A master's degree program in economic development provides future leaders and policy makers with the tools they'll need to increase an area's economic welfare. These programs typically award a Master of Science degree. Below, you'll find an overview of the courses that are required and what you'll need for admission into a program.
Should I Get a Master's Degree in Economic Development?
If you're the type that enjoys using math and logical thinking to solve problems, a master's degree in economic development might be the right program for you. Admission to these programs is based on multiple factors that are listed in the next section of this article, and the curriculum typically takes 2-3 years to complete. Here are some common courses:
Economic Development Theory and Methods
This course outlines the processes involved in economic development. You'll learn how to properly conduct research and how the results are used to develop economic welfare. Most courses are part theory and part application.
Workforce Development and Labor Markets
Workforce and labor courses provide insight into how the labor market operates and the factors affecting it. You'll gain tools for analyzing different markets, researching the effects of unions, and understanding labor mobility. Furthermore, you can expect to learn how these tools apply to a professional role in economic development.
Finance Related to Economic Development
Many programs require a graduate-level finance course designed specifically for economic development students. Topics covered include public financing, tax analysis, and other practices necessary for economic development specialists. Some programs might require the study of finance topics through a more general course on public finance.
Land Use Planning
In these courses, you'll learn the fundamentals of real estate and how to efficiently use available land. Topics covered include real estate marketing, zoning, building codes, and how to properly work with real estate and legal officials. These courses focus on current real estate practices rather than theory.
International Economic Development
International economic development courses prepare you to analyze the global economy and understand how international factors affect developing communities. You might study international trade and its role in spurring economic growth as well as methods for stimulating foreign investment in domestic industries.
How Do I Get Admitted to a Master's Degree Program in Economic Development?
Many graduate economic development programs require applicants to possess a bachelor's degree and have at least a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale, although it might be easier to get in with a higher grade point average. Additionally, these programs require students to take either the GMAT or GRE and present their scores to the university. At least three letters of recommendation are required as well as a personal essay/statement of purpose in which you tell the school what you expect to get out of the program.
Obtaining a master's degree in economic development is a great choice if you're passionate about helping communities grow and you like to solve problems with math and logic. The programs can be competitive, so make sure to study hard for the standardized tests and present yourself well in your personal essay.