Economics: Graduate Foundations

Master of Science in Economics

Professor pointing to equation on blackboard

With an emphasis on econometrics, a master’s degree in economics from UW–Madison prepares you for a high-level professional career or PhD program.


Is this program right for you?

The UW–Madison Department of Economics created the accelerated master’s degree program in economics to serve students who fall into three categories: those whose undergraduate major was not economics but who have since become interested in the field; those considering a PhD in economics who want preparation as well as access to programs and credentials; and those seeking valuable employment credentials but who may not be well-suited to an economics PhD.

The UW–Madison Department of Economics is renowned for our expertise in econometrics. We put far greater emphases than do other schools on providing you with a strong foundation in econometrics—the skills you will most commonly use in the job market or as a PhD student. You will also acquire a deep understanding of economics, analytical thinking, and statistical analysis.

Most of our students complete their master’s in economics in four semesters. You take seven courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics, and select three elective courses based on your academic or career goals. Our students are not required to complete a thesis project.

Whether you head directly into the workforce or go on to pursue a PhD, UW–Madison equips you with the sophisticated theoretical and quantitative skills you need to succeed as an economist.

Is this program right for you?

The UW–Madison Department of Economics created the accelerated master’s degree program in economics to serve students who fall into three categories: those whose undergraduate major was not economics but who have since become interested in the field; those considering a PhD in economics who want preparation as well as access to programs and credentials; and those seeking valuable employment credentials but who may not be well-suited to an economics PhD.

The UW–Madison Department of Economics is renowned for our expertise in econometrics. We put far greater emphases than do other schools on providing you with a strong foundation in econometrics—the skills you will most commonly use in the job market or as a PhD student. You will also acquire a deep understanding of economics, analytical thinking, and statistical analysis.

Most of our students complete their master’s in economics in four semesters. You take seven courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics, and select three elective courses based on your academic or career goals. Our students are not required to complete a thesis project.

Whether you head directly into the workforce or go on to pursue a PhD, UW–Madison equips you with the sophisticated theoretical and quantitative skills you need to succeed as an economist.

Admissions requirements

All applicants must:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university or its equivalent.
  • Have completed college-level economics (minimum courses in introductory microeconomics, introductory macroeconomics, and intermediate microeconomics) and three semesters of calculus and linear algebra.
  • Take the GRE general test. For score reporting, use UW–Madison institution code 1846.
  • Non-native English speakers must have a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 92 (internet version) or better.

To apply:

  • Online application.
  • Statement of purpose.
  • Transcripts from universities or colleges attended.
  • Math preparation form.
  • Writing sample.
  • Resume/CV.
  • Three letters of recommendation.

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Program highlights

  • Our master’s program is industry-focused and accelerated, so you earn your degree in just two years.
  • The UW–Madison Department of Economics is renowned for our expertise in econometrics. We put far greater emphases than do other schools on providing you with a strong foundation in econometrics—the skill you will most commonly use in the job market.
  • No thesis required! You focus on gaining professional skills, not writing a research paper.

How you'll learn

  • Four semesters (fall and spring) of full-time study on campus to earn your degree.
  • Move through the program with a cohort of students.
  • Complete your courses in a precise sequence, and select the electives that suit your professional goals.

Sample curriculum

Year 1

Fall Semester

  • Mathematical Economics
  • Microeconomics I
  • Econometrics I

Spring Semester

  • Macroeconomics I
  • Econometrics II
  • Microeconomics II

Year 2

Fall Semester

  • Applied Econometrics
  • Advanced electives or PhD-level courses

Spring Semester

  • Advanced electives or PhD-level courses

Advanced Electives Include

  • International Trade Policy
  • Economic Forecasting
  • Markets with Frictions
  • Behavioral Economics
  • Economics of Growth
  • Intro to Dynamic Economics
  • Game Theory & Economic Analysis
  • Economics of Education
  • Economics of Health Care
  • Mathematical Economics II
  • Population Economics
  • Advanced International Trade
  • Issues-International Finance
  • Macroeconomic Policy

Ready to learn more about Economics: Graduate Foundations?
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Our friendly, knowledgeable enrollment coaches are here to answer your questions. Contact an enrollment coach to:

  • Learn how to make this program work with your life/schedule
  • Verify credit transfers
  • Get help with your application
  • Determine if financial aid is available

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