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Economics Requirements


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Hello all, I'm intending to apply for masters in international affairs this year and have a couple of questions relating to econ and quantitative requirements. I'm from the UK and I have a degree in History, so never did a single econ/maths class during my degree. Most of the jobs I've had since haven't been maths-heavy, so my application is going to be pretty sparse on demonstrating quant skills.


To make myself more competitive, I intend to take intro micro and macro online (not feasible to do them in person) with UCLA extension or somewhere similar (any recommendations would be great!)... do I need to complete them before applying, or is it enough to have them in progress on my applications? I'm looking at Yale Jackson, UT Austin MGPS, Princeton WWS, and a few other places. 

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I think having a course in progress is fine. The program I'm taking (at Duke) is pretty quantitatively rigorous, but I never had econ on my transcript anywhere, and all they asked was that I take the class before I enrolled. So I did the microeconomics class at UCLA, and it was a pretty okay experience. You get what you pay for, and you get what you put into it -- it's nothing really rigorous, but if you take it really seriously and try hard, it'll be rewarding and helpful for when you start econ classes in grad school. I'm glad I learned about all the different economic concepts, but I hardly did any sort of actual calculations and drawing graphs.

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Most schools will let you provide just proof of enrollment in a course when you apply and some will even let you submit grades after the application deadline, as long as you were enrolled in the course when you applied.  For example, I was in a similar boat (no math and little econ in undegrad, no math or econ since), and I took a Statistics course at a local community college the fall that I applied.  Even though the course was ongoing, I listed it on my application.  I got my transcript in January and was able to submit my grade to Princeton and a few other programs for consideration even though their application deadline was in December. 


Every school is different though, Harvard doesn't take ANY materials after the application deadline.  They won't even accept updated resumes if you change your job after the application deadline.  So for HKS I just submitted proof that I was enrolled in the course, but didn't submit any final transcripts.  Best course of action is to just shoot the school you're applying to a quick email and ask how they want you to handle it.  It's not uncommon so they usually have a policy. 


Also keep in mind that if you don't meet their criteria right away, but they think you might otherwise be a good candidate, they can give you a conditional acceptance, where they accept you into the program, but they require you to take additional math/econ courses before you enroll so they can be sure you'll keep pace with your peers.  

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