Master of Science in Applied Economics

Academics

We offer the same curriculum in both the Washington, D.C. and College Park versions of our STEM-designated Master of Science program. All courses are 3-credit masters-level courses. Details of any course will vary depending on the instructor, but the fundamental content and level of rigor are the same whether taught in Washington, D.C. or College Park. Course descriptions and sample syllabi can be found here.

The Washington, D.C. and College Park versions of our program are on different academic calendars. The Washington, D.C. program operates on a 12-week quarter term-based academic calendar. The College Park program is on a traditional 15-week semester-based academic calendar. In Washington, D.C., the courses are accelerated 12-week courses that require more work per week than the standard 15-week version of the same courses in College Park.

Students can complete the D.C.-based version of our program in as little as 15 months by taking 2 courses per quarter. Students are also free to pursue the degree at a slower pace if they prefer. Full-time students in College Park complete the degree in 2 academic years. Students in College Park or Washington, D.C. can earn a Graduate Certificate of Economic Analysis by completing just the first 5 “core” courses of the program.

Mode of Instruction (In-person versus Online)

Our program is fundamentally an in-person program. Enrollment permitting, we sometimes offer 2 sections of the core courses in D.C. The 1st section is taught in person. The 2nd section is “mostly online.” The midterm and final exams of our “mostly online” sections must be taken in person at our Washington, D.C. location but all other class meetings are online. 

With only rare exceptions, all sections of all courses in the College Park version of our program are taught in person.

Standard Course Sequences

Not all master’s degree programs in applied economics are recognized by the federal government as STEM-designated programs. The STEM designation applies to programs with emphasis in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Our program’s emphasis on mathematical and statistical rigor is the basis for our STEM designation.  

One practical implication of the STEM designation is that international graduates of our program are now eligible for a 2-year extension to the standard 1-year Optional Practical Training in the US. Being eligible to stay in the US for up to 3 years after graduation makes our graduates even more attractive to potential OPT sponsors. 
 
“We have hired students from the University of Maryland’s Applied Economics master’s program since its inception. The STEM designation gives Optimal and other potential employers a viable opportunity to hire highly qualified international graduates with scarce  skill sets.”  – Mark Turner, CEO of Optimal Solutions Group
 
The program’s curriculum continues to evolve in this direction. In the fall of 2021, we began offering a new course on economic applications of R programming (ECON 687). 

In our Washington, D.C. location, classes are held weeknights from 6:45-9:30 p.m. in our suite at 1400 16th Street, NW – near DuPont Circle.

In College Park, classes are held on campus from 6:30-9:15 p.m.

There is always a 15-minute break during the long class meeting.

Our program is primarily an in-person program. However, we will sometimes offer online courses depending on instructor availability. All of our online courses offer a combination of synchronous online class meetings and asynchronous instruction like video lectures and online discussion boards. The synchronous class meetings take place in the evening (Washington, D.C. time zone). Online section sizes are limited to maintain reasonable student-teacher ratios.

All online courses have in-person midterms and final exams.

Over the last few years, average enrollment in the core courses has been between 20 and 30. Average enrollment in the field courses has been between 12 and 20. The maximum number of students we allow in one of our Washington, D.C. classrooms is 27. In College Park, the classes are capped at 30. We have also capped our online sections at 30 to keep the student-teacher ratios reasonable. Applicants should pay attention to class sizes when comparing alternative programs.

The courses in our program require the basic skills of differential calculus that would be covered in any 1st-semester calculus course (college, community college, or high school). Our courses also build upon those fundamental calculus skills. Many of our applicants complete the prerequisite course requirements at a local community college or online. Online, blended, and traditional face-to-face calculus courses are offered by the University of Maryland Global Campus.