Master's degree programs specifically covering behavioral economics are rare, but the subject is often covered in Master of Science (M.S.) or Master of Arts (M.A.) programs in economics. In these programs, students engage in discussions of economic theory and look at mathematical methods used in economics. They hone their research skills in order to develop and present original research projects. Some of these programs offer a specialization in behavioral economics, sometimes referred to as business decision research, which combines studies in psychology and economic theory to analyze and predict consumer purchasing trends.
Master's degree coursework typically takes two years to complete, but it is important to note that in most cases, students earn a master's degree while pursuing doctoral studies in economics. Still, it is possible to find programs that are not designed to award a terminal degree. Some programs are also available online. Students need a bachelor's degree and a solid background in economics and mathematics in order to be considered for admission. They must have taken undergraduate courses in micro- and macroeconomics, statistics, and calculus.
Master's Degree in Behavioral Economics
The curriculum within master's degree programs in economics emphasizes economic theory and analysis while providing a thorough review of economic mathematical methods. Students often complete research assignments and participate in classroom discussions. Topics discussed that are relevant to behavioral economics include the following:
- Microeconomic theory
- Macroeconomic theory
- Political economy research
- Consumer research
- Financial market analysis
- International trade
Popular Career Options
Behavioral economics positions are available within the public and private sectors, typically in industries such as business and finance. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, those with master's or doctoral degrees have the strongest employment prospects. Here are some common job titles:
- Research assistant
- Research analyst
- Economic development specialist
Career and Salary Information
In 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that market research analysts made an average annual salary of $70,030; economists averaged $109,230 per year. Jobs for economists are expected to increase by 6% from 2014-2024, which is average. Market research analysts were predicted to see 19% job growth, which is much faster than average.
Those pursuing graduate studies in behavioral economics commonly earn their master's while pursuing a doctoral degree. Doctoral recipients usually conduct research and pursue academic careers as professors or research scientists.
Even though there are no specific master's degree programs in behavioral economics, general economics courses provide the general foundational knowledge and specialized study options that students need to pursue careers in the field or continue their studies in pursuit of a Ph.D.