The Doctoral Program
The doctoral program provides students with a sophisticated and critical grounding in economic analysis, so that they can contribute creatively to research, teaching, and social policy. This commitment has gained the Department an international reputation as a center of research in innovative approaches to economics.
The entering graduate class consists of ten to twelve students each year. The focus of the Department, as well as its policy of maintaining small classes and promoting close contact between faculty and students, has permitted the program to attract talented students on a par with other highly selective graduate programs in the country.
The students are of diverse backgrounds, nationality, gender, and race. They are drawn by the program's strengths in such areas as political economy, development economics, international economics, economic history, gender and class, labor economics, comparative economic systems, and growth and distribution as well as in theoretical and applied micro- and macroeconomics. This leads to a breadth of perspective unusual among graduate programs in economics.
Students can work with faculty on research employing a variety of approaches to economics, including neoclassical, Marxist, institutionalist, feminist, and post-Keynesian approaches. The faculty's research interests include pure theory, empirical work, and policy analysis.
The Department is committed to innovation in economic theory, to improvement in economic life, and to be an open environment for critical intellectual inquiry. This diversity has proved fertile ground for learning and research.
Our graduates have been recruited by leading liberal arts and research institutions in the United States and abroad. They include such public institutions as the Universities of California, Texas, Michigan State, and Vermont; private universities such as American University, Harvard, MIT, Cornell, Notre Dame, and the University of Southern California; and such liberal arts colleges as Bowdoin, Colby, Smith, Mount Holyoke, Vassar, Knox, Franklin and Marshall, Skidmore, William and Mary, Grinnell, and Middlebury. Others have chosen to work in such non-academic institutions as the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, the United Nations, the Economic Policy Institute, and various labor union research and education departments.
The University is located in Amherst which is situated in the historic Pioneer Valley--one of the most interesting natural and social environments in New England. Bordering on the Berkshire hills, the area is noted for its year-round musical and arts activity.
The home of Smith, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Amherst Colleges as well as the University of Massachusetts, the Valley enjoys sophisticated musical, artistic, political, and recreational resources. Amherst is two hours from Boston, four hours from New York, and one hour from Bradley International Airport. There are ample bus and train connections for domestic and international travel.
The Master of Arts Degree
The Graduate Program in Economics is primarily designed for doctoral candidates, but a Master of Arts in Economics can be awarded along the way. Course requirements for the Master's are the same as for the Ph.D. The Comprehensive Examinations, Dissertation Prospectus, and Doctoral Dissertation are not required. The candidate may elect to submit a Master's Thesis, but it is not required.
4+1 Accelerated Master's Degree
Please note: the 4+1 program is undergoing departmental review and is not accepting new applications at this time.
The 4+1 MA in the Department of Economics is an accelerated master's degree program for undergraduate students at UMass Amherst, Mount Holyoke College, Hampshire College, Amherst College, and Smith College. Students are accepted into this program in the spring semester of their junior year, and in their fourth year they take two graduate courses each semester. In the fifth year, a student takes four graduate courses each semester, for a total of 12 courses, or 36 credits.
UMass students who have accumulated at least 126 credits by the end of their senior year can count up to six credits of graduate course work toward both their BA and MA, completing both degrees in five years. Students at the other four colleges should consult their academic advisor to determine how they can complete the MA degree in the fifth year.
If you are exploring the possibility of the 4+1 MA, contact our Graduate Program Office. UMass undergraduates can speak with an academic advisor about general questions concerning how to manage course loads and course overloads.
Professor Mwangi wa Gĩthĩnji