MA in Economics

The Mason style of economics fuses scholarship in the fields of public choice (founded by Nobel Laureate and former Mason professor, the late James Buchanan), Austrian economics, and experimental economics (the latter founded by Nobel Laureate and Mason professor emeritus Vernon Smith). Our nationally ranked graduate economics programs are noted for their emphasis on comparative institutional analysis and their concentration on the relationships among economic, political, and legal institutions.

Economics faculty are often sought after by media outlets to provide their opinions and expertise, invited to give congressional testimony, and frequently offer value-added advice to policy makers. Faculty are actively engaged in academic research on, and teaching about, numerous subjects including: experimental economics, Austrian economics, public choice, constitutional political economy, law and economics, and new institutional economics,

As a part of the Master of Arts in economics program, you will gain knowledge of economic theory and improve your ability to apply this theory to economic problems. Graduates are qualified to read and judge other's research and to conduct their own, either individually or as members of research teams in government or business. They are also prepared to write policy analysis articles.

Many students benefit from Mason’s proximity to the resources of the Washington, D.C., area. Graduates move on to successful careers in policy institutes and non-profits, as well as the public and private sectors.

Building on expanded opportunities to engage and connect virtual learners into our Masonomics community of scholars, we launched a new program initiative in Fall 2020 to offer a fully-online MA Economics option alongside our established on-campus MA program in Northern Virginia. Over 130 online students from around the nation as well as internationally have already joined us online and enjoy the same world-class education and opportunities as our traditional on-campus students. Visit the Mason Online webpage to learn more. 

Our course schedules accommodate many students who are employed, and we value the experience and contributions they bring to the classroom and community.  Classes for the MA Economics on-campus option are generally offered in the evening, and courses for the online option are scheduled asynchronously. 

The MA in economics is a self-contained course of study for students who are not planning to pursue the PhD program at George Mason University. Students who plan to pursue the PhD degree should apply directly to the doctoral program. They can earn a master’s while pursuing the PhD.

Funding Opportunities

Funding opportunities are available on a competitive basis for incoming MA in economics on-campus students. The application process for fellowships and assistantships is separate from the admissions process. Therefore, a separate application should be submitted to each opportunity an applicant is interested in.

Questions regarding funding opportunities for MA in economics students can be emailed to

Economics MA Fellowship

**The deadline to apply for the Fall 2024 Economics MA Fellowship was March 18, 2024, and we are no longer accepting applications. Students may access George Mason's Graduate Education Financial Support webpage for additional funding and aid resources. 

The Economics MA Fellowship is an opportunity available to incoming on-campus students who are pursuing their MA in economics. 

The department will be granting recognition awards for exceptional MA applicants.  Bachelor’s Accelerated Master’s students are also eligible for these awards in their transition term to the MA program. The awards aim at distinguishing exemplary candidates. The fellowship is a one-time award, disbursed over two years (one year for Accelerated Master’s students). It has no work component and is intended to help mitigate the costs of pursuing graduate studies. 

How to Apply

To be considered for a recognition award, candidates must submit a brief statement (not more than 400 words) highlighting a major achievement. 

Applicants should send statements to the department at as an email attachment at the time they submit their MA Economics on-campus admission application to the University.

Statements may be forwarded as Word documents or PDF files.  The applicant’s name and email address (same as used in the admissions application) should be included in the document header. 

Fellowship application statements will be reviewed after the MA admission decision is made.  Award decisions are competitive and will be made on the basis of these statements as well as the overall strength of the MA application package.  Those who receive the award will be notified by the department via email.  

Applying for the Economics MA Fellowship does not preclude students from applying to the Mercatus MA Fellowship. However, students who accept a Mercatus MA Fellowship offer are not eligible to receive the Economics MA Fellowship awards.


Mercatus Center's MA Fellowship

Interested in a career at the intersection of public policy and economics? Consider applying to the Mercatus MA Fellowship. This is a two-year graduate research assistantship program for students pursing a master’s degree in economics at George Mason University who are interested in a career in policy.

Benefits include:

- Full tuition coverage and a monthly stipend to assist with living expenses

- Experience working and coauthoring with Mercatus policy scholars

- Monthly workshops and reading group discussions on timely policy topics and job skills

You do not need a background in economics. In fact, many MA Fellows have undergraduate degrees in subjects like political science, sociology, computer science, philosophy, and more.

How to Apply

Please review information on the Mercatus Center’s MA Fellowship webpage for program details and application requirements.