Master's Program News

It's been a wild ride for MAE '10 alumnus Peter Devine. His path to becoming a staff economist for the Council of Economic Advisers in the Executive Office of the President was a bit unconventional. Having just graduated ROTC and with orders to begin Naval flight training, Devine was an unlikely aspiring economist and, in his own words, “a bit of a gamble.” However, two years of top-flight graduate education at Duke launched Devine into a life as a Navy pilot. Devine’s orders took him to an Air Force base in Japan.… read more about The Economist Fighter Pilot »

For some M.S. Economics & Computation (MSEC) students, their first semester in the program looked much different than they expected. Because of travel and visa restrictions, several students completed their first semester of the program from China. Zixuan Zheng was one of these students. However, last week he was finally able to meet several of his fellow classmates--Zhichao Wang, Xiaoxi Lyu, and Kaichao Chang--in person, and share the struggles and triumphs of the unusual semester. “To be honest, we struggled this… read more about Despite 2020 Challenges, MSEC Students Persevere »

As expected, orientation for Duke Economics Masters and Ph.D. programs looked a little different this year. Instead of meeting in person, both programs held orientations via Zoom.  Having already completed Math Camp virtually at the end of July, the new Ph.D. cohort was already used to the Zoom format. Chair James Roberts and Director of Graduate Studies Federico Bugni were there to welcome the students, along with the EcoTeach staff. After the usual review of the program and departmental procedures, students participated… read more about Duke Economics Welcomes 97 New Graduate Students »

In a pandemic world, everything looks a little different. As of June 1, James Roberts is the new Duke econ chair. I spoke to him by phone while he was making lunch for his kids. “Like everyone else these days I'm just trying to do it all. I just realized that the bagel I told my daughter she could have for lunch doesn't exist,” he laughed. Even though working from home is the new normal, Roberts is still excited to take on the challenges that come with being department chair. A Chicago native who moved to Charlotte, North… read more about For New Econ Chair, Challenges are Why He Took the Job »

With the 2020 commencement ceremony postponed, Duke Econ wanted to do something to honor our graduates. Along with the campus-wide Marking the Moment celebration that took place on May 10, we also put together three videos from the department to our undergraduate, master’s, and Ph.D. students. Featuring well-wishes from faculty, staff, and fellow students, the videos are not meant to be a replacement for commencement, but to show that we are still celebrating with you and your families, albeit from a distance. We hope… read more about Duke Economics Celebrates 2020 Graduates »

For the first time in program history, the M.S. Economics & Computation (MSEC) held a visit day for prospective students on March 30. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the visit day was held via Zoom. MSEC is a joint program with the Computer Science department for students interested in learning about computational mechanism design with applications to economics. Admitted students were able to chat with current students, administrators, and professors. Master’s Program Assistant Addie Stagg said that the department… read more about Master's Program Holds First Visit Day for Accepted Students »

89 new master’s students gathered on Monday, August 19th for their orientation. The students fall into one of four degree programs: M.A. Economics (MAE), which has 60 students, M.A. Analytical Political Economy (MAPE), 4 students, M.S. Economics & Computation (MSEC), 14 students, and M.S. Quantitative Financial Economics (MQFE), 11 students. This year’s cohort is comprised of 40 woman and 49 men, and they come from the United States, Taiwan, Singapore, Peru, Malaysia, Lebanon, South Korea, Kazakhstan, India, Colombia,… read more about Duke Economics Welcomes 89 New Master's Students  »

Excitement was in the air at Cameron Indoor Stadium on May 12. It wasn’t a basketball game taking place in the iconic stadium, however, it was the Duke Economics commencement ceremony. Students and their families, friends, and supporters gathered to celebrated the years of hard work these students had put in. 224 undergraduates, 84 master’s students, and 12 Ph.D. students received their degrees in spring 2019. Chair Craig Burnside, in his opening remarks, emphasized that Duke Economics is a family. “The sense of family in… read more about Duke Economics Celebrates Spring 2019 Graduates »

Stress, anxiety, and fear of missing out are familiar to Duke students, whether they be undergraduates or Ph.D. students. While there’s no way to avoid that in the world of academia, Duke Financial Economics Center (DFE) program coordinator Jennifer Valentyn wants to help equip students with the tools they need to take care of their own mental health when things get tough. That’s why she became a Koru Mindfulness teacher.  Valentyn’s interest in mindfulness started over a decade ago when she heard an interview with Jon… read more about Duke Financial Economics Center Offers Mindfulness Training to Duke Students »

Norma Padrón (MAE ‘08) has always been interested in the intersection of healthcare and economics. She grew up in a small town in south Texas right on the border with Mexico. “I was really interested in understanding the social and economic aspects of the region, particularly those related to access to healthcare,” Padrón said. Currently, she is the Senior Director for Applied Research and Data Analytics at the Center for Health Innovation of the American Hospital Association in Chicago, Illinois. As a first-generation… read more about Alumni Spotlight: Norma Padrón (MAE '08) »

The sun was hot and the drinks were cold as the Economics Graduate Student Committee (EGSC) threw the first-ever Homecoming Happy Hour. Faculty, staff, students, and alumni gathered behind the Social Sciences building to mingle and reminisce about their days in Duke Economics. Normally, the EGSC plans Ph.D. happy hours once a month, but this year decided to incorporate homecoming into their event as a way to reach out to alumni and give current Ph.D. students a chance to mix and network with them.   Mark Burkey (MA ‘94, Ph… read more about Duke Economics Hosts Homecoming Happy Hour »

Duke Economics welcomed 92 new Master’s students to Durham on August 20th. This year’s cohort boasts students from Bulgaria, Chile, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Thailand, and the United States. Students are in one of four programs--MAE, M.A. analytical political economy (MAPE), M.S. quantitative financial economics (MQFE), and M.S. economics and computation (MSEC). In terms of specific programs, MAE received 652 applicants and has 57 matriculants, MAPE received 93 applicants and has… read more about New Master’s Students Attend Orientation »

Last summer undergraduate Matheus Dias (B.S. '19) traveled to Playa Grande, Mexico as part of an interdisciplinary team to help a rural Mexican community develop a renewable energy strategy and a business plan for sustainable ecotourism. They have generated two reports with recommendations. read more about Duke Students Share Skills With a Rural Mexican Community to Strengthen Ecotourism »

Duke University awarded more than 5,500 undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees during its annual commencement ceremony Sunday, May 13. About 13,000 family, friends, and guests traveled to Durham to celebrate the class of 2018. Immediately following the university’s event, the Department of Economics presented diplomas to graduates at its annual Graduation Recognition Ceremony in Cameron Indoor Stadium. This year members of the faculty presented diplomas to 14 Ph.D. graduates, 64 M.A. Economics graduates, eight M… read more about Duke Economics Celebrates the Class of 2018 »

Duke University has reclaimed the No. 1 spot in a new ranking of best economics colleges for undergraduates in the United States. The remaining top five schools include Harvard, Columbia, University of Chicago, and Georgetown. Duke previously beat Harvard and Yale for the top spot in 2014 and was No. 5 in 2017. The 2018 list, compiled by College Factual, evaluates 435 four-year colleges and universities for overall academic quality as well as “outcomes-focused data.” This includes looking at a variety of factors, such as … read more about Duke Reclaims Title as Best School in U.S. for Economics »

Alumna Lucy Xiaolu Wang (MAE '14), currently a doctoral candidate at Cornell University, recently sat down with the AEA to talk about prescription drug monitoring programs and how health IT can improve them to reduce the number of opioid-related deaths.   read more about Alumna Lucy Xiaolu Wang (MAE '14) on How Health IT Reduces Opioid-Related Deaths  »

Founder and former CEO of the Vanguard Mutual Fund Group John C. Bogle gave a lecture Friday at Duke University on how investors can get the most out of the market. His advice is simple. Buy and hold: use low-cost index funds to hold the stock market, and hold it “forever.” “That’s been part of my crusade,” he said. “To try to persuade people about the simplicity of using indexing … That’s the winning strategy.” Bogle discouraged falling for the allure and excitement of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which are higher cost… read more about Vanguard Founder Shares Investment Advice With Duke Students, Local Investors »

Zhongxia Jin, the IMF executive director for China, discussed the country's financial development in recent years as part of the Rethinking Development Seminar Series. Lin Zhao, a second-year Duke Economics master's student and Chinese native, offered his thoughts on the event. read more about IMF Executive Director Talks Chinese Financial Sector, Renminbi »

In 2017 Duke welcomed more than 1,500 new international students representing 109 countries of primary citizenship. These undergraduate, graduate, and professional students are among the largest and most diverse groups the university has ever welcomed in a single year. read more about Duke's International Student Population Continues to Grow and Diversify »

To say that alumna Norma Padrón (MAE ’08) is passionate about health is an understatement. Growing up in the Rio Grande Valley, Padrón witnessed firsthand how difficult it was for people to get access to healthcare. McAllen, Texas, where she was born, is one of the most expensive healthcare markets in the country, with the lowest income per capita yet the highest expenditures in healthcare, according to a 2009 article in The New Yorker. “It’s a very poor area, and it was salient that healthcare was unaffordable. It was… read more about Alumni Spotlight: Norma Padrón (MAE '08) »

This year Orientation Week for 91 incoming Duke Economics master’s students started off with a bang — or, more accurately, a rare astronomical event. On Monday a near-total eclipse of the sun was visible in Durham, with the maximum eclipse taking place shortly after scheduled breakaway group advising sessions. “We plan the department's Orientation Week several months in advance, and it always falls between orientation week for international students and the first week of classes,” said M.A. Program Assistant Addie Stagg. “… read more about Orientation Week Begins for New Master's Students »

As part of Graduate Education Day, alumnus Hoël Wiesner (MEM '17, B.S. '15) shared research on energy resource assessment that he and a team of students, including Samit Sura (MAE '17), developed for the Energy Data Analytics Lab. read more about Duke Student Shares Energy Data Analytics Lab Research With North Carolina Legislators »

The Department of Economics recognized graduates of the class of 2017 at the its annual Graduation Recognition Ceremony in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Sunday, May 14. This year members of the faculty presented diplomas to 16 Ph.D. graduates, 83 M.A. Economics graduates, nine M.S. Statistical and Economic Modeling graduates, six M.S. Economics and Computation graduates, and 230 graduates with an economics major. Speaking on behalf of the department, Professor James Roberts stressed the importance of staying connected to the… read more about Duke Economics Celebrates the Class of 2017 »

Roberto Lagos (MAE ’16) is no stranger to change. In the past three years, he has moved to the United States, earned a master’s degree in economics, and worked at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). And now, he has pivoted to a new role. After a quick visit home to Honduras last month, Lagos returned to Washington, D.C. with a diplomatic passport in hand. Lagos serves directly under Ambassador Marlon Tábora in the Honduran Embassy as the newly appointed minister-counselor for economic affairs. This position… read more about Alumni Spotlight: Roberto Lagos (MAE '16) Named Honduras's Minister-Counselor for Economic Affairs »

Alumnus Lirong Xia (M.A. ’10, Ph.D. ’11) has been selected to receive the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) early career development award for junior faculty. The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program will provide Xia with $525,000 over the next five years for his proposed research on computational social choice. “A direct benefit is that the grant will support a Ph.D. student to work on my proposed research for the next five years,” said Xia, who is an assistant professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute… read more about Alumnus Lirong Xia Wins NSF CAREER Award  »

For most people, jumping out of a plane is a thrilling, once-in-a-lifetime endorphin rush. Duke alumnus Danny Schaffer thinks of parachuting as an occupational necessity.  “When you jump out of planes as a soldier, you’re doing so with up to 130 pounds of equipment, often at night, and impacting the ground with a force equivalent to jumping off a two-story building,” he said.  His paratrooping days behind him, Schaffer has since graduated with his M.A. in economics and become a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army. He… read more about Danny Schaffer: From Paratrooping to Applied Micro  »

Katherine Donato's interest in international health began when she was an undergraduate at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. But it was her desire for more quantitative answers to issues of development that lead her to take courses in economics.  This past summer, Donato, who graduated from Duke’s Economics Master’s program in December, worked in Uganda with the Progressive Health Partnership (PHP), a non-profit founded by Duke undergraduate students. In the following interview Donato shares her experience in… read more about Recent MA Graduate Addresses Women's Health in Uganda  »

The recent events in the Middle East have many around the world anxiously watching to see the outcome of the unrest. Professor Timur Kuran, Egyptian-American Karim Foda and Egyptian Ahmed Abdel-Wahab offer their insights into the situation in three separate interviews.  An expert on the economic history of the Middle East, Kuran has written extensively on the region, most recently in a new book which addresses why the Middle East has fallen behind dramatically in living standards, technology, and economic institutions. In… read more about Professor & Two MA Alums Offer Insight into Middle East Events  »

Three graduates of the Master's in Economics program are now nearing completion of their doctoral studies. Nujin Prasertsom, Tae Bong Kim and Lirong Xia are expected to finish their Ph.D. studies in May 2011 and are now job market candidates. "Moving from college to a Ph.D is a big step. Duke's Master's program is a nice bridge that equipped me with the knowledge necessary to pursue a Ph.D. successfully," said Prasertsom, who came to Duke from Thailand and is now in the department's Ph.D. program in economics. Her… read more about Once Master's Students, Now Ph.D. Job Market Candidates This Year  »