Master in International Economics

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What is it?

The program, known in-house (and for historical reasons) as the MIS, is a rigorous two year degree that equips students with state-of-the-art, policy-relevant training.  The program is organized into three tracks: (i) International Finance, (ii) Development and (iii) International Trade.

Who can apply?

Our selection process is highly competitive.  Each year, we have the good fortune of examining a pool of extremely talented individuals from all over the world.  A successful candidate to the MIS program usually satisfy three prerequisites. First, she/he has followed undergraduate economics classes and is familiar with the main concepts of the discipline. Second, she/he has a solid mathematical background and is thus comfortable with the technical aspects of economics.  Third, she/he has excellent GRE scores, very good grades and highly supportive letters of recommendation.

What does it prepare you for?

For a small department, we punch way above our weight in terms of student placement: we have been remarkably successful over the years in sending our students to top-level national and international institutions, from the World Bank, the IMF, or the UN system more generally, to central banks, NGOs and think tanks.  For those who choose to pursue a PhD, we have two excellent programs of our own, and if you decide to test the waters at leading international universities, you should know that we have a great track record in terms of getting our students into top schools, both in the US and in Europe.

How is the program structured?

The program consists of core classes, electives and a thesis.  All economics classes are in English, while electives in other departments can be in French, given that the Graduate Institute is bilingual.  A thesis completes the program.

  • The six core classes provide training in graduate-level microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics. They are taken over the first three semesters of the program. You will also take a math refresher course, affectionately known as the "math bootcamp," before the beginning of the first semester.

  • Electives can be chosen both from the department's offerings and from those of other academic departments in the Institute.

  • By the beginning of your second year, you will identify a supervisor for your master thesis. Students normally narrow down their research topic during their third semester, leading to a concrete thesis proposal by the end of the semester. You will focus on writing your thesis during the fourth semester, under the guidance of your advisor.

The credit requirements are for 90 credits (ECTS) from classes: 36 from the six core classes, between 30 and 42 credits from electives in economics, and between 12 and 24 credits from electives outside economics, plus 30 credits for the thesis, for a grand total of 120 credits.

Can I follow classes outside the Institute?

Yes. You can take up to 2 classes in other institutions, subject to approval by the Directeur des études.  Should you want to spend your third semester on exchange in one of our partner institutions, your application must be submitted during your second semester.

Is financial support available?

Yes. Although we unfortunately cannot finance all MIS students, the Institute offers a significant number of scholarships. You can apply for support for your first year when applying to the Institute. Applications for support for the second year are submitted during the second semester.

What is the atmosphere like?


The atmosphere at the department is intimate: you will have a hard time not getting to know individual faculty members and your peers.  Our faculty, be they junior or senior, are usually excellent teachers, and are certainly superlative researchers who are respected the world over --and this has been the case since the Institute was founded in the 1920s.  Our classes are small: if you have ever read a famous paper by Angrist and Lavy in the QJE, you will know that there is causal RDD evidence on the impact of class size on educational outcomes!  Our small size also fosters a highly cooperative ecosystem.  Each cohort of students elects a representative who is in regular contact with the faculty and the administration, and who participates in most departmental meetings.

Can I proceed onto the PhD program?

Conditional on being admitted, the answer is "yes". Perhaps the simplest manner of doing so is through our “fast track” option. MIS students interested in one of the two PhD programs can apply in their third semester. They will then follow doctoral classes in the fourth semester. When accepted, the fourth semester of their MIS will become the first semester of the PhD program. Students will submit a dissertation proposal by the end of their fifth semester at the Institute, with a successful proposal granting them a Master degree. More details on the PhD program are found on the PhD page. If the PhD application proves unsuccessful, students will simply finish the MIS program in the standard timeframe.

How to apply?

Admission is organized at the Institute level. Interested students are kindly asked to follow the General Admission Procedure to the Institute's programs. In addition to the general admission conditions, the Economics department requires applicants to the Master and PhD program to take the GRE test (school code: 2258; department code: 1901).

More information on all of the Institute's Master programmes.