Development Economics (MA Program)

Jalil Safaei, Professor and Chair
Paul Bowles, Professor
Fiona MacPhail, Professor
Karima Fredj, Associate Professor
Amarjit Bhullar, Assistant Professor
Leandro Freylejer, Assistant Professor
Liam Kelly, Assistant Professor
Bryan Bogdanski, Adjunct Professor
Baotai Wang, Adjunct Professor


Economic development remains a critical issue for more than three-quarters of the world’s population who reside in countries classified as “low income” or “middle income.”  The causes and consequences of economic development remain contested issues.  This academic program considers the changing global, regional and national contexts for economic development;  the policy lessons that can be learned from comparative studies;  and the tools required to enable development economists to contribute to the development process.

Economic development cannot be studied in isolation from other dimensions of development. An understanding of poverty, for example, requires not only economic analysis but also an understanding of the insights provided by other social and health sciences. The training of a development economist must therefore expose students to interdisciplinary approaches to development.

The Master of Arts degree in Development Economics is available on a full-time or part-time basis.  Students must complete all required work to meet the degree requirements in one of the following options: coursework only, project-based, and thesis option. Normally, students are initially admitted into the coursework only option.

Admission Requirements

Applicants to the UNBC Development Economics MA program must follow the admission requirements outlined in Section 1.0 of the UNBC Graduate Academic Calendar.  Applicants normally should have a four-year undergraduate degree that is equivalent to a UNBC degree in Economics. In addition to these requirements, applicants must also provide a sample of written work (usually a senior-level undergraduate essay or research paper) as part of their application.  Entrance to the MA will be competitive and only applicants with a record of excellence in their undergraduate work, strong letters of academic recommendation, and strong letters of intent will be considered.  In their letters of intent, applicants should demonstrate evidence of interest in the MA’s areas of specialization (Development Economics).

Application deadlines are found in the calendar under "Semester Dates." The Development Economics MA Program accepts students for the September or January semester.

For additional information about graduate admissions or to download application materials, go to the Graduate Programs website at


The course of study is composed of a minimum of 25 credit hours for the coursework only and project options and a minimum of 28 credit hours for the thesis option.

Students in the coursework only option are required to complete coursework totaling 24 credit hours plus ECON 700.  Depending on academic performance, students in this option may be eligible to apply to transfer to either the project or the thesis option after they have completed their first 12 credit hours of coursework (which must include at least 9 credit hours from required courses). Students wishing to transfer to the project or thesis option must obtain the support of a supervisor and of the Department Chair.  Students approved to transfer to the project option must complete any remaining required courses and produce a detailed project proposal with a bibliography, and successfully defend a formal oral examination, a 9 credit hour project of a maximum of 50 pages in length.  Students approved to transfer into the thesis option must complete any remaining required courses and produce a detailed thesis proposal and successfully defend in a formal oral examination, a 12 credit hour thesis of a maximum 75 pages.

In addition, any student who does not, at the time of entry to the program, have a course in econometrics at the undergraduate level will be required to take ECON 312-3 Introduction to Econometrics as part of their graduate degree program in order to meet graduation requirements.  A minimum grade of B is required in such a course.

Required Courses:

Global Economy and Development
Poverty, Inequality and Development
Microeconomic Theory and Applications
Macroeconomic Policy for Development
Applied Econometrics
Graduate Colloquia*
*All students must complete Graduate Colloquia ECON 700-0.5 twice during their course of study.

Additional requirements are based upon the option followed:

Coursework Only Option:
9 credit hours of elective courses:

At least one of the following:
Health Economics
Cost-Benefit Analysis
Trade and the Environment
Financial Economics and Quantitative Methods
Students may take up to two of their elective courses from other graduate programs with the permission of the Chair of Economics.

Project Option:
Economics Project
Thesis Option:
Master's Thesis
Updated: June 28, 2021