Economics and Decision Sciences

Graduate Programs in the Department of Economics

Master of Arts (MA) in Economics

The MA in Economics at Western Illinois University is a specialized program preparing students for various positions in business and government, or desiring to teach in two-year colleges, or intending to advance into doctorate studies in business, economics, and the law.

Applied Statistics and Decision Analytics

The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) approved a new graduate program, Master of Science in Applied Statistics and Decision Analytics, at Western Illinois University, beginning Spring 2016.

The new degree program is a 36-semester hour curriculum designed to provide students with a firm foundation of statistical analysis and modeling commonly used in many fields, including education, science, technology, healthy care, government, business or social science research. Students in this program will be trained on industry-standard software packages and gain modern analytical skills.

The degree is intended for graduates from undergraduate programs in quantitative and biological sciences, mathematics, sociology, psychology, business, computer sciences, physics, engineering and education, as well as working professionals who desire to sharpen their data-analysis and analytical statistical methods.

The program seeks to combine the course work of statistical decision making and analytic tools to meet the demand for skilled workers in the U.S. and Illinois job markets. With three Fortune 100 companies in the region—John Deere, Caterpillar and State Farm—the degree program should address strong regional needs and/or a shortage of graduates in the fields of applied statistics and decision analytics.


A Message from the Graduate Adviser

Dear Graduate Applicant,

Thank you for your interest in the Master of Arts in Economics at Western Illinois University. Our program is well-suited to students who are looking to enhance their career potential in the field of economics as well as to students who are thinking about going on for a Ph.D. in economics. Our unique system of graduate “tracks” allows you to select a course of study that fits your goals while the core courses ensure that you are trained in the fundamentals of graduate level economics.

Our graduate faculty are committed to excellence in training economists. Graduate class sizes are typically small—many in the range of 8 to 15 students—providing an excellent environment for learning. Our graduate curriculum gives careful attention to both theory and practice. This balance is the key to modern economics.

 Our facilities are another feature of the program. Nearly all the graduate courses in economics are in the same building, Stipes Hall. We have an Economics Help Lab with computers and reference materials available for graduate students. Computers in the building have a variety of software packages including SAS, SPSS, Stata, and Mathematica. A “cyber-café” on the first floor, aptly named “Dividends” is a great place for individual conversations over a cup of coffee. The Leslie F. Malpass Library is next door providing a convenient place for group and individual study.

Well-prepared students can complete the program in one calendar year. Students without an undergraduate background in economics are required to complete intermediate level undergraduate courses before enrolling in the graduate core. At least a year of calculus is preferred, though all students, regardless of their level of math preparation, are encouraged to enroll in our mathematical techniques course during their first semester. Visit the School of Graduate Studies for more on admission requirements.

Financial assistance in the form of graduate assistantships is available on a competitive basis to qualified students. Assistantship duties include staffing the Economics Help Lab and assisting faculty with research projects— both of which are good practice for those interested in an academic career. Finally, we have an established record of placing our graduates in internships, jobs, and Ph.D. programs.

If you have any questions about the program, please send me an e-mail. We look forward to hearing from you.


Jessica Lin
Assistant Professor and Graduate Adviser for M.A. in Economics
Department of Economics and Decision Sciences