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Master of Arts in Economics

The MA in Economics (with specialization in Development and Policy) is designed to closely align with Azim Premji University’s mission to develop competent and committed professionals for the development sector. The MA in Economics is a uniquely designed programme to develop the next generation of Economists with the theoretical knowledge, and technical skills to perform high quality analyses, while at the same time being grounded in the institutional, developmental and ecological context of contemporary India. The programme is designed to draw upon the expertise already present at the University in the areas of development, policy and governance, and education. The programme will help students develop strong technical economic skills along with contextual understanding of development issues facing India. It is intended for students who want to go into the development sector, public policy and also at students who want to pursue further studies in Development, Economics or Public Policy.

Programme Goals

The programme objective of the MA in Economics is to develop a wide range of skills—the ability to make sense of a complex social reality, a strong aptitude in dealing with abstract numbers and statistics, a sense of the historical context of societies, an understanding of human motivation and a feeling for the moral and ethical underpinnings of social arrangements. The hope for economists is that the knowledge they acquire can be used to help promote a better society.

Azim Premji University’s unique approach is to provide students with a strong understanding of the Indian economy, economic theory, tools of analysis and the ability to practically apply these to current economic and development issues. Upon completion of our programme our goal is to have students of Economics who are socio-politically engaged, quantitatively adept and able to engage in the development sector and provide solutions for pressing problems.

Our programme offers a number of innovative approaches to advancing Economics education. Firstly, students will be exposed to a plurality of schools of thought within economics, which are historically grounded and puts real world issues and problems in the forefront. Secondly, our programme gives precedence to understanding economics through the practical application of its techniques to the Indian economy and development context. Lastly, we employ innovative pedagogical approaches to economics including problem-based learning, flipped classrooms, collaborative learning environments and the use real economic datasets with the economics core curriculum courses.

A MA in Economics will provide students with a number of skills and preparation for entering the world of work. Employers from the public to private and non-profit sector value the knowledge base and skills, both analytical and empirical, that economists acquire. Students who wish to further their studies post-graduation will also be well placed with a strong foundation of economic theory, practice and application to real world phenomenon.

The overarching learning objectives of the MA in Economics can be broken into two main areas – knowledge outcomes and skill acquisition. Our desired outcomes include goals related to knowledge of Indian economic development, economic concepts, development theory, critical thinking skills, quantitative and writing skills for public and academic engagement.


1. Knowledge of economic development within the Indian context.
2. Knowledge of development theories and concepts.
3. Knowledge of real-world institutions and actors involved in economic development within      the Indian context.


1. Skill in communication for public and academic audiences.
2. Skill in problem solving and analysis.
3. Skill in conducting independent research.

Course Structure

The MA in Economics consists of 72 credits requiring full-time study for four semesters over two years. The curriculum is designed with the following course and credit structure:

Type of Course Master’s Thesis Track Internship Track Semester
# Credits # Credits
Core courses 9 36 9 36 Semester1, Semester2 & Semester3
Elective courses 4-6 16 5-7 20 Semester3 & Semester4
Field Practice 1 4 1 4 Winter
Master’s Thesis 1 8 Summer, Semester3 & Semester4
Internship 1 4 Summer
Communicating Economics 1 4 1 4 Semester3
Creative Expressions 2 4 2 4 Semester1 & Semester2
Total: 72 credits Total: 72 credits

Core Courses

Core courses cover the foundational knowledge and skills necessary to be able to understand economics from the developmental context of contemporary India. The courses cover traditional economic theory and methods, while also addressing the institutional, developmental and ecological concerns of India. The core courses cover the following; microeconomics of development, macroeconomics of development, mathematical models in economics, ecology & development, sociology of development, quantitative and qualitative research methods, political & legal institutions, economics of identity, and econometrics of impact evaluation [course descriptions given below].

Each core course carries four credits.

Elective courses

Elective courses are offered in the third and fourth semesters and are designed for students to extend their foundational knowledge from the core courses and develop domain expertise in particular fields. We expect to offer electives in the following areas: advanced topics in microeconomics, advanced topics in macroeconomics, labour, governance, gender, health, education, environment, public finance, and data programing. The electives on offer may vary across cohorts depending on student interests and faculty specializations.

Field Practice

Engaging and challenging field-engagements are envisaged as part of the programme to help students develop their skills in doing field work - applying skills from the Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods course. The field practice allows students to apply classroom learning to development challenges in a variety of contexts. In particular, it offers the opportunity to apply qualitative methods in the field, a skill that many economists are found lacking in.

Communicating Economics

The Communicating Economics course provide students with an introduction to pedagogy and assessment for teaching economics in a variety of contexts - from classrooms to development professionals working in a range of different areas. As part of this course students will be required to develop and run a 1/2 day workshop on an economics topic to a diverse audience.

Master’s Thesis Track

The Master’s thesis track is designed to show a student’s capacity and skills in producing high quality research that demonstrates knowledge of economic theory, analytical depth of the subject area and appropriate empirical skills. The thesis provides intensive engagement with interesting questions/areas of study/research topics. This engagement is expected to cement skills in conceptualizing a research question, evaluating and applying appropriate research methods, creating a rigorously reasoned manuscript and working independently. The project is also meant to spark interest in tackling open questions in the discipline. Moreover, the project encourages independent and self-motivated learning habits amongst students. The majority of the Master’s Thesis work will take place during summer between semesters 2 and 3 (some linked directly to the field practice sites), with the analysis and write-up occurring over semester 3 in a Thesis Seminar class and semester 4.

Internship Track

The internship track is designed for students who want to engage in real economic analysis outside of the classroom. The 4 credit internship is designed to expose students to a variety of contexts in which economists work within the development sector, in higher education, in public policy and with government agencies. In addition to the internship students will have an additional 4 credits of electives to fulfill in the second year.

Independent Study

Students have the option of taking an independent study under the guidance of a faculty member on a specialized topic of interest. A student acquires 1 credit from independent study on completing 40 hours of study including self-study and writing of at least 36 hours duration and also mentoring and assessment by a faculty member of 4 hours. A 4 credit independent study has the following requirements over a 16-week semester: (i) A self-study component that requires 144 hours of study or research including writing of an extended essay of 6000 words or a research report (ii) Mentoring and assessment time with an instructor of 16 hours.

Creative Expressions

There are two required creative expressions courses in the first year of the program. Creative expressions courses introduce students to the dimensions of multi-modal understanding through work and play in activities such as music, sport, games, dance, pottery, woodworking and theatre.

Course Structure and Calendar

Semester1 Winter Semester2 Summer Semester3 Semester4
Microeconomics of Development Field Practice Microeconomics of Development Economics of Identity Elective 3
Mathematical Models in Economics Econometrics of Impact Evaluation Communicating Economics Elective 4
Ecology & Development in India Sociology of Development Elective 1 Elective 5
Quantitative & Qualitative Research Methods Political & Legal Institutions Internship Elective 2 Elective 6
Creative Expressions Creative Expressions Master's Thesis Thesis Seminar Master's Thesis

Selection Process

Entry requirements for MA Economics are an undergraduate degree in Economics. Exceptions to this will be made on a case-by-case basis with students who are able to demonstrate sufficient economics knowledge. Additionally, an entrance exam and interview will be conducted Know more...

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Azim Premji University, Pixel B, Admissions Office, PES Campus,
Electronics City, Hosur Road (Beside NICE Road)
Bengaluru - 560 100, India
Toll free help line: 1800 843 2001
Monday - Friday 9.00 am to 5.00 pm

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