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“The ability to take data -- to be able to understand it, to process it, to extract value from it, to visualize it, to communicate. It’s going to be a hugely important skill in the next decades…” -- Hal Varian, Chief Economist, Google

Why an MS in Economics?

In today’s data driven world, companies increasingly rely on data analysts who can understand, organize, analyze, and synthesize data and who can communicate findings clearly. Economists distinguish themselves from other data analysts by their focus on understanding the causes of the trends underlying the data rather than just finding patterns in the data. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, the number of private sector economists has grown 57 percent in recent years as companies look for professionals who can sort through the large amounts of accumulated data with a focus on establishing causality and using results to identify new business opportunities. Further, the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists economists as one of the top five highest paid professions for individuals with master’s degrees. In comparison to other similar programs, Cal Poly’s M.S. Economics program provides students with significant depth in statistics, econometrics, and quantitative economic analysis. Combined with coursework in microeconomics, computer programming, and project-based field electives that utilize the skills learned in the econometric core, students graduate ready to hit the ground running and make immediate contributions to the firms that hire them.

The program

The M.S. Economics program is a full time 45-unit program in San Luis Obispo, CA that is typically completed in 10 months. It begins with a short intensive session in August and continues through the traditional Cal Poly academic year from September to June. In addition to coursework, students must pass a comprehensive exam covering the program core curriculum. Upon completion of the degree, students will have a solid foundation in econometrics and applied microeconomics and will be well prepared for jobs in the private or public sector involving data analysis, economic modeling, or the use of quantitative methods in general. The program could also be useful for those intending to enter a Ph.D. program but who wish to improve their quantitative skills before applying.

 

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