- Department of Economics
- Research & Publications
FAQs for Current Students
A maximum of two graduate courses taken either at Tufts, as a non-degree student, or at another institution can be transferred for credit into the master's program, subject to the approval of the Economics Department and the Graduate School. Students must submit the Petition for Transfer of Credit Form in order for these courses to be approved. In order for courses to be eligible for a transfer of credit, students must have received a grade of B- or better in the course and it must not have been used for credit for an undergraduate degree or another graduate degree.
Students who receive a final grade of C+ or worse in any of their graduate courses (core classes or electives approved for graduate credit) in the first semester will receive a warning that they are at risk of falling out of good academic standing. These students should meet with their advisor to review their academic record prior to the beginning of the second (Spring) semester and to determine what remedial course of action is advised. Students may not enroll in the follow up core class (e.g. EC 204) if they have received a grade of C+ or lower in the pre-requisite first semester core class (e.g. EC 203).
A student who receives a grade of C+ or worse in two or more graduate courses will be deemed to have fallen out of good academic standing and will be subject to dismissal from the program. The Department MS Graduate Committee will make a determination of the appropriate action to take and make a recommendation to the GSAS Executive Committee as per procedures set forth in the GSAS Handbook.
Students in the course-based track are expected to complete the program in no more than three semesters. Students in the research-based track are expected to complete the program in four semesters. Exceptions in both instances may be made at the discretion of the Department MS Graduate Committee.
In addition to having successfully completed the master's program requirements and having demonstrated competency in mathematics with respect to economic problems, students must complete the following items by their respective due dates in order to be eligible to graduate. Please refer to the Graduate Student Handbook for a complete list of deadlines.
- Submit the Recommendation for Award of Master's Degree form (Advisement Report). This form must be completed online, signed by your advisor and the chair of the department, and submitted to the Graduate School. A copy should also be provided to the Economics office. Note that only courses in which candidates for graduation received a grade of B- or better or satisfactory (S) may be counted towards the credits required for graduation.
- Complete graduate exit survey.
- Submit copies of the thesis, if applicable, to the thesis committee. Upon approval, the committee will send approval forms to the Graduate School. Students submit their final approved thesis online.
- Submit the online commencement information form, available on SIS.
For students who are considering a PhD in economics, we recommend taking the Real Analysis sequence in the mathematics department (Math 135/136) and pursing the research-based track, which includes writing a master's thesis. The former is an important way of showing the appropriate mathematics background that is required by many top departments and the latter is a way of showing significant research experience and the beginnings of a research agenda that will be continued at the PhD level.
It is strongly recommended that these students discuss their plans with the director(s) of the master's program.
Declaring an Economics Major requires that you complete a Declaration of Major Form.
Students wishing to pursue graduate work in economics should consult with their advisor at their earliest opportunity. Graduate study in economics is highly mathematical. Entrance into top programs, especially the top twenty programs, is also extremely competitive. On the other hand, there is excellent funding available for smart and well trained applicants and Tufts has historically done a good job of placing students in top Ph.D. programs.
Because the top doctoral programs are so competitive, it is important that you plan your undergraduate course of study carefully so that you will both stand out as an applicant and be successful in the program. Doing a senior thesis or some other research activity can be valuable. Econometrics is an invaluable tool and a signal to graduate programs of your ability to do quantitative work in economics. Equally (if not more) important, you should take higher level Mathematics courses.
The Department of Economics recommends that you take at the minimum:
- Mathematics 42 (formerly Mathematics 13), or Mathematics 44 (formerly Mathematics 18)
- Mathematics 70 (formerly Mathematics 46)
- Mathematics 72 (formerly Mathematics 54)
- Mathematics 135, and Mathematics 136
Additional courses you could take include Mathematics 51 (formerly Math 38), Mathematics 165 (formerly Math 161), and 166. These courses, however, will not substitute for courses in the first list.
In addition to demonstrating strength in mathematics, you should take courses that strengthen your writing skills as well as your analytic reasoning skills. You should also take classes within the department in such a fashion that you will have 2 or 3 full-time faculty members who know you well enough to write letters of recommendation for you.
If you plan to spend part or all of your junior year abroad, we strongly urge you to contact your advisor early in the planning process to find a program that will allow you to maintain the rigor that will be necessary to ensure acceptance at a top graduate program. There are a number of excellent programs that will complement your training in economics here at Tufts and expose you to top-notch teachers and researchers. Other programs, however, are not designed in a way that will allow you to develop the skills and expertise you will need to be a strong applicant in the best graduate programs in Economics. Again, talk to your advisor early in your planning process.
Finally, we note that an undergraduate degree in economics is not a prerequisite for graduate work in economics. Many economists (including faculty in this department) did not major in economics as undergraduates. They did, however, have the Mathematics and writing skills necessary to succeed in graduate programs. Please feel free to contact your advisor or any member of the faculty in Economics if you think you might be interested in graduate work in economics.
Yes, undergraduates with adequate preparation may enroll in graduate courses. If such courses are passed with a minimum grade of B- and are not needed for the completion of baccalaureate requirements, they may be applied toward a Master of Science in Economics. Tufts students who apply to the MS program are subject to the usual admission requirements, but are not required to submit GRE scores.
For the major, one or two transfer credits for Principles of Economics plus two approved credits from one semester of study abroad or three approved credits from two semesters of study abroad. For the minor, one or two transfer credits for Principles of Economics plus one additional credit in economics.
Any awards of credit for previous secondary school work must conform to the regulations stated in the Bulletin of Tufts University for Arts and Sciences as administered by the Office of the Dean of the Colleges. Questions about the interpretation of these regulations should be directed to the Dean's office. If a student is awarded advanced placement or accelerated credit based on previous work, the student may not take a comparable course for credit toward the degree. The most common award for secondary school work in economics is for credit in Principles of Microeconomics or credit in Principles of Macroeconomics. This credit is typically awarded for satisfactory scores of CEEB Advanced Placement Exams or on other recognized national matriculation exams.
Advanced Placement Examinations of the College Entrance Examination Board
- A student scoring 5 on the Microeconomics AP exam is eligible for three units. The student should enroll in Principles of Economics (Economics 5) or Principles of Economics with Environmental Applications (Economics 8.)
- A student scoring 5 on the Macroeconomics AP exam is eligible for three units. The student should enroll in Principles of Economics (Economics 5) or Principles of Economics with Environmental Applications (Economics 8.)
- A student scoring 5 on the Microeconomics AP exam and 5 on the Macroeconomics AP exam is eligible for six units. The student is eligible for enrollment into intermediate economic theory courses (Economics 11, 12, or 18) and should not enroll in Principles of Economics (Economics 5) nor Principles of Economics with Environmental Applications (Economics 8.)
- Credit from the Statistics AP exam does not satisfy the Statistics (Economics 13) course requirement for any economics major or minor.
Foreign Diploma Credit
- British General Certificate of Education, A-Level
A student with a grade of A, B, or C in economics is eligible for three Tufts units for Principles of Economics, and placement into intermediate economic theory courses.
- French Baccalaureate
A student with a score of 10 or higher with a coefficient of 3 or higher in economics is eligible for three Tufts units for Principles of Economics and placement into intermediate economic theory courses.
- International Baccalaureate, Higher Level
A student with a score of 5 or higher is eligible for three Tufts units for Principles of Economics and placement into intermediate economic theory courses.
- Foreign diplomat credit for Statistics does not satisfy the Statistics (Economics 13) requirement for any economics major or minor.
The award of degrees Magna Cum Laude and Summa Cum Laude requires recommendation by the department. Recommendation is not automatically determined by any mechanical rules, but the minimum requirements to be considered by the department are shown below. Students should keep in mind that course credits transferred to Tufts without letter grades are not normally used as part of the review for honors.
Magna Cum Laude
To be recommended by the Department for graduation magna cum laude, it is necessary but not sufficient for a student:
- To have a grade point average of 3.65 or higher.
- To have six grades of A- or better in the courses counted toward the concentration in Economics (Economics 1, 2, 5, and 8 are not eligible).
- To demonstrate a high level of intellectual force. Included in the ways the department judges this attribute are: quality of contribution in classes; excellent performance in all of the courses offered for the major; quality of projects pursued, especially class and seminar papers; quality of a written thesis and its defense; and the overall rigor and challenge of the student's academic program in the major.
Summa Cum Laude
To be recommended by the department for graduate summa cum laude, it is necessary but not sufficient for a student to meet the qualifications for magna cum laude but at an even higher level. In particular, a student must:
- Have a grade point average of 3.8 or higher.
- Have six grades of A- or better in the courses counted toward the concentration in Economics (Economics 1, 2, 5, and 8 are not eligible).
- Demonstrate outstanding intellectual force. Included in the ways the department judges this attribute are: quality of contribution in classes; superior performance in all of the courses offered for the major; quality of projects pursued, especially class and seminar papers; quality of a written thesis and its defense; and the overall rigor and challenge of the student's academic program in the major.
The award of summa cum laude is not solely at the discretion of the department. It requires the recommendation of the LA&J Committee on Honors, and the approval of the faculty of Liberal Arts and Jackson. The LA&J standard for summa cum laude is "extraordinary achievement in the breadth, as well as the depth, of a student's intellectual development." Historically, the Committee on Honors has relied heavily on a review of the student's entire transcript, the earning of at least one "A" grade in each distribution area, and recommendations from the student's major department.
Each course in the Department of Economics is assigned a number that reflects the prerequisites of the course and the major or minor requirements it might satisfy.
EC 5 and
Prerequisite Courses are prerequisites to Core and Elective Courses.
EC 3 and
Non-major Courses do not satisfy major or minor requirements.
Core Courses are required theory courses for majors and prerequisite courses for the Upper-level Electives.
Lower-level Electives have Economics 1, 2, and/or 5 or 8 as prerequisites.
Upper-level Electives have at least one Core Course as a prerequisite. Only approved upper-level electives are eligible for graduate credit.
Graduate Courses automatically grant graduate credit.
The steps to apply for graduation and submit a Degree Audit:
Use SIS to apply for graduation. Typical deadlines are: October 8th for February graduation; November 24th for May graduation.
1. Use SIS to run your Student Degree Audit. You can find step by step instructions for running your audit and which version you should submit with your graduation packet
to Student Services online. If you are graduating in May or August, make sure to run your audit AFTER you have registered for Spring 2022 courses.
2. Complete and digitally sign your Major Checklist and any Second Major or Minor Checklists. View 'Checklists/Forms' to locate these documents. (Note: Only use Adobe reader when filling out forms. Adobe reader is free at
3. Arrange approval from your advisor, and obtain the necessary digital signatures for each checklist.
4. Send all completed and signed forms electronically to Linda Casey. Approved documents will be emailed to you.
5. Submit your completed Graduation Packet** to Student Services via the electronic form prior to the appropriate deadline.
** Please note that a completed Graduation Packet includes: a Signed Degree Audit Report, a signed Major Checklist, and signed checklists for any Second Majors or Minors. These deadlines are necessary so that we have ample time to review your Graduation Packet, and verify that all graduation requirements have been met. Your Graduation Packet must be submitted, regardless of outstanding issues such as transfer credits, petitions, or incomplete statuses. If you do not submit a completed Graduation Packet, your graduation will be jeopardized.
Please note that students are expected to submit their major/minor checklists from departments personally to Student Services. Departments will not submit major/minor
checklists on your behalf. Students will receive a receipt of submission when they submit their completed Graduation Packet to Student Services.
Undergraduate Transfer of Credit
If you have a question that is not answered below, please contact the Department of Economics' Transfer of Credit Representative, Professor Drusilla Brown.
Economics courses that are similar in level and quality to the courses offered by the Department.
Economics courses taught by economists using material from the teaching and scholarly literature of economics.
One introductory accounting course that is equivalent to Economics 3.
One business law course that is equivalent to Economics 6.
Fletcher EIB Exxx courses with appropriate prerequisites. Fletcher EIB Bxxx courses will not be approved.
The Economics Department does not approve transfers for courses that are primarily management, business administration, marketing or other business-related topics. The Gordon Institute's ELS program may approve transfers of some of these courses. If you believe that a course listed under a business heading is actually an economics course, you may petition for its acceptance by submitting a "Transfer/Equivalency" request following the steps outlined below.
Current AS&E policy does not allow the transfer of online courses.
The registrar determines the credit that will be given for courses taken elsewhere. Single courses in quarter or trimester systems usually receive less than one Tufts credit. Courses that span a full academic year usually receive two Tufts credits. Tufts has transitioned to a new semester hours system; one economics credit in our old system has become three or four semester-hour units (SHUs) in our new system.
One or two transfer credits for Principles of Economics plus two approved credits from one semester of study abroad or three approved credits from two semesters of study abroad. Additional approved economics or mathematics credits may be transferred and will count as credits toward the minimum number credits for graduation.
One or two transfer credits for Principles of Economics plus one additional credit in economics. Any additional economics credits count as credits toward the minimum credits for graduation.
When it meets the level, content and instructor standards; and has Principles of Economics as a prerequisite.
When it meets the level, content and instructor standards; and has Intermediate Microeconomics or Intermediate Macroeconomics as a prerequisite.
Some programs require the completion of particular courses in each year before any courses can be taken from the next year's offerings. These required courses will be treated as prerequisites. For example, 4th year courses in a four-year economics degree program are likely to be approved as upper-level (100+) electives.
Courses that require no prior background in economics cannot be used as economics electives and may not fulfill IR economics requirements. They may be transferred and used as general graduation credit.
No. Not for any of those courses.
Rare exceptions may be made when one's class has graduated and it is impossible to complete an Economics major without taking a Core Course elsewhere. In this case, approval must be obtained from the Department of Economics' Transfer of Credit representative, in advance of taking the course and the extenuating circumstances must be documented.
Economics courses from Tufts Study Abroad programs are generally assigned the number EC 340 by the Registrar's Office. Courses numbered as EC 340 do not automatically count toward economics major or minor requirements, and must be submitted for an "Equivalency" review as outlined below.
Courses from non-Tufts programs are assigned numbers that correspond to the equivalent courses at Tufts. If corresponding numbers are not available, they are designated as EC 310 when they only qualify for graduation credit, EC 320 when they qualify as lower-level economics electives, and EC 330 when they qualify as upper-level economics electives.
On SIS, look under the "Courses" menu for the "Transfer/Equivalency" option and follow the steps shown to submit a course for review. The submission must include a link to a course description or syllabus that shows course prerequisites, level and content. Learn more about general transfer policies for the Schools of Arts & Sciences and Engineering.
Tufts Study Abroad courses are automatically entered on your transcript for graduation credit. In order to use any of these courses toward any economics major or minor requirements they must be submitted for an "Equivalency" review. On SIS, look under the "Courses" menu for the "Transfer/Equivalency" option and follow the steps shown to submit a course for review. The submission must include a course description or syllabus that shows course prerequisites, level and content. The review will determine whether a course can count toward an economics major or minor and whether it qualifies as an upper level elective.