MA in Economics
Milton Friedman once described the “Chicago School” of economics as rejecting both theory without evidence and evidence without theory. This is equally true of economics at Clemson. The goal of our graduate program is to help students become adept at using economic theory in order to formulate and test hypotheses about any aspect of social interaction. The wide range of topics investigated by Clemson students testifies to our success in reaching this goal. In recent theses and dissertations, our students have studied the political determinants of the geographical distribution of Canadian federal government spending, the pattern of state spending on African-Americans’ education in South Carolina in the first half of the twentieth century, the relation between education and economic growth in the states of the U.S., the proper pricing of stock options, and the extent to which tort reform has affected health care services.
The MA in Economics
Many students come to Clemson for the purpose of obtaining a terminal master’s degree. We consider our master’s program an integral part of our overall graduate program and believe that we offer excellent professional preparation for analysis or management positions in business or government. Job placement for Clemson’s MA graduates ranks with the top MBA programs in the region. The program is also an excellent first step toward advanced graduate work in economics or law at other universities. As in the case of the PhD program, the MA curriculum stresses the development of students’ analytical skills, in particular their ability to identify key questions and to use theoretical and empirical tools to answer them.
Students who enroll in the MA program as their terminal degree as well as students with plans to pursue further graduate study elsewhere are required to complete 24 semester hours of course work and submit an acceptable thesis. There is also a non-thesis option in which students substitute more quantitative courses for the thesis.
Application Deadlines & Financial Assistance
Apply now. You can initiate your application process with the informal application. For early consideration for financial aid, we need a completed application including official transcripts and GRE scores by Jan. 15. However, this is not a deadline. We will consider applications into the spring semester.
Financial assistance is focused on students studying for the PhD in economics. Apply early if you want funding. Several of the most generous university-wide fellowships are decided in February following nomination by the department. In order to qualify for these awards, applicants must submit all official transcripts and other supporting documents by early January. However, we consider applications from promising students continuously throughout the year.
The primary source of funding for our graduate students is the department itself. Promising first-year students receive research assistantships that pay direct stipends of $15,000 for the academic year, and are accompanied by a reduction in tuition and fees to a nominal level. University-wide and outside fellowship awards supplement this stipend for top applicants. Do note that department stipends are subject to review beginning in the second semester, for their continuation is contingent upon satisfactory performance.
In addition to the standard stipend, the department awards competitive fellowships funded by our John E. Walker endowment. Fellowships of up to $6,000 enhance the base stipend for truly gifted students.
Second-year students are eligible for teaching assistantships as well as research assistantships. Teaching assistants are chosen on the basis of their performance in their first-year classes and their proficiency in spoken English. Those who perform well as teaching assistants in their second year are eligible to teach courses on their own in their third year and beyond. Assistantship awards to students who teach their own courses are quite substantial.
Our most prestigious awards are the Earhart Fellowship and Koch Dissertation Fellowships. These are awarded for one academic year to students who exhibit exceptional promise. These fellowships pay $20,000 per year and cover all tuition and fees.
All in all, every effort is made to fund our graduate students. Even in those cases where the stipend may be small, the tuition savings are large. The quality of education and excellent placement record of the department, as well as the very low cost of living here, make it worthwhile to consider Clemson over many other schools that may offer slightly higher initial stipends. We are committed to fund every outstanding student.