The MA in Applied Economics program at UIC is designed for students who desire an MA degree in economics as either a stepping stone to a Ph.D. program or a career that requires such preparation, but have not extensively studied economics in an undergraduate program. We provide analytically rigorous training in economic theory and statistical analysis that is accessible to students with less preparation in mathematics than is required for enrollment in an Economics Ph.D. program. Importantly, we condense this accelerated program into three semesters, including summer, so that students can complete the entire program in ten months. This substantially reduces the cost and enables students to matriculate to a Ph.D. program or enter the job market after only a single year of study. 

We have structured the program to meet the needs of and engage students with diverse backgrounds and interests. The core economic theory and statistical methods courses are analytically rigorous but do not require extensive training in mathematics and do not focus on mathematical derivations or proofs. However, students with the requisite training in mathematics may substitute courses from our Ph.D. program in place of the corresponding Applied MA course. This enables these students to engage the material at a more mathematically sophisticated level and demonstrate their knowledge to Ph.D. programs and employers.

The UIC Economics Department has historically been strong in applied research and econometric analysis, particularly in the areas of health and education economics and policy. Applied MA students have the opportunity to take elective courses with leading young scholars in these areas. Students also have the opportunity to take courses outside of the Economics Department or in other areas that fit with their interests, or to take additional mathematics coursework that may be needed as preparation for a future Ph.D. program. Finally, all students have the choice to write an MA thesis or to complete additional coursework.

Program Description

The program consists of two courses taken during July and early August followed by four courses in each of the fall and spring semesters for a total of 10 courses and 40 credit hours. All students must complete one course in mathematical methods for economics, two courses in microeconomic theory, one course in macroeconomic theory, three courses in quantitative methods, and one course in reading, writing and speaking economics. Either a thesis or two elective courses can be used to complete the program. 

The fundamental principal of the Applied MA Program in Economics is the provision of a comprehensive graduate education tailored to the needs and interests of each student. Students will meet regularly with the program director and an advisor in order to support good progress and develop a program of study that fits the unique interests and objectives of each. The dedication of three courses to the study of quantitative methods reflects our belief that an in-depth understanding of statistical methods and research design are fundamental to a successful pursuit of further study in economics or application of knowledge gained to the workplace.

Degree Requirements - 40 hrs

Descriptions of courses can be found in the Graduate Catalog.

Summer Preparatory Courses - Two courses  (8 hrs)
The program begins with two courses over a condensed 6-week summer semester beginning in late June: Mathematical Methods for Economics (ECON 481) and Probability and Statistics for Econometrics (ECON 482)

Economics Core Coursework - Six courses  (24 hrs)
Over the Fall and Spring semesters students will complete the core coursework of the program: Applied Microeconomics I (ECON 501), Applied Microeconomics II (ECON 502), Applied Macroeconomics (ECON 503), Applied Econometrics (ECON 505), Research Design (ECON 506), Reading, Writing, and Speaking Economics (ECON 507).

Economics Electives or Thesis Option - 8 hrs
In the Spring semester, students can choose to complete the degree with two Economics electives (400- or 500-level ECON courses), or with a Master's thesis (ECON 598).

Admissions Requirements

Applicants are considered on an individual basis, and advanced undergraduate work in economics is not required. Prior work must include one semester each of calculus and statistics. Applicants are encouraged to have introductory microeconomic and macroeconomic theory, and intermediate microeconomic theory as well if possible, but an undergraduate degree or concentration in economics is not necessary for admission. GRE scores are also required for admission, as are TOEFL scores for non-native English speakers.

How to Apply

The UIC Office of Admissions processes all applications through an online portal; all application materials are submitted online. The materials required to complete an application are detailed in the list below, and specific information on the online application system can be found on the Office of Admissions website. 

Please see the Office of Admissions website for specific information on the online application system, and exact requirements for transcripts/degree certificates/diplomas and the English-language proficiency exam. If you have any questions or problems with the online application system itself, please contact the Office of Admissions and Records at 312-996-4350. Applications are due on December 15th for international applicants and March 15th for domestic applicants. Applications are considered on a rolling basis as they become completed, beginning in January, so the sooner an application is completed, the sooner a decision can be made.  If you have any inquiries about the Department of Economics program requirements, application materials or the application process in general, please contact Erin Toussaint at or 312-413-0468. 

Application Materials

  1. Online Application  - select program "MA in Applied Economics" 
  2. Application fee ($70) 
  3. Transcripts and degree certificates/diplomas from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended: (Additional $100 evaluation fee for international transcripts.)  Only photocopies or scans of your transcripts and degree certificates/diplomas are needed for application consideration. These copies should be uploaded to the online application system where designated. International applicants are required to submit both an original language version and an English translation. If you are admitted to UIC, you must then provide originals of all your transcripts and degree certificates/diplomas during your first semester for your official records.
  4. TOEFL/IELTS exam: The TOEFL or IELTS exam is required for international applicants whose country of origin/study does not have English as the only official language. These scores should be reported to the University through ETS (reporting code 1851). The English-proficiency exam requirement may be waived if the student has at least two years of full-time study or a completed degree at a U.S. university (or in a country where English is the only official language, i.e. U.K., Australia, etc.). For more information on whether or not applicants from your country must submit TOEFL/IELTS scores, or to see waiver policies, please visit the Office of Admissions site.
  5. GRE Test scores: These scores should be reported to the university by the Educational Testing Service. UIC's reporting code is 1851 (no department code required). These scores will be delivered to UIC and added to your application file.
  6. Three Letters of Recommendation: Letters should be on letterhead stationary from the recommender’s institution. Form and content is at the discretion of the recommender. Recommenders may be from either outside or inside academia, but should have knowledge of the applicant's potential for graduate study. The online application system will request the name and email address of each recommender, and send them an email requesting that they upload their letters directly to the system.
  7. Personal Statement: Applicants should submit a one-page statement summarizing their reasons for pursuing graduate study in Economics and their plans and objectives.
  8. Resume/Curriculum Vitae
  9. Optional Writing Sample:  This can be any item that you feel supports your application and speaks to your preparation for graduate study, such as a final paper or course assignment. 

Frequently Asked Questions



If you have questions about the structure of the program or want to know how an MA in Applied Economics from UIC can help you achieve your career goals, please email the program director, Patrick Baude at

If you have questions about the application procedure, contact Erin Toussaint at or (312) 413-0468.