This is a named option within the Economics M.S. The Economics Master of Science–Graduate Foundations (MS–GF) program offers a terminal graduate degree that prepares students for high-level professional careers in government and industry or further study for the Ph.D. degree. The MS-GF program emphasizes econometric training more than similar programs at other universities. Today's job market and Ph.D. programs in economics require strong quantitative skills along with a command of microeconomic and macroeconomic theory. Wisconsin's tradition of supporting economic theory with quantitative methods is well suited to these requirements.

Please consult the table below for key information about this degree program’s admissions requirements. The program may have more detailed admissions requirements, which can be found below the table or on the program’s website.

Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements of the Graduate School as well as the program(s). Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.

Fall Deadline March 1
Spring Deadline July 15
Summer Deadline The program does not admit in the summer.
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Not Required
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 2

The Department of Economics offers admission to the Master of Science–Graduate Foundations program. Master's program applications are due by March 1 for fall term admission and July 15 for spring term admission. Mathematics preparation should include multivariate calculus, elementary probability, and regression analysis. Applicants must submit two letters of recommendation. For additional information on admissions requirements and processes, please see the Department of Economics website.

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Program Information

Students enrolled in this program are not eligible to receive tuition remission from graduate assistantship appointments at this institution.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Named Option Requirements


Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions

Accelerated: Accelerated programs are offered at a fast pace that condenses the time to completion. Students typically take enough credits aimed at completing the program in a year or two.

Evening/Weekend: ​Courses meet on the UW–Madison campus only in evenings and/or on weekends to accommodate typical business schedules.  Students have the advantages of face-to-face courses with the flexibility to keep work and other life commitments.

Face-to-Face: Courses typically meet during weekdays on the UW-Madison Campus.

Hybrid: These programs combine face-to-face and online learning formats.  Contact the program for more specific information.

Online: These programs are offered 100% online.  Some programs may require an on-campus orientation or residency experience, but the courses will be facilitated in an online format.


Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement 15 credits must be graduate-level coursework. Details can be found in the Graduate School’s Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) policy (
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
This program follows the Graduate School's GPA Requirement policy (
Other Grade Requirements None.
Assessments and Examinations None.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

Required COURSES

ECON 700 Mathematics for Economists3
ECON 701 Microeconomics I3
ECON 702 Macroeconomics I3
ECON 704 Econometrics I3
ECON 705 Econometrics II3
ECON 706 Econometrics III3
ECON 708 Microeconomics II3
In addition to the core courses, master’s students will also take three electives of their choosing in consultation with the program.
Total Credits30

Most students will complete the curriculum as outlined on the Coursework webpage. The Economics MS-GF sequence courses require students to write a paper. MS-GF students also have the option of enrolling in directed research to complete a paper, under the supervision of our faculty.

Students in this program may not take courses outside the prescribed curriculum without faculty advisor and program director approval. Students in this program cannot enroll concurrently in other undergraduate or graduate degree programs.

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Named Option-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

Graduate coursework from other institutions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the faculty graduate committee in the Department of Economics. With graduate committee approval, students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Coursework earned five years or more prior to admission to the master's program is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

This program follows the Graduate School's policy for Satisfying Requirements with Coursework from Undergraduate Career at UW–Madison.

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 12 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW-Madison University Special student. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.


This program follows the Graduate School's Probation policy.


This program follows the Graduate School’s Advisor policy.


12 credits

Time Limits

This program follows the Graduate School's Time Limits policy.

Grievances and appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

Students should contact the department chair or program director with questions about grievances. They may also contact the L&S Academic Divisional Associate Deans, the L&S Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning Administration, or the L&S Director of Human Resources.



Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

Program Resources

Master of Science in Economics Graduate Foundations named option students have special access to career advising and resources through the Economics Career Development Office (ECDO). The ECDO hosts career workshops, coordinates the Student Leadership Committee and invites employers to speak to students on campus. We encourage all economics master’s students to schedule an appointment with one of our dedicated career advisors. During your appointment we can assist with:

  • Deciding if a career outside of academia is right for you
  • Resume and cover letter review
  • Job and internship search strategies
  • Interview preparation and mock interviews
  • How to network and develop an effective LinkedIn

To schedule an appointment with one our professional career advisors, please see website.

Professors: Barwick, Chinn, Corbae, Deneckere, Engel, Fu, B. Hansen, Hendricks, Houde, Kennan, Lentz, Porter, Rostek, Ruhl, Seshadri, Shi, J. Smith, L. Smith, Sorensen, Taber, Weretka, West, Wiswall, Wright

Associate Professors: Aizawa, Gregory, Kang, Irpalani, Quint, Swanson

Assistant Professors: Bernard, Boerma, Braxton, Camboni, Chiang, Coulibay, Cox, Magnolfi, Martellini, Mommaerts, O’Connell, Sullivan, Yata

Affiliated Faculty: Chang, Chung, Montgomery, Sarada, Schechter, Smeeding

Instructional Staff: Alder (Faculty Associate), Chan (Lecturer), Eudey (Senior Lecturer), Friedman (Lecturer), Glawtschew (Lecturer), D. Hansen (Lecturer), K. Hansen (Senior Lecturer), Johnson (Senior Lecturer), McKelvey (Lecturer), Pac (Senior Lecturer), Rick (Senior Lecturer), Trost (lecturer)