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Graduate Degrees & Programs

Why a Master's degree in Economics & Finance?

A Master's degree in Economics and Finance serves students' career goals in a number of ways. Graduates of the Master's program have successfully entered a variety of career paths. For example, some serve as financial analysts in corporate headquarters, investment houses, and brokerage firms. Others are employed in research and supervisory positions in marketing research firms, public utilities and regulatory agencies, state budget and revenue offices, and federal government agencies. Graduates have been admitted to doctoral programs and prestigious law schools. Several SIUE alumni are instructors or administrators at community colleges, liberal arts colleges, and universities.

Why at SIUE?

Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville offers a Master's degree in Economics and Finance with attractive features that are not available at many other institutions. These features include:

  • Small classes to ensure interaction with a faculty recognized for quality research and leadership in professional organizations.
  • An internationally known program, drawing applicants from Europe, Africa, South America, and Asia.
  • Accreditation by the AACSB through the SIUE School of Business.
  • Focus on skill building projects based on SAS and other software extensively used in the industry and academia.

Degree Programs

The Department of Economics and Finance offers programs leading to a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in Economics and Finance and a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Economics and Finance. Both degree programs require a common core curriculum followed by emphasis in either Applied Economics or Finance. The M.A. degree program is intended for the student who wishes to pursue further academic work leading to a Ph.D., D.B.A., law or other professional degree, or to pursue a career of teaching at the community college level. The M.A. program provides a solid foundation in economic and finance theory and research methodology, both of which are valuable to successful doctoral studies. The MA curriculum also provides a solid foundation for students interested in attending law school, especially in tax, antitrust, corporate (mergers and acquisitions), or securities law specialties.

The program leading to the M.S. degree is designed for students interested in pursuing a professional career in business or government upon graduation. Emphasis is on development of expertise in applying the concepts and methodology of economics and finance. The program's flexibility enables a student to acquire the skills required to work at a variety of firms in the financial industry, such as commercial and investment banks, brokerage houses, mutual funds, life and health insurance companies, real estate investment trusts, pension funds, and corporate finance departments of non-financial firms. The training our M.S. graduates receive also is useful for students employed as business or government economists. Business economists prepare forecasts, perform cost analysis and market studies, develop and evaluate pricing strategies, and assist in corporate planning. Students will also find that this degree prepares them well for many positions with government agencies, particularly those offices addressing budget, revenues, debt management, forecasting, economic development, or regulatory issues.


Applicants for admission to the M.A. or M.S. program are required to meet the minimum admission requirements of the Graduate School and to have an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution. An applicant's academic record should reflect proficiency in intermediate economic theory and statistics within seven years prior to admission. Knowledge of the fundamentals of calculus is highly recommended. Applications for admission must include official scores from either the Graduate Record Examination or Graduate Management Aptitude Test.

Applicants with undergraduate degrees in fields other than economics and finance or with deficiencies in economic theory, financial management, or statistics are encouraged to complete the following courses or their equivalents: intermediate microeconomic theory (ECON 301), intermediate macroeconomic theory (ECON 302), Financial Management and Decision Making (FIN 320) and statistics (MS 251). See the course catalogue for course descriptions. Credit earned to remove such deficiencies will not be applied to the graduate degree program.

Applicants for admission to the MA or MS program are required to meet one of the following admission standards:

  1. STUDENTS WITH AN UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE IN BUSINESS FROM AN AACSB ACCREDITED INSTITUTION WITH AN OVERALL GPA OF 3.5 (A= 4.0) OR BETTER: Applicants meeting these requirements must meet the requirements for admission to the Graduate School and have the option not to submit GMAT or GRE scores. Instead, they must submit two letters of recommendation, preferably from faculty members at their prior institutions. Nevertheless, the applicants can always choose to submit the GMAT (Program code: 3T9CD19) or GRE (Designate Institution #1759) scores along with their application, even if they meet the above requirement. Students in the final year of their undergraduate programs can apply to the graduate program any time after the start of the final semester of their undergraduate business program.
  2. ALL STUDENTS NOT IN CATEGORY (1) ABOVE: Applicants for admission to the MA or MS program must meet the requirements for admission to the Graduate School and must submit GMAT (Program code: 3T9CD19) or GRE (Designate Institution #1759) scores. In addition, they must also submit two letters of recommendation, preferably from faculty members at their prior institutions. A typical applicant admitted to the MA or MS program has at least 50% and 60% on the verbal and quantitative portions of the examination, respectively.

Admission to the program is competitive. The program's graduate admissions committee reviews all applications. The committee will also review applications that do not meet the criteria above and may recommend that an applicant be admitted as an exception. The committee makes recommendations to the Graduate Program Director, whose decision is final.

Decisions regarding financial assistance will be made primarily on the basis of undergraduate performance and test scores. In addition, applicants are encouraged to submit up to three letters of recommendation. All inquiries about admissions should be directed to the Graduate Program Director.

Programs of Study

Within the graduate student's first term of enrollment, an advisory committee of at least three graduate faculty will be formed to oversee and direct the student's program in accordance with Graduate School policies. This committee will be responsible for monitoring the student's progress in the program. For students selecting an Applied Economics emphasis, the committee will include a graduate advisor from the economics faculty. For students selecting a Finance emphasis, the committee will include a graduate advisor from the finance faculty.

Candidates for the MA and MS degrees must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 30 hours of graduate course work. Students must maintain a "B" average (3.0) overall and complete the required core courses ECON 501 and 502, FIN 501 and 502, and ECON/FIN 515 and 517 with at least a “B” (3.0) with no more than one “C” in these core courses. All candidates must complete at least 21 hours of program courses at the 500 level. Up to 9 hours of electives may be taken at the 400 level. Courses that count as electives towards the MA or MS in Economics and Finance are listed in the graduate catalog.

In addition, each candidate must give an oral presentation in order to satisfy the exit requirement. Typically, one of the research projects from an eligible course in the student’s curriculum is used in the exit presentation.

An emphasis in Applied Economics requires at least six hours of electives in Economics. An emphasis in Finance requires at least six hours of electives in Finance. Candidates for the MA degree must also complete a thesis in Economics or Finance for six semester hours. The graduate director must approve all elective courses in the student's program.

Financial Assistance

A limited number of graduate assistantships are available to qualified students. The department also collaborates with the International Trade Center (ITC website) and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC website) on campus for assistantship opportunities. More information about financial assistance can be found in the links below:

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