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International Economics Degree

Economics is essential to the understanding of modern world affairs. With changing market conditions, decreasing costs of moving goods and information, market forces that guide the flow of goods, are becoming a dominant factor in globalization and international conflicts.

Economics is social science that studies the behavior of different social systems such as markets, unions, corporations, legislatures, international institutions and even families.  It analyzes individual behaviors, goals and constraints within these systems, to offer insights into the design of policies to help improve performance of the economic system.

Taking this approach up to an international level, the issues become vast and varied, spanning on to topics such as trade policy, economic growth, international economic organizations, financial crises, international migration and so on. International economics major is the study of these large scale issues in detail.

International Economics Programs

You can go for different levels of education if you wish to obtain an international economics degree. The program you choose will depend on your prior qualifications and career path requirements. You could go for a bachelor’s degree; a four-year program involving the fundamentals of international economics and related subjects. However, if you wish to go for graduate programs, there are several options you could go for in that regard as well.


International Economics Graduate Programs

For higher studies, you can look into graduate programs in International Economics. You could go for a 2-year master’s degree or a doctorate program that might last around 4-5 years.

Masters Degree in International Economics

There are two ways you can go about a master’s program with this major; either you can get a Master of Arts (M.A.) or a Master of Science (M.S.). There are no substantial differences in the curriculum for the two majors, both place emphasis on data analysis and application of information to actual market conditions.


To be able to enroll in a master’s program in International Economics, you must have a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of at least 3.0 or GMAT/GRE scores. Even though you won’t be required to hold a bachelors degree in pure economics, most masters programs will require a few international economics courses, microeconomic, macroeconomics and calculus.

Program Coursework

For a master’s program in international economics, you will be taught a number of advance level courses relating to economics in the international markets. These courses could include the likes of:

  • Advance microeconomics
  • Advance macro economics
  • Corporate economics and finance
  • Economic law
  • Developing economies
  • Investment management
  • International trade policies and laws
  • Advance math models
  • Statistics and data analysis


The coursework involves theory, policy and research methods and in case of some programs, it might also involve an extensive final year project regarding any major issue in contemporary international economics.

Ph.D. in International Economics

A Ph.D. in International Economics, also referred to as a Doctor of Philosophy in International Economics provides students with an in-depth knowledge foundation in historical and modern economic theory. Research and analysis forms a very integral part of this program and emphasis is placed on looking into matters such as international policies and laws, taxation, international trade fluctuations and their causes. Based on current theory and historical knowledge, students learn to analyze the conditions of various markets and economic situations.


To be able to apply for a Ph.D. program, students must have a bachelor’s degree at least in a related field. If their prior educational qualifications are not in the field of economics, they must have taken some relevant courses to make up for it. These include courses in intermediate macroeconomics and microeconomics, linear algebra, calculus, statistics and probability. If you do not have strong basic background knowledge of these subjects, there might be some PhD programs which will allow you to complete these in the first year of your degree program.

Program Coursework

Courses in a Ph.D. International Economics program will be very advance in nature. Theories designed to analyze different economic scenarios will be taught to students in this program. The coursework for this program might include the following subject areas:

  • History of international markets
  • Monetary theory
  • Advance history of economics
  • International financial markets
  • Economic research methods


Besides coursework, students will be required to conduct a detailed thesis project on any topic relevant to International Economics. This dissertation will be the final part of their PhD program and is mandatory.

International Economics Online

With a higher level qualification, most are either already in their professional lives or wish to start a career as soon as possible. With this in mind, international economics courses are designed to offer a solution. An online program in international economics gives you virtual access to a vast variety of study materials, tests, notes and online interaction with instructors, so that you don’t have to leave your careers or drop your lifestyle to go back to college. While online courses may not differ that much in terms of tuition, they save a lot when it comes to room and board and transportation.

Skills Acquired with an International Economics Degree

Like any form of education, getting a degree in international economics will help instill in you certain qualities and skills. These include:

Critical Thinking

  • Understanding complex economic matters
  • Perceiving patterns and structures
  • Assessing cultural differences
  • Assessing conflicting point of views


  • Analytical writing
  • Drafting documents
  • Public speaking
  • Strong writing skills
  • Language proficiency


  • Defining problems
  • Formulating and assessing hypothesis
  • Using various sources
  • Interpreting data
  • Evaluation evidence and results

Career Options

International Economics students can go into a varied set of fields. These include economic consulting firms, government agencies or the corporate sector. They can also freelance, writing reports for government or non-profit organizations, researching and preparing charts.

To be in this field, you must be good with numbers and have the ability to give great attention to detail. In addition, you must be capable of working within tight deadlines. Below is a list of potential job titles you could assume with an International Economics degree:

  • Attorney
  • Campaign staffer
  • Creative writer
  • Economist
  • Intelligence officer
  • Legislative assistant
  • Military services
  • Foreign services officer
  • Journalist
  • Librarian
  • Development associate
  • Paralegal
  • Reference Researcher
  • Social Worker
  • Teacher
  • Students Services Administrator

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there will be a 14% increase in employment for economists across different field between the years from 2012 to 2022. As far as salaries are concerned, they will depend on a number of factors. These would include location, educational qualification, economic conditions and employer preferences.

Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:What do I need to enroll in a PhD international economics degree?

A:To qualify for enrollment in a PhD program, you must have completed your bachelor and masters degree. It is preferable to have attained a masters degree in the same or a similar academic discipline. Other admission requirements may include an admission test, letters of recommendation, CGPA scores, completion of prerequisite courses, etc. The admission requirements may vary from college to college.

Q:What do students learn in international economics graduate programs?

A:In a masters degree in international economics, students learn about important issues faced by the global economy. Students will gain an in-depth understanding of political and market forces that are driving the economic globalization. Some of the courses covered in the program are: policy making, financial liberalization, international trade, and development.

Q:What sorts of courses are taught in an international economics major?

A:An international economics major would cover a wide set of courses including the likes of calculus, principles of economics, statistics for decision making, intermediate macroeconomic theory, introduction to econometrics, intermediate microeconomic theory, international trade and finance, statistics in application and so on. The course content and structure can vary from university to university.

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