What are the Prerequisites for a Master’s in Economics Degree?

With the American economy continuing to recover from the recession in 2008, jobs in the financial and economic sectors are on the rise. A Master's in Economics is a highly qualified graduate program for entry into these lucrative fields, as it sets up the newly accredited professional for a long and rewarding career. A lot goes into earning one of these degrees, however: a Master's level program in economics is extremely demanding and offers a lot of variety.

So, what are some of the prerequisites necessary to qualify for a Master's in Economics degree?

What are the Test Score Prerequisites?

Test scores remain a slightly controversial criterion for determining eligibility for college and university programs, but most demanding graduate level programs rely heavily on them, particularly in some of the more analytically challenging fields. Individual institutions will vary, but some common values include GRE scores in the 80th percentile or higher on quantitative reasoning and analytical writing. Depending on the school, they may or may not have a specific requisite for verbal reasoning scores as well, although the minimum here is typically lower (in the 50th-60th percentile range).

What are the Coursework Prerequisites?

A specific Bachelor's in Economics degree is not usually required, but a wide range of applicable coursework will be. Coursework is usually called for in terms of a specific number of courses pertaining to particular subjects. Undergraduate level coursework is normally requisite in calculus, linear algebra, statistics, and econometrics. Of those four, calculus often has the highest prerequisites, with multiple calculus courses being required by many prestigious institutions. For someone desiring to stand out above other applications for a given graduate program, a final grade of an "A" will be required in most of these courses.

Other Prerequisites for Graduate Level Economics Programs

Economics is a statistically and analytically demanding field, with strong mathematics prerequisites, so a stand-out academic performance as a high school student and an undergraduate are both extremely helpful. Many schools will not consider applications from students whose undergraduate GPA is lower than 3.5. Other prerequisites vary much more widely: some institutions accept tests other than the GRE, while others do not. Some may look favorably on additional coursework, or extracurricular activities, while others will focus almost entirely on a student's academic record.

Are All Economics Majors the Same?

No. Completely disregarding dual majors, double majors and minors, a Master's level program in economics is highly tailored to the specific student's needs and aspirations. The more highly accredited programs are often the most highly customizable, reflecting the many career paths and areas of study involved in economics. Entry into a given economics program may be partly dependent on additional, or slightly modified prerequisites, based upon a student's intended area of focus.

When it comes to selecting the right school for a Master's in Economics degree, it pays to start examining the entry prerequisites early. Many prestigious and highly accredited institutions have specific requirements, which set them apart from the rest in ways that won't necessarily be expected. Being forewarned can help you to shape your final year of undergraduate studies, and further influence the career path you decide to focus on through this highly personalized field of graduate studies.

See also: The 10 Most Affordable Online Master's in Economics Degree Programs