Economics, Accelerated AM

Master's Candidacy

To earn a master’s degree at Washington University, a student must complete all courses required by their department; maintain satisfactory academic progress; fulfill all academic and residence requirements; and file an Intent to Graduate. For a general layout of master’s degree general requirements in Arts & Sciences, including an explanation of Satisfactory Academic Progress, students should review the Master’s Degree Academic Information page of the Arts & Sciences Bulletin.

  • Students are expected to maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in courses that count toward their credit units. Note that plus and minus marks alter the numerical value of a letter grade.
  • Students must be enrolled in 9 graduate credits each semester to retain full-time status. As students complete their course work, if enrolled in fewer than 9 graduate credits, they must enroll in a specific Arts & Sciences graduate course that will show 0 units but does count as full-time status. Students should connect with a director of the AM program to ensure proper enrollment prior to the Add/Drop deadline.
  • For a general layout of master’s degree general requirements in Arts & Sciences, including an explanation of Satisfactory Academic Progress, students should review the Master’s Degree Academic Information page of the Arts & Sciences Bulletin.

Program Requirements

  • Total Units Required: 30
  • Degree Length: One year minimum, consecutive Fall and Spring semesters
    • Students must begin the AM program in the Fall semester immediately following the completion of the undergraduate degree. Deferred admission or entry in the Spring or Summer semesters is not possible.

The Department of Economics offers a Five-Year Accelerated Master's Degree to qualified undergraduate students at Washington University.

Additional information about the Five-Year Accelerated Master's Degree program requirements and application process can be found on the department website.

Applications must be submitted by March 15 of the undergraduate’s senior (or final) year, with February 15 as a preferred application deadline. GRE tests are not required, and there is no application fee. The program is available only to students currently in their senior (or final) year and only for continuous enrollment in the next academic year. There is no option for deferred admissions. Ideally, interested students should discuss their intent to apply with the Academic Coordinator by October of the senior (or final) year. The Academic Coordinator can explain, and assist with, the application process.

With pre-approval, students may apply two courses at the 400/4000-level or above (typically 6 units) toward the Master’s degree program requirements. These pre-approved undergraduate courses must be completed with a final grade of B or higher. All admissions to the Master’s program are provisional, pending the successful completion of the A.B. degree.

Required Courses

Students must complete the following 15 units:

Econ 5011Macroeconomics (MA)3
Econ 5301Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy3
Econ 530AFinancial Economics3
Econ 536Econometrics3
Econ 5361Computational and Empirical Methods in Economics3
Total Units15

Elective Courses

Most students will complete five economics electives (15 units), drawn from economics courses at the 500/5000-level or higher.

  • With preapproval from a director of the AM program, up to three electives (typically 9 units) may be drawn from other departments or schools.
  • Up to 3 units of elective credit may come from completion of a capstone project, or up to 6 units of elective credit may come from completion of a thesis. See the next section for additional details.

Additional Details

  • With preapproval from a director of the AM program, students may complete Econ 501 in lieu of Econ 5011 , Econ 503 in lieu of Econ 5031, and/or Econ 5161 in lieu of Econ 536.
  • Students interested in Econ 501 , Econ 503, and/or Econ 5161 are welcome to attend the math/statistics “boot camps” for first-year Ph.D. students. The “boot camps” occur in late July-mid August, and they meet in person. Please contact a director of the AM program, or the undergraduate Academic Coordinator, in the Department of Economics for further information.
  • Students must complete a capstone experience consisting of either a capstone exam, a (3-unit, semester-based) capstone project, or a Master’s thesis. (Refer to further details about the Master’s thesis in the next section.)
    • The capstone project is a directed, independent-study project, supervised by a faculty member. A student may earn three units of elective credit that can be applied to the 30 units required for the AM degree. An application is required, and approval must be granted, in the semester prior to enrollment in the capstone-project course. Interested students should consult with a director of the AM program. Students who do not satisfactorily complete the capstone project must complete the capstone exam.   
    • The capstone exam is a comprehensive examination reflecting the core, required classes in the AM program. The exam will be administered during the final exam period in the semester of graduation. Scheduling details will be provided by a director of the AM program. As with course grades, the exam must be passed with a grade of B or better to count towards the degree.  
  • Students are expected not to carry, at one time, any more than 9 units for which an I (incomplete), X (final examination missed), or N (grade not yet submitted) is recorded. The Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences, may deny a student permission to register for the subsequent semester when there are more than 9 unfinished units.

Thesis Requirements/Details

Students are required to have a capstone experience, and this may (optionally) take the form of an AM thesis. Three units of credit can be awarded each semester, for a maximum of 6 units toward degree requirements, for students writing a thesis. The thesis must satisfy the following requirements:

  1. An undergraduate, senior Honors Thesis may not be used as the AM thesis.  The AM thesis can be related to the senior Honors Thesis; but it must be a distinctly different paper. See the Academic Coordinator in the Department of Economics, the director of the AM program, and/or the Office of Graduate Studies in Arts & Sciences for Graduate Studies thesis guidelines.
  2. Students writing an AM thesis must work with a faculty advisor. Ideally, finding an advisor and beginning research should begin during the senior year of the undergraduate degree.
  3. The thesis topic is subject to approval by the master's student's faculty advisor and by a director of the AM program. As soon as the thesis topic has been approved (but no later than six months before the thesis defense is likely to occur), students should submit the Title, Scope and Procedure form to the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences.
  4. A Master's Thesis Guide and a template that provide instructions regarding the format of the thesis are available on the website of the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences. Both should be read carefully at every stage of thesis preparation.
  5. AM students must defend their thesis before a group of selected faculty. The defense date and the selected faculty committee will be arranged between the student and that student’s advisor. Students are required to make the full text of the thesis available to the committee members for their review at least one week before the defense. Most degree programs require two or more weeks for the review period; students should check with their faculty for further guidelines.
  6. After the defense, the student must submit an electronic copy of the thesis online to the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences via BePress at the university library. The degree program is responsible for delivering the Master's Thesis Approval form (PDF), signed by the committee members at the defense and then by the program chair, to the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences. Students who defend their theses successfully have not yet completed their master's requirements; they finish earning the degree only when their thesis submission has been accepted by the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences.

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