M.S. in International and Development Economics


Program Description

Program Details

The Master of Science in International and Development Economics is a two-year program in which students take three to four classes each semester, including an overseas field research project over the summer. Students desiring to go part-time can complete the program by taking two classes per semester for three years, undertaking their summer field research between the second and third years of the program.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the application of modern micro and macroeconomic theory to the key problems of economic development, trade and finance, including the analysis of market failures, poverty traps, the structure of incentives, the use of game theory to model institutional behavior, and open economy models of trade, migration, foreign direct investment, financial markets, and exchange rate determination.
  • Design and carry out a fieldwork-based research project, including the formation of an original research question, planning of an effective methodology, development of field protocols/survey instruments, and data collection in a developing or transition country.
  • Conduct original quantitative empirical analysis of an international or development economics problem. Specifically, students should be able to express an economic theory in terms of an observable model; determine the appropriate estimation method for the empirical model; utilize statistical software to conduct such estimation, and meaningfully interpret the results.
  • Effectively communicate research finding both in writing and orally, including the compilation of a professional literature review, clear presentation of theoretical and empirical models, econometric analysis, and the relevance of the study's principal findings and implications for international and/or economic development theory and policy.

Topics of Study

  • Econometric evaluation of development project impacts
  • Effects of globalization, international integration, and trade
  • Macroeconomics of developing countries
  • Agricultural economics and commodity markets in developing countries
  • Microcredit and microinsurance
  • Behavioral economics and studies of war and violence
  • Health and environmental policy in developing countries
  • Causes of poverty and famine
  • Women and development
  • International finance and currency stabilization
  • International labor markets and migration



The foundation requirements represent three bodies of knowledge that all graduate students must acquire before enrolling in the core courses. Requirements are waived if they have been met by previous studies or work experience. In addition, students are expected to have competence in standard spreadsheet applications.

  • Economic Theory – The fundamentals of economic theory at the undergraduate level, including intermediate microeconomics and intermediate macroeconomics.*
  • Mathematics – A fundamental understanding of college calculus and the ability to apply calculus and basic linear algebra to economic models.
  • Statistics – A basic knowledge of statistics, including random variables, probability distributions, confidence intervals, and hypothesis testing.

* Non-economics majors who have not taken Intermediate Microeconomics, Intermediate Macroeconomics, or Economic Methods (applications of mathematics and statistics to economics) take these classes as they begin the IDEC program. Students having taken these classes who did not earn a grade of B or higher are conditionally admitted. Conditional admission is removed when these requirements are satisfied, and such students are still able to complete the program in two years.

Overseas Field Study

Field study is coordinated with the help of a faculty adviser. The field research takes place in the summer between semesters of study at USF. Research collected during the field study can be applied toward the graduate research project. While the department and its faculty have developed relations with partner universities in the Philippines, India, El Salvador, and Guatemala, students are not limited to these partnerships and can identify and set up an internship at sites in other countries. Travel stipends are available from the university to help cover the costs of the summer internship but are not guaranteed.


In this seminar, students study and discuss a number of published empirical papers in international and development economics, which will serve as a guide for their own empirical work.

Summer Start Program

The Summer Start program is uniquely offered to non-economics, non-math students.


Sample Timelines

2 Year Program

Full-Time Student with a Non-Economics Undergraduate Degree

3 Year Program

Part-Time Student with an Economics Undergraduate Degree
Part-Time Student with a Non-Economics Undergraduate Degree

Last updated Feb 2018

About the School

As one of the country’s premier Jesuit Catholic universities, the College of Arts and Sciences pairs a rigorous academic curriculum with an urban, global perspective. The college's vision of success i ... Read More

As one of the country’s premier Jesuit Catholic universities, the College of Arts and Sciences pairs a rigorous academic curriculum with an urban, global perspective. The college's vision of success involves both the head and the heart, with outstanding faculty members giving students the skills and compassion to fashion a more just and humane world. Read less
San Francisco , Buenavista , Orange + 2 More Less