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Online MS Economics Curriculum

To earn an online Master of Science degree in Economics (MSE), you must complete 30 credit hours of coursework in the areas below. Required courses make up 14 credits.

Additionally, you may specialize in at least one of four areas by earning at least 8 credit hours in that area. Other courses can be taken as free electives.

Advanced Theory (Online/On-Campus)

Students pursuing the Advanced Theory specialization are required to be on-campus at a top US research university. They must complete the core classes online and then come to Purdue's campus for the final year (two semesters) for the Advanced Theory Specialization. With this on-campus component, the MS Economics degree with Advanced Theory specialization is STEM designated. Successful graduates of the program may be eligible for STEM OPT extension. 

Combined Degree for Purdue STEM Majors

Current Purdue STEM undergraduates can apply up to 9 credit hours of coursework to both a BS and an MS degree in Economics. After graduation, these students are able to finish the MS program online as they pursue their careers.

MS Economics Coursework

To earn a Master of Science degree in Economics, students must complete 30 hours of coursework in the following areas:
  • Statistical Analysis for Economists (1 credit)
    This is a Master’s level course in statistics and its application to economics. This course familiarizes students with the elements of statistics needed to perform econometrics, which students will practice extensively in the course, ECON 562. A crucial statistical tool is random variables, and this class will focus on: a) their distributions, properties (e.g., expected value and variance), and relationships (e.g., covariance), and b) their application to statistical inference, (e.g., confidence intervals and significance tests).
  • Mathematics For Economists (2 credits)
    This is a Master’s level course in mathematics and its application to economics. Students in this class will review and practice the mathematical methods required to solve micro- and macroeconomic theoretical models, especially constrained optimization problems. The content covers a review of algebra, univariate and multivariate calculus, and constrained optimization methods, e.g., LaGrange multipliers. Mastering these methods is instrumental to preparing for ECON 511 & 512 (micro and macro theory).
  • Econometrics I (3 credits)
    This masters-level course in econometrics covers the tools that will enable students to conduct empirical analysis using economics data. The course examines the statistical techniques used in testing economic theories, estimating casual effects, and making predictions. Emphasis is placed on estimating a single equation (e.g., a demand function) and the problems associated with such estimation. As part of the course, students will estimate equations using STATA, a statistical software package.
  • Intermediate Economics I (Micro) (3 credits)
    This is a course in Microeconomics at an intermediate level. It is designed to provide an introduction to elements of microeconomic theory that are applicable to a range of decision-making and policy problems in the public and private sectors. In this course, we will develop and apply some of the basic theories of consumer and producer behavior and strategic interactions in markets. You will learn how to approach issues from an economic perspective and gain an understanding of the microeconomic tools that will be used in subsequent courses.
  • Intermediate Economics II (Macro) (3 credits)
    This course examines how the US economy functions and develops a theoretical framework permitting an analysis of the forces affecting national income, employment, unemployment, interest rates, and the rate of inflation. Emphasis is placed upon the role of government fiscal and monetary policy in promoting economic growth and stable prices. Throughout the semester we will discuss both the theory and the empirical evidence on aggregate macroeconomic measures; consumption, savings, and investment; labor supply and demand; employment and unemployment; economic growth; money and banking; and macroeconomic stabilization techniques.

  • Econometrics II (2 credits)
    This course begins by reviewing basic concepts in probability, mathematical statistics, and linear algebra. The purpose of this review is to provide a suitable foundation so that the student can obtain a better and more rigorous understanding of the linear regression model, its representation and assumptions, procedures for estimation and properties associated with the familiar OLS estimator.  Once the mathematical preliminaries have been reviewed, we move on and apply what we have learned to the linear regression model. We discuss estimation and prediction, establish properties such as efficiency, unbiasedness, consistency and convergence in mean square. We conclude the course by going beyond linear models, specifically considering a few nonlinear models appropriate for modeling binary outcomes.
  • Statistical and Machine Learning (2 credits)
    This is an introductory course in statistical and machine learning.It will cover fundamental concepts and essential tools that are critical in understandingcutting-edge machine learning techniques. Students will develop skills in applying a widevariety of modeling and prediction methods. Topics include linear regression, classifi-cation, regularization and shrinkage methods, tree-based methods, and support vectormachines. An integral part of this course is the extensive use of the open source statisti-cal software R. Students will gain hands-on experience in analyzing datasets commonlyused in business and economics.

  • Financial Econometrics (2 credits)
    This course offers an introduction of basic principles of econometric analysis that will help students understand finance theories and their empirical applications. It will also equip students with appropriate statistical techniques for doing applied financial research. The statistical techniques are particularly well suited for analyzing financial time-series data.

  • Microeconometrics (2 credits)
    This masters-level course in econometrics covers several empirical methods commonly used in applied microeconometric analysis including matching methods, instrumental variables estimation, fixed effects estimation, and regression discontinuity designs. Emphasis is placed on the identification strategy used to obtain an estimate of the casual effect when the researcher can only use observational data. Effective data visualization is also emphasized.

  • Quantitative Economics with Python (2 credits)
    The main goal of this course is to introduce economics students to the computation and programming in Python. In the first part of the course, we will cover Python essentials including basic programmingtechniques and the use of popular packages for data analysis. In the second part of the course, we willconsider more advanced programming techniques including numerical methods, dynamic programming,and simulation-based methods. Throughout the course we will consider a number applications relatedto microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics covered in the MS Econ program curriculum.

  • Applied Game Theory (2 credits)
    Game theory is a popular subject and became a powerful tool for analyzing strategic interactions between players or decision-making units. Players are decision-making units, e.g., individuals, firms, workers, managers, countries, etc. The main goal of this course is to provide a basis for a good understanding of the logical mechanics and to provide a good intuition. The course concentrates on strategy and econ-related applications that relate to Firm Behavior in Markets and different types of Market Structures. Therefore, the game theoretic decision making concepts will be applied to topics such as: Entry, R&D, Patent Races, Mergers, Cartel, Collusion, Advertisement, Auctions, Dynamic Games, New Product Introductions, etc.
  • Financial Valuation and Decision Making (2 credits)

    This course comprises a comprehensive introduction to finance. The objective of the course is to provide you with the conceptual framework necessary to appreciate and understand how to make decisions based on sound financial reasoning. Many of you may have others in the organization that ‘run the numbers,’ but in grasping the underlying concepts it is essential to understand the mechanics of the thought processes and get your hands dirty. At the same time, as a manager, you will need to understand the broader concepts and trade-offs involved with Finance and the course also has that goal in mind. Readings, case analysis, and problem sets focus on the basic tools used by financial decision makers.


  • Financial Econometrics (2 credits)

    This course offers an introduction of basic principles of econometric analysis that will help students understand finance theories and their empirical applications. It will also equip students with appropriate statistical techniques for doing applied financial research. The statistical techniques are particularly well suited for analyzing financial time-series data.


  • Behavioral Economics (2 credits)

    This course explores human economic behavior, with a strong emphasis on laboratory and field experiment methodology used in behavioral economics research. Topics considered include behavior in markets for financial assets and auction markets and behavior in social dilemmas that arise when people try to provide public goods voluntarily or increase economic surplus through trust. Students will also study how people bargain with and exhibit social preferences towards others. Decision-making and anomalies for risky uncertain choices will also be covered.

  • International Economics (2 credits)

    This course covers topics in international trade with a focus on trade policy. The course opens with presenting main questions in international trade that are crucial to the welfare of nations in the 21st century. In order to address these key questions, the course covers selected topics in international trade theory with a focus on their applications in real-world policy debates.


  • Investments and Portfolio Management (2 credits)

    The objective of this course is to provide students with a sound foundation for the main concepts in investment management and portfolio theory. The course is designed to be the fundamental course in investments and finance in general and it will provide the essential background for more advanced investments and corporate finance topics. The major topics covered includes: trading mechanics including mechanics of margin trading and short selling, optimal portfolio selection and asset allocation, the theory and use of asset pricing models, and pricing of derivative securities. The main emphasis of the course is on common stocks, but derivative securities such as options are also analyzed.


  • Experimental Economics (2 credits)

    This course introduces you to the experimental methods used by economists to study human behavior. These methods analyze data collected in controlled laboratory experiments. Throughout the course, we will discuss different types of experiments that have been extensively researched by experimental economists. To help introduce and motivate each topic, you will participate in weekly synchronous experiments with your classmates over the internet. You will then complete an assignment analyzing the data generated by your class in the online experiment. The following lecture will provide an overview of the theoretical framework and experimental predictions. We will also discuss commonly observed behavior and any relevant explanations for such behavior.


  • Industrial Economics (2 credits)

    This course will explore the determinants of market and firm structure, firm conduct, and market performance in imperfectly competitive markets, and different approaches to regulating such markets. Emphasis is placed on using basic economic models of firm and industry behavior to explain and analyze real-world markets.


  • Law and Economics (2 credits)

    This course is designed to give the student an understanding of both legal and economic principles and the relationship between them. It will also show the student how to access various databases, Lexis/Nexis, to get a formal statement of the law and how the laws have actually been interpreted and enforced. Finally, through the use of economic analysis, the student will acquire the tools to predict the likely outcomes of particular laws and how they will affect their family and business decisions.


  • Personnel Economics (2 credits)

    Personnel Economics applies the tools of economic theory to human resource management. While traditional labor market models focus on the broadly defined demand and supply in the market for labor, personnel economics focuses on individual incentives in the employer/employee relationship. The topics to be covered in this course will include: How to motivate employees to put forth their "best" effort; What incentives various compensation schemes generate; How to minimize potential problems with information asymmetries between employer and employee; How to find the best "match" between employer and employee; and What contracts are most attractive to employees and maximize profit. The course provides the tools of economic logic that will allow you to evaluate proposals for labor policies on a firm-specific level and, to some extent, on a national level.

  • Wage Discrimination (1 credit)

    This course is an applied economics course that focuses on race and gender discrimination in the labor market. We will use the tools you have developed so far in the MS program to study the extent, causes, and consequences of disparities in wages and employment across race and gender.


  • Federal Budgets and Public Policy (2 credits)
    This course offers an overview of the federal budget and the budget process. We will begin with an introduction to some of the key concepts and discuss the current components of both federal spending and revenues. We will then look at its history and reflect upon what its past, current state, and future path reveal about federal priorities. That is, we will discuss how it allocates scarce public resources and distributes the burden of paying for public goods and services (including the intergenerational aspects). We will also examine both the theory and practice of the budget process (president’s budget, congressional budget resolution, reconciliation, sequestration, etc.) and the main players (the budget committees, Congressional Budget Office, Joint Tax Committee, etc.). We will discuss the role of the different branches of government including the use of executive and judicial power. Along the way, we will have an introduction to the principal sources of information on federal budgeting, some of the important methodological issues (e.g. cash versus accrual accounting), and some of the different academic perspectives on budget policy. And last, we will selectively focus on the largest, most important budget categories.

  • Current Topics in Macroeconomics (2 credits))

    This course teaches students the macroeconomic perspective on public policy. It aims to deliver students (1) a coherent theoretical framework with which to understand the tradeoffs in various public policies, and (2) the empirical facts that drive academic debate on those policies. Each class will give an overview of contemporaneous topics, such as (1) economic growth, (2) immigration (3) robots and automation (4) inequality (5) universal basic income and the social safety net (6) the basics of monetary policy, including new thoughts on Modern Monetary Theory and cryptocurrency, (7) government debt, (9) bank runs and the U.S. financial crisis, and (10) the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Mathematical Analysis for Economists (2 credits)


  • Advanced Microeconomics (2 credits)


  • Advanced Game Theory (2 credits)

    This course will explore the determinants of market and firm structure, firm conduct, and market performance in imperfectly competitive markets, and different approaches to regulating such markets. Emphasis is placed on using basic economic models of firm and industry behavior to explain and analyze real-world markets.

  • Economics of Information (2 credits)

    This course is designed to give the student an understanding of both legal and economic principles and the relationship between them. It will also show the student how to access various databases, Lexis / Nexis, to get a formal statement of the law and how the laws have actually been interpreted and enforced. Finally, through the use of economic analysis, the student will acquire the tools to predict the likely outcomes of particular laws and how they will affect their family and business decisions.

 

Additional electives from the Management (MGMT) department will be offered each semester. These offerings will be communicated to you at the time of registration.