MACSS-Econ Program Overview

MACSS-Econ, the economics concentration in MACSS, seeks to produce University of Chicago-trained social scientists, well versed in the most recent literatures of their discipline, and ready to make important contributions by deploying computational research designs.

All MACSS-Econ students will complete the equivalent of 18 graduate courses, work closely with an Instructional Professor advisor, and write an MA thesis, modeled on a professional journal article.

Students take three – and no more than three – classes in each of the Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters, in each of their two years. Students who are unable to complete this course load during any given quarter will have to extend their stay in the program beyond the two years and pay for any additional courses out of pocket. The summer quarter offers very limited options for completing the 18 course graduation requirement.

The academic year begins in September and runs through the middle of June.

In their first year, all MACSS-Econ students will complete:

  • Computational Math Camp (MACS 33000), which will run for three weeks in September.
  • Computing Fundamentals Boot Camp (MACS 30120), which will also run for three weeks in September.
  • A Statistics placement exam, offered during orientation week.
  • A Computer Science placement exam, offered during orientation week.
  • A two-course core in Perspectives on Computational Analysis and Computational Modeling, the first of which must be taken autumn quarter.
  • A three-course core in Foundations of Quantitative Analysis. (Up to 2 courses may be waived via statistics placement exam)
  • Weekly participation in the Computational Social Science Workshop.

In their second AND/OR first year, all MACSS-Econ students will complete:

  • Econ Math Camp (ECON 30400) which will run for three weeks in September.
  • A three-course core in Computer Science with Social Science Applications OR a three-course core in Principles of Computing. (Up to 2 courses may be waived via computer science placement exam)
  • Two courses to satisfy the Foundations in Economic Theory requirement.
  • Two courses to satisfy the Foundations in Empirical Analysis/Computational Methods requirement.
  • Six graduate economics/computational method electives that will vary, depending on the student’s prior training and intended disciplinary path. (This number may increase if student earns placement on CS or stats exams)
  • Weekly participation in the Computational Social Science Workshop.
  • Students may take the MA Research Commitment once during the second year. This option allows students to allocate more time to their MA thesis. The course grade will be the one the faculty reader assigns on the final draft of the MA thesis, no matter when that paper is submitted. If students want additional course credit for working on their thesis project, they may register for an independent study with a faculty advisor. The faculty advisor and student will form an agreement at the beginning of the quarter outlining the requirements for the student and what work the student must produce in order to earn a letter grade for the independent study.


Placement Exams

Computer Science Placement Exam

Students who hope to take more advanced Computer Science classes without taking MACS 30121 and MACS 30122 must take a programming placement exam. Students who do not earn placement credit on the computer science exam will take MACS 30121 in the Fall and go on to take MACS 30122 in the Winter.

Statistics Placement Exam

Students who earn placement credit on their computational statistics exam will be exempt from the Foundations in Quantitative analysis requirement. To be well-prepared for this exam, we recommend participating in the Computational Math Camp.


Summer Preparation

For anyone who is not a native writer of English, the University offers a writing-focused summer program that is remarkably comprehensive and very reasonable in cost.

The course is designed to bring students’ English to the graduate level, and to help prepare them for academic and professional interviews after they graduate.

The course will also make sure that students do as well as possible in their writing-intensive graduate seminars.


More information is available here.


Summer Practicum

All MA students may participate in an optional summer practicum between their first and second year, with internships drawn from academic and professional organizations. Our Director of Career Services will help you find and secure those positions. International students will not require any additional visa permissions, and they do not draw on their three years of work eligibility after they graduate.