Academic Catalog


Master of Arts Economics (MA)

Jay K. Walker, Graduate Program Director

Economics is “the social science concerned with how individuals, institutions, and society make optimal choices under conditions of scarcity.” This is a broad field, covering everything from unemployment and inflation to stock market crashes and depressions, from perfect competition among firms to oligopoly and monopoly. Microeconomics studies firms, consumers, goods markets, resource markets, labor markets, and the price system. Macroeconomics studies unemployment, inflation, money supplies, interest rates, exchange rates, national debt, and economic growth.  Economics is generally concerned with the problems of incentives, wealth, poverty, and income distribution.

Economics provides a good background for jobs in business, banking, finance, marketing, law, government, politics, military, diplomacy, and journalism.  Our graduates have typically found economics positions in banks and firms, go to work in government, teach economics at community colleges, or enter MBA or Ph.D. programs in Economics and Finance.

Attention International Students: Please note the program is a STEM-designated degree according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. International students receiving the M.A. degree may apply for the extended OPT program which allows up to 3 years of work in the United States after program completion.

Economics is very important for the formulation of public policy, business strategies, and financial strategies and at the graduate level tends to be very quantitative.  In the Master of Arts in Economics program, students will develop strong mathematical and statistical skills, as well as learn about how the economy works.  Economists do economic analysis, make economic and econometric models of the economy, formulate economic policy, make business strategies, forecast economic variables, and do benefit-cost analysis. At the end of the program, an additional goal is that students will be prepared to earn the Certified Business Economist (CBE) designation from National Association for Business Economists (NABE).

The Old Dominion University Department of Economics is especially strong in regional economics, international economics, and econometrics. The department is the home of the Hampton Roads Regional Economic Forecasting Project and the State of the Region Report with our MA students often being involved in those projects.

If taken full time, the MA in Economics program can be easily completed within 21 months.  At a faster pace, the program can be completed in as little as 16 months.  Alternatively, the program can be completed attending part-time, but more time will be required.

If not taken as part of their prior undergraduate curriculum certain prerequisites must be completed before enrolling in MA core courses.  A student must have completed courses in calculus (3 hours), statistics (3 hours), and intermediate microeconomics or intermediate macroeconomics (3 hours from at least one of the two) with a grade of B or better.  These courses may be completed here at Old Dominion prior to taking the MA program core courses.

The MA program in Economics is more intensive than the Bachelor’s degree (BA/BS) in Economics.  The MA courses study economics at a deeper level than in the undergraduate courses, and are more mathematical.  Graduate students must maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or better.  All students in the program are trained in economic theory and research methods, and take several courses emphasizing business or government policy analysis in various specialty areas.  An independent research project is required, permitting students an opportunity to apply theory and empirical research techniques to real-world problems.

The Department of Economics encourages interdisciplinary training.  The Master’s program can be adapted for students desiring a diverse background by combining economics with graduate courses in sociology, political science, computer science, statistics, mathematics, finance, management, marketing research, or public administration.