MU College of Arts and Science offers new online economics degree

The program gives graduate students a hands-on approach in understanding economics.

The MU College of Arts and Science’s economics department is introducing a new online master’s degree program for students in economics.

“Our program gives students a big-picture understanding of the global market as well as the essential hands-on skills to analyze large data sets,” Vitor Trindade, an associate professor of economics who teaches in the program, said in a press release. “We spend time looking into what the data are telling us about international trade, international finance, economic developments and public sectors.”

The 30-credit hour program offers a Master of Arts degree in economics and instructs economists on how to better understand large data sets and international trade.

Applications are now being accepted and online courses start in the fall 2018 semester. According to the Mizzou Online website, the estimated program cost is $12,404.70 and because it is a distance learning program, out-of-state students can qualify for in-state tuition.

“We recognized a growing demand for distance education at the graduate level and an expanding list of U.S. universities that have started to offer online MAs in economics,” X.H. Wang, professor and director of Graduate Studies and department administrator of the program, said in an email.

The courses in the program cover banking, econometrics, economic development, international trade, monetary systems, quantitative economics and macroeconomic and microeconomic theory.

“Students will be able to take the same set of courses that our residential M.A. students take and ultimately earn an M.A. degree in economics,” Wang said.

Because students in the program are able to complete their degree completely online, it affords working students a more convenient opportunity to further their education.

“This program will extend the reach of our M.A. program to students from Missouri and elsewhere who are interested in obtaining an M.A. in economics but cannot attend a residential program due to work or other constraints,” Wang said.

According to the press release, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the job market for economists will grow 6 percent between 2014 and 2024. Median pay for economists in 2014 was $101,050. Despite these strong numbers, however, some employers have difficulty finding an economist when needed.

“Part of our mission … is to support economic development,” Loyd Wilson, the director of administration in the Missouri Public Service Commission, said in the press release. “Big-picture thinking is essential for the job. The challenge for us, when hiring, is to find candidates with the kind of perspective you gain from graduate study in economics.”

Courses for this program are semester-based. If students follow a specific schedule, they can obtain their degree in as little as two years.

“It's a very hands-on program,” Trindade said in the press conference. “We train people for the sort of jobs where they really get their hands on a data set and analyze it to get some real-world conclusions.”

Edited by Olivia Garrett | ogarrett@themaneater.com

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