ECON 798, these hours must be earned in excess of the 30 hour required for the degree. A description of all courses offered, as well as university regulations specifying the requirements for maintaining good standing in the program, and the requirements for graduation are contained in the Graduate Catalog.

Courses for Graduate Credit

At NIU only courses which are numbered 500-599, 600-699, and 700-798 carry credit toward the master’s degree. At least 15 of the 30 credit hours required in the M.A. program must be earned in courses numbered 600 and above.

Comprehensive Examinations

Comprehensive examinations in microeconomic and macroeconomic analysis will usually be taken by each student in the master's degree program the first time that these examinations are offered following the completion of ECON 660 and ECON 661. The Department of Economics offers these written examinations during the week preceding the beginning of the fall and spring semesters.

A student who fails either of these examinations a second time will not be permitted to continue in the M.A. program. However, in extenuating circumstances a student may submit a written appeal to the Department requesting that an examination be set aside. If the appeal is approved, the student may retake the written examination. Appeals must be submitted within one month of notification of the results.

A student receiving a grade of B or higher in ECON 660 will be exempted from the comprehensive examination in microeconomic theory. Similarly, students who receive a grade of B or higher in ECON 661 will be exempted from the comprehensive examination in macroeconomic theory.