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MS in Economics

Applications must be made online; please go to the Graduate School Admissions web site. Please read Frequently Asked Questions. Any additional questions can be addressed to the Graduate Director.


The Master's and PhD programs have different objectives. The MS program is designed to provide the training necessary for careers in government and business where original research is generally not the primary concern. The PhD program is designed to train economists capable of adding to the knowledge of economics, doing independent research, and teaching at college or university levels.

Admissions Policies

Applicants for graduate studies in economics must meet the requirements for admission to the LSU Graduate School and be accepted by the Department of Economics. In general, the minimum requirements are:
  1. A bachelor's degree from an accredited college with at least a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale or a 3.0 GPA for the last 60 hours of study.
  2. A score of at least 300 (1,000 on the old scale) on the aptitude portion (verbal plus quantitative) of the Graduate Record Examination or equivalent GMAT.  GRE scores are strongly preferred to GMAT scores.
  3. Satisfactory academic standing at the last institution attended.
  4. For admission into the economics program, foreign students whose native language is not English must provide an official TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score of at least 575 on the paper-based version, 232 on the computer-based version, or 80 on the internet-based exam. Alternatively, international applicants must provide an official IELTS (International English Language Testing Service) score of at least 6.5 or an official PTE (Pearson's Test of English) score of at least 59 for admission into the economics program .
In addition to the above requirements, we would like students to have completed undergraduate courses in calculus, statistics, and intermediate microeconomics and macroeconomics before entering the MS program. 
Non-economics majors with strong academic records are encouraged to apply. It is likely that students who have not had many undergraduate courses in economics or have not had the courses indicated above can make them up in one semester, before taking the core program courses.

Financial Assistance

The department does not provide graduate assistantships to masters students. 

Requirements for the MS Degree​

A student receives the MS degree in economics when the following requirements are fulfilled:
  1. Required Core Courses:
    • Mathematics for Economists (Economics 7610)
    • Introduction to Advanced Microeconomics (Economics 7701)
    • Introduction to Advanced Macroeconomics (Economics 7717)
    • Applied Econometrics (Economics 7629)​​​​ 
  2. Completion of 30 hours:

    In addition to the 12 hours of required courses a student must complete 18 hours of electives (at least 12 hours of the electives must be in 7000-level courses). The 7000-level electives for MS students are co-listed with undergraduate courses that are offered in a particular semester, and MS students have additional requirements beyond those for undergraduates.  Undergraduate courses that are regularly offered include Public Finance, International Trade, International Finance, Economic Growth, Labor Economics, Environmental Economics, Central Banking and Monetary Policy, Industrial Organization and Public Policy, Game Theory, Sports Economics, Urban & Regional Economics, and Health Economics. Up to 6 hours of 7000-level courses outside economics may be taken with the permission of the graduate director. Only 6 hours of 4000-level courses in economics may be counted toward the degree.

    It is anticipated that, under normal conditions, the student will be able to complete the MS degree in a year and a half; please see part 5 below.
  3. Final Examination for the MS Degree:
    The MS program requires satisfactory performance on a written final exam covering the required macroeconomics, microeconomics, and applied econometrics core courses. Students take this exam on a pass or fail basis. Those failing will be able to take the exam a second time. The student must take this exam for the first time at the start of the third semester. If the student fails, he or she may take the exam a second time later in the third semester.  In some cases, if performance is superior on one or two portions of the exam, but one portion is failed, the second exam may consist of only the portion failed, at the discretion of the Graduate Advisor.
  4. Transfer Credit

    Students who have completed part of the required courses at other programs can select a larger number of electives in order to meet the 30 hour requirement.

  5. Time-to-Completion and Time Limit for the MS:

    Students are admitted into the program only in the fall semester.  In the fall semester of the first year, the student will take all four required core courses for a total of 12 hours of coursework.  The student will then take 9 hours of coursework in the spring semester of the first year and again in the fall semester of the second year.  The student will take the written final exam in August the week before coursework begins for the fall semester of the second year.  The student will normally graduate at the end of the fall semester of the second year​.

    The student has a maximum of five calendar years in which to complete the MS. If the student exceeds this limit, he or she must retake the final exam, and this can be allowed only under the discretion of the Economics Graduate Committee. Furthermore, the Department of Economics allows revalidation of not more than 50% of the Economics courses taken before the expiration of the 5-year time limit for completion of the MS in Economics. Revalidation is determined by an examination given and graded by the current instructor of the course over material currently covered in the course. The student must score at least a solid B on the examination to have the course revalidated.

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