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Academic Overview


1. GPED curriculum

2. Degree requirements

3. GPED Awards

1. GPED curriculum

The M.A. in Economics degree requires 12 hours of core courses, 3 hours of research (individual research project), 6 hours of field courses, and 9 hours of elective courses.  A total of 30 credit hours is required to graduate. For a description of each course please see the Graduate Catalog .

1.1 Required core courses 

  • ECON 6100: Microeconomic Theory
  • ECON 6200: Macroeconomic Theory
  • ECON 6500: Statistical Analysis
  • ECON 6600: Econometrics

1.2 Required research project
All students must complete a substantive research project by taking one of the following courses:

  • ECON 7910: Seminar in Research on Economic Development: Microeconomic Applications
  • ECON 7920: Seminar in Research on Economic Development: Macroeconomic Applications
  • ECON 7930: Field Experience in Economic Development (offered based on instructor availability)

1.3 Required field courses
 Students must take at least 6 credit hours from the following courses in trade and development:

  • ECON 7100: Project Evaluation
  • ECON 7600: International Trade and Economic Development
  • ECON 7881: Special Topics in Development Policies
  • ECON 7882: Special Topics in Development Policies
  • ECON 7910: Seminar in Research on Economic Development: Microeconomic Applications
  • ECON 7920: Seminar in Research on Economic Development: Macroeconomic Applications
  • ECON 7930: Field Experience in Economic Development (offered based on instructor availability)

1.4 Elective courses:
Students must take 9 credit hours of elective courses. These electives may be chosen from the following:

1.4.1 GPED Electives: Any GPED class not counted toward a required field course may count as an elective.

1.4.2 Electives outside GPED but within Economics or Financial Economics
Only ECON courses with numbers higher than the ECON 5000-level (listed below) can count toward the the Master's degree:

  • ECON 5100: Wages, Employment, and Labor Markets
  • ECON 5240: Poverty and Discrimination
  • ECON 5250: Industrial Organization
  • ECON 5260: Game Theory with Economic Applications
  • ECON 5270: Economics of Information and Communications Technology
  • ECON 5300: Financial Instruments and Markets
  • ECON 5350: Economics of Health
  • ECON 5610: International Finance
  • ECON 5650: Development Economics
  • FNEC 5700: Investment Analysis
  • FNEC 5705: Financial Management

1.4.3 ECON or FNEC courses below 5000 as electives: With prior permission of the GPED Director and the relevant instructor, a GPED student might take a course for graduate credit on a topic available only in an undergraduate course (numbered below 5000).

1.4.4 Ph.D.-level ECON courses as electives: With prior permission of the Director of Graduate Studies of the Economics Department and the relevant instructor, GPED students may be able to enroll in Ph.D.-level economics courses in their second year.

1.4.5 Electives outside Economics or Financial Economics: Some of the courses offered by the Owen Graduate School of Management, the School of Engineering, Peabody College of Education and Human Development, as well as other departments and programs in the College of Arts and Science such as Asian Studies, History, Managerial Studies, Mathematics, and Political Science may also count towards GPED electives. However, the following rules apply to non-ECON electives:

  • Only those courses that are listed in the Vanderbilt Graduate Catalog can count towards graduate (GPED) credit.
  • Students must first obtain permission from the GPED Director if taking more than 6 credit hours of elective courses outside of ECON or FNEC. 

2. Degree requirements

Participants must achieve an overall grade point average of 3.0 (B) or better in coursework completed at Vanderbilt in order to receive the Master of Arts degree in Economics.


3. GPED Awards

A week before Commencement each year, GPED students, their families, faculty, deans, directors and staff of the Program come together for a delightful evening to honor the graduating class.  The program offers several academic awards in recognition of  outstanding academic achievement.  The most coveted award, the "GPED Award," recognizes citizenship, leadership, and helpfulness toward fellow students.

The GPED also presents the Worley Award and Ferguson Award each year to students in the first year class.  A description of each award follows.

James S. and Rosemary Worley Award
In 1997, alumni of the Graduate Program in Economic Development, friends and family of Emeritus Professor James S. Worley and his wife Rosemary established an award in their names which is given annually to an outstanding student(s) in the first-year class.
James Worley, Director of the GPED for 25 years is credited with building the program to its position of strength. Under his leadership, the mission of the GPED, which was to train government officials and university teachers from developing countries, became more clearly defined, and the program developed strong and lasting relationships with people and governments around the world.

The criteria for receiving this award include, but are not limited to, academic merit, interest in the GPED and commitment to economic development.

William Edward Ferguson Jr. Award
The Ferguson Award was endowed by William Edward Ferguson Jr., Registrar of the Graduate School from 1967 to 1992 and long-time friend of the GPED. This award was established in 2003. It rewards a commitment to community service and volunteerism and is presented to a first-year GPED student.