Five-Year Accelerated Master's Degree

About the Program

Washington University allows qualified undergraduates to complete a Master of Arts (AM) degree in a one-year accelerated program after completing the AB degree. The undergraduate and graduate degrees are awarded sequentially, with admission to the master’s degree, if approved, for the fall semester following the completion of the undergraduate degree in the preceding December, May, or August. In economics, in order to participate in the math/statistics “boot camps” that occur in August, undergraduates interested in the AM degree must apply by May 15 of the senior year. GRE tests are not required. The program is available only to students currently in their senior year and only for continuous enrollment in the next year. There is no option for deferred admissions.

Economics requires the completion of at least 30 units for the AM, and the graduate school will permit a maximum of 3 courses at the 400-level or above (with a maximum of 12 units) to be counted toward both the AB and the AM degrees.  These 3 courses must be pre-approved by the economics department, and each must be completed with a final grade of B or higher. All admissions to the Accelerated AM program are provisional until the successful completion of the AB degree. The actual awarding of each degree is contingent on successful completion of all requirements for that degree.

Students considering this option should consult with the Academic Coordinator, ideally no later than the beginning of the junior year in the undergraduate program. The application for admission must be made to the department, which forwards the application and the department’s recommendation for admission to the Graduate School.  


    For More Information

    Further administrative information can be obtained from the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

    Guidelines & Application Instructions

    Degree Requirements

    1. At least 30 units (10 classes) from the available 400- and 500-level classes in Economics, where up to 3 advanced Economics electives can be “double counted” across the AB and AM degrees. These 10 classes must include:
      1. Econ  501 and Econ 503
      2. at least two other 500-level economics courses
      3. an Econometrics course from among Econ 4151, Econ 5161 and Econ 513. 
    2. All courses offered toward the graduate degree must be passed with a grade of B or better.
    3. The department must certify the student’s achievement of a level of competence normally expected of candidates for the AM degree in Economics.  That involves one of the following:
      1. Successful completion (“MA Pass”) of the PhD general examinations
        1. The PhD general examinations (the “prelims”) consist of three, 5-hour exams in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics. Students planning to take the prelims must take Econ 502 and Econ 504 as part of their “10 additional classes.” Candidates for the AM degree in Economics must take, and pass, the microeconomic and macroeconomic exams; the econometrics prelim exam is not required for the AM degree.
        2. The exams are given in late August each year, on dates to be specified by the Economics department.  Students are notified of the exam dates in the late spring; typically there are 4 days between exams, with the microeconomics prelim taken first.
        3. Any student not earning an “MA Pass” on the microeconomics (or, macroeconomics) portion of the August exam has the opportunity to retake the microeconomics (or, macroeconomics) portion of the prelim in the following January, at a date to be specified by the Economics department.
        4. Because Accelerated AM students are taking exams in August (or January), the AM degree cannot be awarded until December (or May, respectively).
      2. Or,  successful completion  of an AM essay/thesis.
        1. A senior Honors Thesis may not be used as the AM essay.  The AM essay can be related to the senior Honors Thesis; but it must be a distinctly different paper. See the Academic Coordinator and/or the Graduate School for Graduate School thesis guidelines.
        2. Students writing an AM essay must work with a faculty advisor. Finding an advisor and beginning research should begin during the senior year of the undergraduate degree.
        3. AM students must defend their essay before a group of selected faculty.  The defense date and the selected faculty will be arranged between the student and that student’s advisor.