MA in Global Development Economics


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

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This degree program is an intensive three-semester course of study designed for those seeking rigorous training in economics supplemented by training in the related disciplines of politics, international relations, public health, and infrastructure and environment. The economics core of this program is identical to that required of students taking the MA in Economics. In addition, the MA in Global Development Economics (MA GDE) includes a set of economics elective courses that focus on various aspects of development issues and the global economy. Candidates for the MA GDE will also join students from the MA in Global Policy (MGP) program in taking courses in governance and political economy, international public health, infrastructure, and environmental planning, and a capstone seminar.

The program is intended for students interested in a career in the economic development of lower- and middle-income countries and in transition economies, including working as policy analysts and decision-makers in government, nonprofit institutions, international organizations, and the private sector. The MAGDE is a STEM-designated degree program.

Applicants to this program should have, or be expecting, a bachelor’s degree in economics, economics, and mathematics, or a closely related discipline (from an institution recognized by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences). The MAGDE program does not accept applications for the Spring Semester.


Course Requirements

Candidates must complete a minimum of 12-semester courses (48 credits). Requirements in micro- and macro-economic theory, statistics, and econometrics are the same as those for the MA in Economics. The course requirements are as follows:

  • Four core courses in economics (EC 501, EC 502, EC 507, and EC 508) plus, if needed, EC 505
    These courses provide the basic analytic and quantitative training needed for the entire program. See the MA Program description for details.
  • Three core courses in global development policy
    These courses provide a basic background in governance and policy analysis, environmental issues and policy, and global health and development. Current research in these areas is examined from a critical and analytical perspective.
  • Four elective courses in economics
    A variety of MA economics elective courses are relevant and applicable to global development. Subject to departmental approval, some select courses offered by other departments can also be taken to fulfill the elective requirement for the MA GDE. All elective courses should make effective use of the students’ analytic and quantitative skills acquired through the economic core courses and reinforces this training by providing further opportunities for the application of mathematical modeling and quantitative methods. In addition to the capstone course, many elective courses also require students to undertake independent research or scholarship. Some elective courses are designed to advance the students’ knowledge of quantitative methods.
  • A final capstone course
  • Every student must undertake a capstone project in collaboration with a small group of MA GDE and MGP students. The project often takes the form of a consulting report on a challenging and realistic development problem using real-world data. At the instructor’s discretion, the results of an outstanding project may be presented to a real-world client.

For exact program requirements, see the departmental rules and regulations.

Language Requirement

There is no foreign language requirement for this degree.

Comprehensive Examination

Candidates must pass a written comprehensive examination that tests general knowledge of economic theory and quantitative methods. Every master’s student is expected to take the first available offering of a comprehensive examination after he/she has completed the economics core courses. This examination is offered twice a year.

Time Requirement

All courses and examinations must be completed within three years of the original registration at Boston University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. International students may be subject to additional restrictions imposed by the terms of their visas, as governed by the International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO).

Last updated May 2020

About the School

Welcome! Arts & Sciences is Boston University’s largest academic division, the heart of a world-class research university. Our faculty in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences are among the w ... Read More

Welcome! Arts & Sciences is Boston University’s largest academic division, the heart of a world-class research university. Our faculty in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences are among the world’s most respected professors, researchers, and professionals in their disciplines. Our alumni are leading innovation and research and making an impact in their fields. Our campus is Boston, a city vibrant with history, culture, and diversity, and teeming with potential for connections and careers. Read less