Frequently Asked Questions

By Topic


Are there minimum GRE/GMAT scores for GPA required for admission?

The Graduate School stipulates minimum GRE scores of 145 (verbal) and 141 (quantitative) for admission. However, successful applicants to the MA Economics program typically have scores higher than this. Rather than having specific score cut-offs for admission, we consider scores on individual sections of the test in conjunction with the applicant's academic background and performance, both in general and in specific coursework.

Note: GRE/GMAT scores are now optional, but still highly recommended.

Do you offer admission in both the fall and spring?

At this time, we only admit students to begin the program in the fall semester. 

I am an international student. Is there a minimum TOEFL score required?

Yes. The University requires a minimum score of 550 on the paper, 210 on the computer-based, or 79 on the internet based test. However, most of our successful applicants score higher than these minimum scores.

Will work experience be considered in admission decisions? Can it substitute for the standardized test requirement or prior academic performance?

Generally, no. Though not without their drawbacks, the GMAT and GRE, as well as undergraduate record, have been shown to be reasonable predictors of performance within our program and graduate programs in general. Graduate economics is academically, technically, and mathematically demanding. For specific inquiries regarding the relevance of work experience, contact the MA Coordinator.

Program and Curriculum

How long does it take?

Most students complete the program in two years (four semesters) of full-time study, although it sometimes can be completed in three. The MA Economics degree requires completion of 10 or 11 courses. If taking courses part-time, time until completion depends on the rate at which the student takes courses.

Are courses offered at night?

To accommodate part-time students who may be working full-time outside of their studies, some of our graduate courses are offered after 5 p.m.

Can the program be completed fully online?

The program cannot be completed online at this time. 

As a current Ph.D. student, can I get a Masters degree?

Yes. You need to fill out a Change of Status form, which allows you to apply to the MA program while remaining in the Ph.D. program. The form can be found here. Fill in the following information on the form and provide an estimated completion date:

Program currently enrolled in: Ph.D. in Business Administration
Major: Economics
Degree: Ph.D.
Will you be completing this degree program? Yes

If I'm currently enrolled in another Master's program (or already received another Master's degree) at the University of Memphis, can I obtain a second Master's degree in Economics?

Yes. Acceptance into the MA Economics program is still required. No more than six credit hours (with a "B" or better) of the other degree may be applied toward MA Economics degree, and application of that credit must be approved by the MA Coordinator. The two degrees may be pursued simultaneously or sequentially. If sequentially, the second MA degree must be completed within 6 years of taking the course(s) for which applied credit is desired.

If I'm in the Master's program and decide that I'd like to get a Ph.D., is it possible to enter the Ph.D. program at the University of Memphis?

Yes. A strength of our MA program is that it allows for the possibility of a relatively seamless transition into our Ph.D. program. Making the transition requires submitting a separate application to the Ph.D. program. Note that the standards for admission into the Ph.D. program may be higher than for the MA program. If you have already taken the comprehensive exam as a part of the MA degree program, you may have to retake one or more part of the exam in order to pass it at the higher level required of Ph.D. students. The Ph.D. comprehensive exam requires passing all three components, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics and Econometrics at the PhD level.

Instead of a 7000-level course, can I take the equivalent 8000-level course?

Yes. Some 8000-level courses are taught in conjunction with the equivalent 7000-level courses. 8000-level courses may involve additional assignments and/or higher grading standards. Because 8000-level courses are required for the Ph.D. degree, it is recommended that Masters students with an interest in eventually completing the Ph.D. at the University of Memphis enroll in 8000-level courses when available.

What courses should I take if I'd like to get into a Ph.D. program in economics?

Generally, in addition to the core theory courses, it is advisable to take advanced theory courses (Advanced Macroeconomics II and Microeconomics II), as well as advanced mathematics courses. Top Ph.D. programs generally advise or require incoming students to have taken three semesters of calculus as well as statistics, linear algebra, and real analysis. Some of these courses may be taken at the graduate level, and therefore may contribute toward the MA Economics degree, subject to approval of the MA Coordinator.

Graduation and Beyond

What Ph.D. programs have graduates of the MA Economics program at the University of Memphis been admitted to?

Recently, our MA graduates have gone on to Ph.D. programs at Stanford University, Cornell University, University of California Santa Barbara, Vanderbilt University, University of Colorado, and more.  An MA in Economics is also great preparation for other, non-economics graduate programs, including law school, public policy, business, political science, and international relations.

What are some types of jobs that graduates of the MA Economics program at the University of Memphis get?

The MA in Economics is a flexible and rather versatile degree, as reflected in the variety of jobs obtained by graduates of our program. Some employers of our recent graduates include FedEx, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, STATA corporation, and Raymond James, as well as investment banks, consulting companies, national and regional banks, and non-profits. Our graduates get jobs both in Memphis and other major cities, including Chicago, New York, and Washington D.C. 

Should I get an MBA or an MA in Economics?

It depends on what your goals are. The MBA is still the most recognizable degree in the business world. It offers general training in a number of areas of business that may be broadly applicable to management. In contrast, the MA in Economics offers concrete skills in business analytics, data handling and analysis techniques, cost-benefit analysis, and general problem-solving skills. In the age of big data, these skills have become invaluable, not just for specific jobs as economists or technical analysts, but for managers as well. The MA in Economics degree is correspondingly becoming increasingly popular and recognized. In terms of curriculum, the core curriculum is more focused than is the MBA, but offers more flexibility in terms of elective courses (such as, for example, the opportunity to focus your studies in finance) without having to take more than the required credit hours. Many students with experience in both degree programs find graduate Economics to be more challenging but also more rewarding.