Information for Current Students

Course Requirements

The MA degree requires a minimum of 30 credit hours of approved coursework (including 6 hours of thesis credit for Plan I). Courses taken on a Credit/No Credit basis do not count towards the minimum required credit hours, excluding the thesis credit hours for Plan I.

A minimum of 12 hours of 500-level courses and no more than 6 hours of 300 or 400-level courses are allowed under either plan. Furthermore, at least 18 hours of credit must be completed in residence at UNM.

Required Courses (Plan I; Thesis Option):

  • ECON 501 (Microeconomics I)
  • ECON 506 (Macroeconomics I)
  • ECON 508 (Statistics & Intro to Econometrics)
  • Major field (minimum of 9 credit hours)
  • Elective courses (minimum of 6 credits)
  • ECON 599 (thesis credits; 6 credits)

Required Courses (Plan II; Exam Option):

  • ECON 501 (Microeconomics I)
  • ECON 506 (Macroeconomics I)
  • ECON 508 (Statistics & Intro to Econometrics)
  • Major field (minimum of 9 credit hours)
  • Elective courses (minimum of 12 credit hours)

For the major field, MA students choose classes from either Environmental and Resource Economics, Public Economics, International Development and Sustainability, or Econometrics and must take a minimum of 9 credit hours in their field to satisfy the degree requirement.

After completing their required courses, students can select from a variety of graduate (500-level) and undergraduate (300 and 400-level) elective courses that the department offers in order to satisfy their remaining credit hours for degree competition (minimum 30 credit hours required for MA). The elective courses are taken in addition to the major field courses.

For Plan I students, a thesis committee must be formed consisting of three members of the economics faculty. The committee should normally be formed in the Spring semester of Year 1. This committee will advise and guide the student in their efforts to develop and conduct thesis research. The chair of the committee serves as the student’s major advisor. A total of 6 credit hours of thesis coursework (ECON 599) are required for Plan I. However, the overall 30 credit hour minimum for degree completion remains. This means that Plan I students take a minimum of 24 credit hours of coursework and 6 credit hours of thesis credits for a minimum total of 30 credit hours for the MA.

For Plan II students, a written MA-level exam in their major field must be passed after completing their field courses. Examinations are offered twice each year in January and August. Students must have a GPA of 3.00 or better and no grades below B- in any required courses in order to sit for the exam. If a student does not successfully pass the exam on their first attempt, they may petition for a second attempt. A second failure will result in the student’s termination from the program.

The exception to the above Plan II exam schedule is for those students who move from the Ph.D. program to the MA program after taking the comprehensive exam and having their Ph.D. comprehensive exam results count as the required exam for the Plan II MA.

Independent Study Courses

While independent study courses are available (ECON 551 and ECON 552), they are not normally accepted as meeting field course requirements or total course credit requirements for the degree. Circumstances under which an independent study course might be accepted include: a relevant graduate course in the student’s field is not offered in a timely manner; a student has taken all courses offered in a given semester; or if there are documentable, extenuating circumstances. In order to assure an independent study course will be accepted, the student, in conjunction with the faculty member with whom the course is scheduled and the student’s major advisor, must provide a written justification for the independent study in place of a course offered in the department. The justification must be submitted as part of a petition to and approved by the graduate committee. The petition must be submitted and approved in the semester prior to the independent study course being taken.


Prior approval of all coursework must be received before the start of each semester. For Plan I, course approval must be received from the graduate director before a thesis committee is established and by the student’s major advisor thereafter.  For Plan II, the graduate director must approve all coursework throughout the program. However, a suggested timeline for completion of the MA degree is provided here.

Forms and Resources

Department resources can be found here.

Graduate Studies resources can be found here.