How Do I Get a Master's in Economic Development?

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  • Written By: Gabriele Sturmer
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2019
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A master's degree in economic development focuses on community development, economic health and sustainability, and it prepares you for a career in policy development, economics, finance, project management or research. Degree holders can work locally or internationally in nonprofit agencies, private businesses, universities and government, and some continue their studies to obtain a doctorate. To get a master's in economic development, you must meet all your school's prerequisite requirements, including having a bachelor's degree and submitting any requested essays and documents. You will need to successfully meet all the degree's exit requirements, including core courses and electives, along with a final exam, internship or project.

The most common prerequisite requirements for enrolling in a master's in economic development include a completed bachelor's degree, official transcripts from previous schools and an essay detailing your interest in the program. Your bachelor's degree can normally be in a different field, but prerequisite courses may be needed to successfully pass the economics courses in most economic development master's degree programs. Schools usually set minimum grade point average (GPA) and graduate entrance exam score requirements to be accepted into a graduate program. Some schools may require work experience in economic development or require you to submit professional recommendations and a resume.


Your master's in economic development degree can include 12 or more courses with both core and elective components. The core courses focus on microeconomics, macroeconomics, statistics, international economics, international finance, economic policy analysis, global relations and economic development. Some master's in economic development programs require you to select a concentration in a field such as international development, international business, global finance or developmental economics. Your concentration's courses usually take the place of any electives, but a degree without a concentration can offer elective courses in politics, accounting, finance, law, nonprofit management, entrepreneurship and housing development.

Exit requirements for obtaining a master's in economic development vary according to your school, the program's length and any concentration requirements. Some programs have a comprehensive exam that you would take after completing the core courses in the degree program and then require an additional internship or project related to the concentration you pursue. Other programs require a comprehensive development project that you work on throughout the entire program and focus on a topic in economic development that is best suited to your interests and career goals. Additional exit requirements include earning a specific GPA and completing the degree within the school's maximum time frame.


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