Learning Goals and Assessment for Masters

Masters Program in Economics

Adopted February 2008

(revised November 2011)

We do not currently offer a masters degree track for incoming students. The following information is only for PhD students currently in the program who either: (i) wish to obtain a Masters degree during their progress towards PhD; or (ii) are ending their pursuit of a PhD and wish to establish whether they can obtain instead a Masters degree.

The Master’s program in Economics trains students at the highest academic level and positions them to assume professional roles in all sub-disciplines within the broad areas of macroeconomics, microeconomics, and econometrics. The learning goals of the department, assessment of each goal, and role of the program in helping students achieve the goals are described below.

1.  Attain marked ability, scholarship, research and leadership skills in economics, with specialization in selected sub-discipline.

Assessment of student achievement of goal:     

  • Grades in core macroeconomic, microeconomic and econometric graduate courses
  • Qualifying examinations assessing depth and breadth of knowledge in core graduate courses (if exam option chosen)
  • Grades in courses selected from one chosen sub-discipline (field) of specialization
  • Review by faculty of student progress with close advising and mentoring
  • Knowledge of suitability and attainability of different careers upon completion of the Master’s program in economics

Role of the program in helping students to achieve goal:

  • The department is actively engaged in maintaining and updating regularly a comprehensive graduate student on-line reference source.
  • Providing a direct link to graduate program information on our department website. Links from the graduate program page include Prospective Students, Programs of Study, Required Courses, Graduate Curriculum, Admitted Student FAQs, Grad Student Directory, Graduate Alumni A-K, Graduate Alumni L-Z, Ph.D. Job Placement, Degrees Awarded, Graduate Awards, Job Market Candidates.
  • Graduate program information on the web is assessed and updated regularly in consultation with the graduate director and the departmental “Graduate Education and Curriculum Committee” and“Graduate Admissions and Standards Committee”.
  • Close advising and lecturing to assure that students are being academically prepared in a coherent and academically rigorous fashion.
  • The department provides coherent and detailed statements of all grading and course-work requirements that must be met by students in order to remain in “good standing” in the program.
  • Effective monitoring of student progress
    • By departmental “Graduate Admissions and Standards Committee”
    • By departmental “Examination and Dissertation Committee”
    • Bi-annual reports on research progress from both the student and the student’s committee chair
  • Periodic review of curricular offerings, degree requirements and assessment tools
    • By department at regular departmental meetings
    • By graduate program faculty
    • By departmental “Graduate Education and Curriculum Committee”
    • By departmental “Graduate Admissions and Standards Committee”
    • By periodic external review of the department
    • In consultation with the office of the dean of the graduate school and/or the unit dean

2.  Engage in and conduct research

Assessment of graduate student achievement of goal:

  • Completion of an research essay showing insight and originality of interpretation
  • Preparation of and defense of M.A. proposal
  • Assessment of quality of M.A. essay:
    • Public defense of M.A. essay
    • Critical reading of research by committee of graduate faculty members.
  • Achievement of students as evidenced by professional placements

Role of the graduate program in helping students achieve goal:

  • Provide feedback on M.A. essay from advisor
  • Provide oversight through departmental “Graduate Examination/Dissertation Committee”
  • Provide early introduction to research methods and opportunities for research
  • Provide ongoing constructive criticism of research agenda, in consultation with thestudent’s M.A. committee
  • Provide regular meetings between student and research advisor(s) to ensure that adequate progress is being made in research
  • Provide opportunities to present research and receive feedback
  • Provide comprehensive advising and assist in the identification of mentors
  • Offer a variety of workshops where recent and cutting-edge research is presented
    • Workshops run by the department for the benefit of faculty and graduate students include the Econometrics Workshop, Empirical Microeconomics Workshop, Macroeconomic Theory Workshop, Microeconomic Theory Workshop and the Workshop in Money, History and Finance

3.  Prepare to be professionals in careers that require training at the highest levels in economics and selected sub-disciplines.

Assessment of graduate student achievement of goal:

  • Review evidence of research completed and professional networking
  • Examine students’ placement data
  • Survey alumni

Role of the program in helping students achieve goal:

  • Job placement advice is given to all job market applicants
  • Encourage participation in professional development programs in such areas as  library use; course management software; interview skills; presentation skills, development of CVs, use of research tools, databases, etc.; training in the responsible conduct of research; and proposal writing
  • Teach students how to do assessments of their future professional capacities
  • Develop or enhance programs related to job and networking skills, including activity in professional societies and job market preparation
  • Acquaint students with non-academic career opportunities

The Department of Economics and associated committees, composed of faculty members active in the graduate program, regularly review the structure and content of the program, as well as the feedback received from assessments and surveys.  These reviews are used to evaluate and adjust learning goals put forth in this document in order to best fulfill the program’s goal of providing an optimized learning experience for students, leading to optimal knowledge pass-through and optimal placement upon graduation.