Jul 17, 2024  
Rensselaer Catalog 2024-2025 
Rensselaer Catalog 2024-2025

Economics M.S.

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The Economics Master of Science program provides skills to apply microeconomic principles and data analytics to decisions and policy, including for markets, organizations, and government.

The program prepares students with core skills related to microeconomic theory, economic growth and innovation, and econometrics. Included are principles of optimal decision making; evaluation of individual, organizational, and societal costs and benefits; the role of markets; analytical modeling; data analytics; econometric techniques to explore relationships in data, assess causality, and make forecasts; econometric software use and reporting; determinants of economic growth; and the roles of science, innovation, and technology in driving growth. A quantitative and mathematical approach is used throughout.

Students also develop skills tailored for their future plans. These skills may include behavioral economics: analysis of actual behavior patterns of individuals, experimental techniques to study human behavior, economic theory to account for actual behavior, and policies to nudge behaviors and outcomes or to take advantage of behaviors for financial markets or other economic insights. Students may explore strategic interactions in economic applications of game theory. Students may study determinants and impacts of technological innovation, and how to better manage innovation processes and strategy. For health care, one of the biggest sectors of the economy, students may analyze patient and physician behaviors, government and medical industry policies, pharmaceutical and medical device industries, and the resulting cost and health care outcomes. Students gain extensive skills in data analytics, often extending their skills with leading-edge econometric techniques in big data analysis and management, and sometimes spanning disciplines to develop cognate data analytic skills such as computational data management algorithms and deep learning and neural network prediction. Students may develop interdisciplinary programs combining study of mathematics, computer science, engineering, management, or other disciplines.

The program can be completed in two semesters and 30 credits.

Applicants to the M.S. in Economics program should have completed a bachelor’s program at an approved institution or should be in a bachelor’s degree program at Rensselaer. Preparation prior to entering the M.S. program should include basic undergraduate courses in economics and mathematics, including calculus. Some background in statistics is strongly recommended. Coursework is selected in consultation with the program adviser. A thesis is optional, and requires that the student pass a comprehensive oral examination. There is no foreign language requirement

Outcomes of the Graduate Curriculum

Students who successfully complete this program will be able to:

  • Apply concepts and models of applied microeconomics to describe and/or explain decision-making by individuals and firms.
  • Analyze and discuss the economic behavior and performance of individuals, organizations, governments, and nations using mathematical and other analytic models from economics.
  • Apply statistical and econometric methods to analyze data and draw interpretations about economic topics.

Graduation Requirements

  • Thirty (30) credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree
  • At least half of the total credit hours must contain the course numbers 6000-7999
  • Must be registered for at least two terms and complete a minimum of 24 credit hours of resident instruction
  • Individual course requirements can be waived or substituted -in exceptional circumstances -by the Department without decreasing the total number of credits required for the degree.



  • Other 4000- or 6000- level Economics courses1,2
  • Appropriate 4000- or 6000-level courses from cognate programs such as Mathematics, Computer Science, Engineering, or Management1,2
    • Not to exceed 15 credit hours
  • Independent study and research courses1,2



  1. No more than 15 credits at the 4000-level are to be allowed. Additionally, credit(s) from 1000- and 2000-level coursework cannot be applied to the Plan of Study.
  2. All course selections must be made in consultation with the faculty advisor.Courses outside the Economics Department are subject to approval of the Economics Graduate Program Director, as pertinent to the student’s program of study, must be at the 4000-level or higher level, and may have required prerequisites.
  3. Master’s Thesis is optional and can be taken in the final semester alone or split between the first and second semesters.

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