M.S. Program Requirements and Handbook

M.S. Class of 2018

Program requirements for the M.S. may be found here. Students are required to read the program statement.

Fall 2020 Orientation Slides

M.S. students are required to take the following classes starting in the fall quarter of the academic year they enroll in the program. Students may also take additional classes if they desire.




Math Methods for Econ Analysis 186*

Macroeconomic Analysis 202

Applications Microeconomics 201

Microeconomic Analysis 200

Applied Econometric Analysis II 217


Advanced Quantitative Methods/Lab 114/114L

Financial Engineering 236

Finance 233

Masters Elective

Masters Elective

Applied Econometric Analysis I 216

Applied Economics and Finance Lab (R) 294A

Applied Economics and Finance Lab (Python) 294A**

Applied Economics and Finance Lab (Stata) 294A

Applied Economics and Finance Seminar 294B Applied Economics and Finance Seminar 294B

*Note: M.S. students are strongly encouraged to enroll in Econ 186, a pre-fall math course, which is highly beneficial to students’ success in the program. Econ 186 is offered as an accelerated short course before the start of fall quarter.
**Python Lab is highly recommended and is not required.

-Students who choose the finance track for their capstone exam may substitute a second elective for ECON 201.

-Students who choose the applied microeconomics track for their capstone exam may substitute a second elective for ECON 236.

All course instruction will be taught in English.


Students may satisfy the elective requirements by taking approved courses within the Economics Department or from another discipline.  The department has assembled a list of pre-approved master's electives (curricular offerings are subject to change annually).  Students will need to file a departmental petition for review and approval of courses that are not on the preapproved elective list. 

Pre approved masters program electives.

Comprehensive Capstone Requirement

Students must pass a comprehensive capstone requirement to receive their degree. This capstone requirement consists of a comprehensive examination, which will take place within two weeks of spring graduation. Students who do not pass the June examination may take it again in August at a date scheduled by the department. Further attempts at passing the comprehensive examination will be approved by the master's committee on an appeal-only basis, with appeals only given for extraordinary or extenuating circumstances.

Students may choose an emphasis in their comprehensive exam requirement based on their academic and professional interests, as reflected in their choices. The applied microeconomics and finance exams, respectively, will consist of one section each from the following courses:

Applied Microeconomics (complete 4 of 5 sections):

  • ECON 200*
  • ECON 201*
  • ECON 216
  • ECON 217
  • ECON 259B

Finance (complete 4 of 5 sections)

  • ECON 231
  • ECON 233*
  • ECON 234
  • ECON 235
  • ECON 236*

To complete the capstone exam requirement, students must declare an intended emphasis for the capstone from the following three options prior to June 1 of their spring quarter:

1. Applied Microeconomics: Students must pass the applied microeconomics exam in full, which entails choosing four of the five sections of the exam corresponding to the courses listed above.

2. Finance Emphasis: Students must pass the finance exam in full, which entails choosing four of the five sections of the exam corresponding to the courses listed above.

3. General Emphasis: Students must pass the core components of both exams, two in applied microeconomics and two in finance, for a total of four sections (see courses designated by *).

For those students who have specific research interests and have distinguished themselves in their coursework, a faculty-sponsored research project and thesis may replace the comprehensive examination requirement. This track requires approval of a faculty advisor and the master's degree committee prior to Feb. 1 of the student’s initial winter quarter.

Grading Policy

Graduate students at UC Santa Cruz have the option of receiving a letter grade, A-F in most courses. The grades of A or B shall be awarded for satisfactory work, with the addition of +'s and -'s. Grades of C or D will not satisfy any course requirement for a graduate degree at UC Santa Cruz. Students not electing to receive a letter grade will be given a satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U).

Academic Standing Information

To receive a master's degree from UC Santa Cruz, a student must register as a full-time graduate student at the University of California for a minimum of three quarters. To receive a degree from UC Santa Cruz, a student must be registered at the Santa Cruz campus for at least two of the three quarters.

Academic Progress
Along with enrolling in the necessary number of units, students are expected to maintain satisfactory academic standing during their time at UC Santa Cruz. Students not making satisfactory progress will be placed on academic probation, and students will be dismissed from the program if they do not remove their probationary status within one quarter. For example, if a student is placed on probation starting in the winter quarter, they must improve to the extent that their probationary status is removed by the beginning of the spring quarter.

Specifically, a student will be placed on academic probation if they fail any of the core (i.e., non-elective), 5-credit courses in the program. Students will be dismissed from the program if they fail core courses in consecutive quarters. The core courses are:  ECON 200, ECON 202, ECON 216, ECON 233, and ECON 217 OR ECON 114/ECON 114L.

Note that probation and dismissal can only be formally issued by the Graduate Division (under recommendation from the Economics Department). More details on these procedures, as well as student’s right to appeal such decisions, can be found in the Graduate Division Handbook:  http://graddiv.ucsc.edu/current-students/academic-regulations/index.html

By the end of the second week of instruction in the quarter you intend to graduate, you must file an "Application for Degree" form with the Division of Graduate Studies.