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BA/MA Combined Degree

B.A./M.A. in Economics and Optional Advanced Certificate

About the Program

Students obtain both a B.A. & M.A. degree. This is about one semester fewer than what is required to obtain the separate degrees. The B.A./M.A. program is designed to speed the learning and graduation of a student who, by the junior year, is reasonably confident that he or she wishes to become an economist who uses both economic theory and economic data to provide quantitative analyses of economic issues.

The program commences in the same way as the standard economics major. Provided that sufficiently high grades have been obtained by the junior year, you may apply to the B.A./M.A. program. The latter part of the program consists of courses offered in the Economics Department’s M.A. in Applied Economics program.

The B.A./M.A. degree consists of core courses and electives. Of the core courses, two are in microeconomics, one is in macroeconomics, and two are in econometrics. These core courses train the student in the basic analytical and applied statistical methods used by economists. The core courses are:

  • ECO 505 Microeconomic Theory
  • ECO 507 Macroeconomic Theory
  • ECO 580 Econometrics I
  • ECO 581 Econometrics II
  • ECO 576 Topics in Microeconomics

The B.A./M.A program, coupled with the optional Advanced Certificate in Applied Economics, focuses on six specialties and requires completion of a further 15 credits. The specializations are:

  • Financial Economics
  • International Economics
  • Information and Internet Economics
  • Economics of Law & Regulation
  • Economics of Health Services
  • Urban and Regional Economics

These specializations result from combined instruction from specialists within the Department of Economics and the Schools of Management, Preventative Medicine, Law, Informatics, Engineering, and Geography and Mathematics Departments. Thus, students have much broader instructional resources available to them than can be provided by an economics department alone.


  • The time-saving comes from a student being able to use his or her undergraduate training in economics in place of some of the requirements of the M.A. program. The M.A. in Applied Economics is a program that is offered by the Economics Department in conjunction with the Schools of Management, Medicine and Biological Sciences, Architecture and Planning, and of Law and the Departments of Geography, Computer Science and Engineering, and Communication. Students thus have access to a wide selection of the expert faculty at the University at Buffalo.
  • Within this program, students also have the option of earning an Advanced Certificate in Applied Economics.
  • Students interested in this program should consult the Director of Undergraduate Studies in economics as early as possible in their college careers and apply no later than during their junior years as undergraduates.

Acceptance Criteria

  • Students must apply for and be accepted into both the undergraduate economics major and the M.A. Economics program.
  • Students applying to the B.A./M.A. program should have at least 60 credits (with some Economics courses completed) when applying to the program. Students can apply to the M.A. portion of the B.A./M.A. program during the end of their sophomore year or later (should have around 60 credits or more when applying).
  • Students don’t need to complete 18 undergraduate economics credits before applying to the B.A./M.A. program.
  • GRE or GMAT is required for BA/MA Economics application.

Application Instructions

  • To apply to the B.A./M.A. program, you should consult the Director of the Undergraduate Programs and the Assistant Director of the Masters Program.
  • Apply now online.

Advising Notes

  • 135 credit hours are required for the combined BA/MA degree:
  • 105 credits at the undergraduate level, including a minimum of 18 credits in economics and all university requirements.
  • 30 credits in economics at the graduate level.
  • Students must meet the requirements of both the B.A. & M.A portions of the program.
  • If as student after entering the B.A./M.A program wishes to withdraw from the M.A. portion of the B.A./M.A. program, it is important to note that only six graduate credits can be used toward their B.A. degree without special approval form the Dean of Undergraduate Education.
  • Students should consult the Director of the Undergraduate Program and the Assistant Director of the M.A. program as early as possible in their decision-making process in order to develop a sequence of coursework that is appropriate to their interests and objectives.
  • ECO 505, ECO 507, and ECO 576 may be substituted for ECO 405, ECO 407, and ECO 406, respectively, with the permission of the Director of the M.A. Program.  A waiver exam may be taken for ECO 580 and ECO 581; please contact the Assistant Director of the M.A. Program for details. Note: even with specific course waiver approval, students in the B.A./M.A. program a total of 18 undergraduate Economics credits and 30 M.A. credits are still required for the degree.


  • Note: Students are considered undergraduates until they reach 105 credits hours. After 105 credit hours, students are considered to have graduate status and are responsible for graduate tuition and fees. For more information about fees, please contact the Assistant Director of the Masters Program.
  • Note: However, there are many times when you a BA/MA student won’t have exactly 105 credits before starting the M.A. portion of the program. For example, let’s say a student completes 102 credits at the end of Spring 2005 semester. This means they’ll probably take 4 grad & 1 undergrad class in Fall 2005. Does this mean that they will pay undergrad tuition since they haven’t hit the 105 credit mark? The answer is no. They would pay Graduate tuition in Fall 2005. The underlying principle is that the Graduate School doesn’t want undergrads to pay undergrad tuition for graduate classes. Additionally, the Graduate School doesn’t want undergrads to pay graduate tuition for more semesters than needed.
  • If you’re doing the B.A./M.A, the plan should be to pay 7 semesters undergrad tuition and 2 semesters of Graduate tuition (unless you do adv. Cert which would be 3)
  • So, what is the cut-off for Grad tuition? There isn’t necessarily a cut off. Let’s say you’re in the situation where you happen to be a bit shy of the 105 credits (95-104 credits, for example). The general rule of thumb would be: if you are taking more grad than undergrad classes in a particular semester, you would be charged grad tuition. If you are taking more undergrad than graduate, then you would be charged undergrad tuition. Remember, it should always work out where you’re paying 7 semesters undergrad and 2 semesters graduate (unless you do the adv. Cert). This is why we recommend following the traditional sequence and take undergrad classes first and then proceed to graduate level classes later. However, you may decide to take a couple of graduate level classes before the 105 credits (perhaps a dual listed elective, for example). It is fine to take more than 2 grad classes before the 105 credit mark if you’re planning to do the B.A./M.A anyway since you’ll be paying the same amount (7 udgr & 2 grad).