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MA program

The MA program provides training in a wide range of theoretical, empirical, and policy-related fields. The program is designed to prepare students for a career in the public or private sector, or to pursue further studies in a PhD program. The program is offered on a full-time basis and is designed so that students can complete the degree in one year.

Core requirements

For core requirements, please visit the SFU Academic Calendar.

MA program options

Course option

Nine (9) courses (ECON 798*, 802, 807, 835 and 836, plus four elective ECON graduate courses) and MA Research Paper (ECON 899). Econ 808 may be chosen instead of 807.

Students normally complete the MA program in one academic year by taking the following course sequence:

Fall term

  • ECON 798 Mathematical Economics (taught over the last week of August / first week of September)
  • ECON 802 Microeconomic Theory I
  • ECON 835 Econometrics
  • One elective course

Spring term

  • ECON 807 Macroeconomic Theory and Policy
  • ECON 836 Applied Econometrics
  • One elective course

Summer term

  • Two elective courses
  • ECON 899 (MA Research Paper)

The Course Option is the MA program option that should normally be selected. There are also three alternative options, which require a 3.50 CGPA at the end of the Spring term. You should consult with the Graduate Chair before selecting any of these.

* ECON 798 is not required if a grade acceptable to the graduate program committee has been obtained in an equivalent course. An undergraduate course can be used with the approval of the graduate program committee.

Project option

Eight (8) courses (ECON 798, 802, 807, 835 and 836, plus three elective ECON graduate courses) and a research project (ECON 999).

An MA project is normally a graduate course term paper extended in a quality dimension. A first-class term paper will normally be acceptable with only moderate extension in quality. There is no requirement for quantitative extension and no minimum acceptable length.

Extended essays option

Seven (7) courses (ECON 798, 802, 807, 835 and 836, plus two elective ECON graduate courses) and two extended essays (ECON 998).

Extended essays are normally graduate-course term papers extended in a quality dimension. A first-class term paper will normally be acceptable with only moderate extension in quality. There is no requirement for quantitative extension and no minimum acceptable length.

Thesis option

Seven (7) courses (ECON 798, 802, 807, 835 and 836, plus two elective ECON graduate courses) and an MA thesis (ECON 991).

An MA thesis consists of original research. It may be developed from a term paper submitted in a graduate course. Unlike a project or extended essays, a thesis normally requires a literature survey establishing the originality of the research and a comprehensive justification of the presented results. There is no minimal acceptable length.

Elective course work

The elective courses are graduate ECON courses different from ECON 798 and the MA core courses (ECON 802, 807, 835 and 836) or, with permission from the Graduate Chair, graduate courses in business or other subjects.

Satisfactory progress

To remain in good academic standing, MA students are required to make satisfactory progress according to the MA Satisfactory Progress Guidelines set by the department. Students who fail to make satisfactory progress will normally be required to withdraw from the graduate program.

In addition to the departmental guidelines, the university requires that all graduate students maintain a minimum CGPA of at least 3.00; students failing to meet this university requirement may not be permitted to register for classes.

Supervision of research

MA students completing a Project, Extended essays, or Thesis must choose a senior supervisor as soon as possible and notify the Graduate Program Secretary no later than the end of the enrollment period of their third term in the program. Please see the Faculty Profiles for possible supervisors’ fields of research.

Research and oral examination

Under the Project, Extended Essays, or Thesis options, the resulting research must meet the university standards set out in Graduate General Regulations 1.9 - 1.11. An oral examination (defense) of the completed research, under the supervision of at least two faculty members, is also required and should follow the university best practices for the conduct of a thesis defence.

Program length

Students are expected to complete the program requirements in three (3) terms for the Course option, four (4) terms for the Project option, and five (5) terms for the Extended Essays and Thesis options.

Co-operative education

Co-operative education (co-op) is an optional university program which provides work experience to complement the MA program. Students in good standing, with a minimum 3.0 CGPA, may apply for co-op. The co-op program consists of one or two work terms. Applications are made through the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences co-op coordinator during the first term of study (see Co-operative Education). To participate in a co-op prior approval from the Graduate Chair is required.