M.A. International Economics

  • On Campus
  • 24 months
  • EUR7700 Year (Non-EEA)
  • English (Find a course)
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva | Geneva, Switzerland
The Master in International Economics combines analytical rigor and practical applications to provide students with the up-to-date tools, knowledge and intuition needed for economic policy analysis. The programme prepares students for doctoral studies, research and careers in the public and private sectors.

Description of International Economics


The Master Programme is a rigorous two year degree that combines analytical rigor and practical applications to provide students with the up-to-date tools, knowledge and intuition needed for economic policy analysis.

What is it?

The 2 years MIS program provides a rigorous training in economics with an emphasis on policy issues. We focus on the international dimension of economics, namely trade, international migrations, international macroeconomics, economic history, and development.

Who can apply?

Admissions are decided on the basis of individual files. Candidates for the MIS program need two perequisites. First, they should have followed undergraduate economics classes in order to be familiar with the main concepts of economics. Second, they should have a solid mathematical background in order to be equipped to handle the technical aspects of economics. Most (albeit not all) incoming students have an undergraduate degree in economics.

What does it prepare you for?

Upon completion of the MIS you can obtain a position focused on economic analysis in a broad range of employers. The MIS thesis prepares you to independently conduct insightful and rigorous analysis of economic problems.
Successful completion of the MIS also allows you to continue your studies in a PhD program, either at the Institute or in another institution.

How is the program structured?

The program consists of core classes and electives (economics classes are in English), and a thesis.

* The core classes give you a solid training in macroeconomics, trade, and econometrics. They are taken over the first three semesters of the program. You will also have the opportunity to take a math refresher course starting shortly before the first semester.
* Elective cover classes in economics, including an econometrics seminar in the last semester where you will present a preliminary version of your thesis, and selected classes in the Institutes other disciplines.
* You will choose a faculty member (advisor) to supervise your master thesis by the beginning of the second year. Students normally narrow the research topic during the third semester, leading to a thesis proposal by the end of the semester. You will focus on writing your thesis in the fourth semester under the guidance of your advisor.

The credit requirements are for 90 credits (ECTS) from classes (36 from six core classes, between 30 and 42 from 5-7 electives in economics and between 12 and 24 from 2-4 electives outside economics) and 30 credits from the thesis.

Can I follow classes outside the Institute?

Yes. You can take up to 2 classes (non-economics elective) in other institutions, subject to approval by the economics department chair.
We also offer opportunities for exchanges with other institutions. These take place in the third semester with applications submitted during your second semester.

Is financial support available?

Yes. Although we 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.

How is the work atmosphere?

Very collegial and stimulating. Our small size of about 20 students per year allows for good contact between students and faculty members. The Institute is not a setting where a large number of students have limited access to a distant faculty. Instead, there is a good relation between students and professors and the economics section values the input of students in the functioning of the economics program.

Our small size also fosters a cooperative atmosphere among students. Each cohort of student elects a representative who is in regular contact with the faculty and the administration.

Can I proceed onto the PhD programme?

Yes, subject to acceptance, of course. The Institute has now introduced a fast track option. MIS students interested in the PhD 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.

Detailed Course Facts

Application deadline 15 January
Tuition fee
  • EUR 7700 Year (Non-EEA)
  • EUR 4815 Year (EEA)
  • Non-resident students: CHF 8,000 per year (CHF 4,000 per semester)
  • Resident students*: CHF 5,000 per year (CHF 2,500 per semester)

* A resident is a person holding a Swiss residence permit at the time of application.

Start date September  2016
Credits (ECTS) 120 ECTS
Duration full-time 24 months
Delivery mode On Campus
Educational variant Part-time

Course Content

The Master in International Economics combines a focus on economics with the Institute’s multidisciplinary teaching in other key subjects to give students a broader view of economic policy. Courses cover trade, development, econometrics, macroeconomics, financial crises, monetary and financial systems, natural resource economics, climate change, regional integration, migration, economic history and more.


General Outline of the Curriculum

  • 9 compulsory courses 9X6=54 ECTS
  • Possibility to choose a track
  • 6 Elective courses 6X6=36 ECTS
  • 2 to 4 in the discipline of specialisation 2X6, 3x6 or 4X6=12, 18 or 24 ECTS
  • 2 to 4 in one or more complementary discipline(s) 2X6, 3x6 or 4X6=12, 18 or 24 ECTS
  • Dissertation 30 ECTS

TOTAL 90+30=120 ECTS

Each student is allowed to spread out the elective courses over semesters 1 to 4, but must take into account the following regulations:

  • Students must take a certain number of courses in their discipline of specialisation and in complementary disciplines;

  • It is obligatory for students to obtain a minimum of 18 ECTS credits each semester;

  • Failed courses cannot be repeated during the fourth semester of studies.

Students interested in the fast track option must obtain the 90 course credits required by the curriculum by the end of the third semester. For the PhD programme in International Economics, during the course of the third semester, students must take one of the two Doctoral Seminars that are supposed to be taken in the first semester of the PhD programme; for the PhD in Development Economics, students must take one of the two Doctoral Seminars in Development Economics. These courses will replace one of the elective courses included in the master programme curriculum. Students admitted to the fast track should not take : Econometrics IIIa or IIIb, which are reserved for master students who are writing a dissertation.

Students have the opportunity to spend the third semester at one of the Institute’s partner universities as part of its exchange programmes. At the end of this period abroad, they will be able to transfer a maximum of 30 ECTS credits.

Semester 1: Autumn
(4 to 5 courses, 24 to 30 ECTS)

3 compulsory courses
(3X6=18 ECTS)

  • Macroeconomics I: Macroeconomics Principles, Cédric Tille

  • Microeconomics I, Damien Neven

  • Econometrics I, Nicolas Berman

1 or 2 elective courses(1X6=6 ECTS or 2X6=12 ECTS)

Semester 2: Spring
(5 to 6 courses, 30 to 36 ECTS)

3 compulsory course
(3x6=18 ECTS)

  • Macroeconomics II: Open Economy Macroeconomics, Yi Huang

  • Microeconomics II, Jean-Louis Arcand

  • Econometrics IIb, Ugo Panizza and Lore Vandewalle

1 compulsory course in the chosen track
(1x6=12 ECTS)

For the track “International Finance and Macroeconomics”

  • International Finance I, Ugo Panizza, Yi Huang

For the track “International Trade”

  • International Trade I, Nicolas Berman

For the track “Development Economics”

  • International Development, Slobodan Djajic

If the student does not want a track, this compulsory course will be replaced by an additional elective course (in Economics).

1 or 2 elective courses
(1X6=6 ECTS or 2X6=12 ECTS)

Semester 3: Autumn
(3 to 5 courses, 18 to 30 ECTS)

2 compulsory courses
(2x6=12 ECTS)

For the track “International Finance and Macroeconomics”

  • International Finance 2, TBD

  • International Trade and Development, TBD

For the track “International Trade”

  • International Trade 2, TBD

  • International Finance and Development, TBD

For the track “Development Economics”

  • Development Economics, TBD

  • International Trade and Finance, TBD

1, 2, or 3 elective courses
(1X6=6 ECTS, or 2X6=12 ECTS or 3X6=18 ECTS)
The list of elective courses for the 2015-16 academic year will be available at the end of the spring 2015 semester.

Semester 4: Spring
(30 or 36 ECTS)

1 strongly recommended elective course
(1X6=6 ECTS)

  • Econometrics IIIa, Ugo Panizza


  • Econometrics IIIb, Lore Vandewalle



Semester 3: Autumn
(4 to 5 courses, 24 to 30 ECTS)

1 compulsory course
(1x6=6 ECTS)

  • Econometrics IIa, Ugo Panizza, Lore Vandewalle

3 or 4 elective courses(3X6 or 4X6=18 or 24 ECTS)

Semester 4: Spring
(30 or 36 ECTS)

1 strongly recommended elective course
(1X6=6 ECTS)

  • Econometrics IIIa, Ugo Panizza


  • Econometrics IIIb, Lore Vandewalle



In the discipline of specialisation
(30 to 42 ECTS, 5 to 7 courses)


  • Development Economics, Martina Viarengo

  • Financial Crises, Philippe Bacchetta

  • Impact Evaluation, Michele Pellizzari

  • Natural Resource Economics and Sustainable Development, Timothy Swanson

  • Topics in International Trade, Richard Baldwin

  • Topics in Monetary and Financial History, Marc Flandreau


  • Dualisms, Jean-Louis Arcand, David Sylvan

  • Economics Policy in Developing and Emerging Countries: A Practitioners' View, Coordinated by Ugo Panizza and taught by Alumni

  • International Finance I, Ugo Panizza, Yi Huang

  • International Trade I, Nicolas Berman

  • International Development, Slobodan Djajic

  • Monetary Policy, Nicolas Cuche-Curti

  • Econometrics IIIa, Ugo Panizza

  • Econometrics IIIb, Lore Vandewalle

  • International Environmental Economics and Policy, Bruno Lanz, Joëlle Noailly

In one or several complementary discipline(s):
(12-24 ECTS, 2 to 4 courses)

The list of complementary courses is available in the curricula of the other departments.

Requirements for International Economics

The Institute has an English-French bilingual teaching policy. However, most of the classes are taught in English. Students can speak and write in either English or French.

The Institute values diversity and encourages students with no prior knowledge or only a basic knowledge of French to apply. We are happy to award these students a place, if they undertake to attend a free French course. Knowledge of French is not an admission condition or a condition for being awarded a diploma.


  • All students must have an excellent command of English.

  • Students whose mother tongue is not English, who do not have secondary or post-secondary qualifications taught in English, or who have not spent a minimum of one year studying at university level in English, must provide a certificate to prove their mastery of English.


  • Students with no prior or a weak knowledge of French will have to attend an intensive French course lasting three weeks before the start of the first semester. They must register for this course at the time of their online application. This intensive course will be followed by a weekly course during the first year. (These courses are organised by the Institute and are free of charge.) At the start of the third semester, these students will have to sit a French test. In case of failure, they will have the opportunity to take a test again at the start of their fourth semester.

  • Students with a basic knowledge of French must register for a French test at the time of their online application. This test will take place during the first week of the academic year. Students who fail this test will have to attend a French course organised by the Institute, free of charge, during their first year of study. They will then have the opportunity to take a test again at the start of their third semester.

  • The above conditions do not apply to students whose mother tongue is French, or who have a secondary or post-secondary diploma totally taught in French, or who have spent a minimum of one academic year studying at university level totally in French, or who can produce a French language certificate equivalent to a DELF B2 level.

Work Experience for International Economics

No work experience is required.

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