Master's in Economics for Non-Economics Majors

Jun 04, 2018

A master's degree in economics can be useful for students majoring in non-economic fields. This article discusses the benefits of getting a postgraduate economics degree, as well as potential careers, program information, academic requirements, and what you can do to prepare.

A master's degree in economics is not only important for those majoring in economics, but can also be a very useful qualification for people with backgrounds in other disciplines. This study can increase your ability to analyze and interpret trends and developments using statistics and forecasting, and knowledge of economic theory will be useful in many other careers. Some of the most common employment sectors for those with an MA in economics are as follows.

Economics Careers

Careers available to those who have completed a master's degree in economics include the following:

Career Median Annual Salary (2017)* Projected Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Economist $102,490 6%
Postsecondary Economics Teacher $98,350 11%
Financial Analyst $84,300 11%
Statistician $84,060 34%
Market Research Analyst $63,230 23%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Economics Career Descriptions


Economists research, study and analyze financial data. Using mathematical models, trends and economic forecasting they evaluate and predict the supply, demand and distribution of goods, services and resources in a wide variety of sectors. A master's degree is normally the minimum level of education required.

Economics Postsecondary Teacher

A master's degree in economics is the minimum qualification required to teach postsecondary economics courses. Typically this will involve teaching entry level economics classes or working at a community college. A PhD is usually necessary to teach at higher levels.

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts collect and monitor data in the financial services sector. They analyze this data and use it to form beneficial models, identify trends and recommend strategies. Their conclusions are used to provide guidance when making business and investment decisions. A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement, although due to strong competition for jobs in the field a master's degree is highly recommended.


Statisticians collect, organize and study mathematical data. This data is then consolidated into useful formats for use by companies and institutions. In an economic context this data is used to draw conclusions regarding the financial environment as it pertains to business, financial services and political policy. While some entry-level positions may only require an undergraduate degree, for most jobs a master's degree will be necessary.

Market Research Analyst

Market research analysts collect data and engage in research to help companies identify tendencies and design marketing strategies. They study market conditions and use data on demographics and consumer patterns to devise efficient marketing approaches. A bachelor's degree can get you started, but for most management and upper level positions applicants should have a master's degree.

General Program Information

While most applicants to economics graduate programs have completed a bachelor's degree in economics, this is not necessarily required, and those majoring in other areas are still accepted. Although many schools do not require a bachelor's degree at all, you normally still need to have completed the necessary economic coursework, and having an undergraduate degree will certainly improve your chances of being accepted. Finance, marketing, and political science are all particularly helpful majors when it comes to gaining entrance into a graduate economics program. It is important to have a strong background in statistics, mathematics and calculus.

GRE (Graduate Record Examination) results are sometimes required. Even if they are not, however, providing a record of high GRE scores will certainly enhance your chances of acceptance. In particular, it is essential to score well in the quantitative sections, although they will also take into account your verbal, writing, and analytical scores.

You will need to provide all education transcripts, and it is always advantageous to include letters of recommendation when possible.

In order to ready yourself for a master's program in economics you should take as many undergraduate economics courses as possible, then focus on additional quantitative courses. Calculus, statistics and forecasting will help create a solid base of knowledge for your graduate studies. In addition, you should read the most popular academic literature in the field so that you are familiar with current trends and theories. If you are currently taking economics classes, ask your professors for any advice they can provide with regard to preparation and application. Finally, if you have decided which school you hope to attend, you should engage in detailed research of that institution's particular focus and philosophy.

The expertise gained through graduate-level economic study will help you understand personal and public finance, interpret political policies, and recognize financial trends. Whether you plan to make economics your career specialty or simply wish to increase your knowledge base and enhance your ability in another profession, a master's degree in economics can prove to be a practical and valuable path.

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