The Master's in Economics has been developed for the prospective professional economist who aims to pursue a career either in the public or the private sector. It teaches you the essentials of modern economic theory and data analysis and how to apply them to everyday problems. Areas of focus include poverty and inequality, financial markets, economic growth and the environment.

The programme equips you with the essential tools of economics, shows how these tools should be applied in real life societal and market challenges and discusses which (policy) conclusions can be drawn. You learn to understand the academic literature and identify the key contributions in the field of economics. You learn to work in groups as well as independently and you learn to present your research findings both to expert and non-expert audiences.

The programme has two tracks. 

The first track is the programme in Public Policy, which focuses on how economists should advise policy makers to deal with the main societal challenges related to urbanization, the European Union, climate change and the welfare state.

The second track is the regular programme in Economics. By choosing a fixed combination of electives, in combination with a suitable thesis topic, you can opt for one of the four areas of specialization (Development Economics, Global Challenges, International and Macroeconomic Policy, or Labour and Health). However, you may also freely pick and mix elective courses from the four specializations, to broaden your academic interest rather than studying one specialization in depth.


Level Master
Language English
Duration 1 years
Type Fulltime
Credits 60 EC
Faculty School of Business and Economics
Master Economics - Specialization Development Economics
Development Economics applies basic tools of economics to key policy
issues in developing countries and transition economies. This
specialization discusses topics like: the role of constraints (for
example through exposure to risk) on the ability of households to escape
from poverty through asset accumulation; the potential for sustainable
land use in areas with rapid population growth; the economic
implications of migration, both within developing countries and from
developing to developed countries; and the scope for economic growth
through industrial development. These topics, along with aggregate
aspects of growth and inequality, and broader issues of human
development, shape the curriculum of the Development Economics
specialization. There is also close cooperation with the University of
Amsterdam, where some teaching takes place.

The approach is strongly empirical, using case studies or survey data
for individual households or firms to test competing theories and to
evaluate the impact of implemented policy initiatives and specific
development projects.

The programme contains core courses, specialization courses and
Master Economics - Specialization Global Challenges
This specialization, Global Challenges, studies economic aspects of
pressing global issues. Course work straddles areas of environmental
policy, global warming and climate change, but also the division between
Northern countries and the developing world, affecting life and
decisions of billions (poverty, access to health and education,
migration). All courses feature the application of relevant theoretical
and empirical insights to practical issues. You will learn to use modern
tools of analysis to investigate potential solutions and formulate
policy recommendations. Global challenges are much wider, and thesis
work can further delve into issues of, for instance, global diffusion of
technical change and innovation, international tax and welfare
competition, or international political economy.

The specialization is jointly supported by teaching staff from the
Department of Economics and of Spatial Economics. Both host
internationally renowned staff, all actively participating in national
and international economic policy debates. After completing course work
and thesis you are well equipped for a career as a policy economist in
international or national government agencies such as the European
Commission or ministries, policy analysis institutions, internationally
operating consultancy firms, or NGOs.

The programme contains core courses, specialization courses and
Master Economics - Specialization International and Macroeconomic Policy
The specialization International and Macroeconomic Policy focuses on
trade, growth and coordination of fiscal and monetary policy. This
specialization builds upon foundations of advanced macroeconomics: What
determines long-run growth and productivity; what is the use of fiscal
and monetary policy for economic stabilization?

Specialization courses discuss, inter alia, strategies in coordination
and cooperation needed to maintain and promote the integration of
Europe: How are tasks divided between EU and national authorities, can
the Euro area be stabilized and is further expansion desirable? Another
area focuses on growth in developing nations: What role do institutional
(social and political) factors play in promoting growth, how do
incentives affect savings and investment of households and firms, and
what is the impact of foreign aid on development? Finally, insight is
given into the drivers of growth in industrialized countries,
specifically the strategies of firms to boost innovation and growth, and
the role of policy.

Our highly reputable teaching faculty has an international track record
in academia, central banking, and policy advice.

The programme contains core courses, specialization courses and
Master Economics - Specialization Labour and Health
Human capital is the most valuable assets of individuals. Sufficient
human capital allows people te be successful on the labour market and if
individuals work they gain additional human capital. Health is a very
important determinant of human capital. A well functioning labour market
and health care market are therefore essential for any economy. Not
surprisingly, these markets are the most important areas of attention of
governments. However, the degree of regulation differs between markets
and is often heavily debated.

In the specialization Labour and Health, you learn about the trade-offs
between efficiency and protection faced by policy makers when making
decisions on the welfare state. This implies that you study the pros and
cons of government interventions concerning for example benefits
systems, health insurance markets, provision of long-term care and how
to regulate care providers.

Since there is no one-size-fits-all policy available for the labour
market and markets associated to health, this specialization is largely
empirical driven and compared different institutional settings.

The programme contains core courses, specialization courses and
Master Economics - Specialization Public Policy
This high-quality one-year programme in economics has a strong interest
in the design and evaluation of public policy. Public Policy addresses
the main societal challenges of today and tomorrow, including the future
of the welfare state, aging of society, global environmental challenges,
urbanization of our societies, globalization, and economic development
and inequality. The programme addresses questions on market performance
and failures, and associated policies, studied from the perspective of
incentives and economic behaviour of individual firms and households. It
also covers macroeconomic policies directed at aggregate growth and
employment, notably fiscal and monetary policies.

It is generally felt that effective public policies to address the great
societal challenges are urgently needed, but not ready on the shelf.
What can policy makers do to live up to the challenges encountered in
our pension systems? What is the role for policy in the developing
world, where billions still suffer? How to meet the climate change
challenge from an economic perspective? How to make sure that in a
rapidly urbanizing world, cities will become or remain places where
people can live healthily, safely and happily?

The programme covers both micro- and macroeconomic perspectives on
policies at an advanced level. This provides you with a very rich set of
perspectives on economic policy analysis. Therefore, this programme
offers you the theoretical knowledge and practical skills to tackle
complex problems at a high level of abstraction, while emphasizing the
need to translate theoretical solutions and empirical evidence into
clear-cut policy advice.
Course Name Period Credits Code
Thesis MSc Economics - Public Policy Ac. Year (sept) 18EC E_EC_THSPP
Microeconomics and Methods P1 6EC E_EC_MM
Public Economics and Policy P1 6EC E_EC_PEP
Economics of Environmental Policy Instrument Design P2 6EC E_STR_EEPID
Economics of the Welfare State P2 6EC E_EC_EWS
Policy Seminars and Policy Brief P3 6EC E_EC_PSPB
Globalization, Growth and Development P4 6EC E_EC_GGD
Urban Economic Challenges and Policies P4 6EC E_STR_UECP
Master Economics - No specialization
In case you decide not to specialize within the Master Economics, the
following requirements are applicable:
- The four core courses of the specializations other than Public
Policy, plus the thesis are oblicatory.
- In addition you may choose every other courses, offered by the
Master Economics as electives, with a total of 18 EC.