MA program


Our department is recognized for the quality of its teaching and research in both economics and econometrics. The learning environment is open and friendly with small classes and an actively involved faculty.

We admit approximately 15 to 20 new MA students and 3 new PhD students per year. This maintains the quality and intimacy of the program and our success in co-op placements. MA graduates will be well prepared for doctoral studies in economics or for research and analysis positions in the private or public sectors.

Our Master’s degree provides a rigorous foundation in economic theory and econometrics, supplemented by electives with an applied focus. The capstone to the MA program is either an Extended Essay or a Thesis. Students who choose the extended essay must complete the three core courses and five elective courses. Students who choose the Thesis Option must complete the three core courses and four elective courses.

Learning outcomes for the MA program include:

  • Learn foundation material from formal coursework in microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics, conducted at a level needed to pursue successful careers as professional economists or progression onto a PhD program
  • Identify and synthesize existing knowledge
  • Exposure to important research questions
  • Learn to identify relevant economic questions
  • Ability to use acquired knowledge to develop models of interest
  • Application of modeling tools and economic arguments to specific research questions
  • Ability to critically assess own work and that of others
  • Acquire effective communication skills through written work and oral presentations
  • Write research projects and an extended essay or thesis that illustrates skills acquired

Core courses

There are three required core courses for the MA degree:

Two of the three core courses are offered in the fall term only: ECON 500 Microeconomic Analysis (as well as the associated tutorial, denoted by "T" or lab denoted by "B") and ECON 545 Econometric Analysis. Most students elect to take ECON 516 Cost Benefit Analysis offered in the fall term as it is required for sutdents who wish to pursue the Co-op Education option. Those planning to complete the program in one year normally take a fourth course in the fall term as well. ECON 501 Macroeconomic Analysis is offered in the spring term only


For details on the number of elective courses to take please see the University of Victoria Academic Calendar.

The elective courses offered vary from year to year and in any given year only a subset of those listed in the University of Victoria Calendar will be offered.

Individual faculty members may offer Directed Studies courses at any time of the year and some additional theory courses are available jointly with their senior (400) level undergraduate equivalents. With the prior approval of the Graduate Advisor, students may also take a limited number of other suitable advanced level courses in economics or suitable courses offered by other departments.

Extended essay or thesis option

The MA program can be completed with an Extended Essay or a Thesis. Both the Extended Essay and the Thesis are substantial research projects done under the individual supervision of a faculty member. While completion times vary, a student can expect to take the equivalent of one semester of full time work to complete an Extended Essay and up to two semesters for a Thesis.

Most MA students take the Extended Essay option for the program rather than the Thesis option, but we encourage students to undertake the Thesis option, as it enables research to be completed at a more advanced level. Students should consult with the Graduate Advisor concerning their choice of program option.

Students must select a research topic and formalize arrangements with an Essay Supervisor by completing and submitting an MA Essay Registration Form or a MA Thesis Registration Form within twelve months of starting the program. Further information about this process will be provided to students in the Spring term.

Students are encouraged to follow their own interests and develop their own research topics with their supervisor. Professors also post research topics in their sphere of interests to the Department’s graduate web page.

Co-op option

An attractive feature of both the MA and the PhD degree is the co-operative education option. Students taking the co-op option have the opportunity to take semester-long paid employment with public and private sector employers. This provides an excellent opportunity for both domestic and international students to integrate professional experience into their degree program and obtain additional financial support. 

Students selecting the Co-op option must take Econ 516, Cost-Benefit Analysis (offered in the Spring term) prior to taking their first work term. They must also maintain a cumulative GPA of B (5.0) or better.

In order to receive the co-op designation on their UVic degree, M.A. students must complete a minimum of two, four-month work terms. It is also possible for students to go on a single work term, in such a case, the student’s degree will not include the recognition of a co-op option, but that of Work Experience.

There is a lot of flexibility allowed in scheduling co-op work terms. The following Table provides examples of the most common degree sequences:


Fall Spring Summer
Year 1 Study Study Co-op Work
Year 2 Study & Start Essay/Thesis Co-op Work Study & Complete Essay/Thesis


Fall Spring Summer
Year 1 Study Study Co-op Work
Year 2 Co-op Work Study & Start Essay/Thesis Study & Complete Essay/Thesis

Research undertaken during the work terms may provide the basis for the student's Thesis or Extended Essay.

Each work term is followed by a written report from the student that must be judged satisfactory by our department. Students who may be interested in the Co-op option will have an opportunity to meet the in the Fall of their first year in the program.

Co-op positions are filled by a competitive process involving the submission of applications and participation in interviews. Flexibility regarding job location and work setting increases the probability of placement. Visa students should note that they are not eligible to apply for Canadian Federal Government positions but are generally eligible for most other positions.

Information relating to the type of Co-op positions that are typically available to our graduate students, and some of the recent employers of our students, is provided in the Co-op section of our website.


Our faculty members have a broad range of research interests, as is reflected in their recent publications and other research activities.


See the How to Apply page for instructions on how to apply to the program.

Admission into the MA Program is highly competitive, and places are limited. Admission is offered only in the Fall Term (September) of each year. Normally, a student should have completed a BA in Economics before entering the MA Program, yet Bachelor's students who have undertaken a significant amount of work in Economics but have graduated with another degree are highly considered.

Aside from ascertaining that students possess skills at a level to undertake a MA, our department also requires students to have appropriate written and verbal communication skills. Students whose skills in any of these areas are considered to be inadequate may be asked to complete necessary upgrading prior to admission.

All applicants coming from a university outside North America are expected to complete the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). Applicants for admission whose first language is not English, and who have resided in Canada or other English-speaking countries for less than three consecutive years immediately prior to the session applied for, must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). IELTS and MELAB tests are also acceptable. Please see the Language Proficiency requirements.

Financial assistance

All students are considered for financial assistance. Financial assistance consists of teaching assistantships, scholarships and fellowships.

Students are encouraged to look for external support as well.

Further information

Students who require further information concerning the program should visit the Graduate FAQ page prior to contacting the .

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the above information, prospective students are urged to consult the latest University of Victoria Calendar, or contact the in the Department of Economics.