Degrees Offered


Many students come to Clemson for the purpose of obtaining a terminal master’s degree. We consider our master’s program an integral part of our overall graduate program and believe that we offer excellent professional preparation for analysis or management positions in business or government. Job placement for Clemson’s MA graduates ranks with the top MBA programs in the region. The program is also an excellent first step toward advanced graduate work in economics or law at other universities. As in the case of the PhD program, the MA curriculum stresses the development of students’ analytical skills, in particular their ability to identify key questions and to use theoretical and empirical tools to answer them.


More information can be found in this graduate handbook.


Program of Study

MA: The Master’s degree program is an integral part of Clemson’s overall graduate program. The program offers excellent professional preparation for analysis and management positions in business or government. Job placement for Clemson’s MA graduates ranks with the top programs in the region. The program is also an excellent first step toward advanced graduate work in economics or law at other universities. As in the case of the PhD program, the MA curriculum stresses the development of your analytical skills, in particular, your ability to identify key questions and to use theoretical and empirical tools to answer them.

If you enroll in the MA program, whether as your terminal degree or with plans to pursue further graduate study elsewhere, you are required to complete the required course work and submit an acceptable thesis. It is possible, however, to opt into the PhD program, in which case the thesis can be replaced by additional hours of classes. In this way you will lose no ground to those whose original intentions were to pursue the PhD

PhD: The program is solidly based on economic theory and quantitative methods. Your course work and research may be focused in one of several general areas including financial economics, growth and development, industrial organization, labor economics, natural resource and environmental economics and public economics. The program is designed to produce scientists capable of independent study and research. In addition to acquiring a strong foundation in economic theory, students develop skills and expertise in the use of quantitative and qualitative research methods for the analysis of economic problems as demonstrated in comprehensive examinations and in dissertation research. Emphasis is placed on empirical applications of economic theory in the analysis of practical problems. You will develop a graduate curriculum in consultation with your advisor that best meets your professional goals. You may choose to work in the economics department of the College of Business and Behavioral Science or in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics in the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences.


You will have access to a well-equipped computer lab located in the department and unlimited access to the University’s large mainframe computer. The University Computer Center supports SAS and a variety of other statistical, computational and graphics software. Stata is available on the computers in the department lab. You will also have access to the Robert Muldrow Cooper Library and to a departmental reading room.

Our Students

To mention a few students from the past, our first graduate, Mark Mitchell (PhD ’88), served on the faculties of the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and the Harvard Business School before recently leaving to run the hedge fund that he founded. Wei Yu (PhD ’92) began his academic career at Boston University and is now a Fellow of the Stanford Institute for International Studies. Steven Clark (’02) who holds a PhD in mathematics and in economics, teaches finance at UNC Charlotte. Sean Mulholland (’03) who is currently at Moravian College has accepted a position at Mercer University for ’07-’08. Andrew Weinbach (’05) began his academic career at Armstrong State and is now at Coastal Carolina University. Doru Cojoc (’05) is a lecturer at Stanford following a year at the University of Chicago. Rey Hernandez (’06) is an assistant professor at Metro-State College in Denver. Other Clemson graduates have held appointments at Claremont-McKenna, William and Mary, Southern Illinois, St. Bonaventure, Xavier and a number of colleges and universities throughout the South.

In the nonacademic world, Elizabeth Becker (PhD ’91), formerly a partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers and with Analysis Group, is now a managing director at Huron Consulting in New York City, a firm specializing in litigation support. Louis Lanier (’01) and Ram Tamara (’98) are economists with Nathan Associates in Arlington, Va. Craig Stroup (’97) is on the staff of the Food and Drug Administration. Anca Tifrea (’06) is an analyst for KPMG in Atlanta. Eric Bertonazzi (ABD), is President of Wainwright Investment Counsel in Boston. Other Clemson graduates have been employed at the IMF, the World Bank and numerous consulting and business firms.

Starting salaries for new economists range from $60,000 to well over $100,000, depending on the nature of the job. This, together with the relatively low debt you will accumulate in the program, means that a Clemson economics degree is financially as well as intellectually rewarding.

Clemson MA graduates generally do very well on the job market. Business analyst positions require the type of training that Clemson’s economics department offers to the serious student. In the academic sphere, several of our recent graduates have gained admission to and performed very well in top law schools and PhD programs. Clemson’s style of economics has opened up successful careers for many people. If you believe that you might want to try Clemson, while still maintaining the option of using the education you will receive here as a stepping stone to a top program elsewhere, you are encouraged to apply.


Application Information

You may apply on the web at Applications should be received no later than five weeks prior to registration. Every required item in support of your application must be on file by that date. You are encouraged to apply as early as possible for the best funding opportunities.

Required Documents


The primary source of funding for our graduate students is the department itself. If you are among the most promising first-year students, you will receive a research assistantship that not only pays a direct stipend but also qualifies you for a substantial reduction in tuition. If you do not receive department support initially but your classroom performance is particularly good, you may qualify for funding in the second semester and beyond.

As a second-year student, you will be eligible for teaching assistantships as well as research assistantships. Teaching assistants are chosen on the basis of their performance in their first-year classes and their proficiency in spoken English. If you perform well as a teaching assistant in your second year, you will be eligible to teach courses on your own in your third year and beyond. These teaching assistantship awards are quite substantial.

Our most prestigious award is the Earhart Fellowship, awarded for one academic year to truly outstanding students. This fellowship pays a generous stipend and covers all tuition and fees. The department also offers Walker Fellowships to the top three third and fourth year students. These fellowships give students release time from teaching so that they can concentrate on their research.

University-wide fellowships are also available for incoming students and for students in the last year of their research. The department has been very successful in competing for these awards.

All in all, every effort is made to fund our graduate students. Even in those cases where the stipend may be small, the tuition savings are large. The quality of education and excellent placement record of the department, as well as the very low cost of living here, make it worthwhile to consider Clemson over many other schools that may offer slightly higher initial stipends. We are committed to fund every outstanding student.


Program Contact(s)

  • Kimberly Richardson
  • Office: 228A Sirrine Hall
  • Phone: (864) 656-3497
  • Email:

Program Coordinator(s)

  • Scott Templeton (MA program)
  • Office: 207 Sirrine Hall
  • Phone: (864) 656-6680
  • Email:
  • Curtis Simon (PhD program)
  • Office: 239 Sirrine Hall
  • Phone: (864) 656-3966
  • Email: