MA in Economics and Finance

Admission Requirements 

(Please note as this is a quota program, only 5 new students are accepted each year)

  • The equivalent of a baccalaureate degree from the University of Alberta with a grade point average of at least 3.5 (on the University of Alberta's 4-point grading scale) in the last 60 units of course weight (normally equivalent to 20 single-term courses) of study;  see the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research Prospectus for examples of grade point average equivalencies.   Students with the equivalent of a BA (Honors) in Economics may be considered for admission into the one-year MA or 22-month MA Economics/Finance program. The student's undergraduate program should include advanced courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics. 
  • Students who have not taken courses at the advanced level in one of microeconomics, macroeconomics, or econometrics may still be admitted directly into the MA program, although this is unusual.  In such cases, however, an additional four to eight months may be required to complete the program. 
  • Students who have studied economics up to, but not beyond, the intermediate level may be admitted as qualifying graduate students. (For students at the University of Alberta, a minimum of ECON 281 and 384 (Intermediate Microeconomic Theory I and II), ECON 282 and 385 (Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory I and II), ECON 299 (Quantitative Methods in Economics), ECON 399 (Introductory Econometrics) and a course in each of calculus and statistics at the introductory level are required for admission into this category.) 
  • The equivalent of a grade point average of at least 3.5 (on the University of Alberta's 4-point grading scale) in economics courses. Such applicants must also have completed a course in each of calculus and statistics at the introductory level.

Grading systems differ greatly across countries. Acceptance into a graduate program in Economics at the University of Alberta requires an academic background equivalent to at least one of the qualifications listed below:

Canada and USA: GPA of 6.7 on the University of Alberta's old 9 point scale, or 3 on most 4 point systems, including the current University of Alberta point scale, 75%, B (second class) standing, or equivalent in the work of the last two full years of previous degrees.

United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, and other Commonwealth countries whose university systems follow that of Great Britain: Upper second class honors degree.

India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh: First class or first division bachelor's degree and first class master's degree.

Japan: 2.3 out of 3, or 3 out of 4.

Philippines: 1.8/2.00, or 86%

People's Republic of China: 80%, or 4 out of 5.

Taiwan: "A" average, usually 80% or better.

Egypt: Honors degree with at least "Very Good", 75%

Botswana, Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe: 2nd Class Upper, 70%-75%

English Language Proficiency Requirement

Applicants who do not hold a baccalaureate degree or its academic equivalent from a recognized institution in which the language of instruction is English in a country where English is deemed to be the principal language are required to demonstrate English language proficiency. The minimum acceptable score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is 580 for the paper based test or 92 for the internet-based test. For the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), the minimum overall band score required is 7.0 with at least 6.5 on each band (Academic).

GRE Requirement

Applicants whose most recent degree is from a non-Canadian university are required to write the verbal, quantitative and analytical sections of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) administered by the Educational Testing Service (Princeton, NJ). The examinations should be written early enough for scores to be available at the same time as the applicant's other supporting documents. No minimum cutoff score is specified as GRE results are used only in conjunction with other indicators of potential academic success. No substitutions for the GRE (such as the GMAT) will be accepted.The GRE requirement will not be waived.


For consideration for September admission, the deadline for receipt of the Application for Graduate Admission form and all supporting documents from students currently residing within Canada is May 15. The deadline for receipt of the Application for Graduate Admission Form and all supporting documents from students currently residing outside Canada or applicants within Canada applying for a student visa is February 15. Applicants from China and Nigeria must submit documents by January 10 to allow sufficient time to apply for a student visa.

Required Courses:

  1. Six required courses: ECON 503, 581, 598, 599; Fin 501; 3 credits of Accounting at the 500 level.
  2. Seven optional graduate courses with at least three of these chosen from among the 500-level ECON courses and at least three from among the graduate FIN courses.  The seventh option course can be a course from another department, such as Math 508 (Computational Finance), provided it meets the criteria for the program.
  3. An independent research project, ECON 999, under the supervision of a faculty member from the Department of Economics or a faculty member from the Department of Finance and Management Science in which the results are presented and defended in a seminar format. The paper should not normally exceed 50 pages.
  4. To maintain full-time status, candidates for a master's degree are required to take at least three courses per term.

Performance in the Economics and Finance program

All students in Economics and Finance MA program must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.7 (on the University of Alberta's 4-point grading scale) to continue in, and complete, the program.

Residence Requirement

Students enrolled in the course-based MA in Economics and Finance program need not fulfil a residence requirement.

Time limit for completion

To be recommended for a master's degree, candidates are required to complete all the requirements within six years of the time they first register as candidates in the master's program.  Time spent as a qualifying graduate student ahead of admission to this program (if any) does not count towards this six year limit.