Master of Science in Economics
The Economics programme studies the functioning of economy as a whole. Whereas Business Economics focuses mostly on the functional domains of businesses, Economics deals with macroeconomic analysis, focusing on the behaviour of, and interaction between consumers, businesses, financial institutions and the government, in an international context.
Economics is a way of thinking, based on a structured framework to analyse real-world economic problems and policy challenges. This requires appropriate tools and skills which you will further develop in the master in economics. In your economics bachelor, you had exposure to the main fields in economics, e.g. microeconomics, macroeconomics, environmental, labor, international and monetary economics. The master in economics has two objectives : (1) you deepen your analytical skills and (2) you have the opportunity to specialize in your preferred subject area. The deepening part is achieved through dedicated courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics which are compulsory for all master students. The specialization part is achieved by offering you the choice between two field majors.
In the master in economics, we analyze the interactions between economic actors, i.e., households, corporations, financial institutions and governments, in a domestic and international context. A critical analysis of these interactions requires rigorous analytical frameworks and econometric tools. The master in economics offers you the skills to bring hypotheses to the data and formulate policy recommendations based on theoretical insights and empirical evidence. Via individual and group assignments, you will learn to tackle real-world economic problems and you get the opportunity to present and discuss your findings with fellow students and academic staff. You will learn how to set up an academic research project and apply your skills to analyze societally relevant questions about, e.g., productivity, inequality and poverty, ECB monetary policy, labor market frictions, optimal taxation, sustainability of government debt, climate transition, demographic change, trade and migration. As such, the master program prepares you not only for the labor market, but also for further advanced studies. Several of our alumni have successfully completed advanced masters in top universities or have engaged in PhD research.
The admission requirements vary. Depending on your preliminary training, you are either able to enrol directly, or there are additional requirements.
The program essentially consists of four components: three compulsory courses, major courses, the master dissertation and an elective course.
The compulsory courses offer the foundations for methodological and empirical skills. This common part of the master program deepens your knowledge in microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics. You already covered the basics of these areas but here we provide a deeper focus on the formal analysis as well as the analytical and econometric tools that are essential for critical economic analysis.
- Microeconomics: you study behavioral economics under uncertainty and asymmetric information. You also take a deep dive into optimization techniques.
- Macroeconomics: you master modern growth theory and modern business cycle analysis. You study theories and models, and apply them to topics and economic policies related to demographic change, inequality, climate change, productivity and innovation,…
- Econometrics: we broaden your knowledge of econometric techniques for time series analysis.
The master in economics program offers two majors allowing you to select courses in your area of interest in which you apply the theoretical insights of the compulsory courses. We offer two majors : (1) Financial Institutions and Markets and (2) Economic Policy. We have deep knowledge and expertise in our department in these areas, also in terms of research. Research and education are closely intertwined at master level. When enrolling in a major, you choose three courses from a list of five or six in that area. The Financial Institutions and Markets major is aimed at students who aspire to start a job in the financial sector. You study financial assets and their risk-return characteristics. You investigate the interactions between financial markets (stocks, bonds, corporate securities, exchange rates, commodities, emerging markets) and the macroeconomic environment (growth, inflation, interest rates, government budget). You explore recent trends in the European banking sector and analyze the profit/risk profile of banks and the impact of regulation on bank intermediation. You study central bank policies, the ECB in particular, and their implications. The Economic Policy major is aimed at students looking for a job in economic policymaking, in the broadest sense of the word (not only government, but also social partners, central banks, international institutions, financial institutions, NGOs,...). You study the role of the government in the economy: efficient allocation, government intervention and externalities, inequality and poverty, optimal taxation. Environmental and energy policy is covered extensively, with a main focus on the optimal use of scarce resources and concepts of cost-efficiency, cost-effectiveness and information problems. Finally, you discover the effects of fiscal policy on key macroeconomic variables such as economic growth and employment, and on (financial, social and ecological) sustainability.
The master is completed with a master dissertation which allows you to demonstrate that you are able to apply the acquired knowledge to address a problem independently. Students in the master in economics typically use a combination of theory and empirical analysis to tackle relevant economic problems, under the guidance of a supervisor. This is really the cherry on the cake.
Finally, we offer the opportunity to tailor your curriculum by choosing an elective course. You have several options for the elective course:
- You choose another course from your major to specialise even more in this subject area
- You choose a course from the other major in order to broaden your horizon
- You choose an elective course from a list of economic courses
- You conduct an internship
If you want to combine your master’s degree with a teacher’s degree, then there is the option of following an ‘Educatieve master’ instead of the above described master. The Master's Programme in Teaching however is a Dutch taught programme. More information can be found on www.ugent.be/educatievemaster.
At Ghent University, we strive to educate people who dare to think about the challenges of tomorrow. For that purpose, we provide education that is embedded in six strategic objectives: Think Broadly, Keep Researching, Cultivate Talent, Contribute, Extend Horizons, Opt for Quality.
Ghent University continuously focuses on quality assurance and quality culture. The Ghent University's quality assurance system offers information on each study programme’s unique selling points, and on its strengths and weaknesses with regard to quality assurance.
Ghent University's Education Objectives
Unique Selling Points
- Multiperspectivism: we train our students to become critical economists who keep close track of economic evolutions. We teach our students the necessary skills to work creatively and solve problems.
- Talent development: our students have a certain degree of curricular freedom but the ultimate aim remains becoming an economist with a broad vision.
- Knowledge creation: we place great store by a gradual build-up of knowledge. We constantly encourage our students to reflect critically on themselves. Our graduates are Masters with a thorough analytical and quantitative specialization.
- Programme: our curriculum focuses on the core domains of the economy; the majors have a clear finality and there is room for international exchange.
- Integration theory and skills: the curriculum strongly focuses on group assignments in which economic problems are analysed. In doing so, we sharpen our students’ critical sense and problem-solving thinking, and keep abreast of new economic developments.
- Preparation: be off to a good start by participating in our elective summer courses and the introduction week.
- Our study programme boasts a dedicated team of lecturers from various economic disciplines, who combine their passion for teaching with their research expertise and a commitment to premium-quality lectures.
- Room for practical experience: a continued emphasis on exercises, case studies and group work facilitates a translation theoretical knowledge about economic issues into specific cases, taken from national as well as international contexts. By means of papers and the Master’s dissertation, we want to involve our students continuously in academic research in the field of economics.
- Assessment: our students appreciate that they are well informed about the form and content of the assessments so that they clearly know what to expect when studying.
- Approachability: being a small study programme, we focus on low-threshold contact between our lecturers and our students.
- Internationalization: we aim to increase the number of foreign degree students enrolling in our programme.
- Embedding the external perspective: together with the faculty, we aim to achieve the international accreditation awarded by AACSB.
Tailored coaching programme: As stipulated in the quality improvement plan, the study programme in liaison with the faculty and the Education Department, is set to eliminate the weaknesses within a reasonable time frame. The study programme delivers regular progress reports to the Education Quality Board.
This study programme is accredited by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (Dutch: NVAO). Accreditation was extended following the positive outcome of the institutional review in 2017. Programme quality was validated by a quality review, i.e. a screening of the Education Monitor by the Education Quality Board. The Quality Assurance Resolution (in Dutch) can be found here.
This information was last updated on 01/06/2021.
In case of questions or suggestions with regard to the publicly available information, please contact the study programme.