We offer four distinct Master’s Programs:
- Master of Arts in Economics (MAE)
- Master of Arts in Analytical Political Economy (MAPE)
- Master of Science in Economics & Computation (MSEC)
- Master of Science in Quantitative Financial Economics (MQFE)*
Students interested in joining any of our programs must meet requirements set by the Duke Graduate School, as well as the Department of Economics. Specific requirements and application deadlines vary by program.
You can learn more about our programs and the application process through the following information and links. Some of these lead you directly to the Graduate School website where the most accurate, up-to-date information is available.
*Note: MQFE is not accepting applications for 2023.
You can learn more about each of our Master's Programs by visiting their individual webpages (links provided above and on the right of this page). Here we provide a quick overview that highlights some of the differences and similarities of the programs.
Candidates may be finishing a B.A./B.S., M.A./M.S., or have some professional experience. All our programs can be completed in 3 or 4 semesters. You should expect coursework to be highly rigorous and technical. An undergraduate degree in economics is not required for any of our programs; however, we do expect an understanding of basic economic principles. The only requirement is that entering students have a full calculus sequence (either calculus II or calculus III, depending on their undergraduate institution’s structure) prior to enrolling. International applicants should indicate corresponding courses in mathematics or mathematical economics.
M.A. Economics (MAE): Prospective students should be prepared to enter a quantitatively rigorous program. Upon graduation, they pursue doctoral studies or industry professions in finance, accounting, consulting, tech, and others.
M.A. Analytical Political Economy (MAPE): Prospective students will find an undergraduate background in political science and/or economics to be helpful. Some graduates pursue doctoral studies. Many others start or resume a career, typically in government, public policy, or consulting.
M.S. Economics & Computation (MSEC): Prospective students will find an undergraduate background in computer science, applied math, engineering, statistics and/or economics to be helpful. Upon graduation, they pursue doctoral studies or professions in tech, data science, and others.
M.S. Quantitative Financial Economics (MQFE): Prospective students should hold a strong quantitative background. Students entering this program are expected to have taken courses in multivariable calculus, linear algebra (including differential equations) and probability and statistics. A background in programming (ideally Matlab or R) is preferable. This program is not accepting applications for 2023.
The MAE, MSEC, and MQFE degree programs classify as STEM (CIP Code 45.0603: Econometrics and Quantitative Economics). Students in these degree programs can apply for a 24-month STEM extension of F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT).
Application deadlines vary for our various Master's programs. To see upcoming deadlines, visit the Graduate School Application Deadlines page.
NOTE: MQFE is not accepting applications for 2023.
Applicants interested in pursuing a graduate degree in economics must apply through the Duke University Graduate School. Please refer to The Graduate School's website for information about application procedures and requirements. For general admissions questions or questions about the university requirements, you may also contact the Duke Graduate School at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We strongly recommend that applicants submit an original writing sample demonstrating academic and research capabilities. Applicants are also required to complete a supplemental questionnaire. This will be included as part of the required application materials available from the Graduate School Admissions website. If you would like to preview the questions that will be required in the application, you may download the appropriate questionnaire(s) below:
The Economics Department requires Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores from applicants. Only the GRE general test is required, not the subject test. Ask Educational Testing Service to send an official copy of the scores to The Graduate School. Use institution code 5156; you do not need a department code. Please refer to The Graduate School for more information about score requirements and how to submit your score(s).
English Language Proficiency Test Scores
If your first language is not English, you must submit scores from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the academic modules of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The scores will be a decisive factor during the application review process. Please refer to The Graduate School for more information about score requirements and how to submit your score(s).
The application fee is $95.
The Graduate School offers an application fee waiver option to support prospective students from various populations, including those who may be experiencing economic stresses. The Department of Economics does not waive application fees.
After submitting your online application, you can check the status of your application materials via the Applicant Portal. You should log in to this system periodically to ensure that all required application materials have been received. Incomplete applications will either not be considered or will be rejected on the basis of incompleteness.
Application Review Process
After you submit your online application, it will be made available to your department of interest within one to two business days. The actual in-depth review of your file is conducted by an admissions committee. All applications are reviewed with respect to openings in the department and the strength of other applicants. Attention is given to every aspect of an application, with an attempt made to evaluate past achievement as well as scholarly potential. Academic records, letters of recommendation, GRE scores, and your statement of purpose are all taken into consideration. Admission to the Duke University Graduate School is a competitive process, and your chances of being admitted will differ from year to year depending on the strength of the applicant pool. Decisions about fall admission are generally made in February and March.
Aid offers are made on a rolling basis, as funds permit, beginning in late February.
All applicants are notified of admission decisions via e-mail (we do not mail paper copies of notifications). The notification e-mail will provide instructions for accessing the online decision letter.
If You Are Accepted
If you are offered admission, unless otherwise indicated, you must notify The Graduate School of your enrollment decision through the Applicant Portal system by April 15 or within 15 days of your receipt of the admission letter, whichever is later. If we do not hear back from you by then, we will assume that you have declined the offer of admission, and your application record will be withdrawn.
Deferral of Admission
Your admission offer is valid only for the term and program indicated in the admission letter. Requests for deferral are rarely approved by The Graduate School. Valid reasons for a deferral include serious health issues, visa issues beyond the student’s control, or military service.
For more information, please contact the Master's Programs Assistant
Our recent admitted classes of master's students are diverse groups spanning various educational backgrounds, workplace experiences, and countries of origin.
The Graduate School also provides a year-by-year statistical summary our master's programs' past admissions and enrollment. Visit these links for more information on offers of admission and matriculation according to demographics:
The following statistics do not change significantly on a rolling time-series basis.
If you're interested in learning more about getting your graduate degree with Duke Economics, join us for one of our upcoming information sessions. Faculty and staff will be available to go over a short overview of programs and answer any questions you may have. Click on dates below to register for upcoming sessions:
Wednesday, October 12, 2022 at 6:00 PM Eastern Time
Thursday, October 27, 2022 at 10:00 AM Eastern Time
Wednesday, November 2, 2022 at 7:00 PM Eastern Time
Friday, November 18, 2022 at 10:00 AM Eastern Time
Duke Economics aims to provide an inclusive & welcoming environment for students of all backgrounds, especially those historically under-represented in economics.
The department offers opportunities for admitted students to visit the department virtually in late March and early April. Admitted students will receive an invitation to these Virtual Visit Days following the offer of admission.
Stop by the welcome desk at The Graduate School to pick up maps and information about self-guided tours of Duke University's campus.
While we do not coordinate department tours for visiting applicants, you may arrange to attend a class on your own by contacting the instructor of the course directly. From the department’s Courses page, you can find courses offered in each semester using the Class Search tool on DukeHub.
If you are interested in meeting with a particular professor while here, please contact the professor directly to inquire about their availability. Faculty contact information can be found on the department’s People page.
Please note: Visiting the department prior to being admitted does not increase an applicant’s likelihood of admission.
If you cannot make it to Duke in person, check out the university’s virtual campus tour.
Duke Economics is committed to helping students defray the cost of graduate study through tuition waivers based on need and merit. We also seek to provide valuable learning opportunities to our master's students employed as research assistants, teaching assistants, graders, and research support staff.
We offer the following to eligible students:
(No work requirement.)
Need-based: Awards are based on need, merit, and other criteria. Information about application for need-based awards will be sent following the admission offer. For more information, admitted applicants may contact:
MAE - Grace Kim, MAE Director of Admissions.
MSEC – Charles Becker, MSEC Director of Graduate Studies
MAPE – Timur Kuran, MAPE Director of Graduate Studies
Merit awards (MAE students only): In recognition of strong academic performance, we offer 5-20 percent tuition waivers to eligible MAE students after the completion of their first and second semesters. Criteria include both GPA (taking into consideration course difficulty) and faculty nomination.
Student Employment Opportunities
Research Assistantships: These assistantships are intended to enhance research experiences and collaboration between master's students and Department of Economics faculty. Standard appointments are made on a per-semester basis (including summers) as a result of mutual agreement between individual faculty and students.
Teaching Assistantships: Master's students are hired as teaching assistants in the Economics Department for a variety of courses. In addition, master’s students are hired to provide instructional support as graders for Economics Department undergraduate core courses.
Other positions: These are positions outside of the department, such as:
- Teaching or research assistantships in the Fuqua School of Business, Law School, Sanford School of Public Policy, Nicholas School of the Environment, and the Global Health Institute;
- Computer and research support staff in Duke Libraries Center for Data Visualization Services;
- Teaching assistants for other departments, such as Statistical Science and Computer Science.
Please see the Graduate School's information on financial aid for more possibilities.
The Department of Economics has successfully placed master's students into doctoral programs in economics and related fields, as well as full-time jobs in industry, research organizations, and governmental agencies.
Placements from Duke Economics Masters Programs, 2012-2020
The following tabs include information detailing specifically our our graduates went in the following categories:
ANU (2), Arizona, Boston College (3), Boston U (6), Brandeis, Brown, Cambridge, Carnegie-Mellon (2), U Chicago (3), Colorado, Columbia (4), Cornell (5), Durham, Duke (50), Emory (3), Erlangen Nuremburg, Fordham, Geneva (2), GMU, Georgetown (4), GWU (4), Georgia State, Harvard (7), Hawaii (2), Hitotsubashi, Hong Kong (4), Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State (2), LBS (2), LSE (2), Maryland (4), Miami, Michigan (9), Michigan State (5), Minnesota (5), MIT, NC State, New School, Northwestern (4), Notre Dame, NYU (4), Ohio State, Oxford, Peking, Penn (4), Penn State (2), Pittsburgh, Princeton, Purdue (2), RAND Pardee, Rice (9), Rochester (4), Rutgers (2), Singapore Management, St. Andrews, Stanford (5), Stockholm, Texas (2), Texas A&M, Tulane, UBC (3), UC Berkeley (4), UC Davis (2), UC Irvine (2), UCL (3), UCLA (6), UCSB, UCSD (2), UNC (11), USC (9), Texas (4), Tilburg, Vanderbilt (3), Virginia (2), U of Washington (2), Wash U (2), Wisconsin (7), Yale (2)
Diversity of Programs:
Accounting, Agriculture and Resource Economics, Applied Economics, Biostatistics, Business Technologies, Computer Science, Demography, Economic Geography, Economics, Education, Environmental Policy, Finance, Financial Economics, Health Economics, Law, Marketing, Operations Management, Philosophy, Political Science, Public Health, Public Policy, Statistics, Strategy, Social Policy, Technology and Operations, Urban Planning
Ernst & Young, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Deloitte
Bank of Canada, Bank of China, Bank of Indonesia, Bank of Japan, Bank of Korea, Bank of Latvia, Central Bank of Columbia, Central Bank of Paraguay, Central Bank of Thailand, Central Bank of Turkey, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Singapore Development Bank, World Bank
Banco Santander, Bank of Tokyo, Bank OZK, Barclays, CICC, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, First National Bank of Omaha, Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp, M&T Bank, Mingsheng Bank of China, Royal Bank of Scotland, Societe Generale, Standard Chartered
Accenture, Analysis Group, Andrew Davidson, Cambridge Associates, C4i4 Lab, CGN Global, Gerson Lehrman, John Burns, McKinsey, Nathan Inc, NERA, Oliver Wyman
Amazon, Apple, Aquifi, CertiK, Dynamic Technology Lab, Enovia, Facebook, Fedex, Flowcast, Geometric Data Analytics, Google, IBM, Ingram Micro, Karsun Solutions, Livongo, MarketShare, My Health Direct, Nathan Inc, NewtonX, SOASTA, SAS, SurveyMonkey, Uber Technologies, Wedpics, Zillow
Boston Energy, Saudi Aramco, Wood Mackenzie
American Express, Assurant, Axion Ventures, Bella Research Group, Capital One, Castleman Commodities, CITIC, Dimensional Funds, DUMAC, Fisher Investments, Guotoi Junan Securities, Huatai Securities, Industrial Securities, Korea Deposit Insurance Corp, LaSalle Investment Management, Liberty Mutual, QMS Capital Management, SunLife Financial, Sycamore Investment, TIAA, Westbon
Goldman Sachs, Lincoln International, Morgan Stanley
CarMax, Cravath, Swaine, & Moore, McKesson, MP Materials, Noble Solutions, Republic of Turkey, United Nations, US Air Force, US Army
University of Chicago - Becker Friedman Institute, Duke Offshoring Research Network, Duke Sanford Policy School, Harvard Business School, Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity, Instituto de Empresa Business School, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, USC Lurie Real Estate Center, Mathematica Policy Research, Public Policy Institute of California, Tax Foundation
The Duke Pre-Graduate Fellows Program is targeted toward advanced undergraduates or recent college graduates interested in applying to research-oriented Master's or Ph.D. programs in economics or a related field (e.g., political science, statistics, computer science, public policy, sociology).
The program is designed for students who — by their background, life experience and scholarship — can show they will bring greater diversity to the economics profession. We especially encourage applications from historically disadvantaged and underrepresented groups.
Applicants selected for the program will:
- be named Duke Economics Pre-Graduate Fellows,
- receive a financial award to assist with the costs of applying to graduate school
- have access to faculty mentoring designed to assist with graduate school preparation and applications
The faculty mentoring committee includes Bocar Ba, Arjada Bardhi, Jason Baron, Patrick Bayer, Charles Becker, David Berger, Grace Kim, Marjorie McElroy, Modibo Sidibe, and Juan Carlos Suarez Serrato. We are also pleased to have the following mentors and external committee members in 2022-23: Marcus Casey, Associate Professor at University of Illinois-Chicago, Erika Martinez, Senior Instructor at University of South Florida, and Quitze Valenzuela-Stookey, Assistant Professor at University of California-Berkeley. Quitze was a postdoctoral scholar at Duke in 2021-22, Erika completed her PhD in Economics at Duke in 2011, and Marcus was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Duke Economics from 2009-2011.
- In 2022-23, the program will be limited to American citizens and permanent residents. In future years, we hope to be able to relax this restriction.
- Our focus will be on students planning to apply to graduate school this year. In future years, we plan to expand to include students at an earlier stage of considering graduate school.
- The fellows program is designed for students interested in pursuing a graduate degree in economics or a related field but not a professional degree program such as business, law or medicine.
- The applicant is not required to apply to a Duke graduate program.
- Those currently enrolled in (or who have completed) a Masters program who are planning to apply to a PhD program or another graduate program are eligible for the program.
Initial Award Funding Level
- The financial award for 2022-23 will be $2,000.
- We plan to name 15 fellows in 2022-23.
Interested applicants should email (or have emailed) the following documents to email@example.com:
- Candidate materials, including:
- Short statement describing the applicant’s motivation for applying to graduate school and intended course of study (this could be a draft of a statement of purpose from a graduate school application)
- List of intended program applications
- College transcript(s) (unofficial is fine)
- GRE scores, if available (unofficial is fine)
- Resume and writing sample (optional)
- A letter of recommendation should be emailed from a professor or other advisor able to comment on the applicant’s preparedness and motivation for graduate study.
Any questions about the program can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Deadline for submissions: November 4, 2022
- Award decisions: November 11, 2022
- Award payments: As quickly as possible after decisions are made
- Introductory meeting for new fellows: Late November 2022 (via Zoom)
- One-on-one mentoring: Early December 2022