Welcome to the Graduate Program
in Economics at EIU
Mukti Upadhyay, Ph.D.
Welcome to the webpage for graduate education in the Department of Economics at Eastern Illinois University. Our graduate program offers a Master’s degree with a focus on applied economics. For students, it provides an environment that ensures close consultation with faculty. All the graduate faculty members have an open door policy for students for a discussion of research as well as class material. We continue to restructure our program. We have added courses to offer more choices for students, consolidated fields to exploit faculty expertise, and made incoming students more welcome.
Over the last few years, our graduate program has introduced two important new courses: Seminar in Natural Resource and Environmental Economics and Applied Econometrics. Optimal commercial exploitation of natural resources is a central issue in the first of these courses, as is the issue of sustainable development. The applied econometrics course (ECN 5433) greatly complements our course in introductory econometrics (ECN 4973). It provides training on more applied aspects of data analysis and newer tools for model setup and estimation. This course continues to be popular as it helps our students acquire much needed expertise in data analysis.
Another new course, on Industrial Organization, will be available beginning in 2012. Dr. Tesa Leonce specializes in Industrial Organization and currently teaches a popular undergraduate elective course in that area (ECN 3780). The graduate course (ECN 5780) will add substantial strength to our menu of applied micro courses.
The diversity of our pool of graduate students and faculty is a matter of great pride for us. The graduate program currently represents students and faculty from the U.S. and many other countries including Bangladesh, China, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Iran, Nepal, Nigeria, Romania, Saudi Arabia, St. Lucia, and Vietnam. Within the last few years, we have also had our M.A. graduates coming from several other countries such as Honduras, the Philippines, and Turkmenistan. We have been lucky to witness cultural interaction in a way that leads to highly rewarding academic and social experiences for students.
Students who want to pursue further specialization can now take advantage of two concentrations in the Department. These areas are Global Economy and Applied Microeconomics, each of which requires three courses. Applied Econometrics can, however, count toward either track but not both. The Global Economy track offers intensive training in international and development economics whereas Applied Micro provides opportunities in labor, managerial and environmental economics. We expect Industrial Organization will join the applied micro offerings beginning in 2012. Besides these areas, the Department also has strength in financial economics and public policy. They can emerge as important tracks in future. On popular demand, we have also offered, thanks to Dr. Bruehler, independent study courses for several graduate students on game theory (Spring 2009) and mathematical economics (Fall 2009). We believe our graduate course structure is meeting the challenges posed by the evolving nature of the economics discipline.
Graduating students have repeatedly told us of the value they place on close consultation with our faculty in exploring research possibilities or acquiring a richer learning experience. Recent faculty research encompasses a wide range of topics. Some of the topics include educational policy and attainment, poverty and welfare, income inequality, economic integration in West Africa and South Asia, environmental economics, globalization and growth, teaching of economics, state lottery for education, and others. Quite a few members of our graduate faculty have provided guidance to the thesis-writing students on all aspects of research. Many of our graduate students, however, complete the requirements of comprehensive knowledge by taking advantage of the non-thesis ‘Graduate Forum’ option under faculty supervision. Both groups indicate their highly rewarding experiences with research. Occasionally, faculty-student interaction has resulted in research collaboration leading to publication in refereed journals. We expect such student-faculty partnership to grow further in future. Our student research has been accepted frequently for presentation at the Missouri Valley Economics Conference and the Midwest Economics Conference.
Another way our students acquire training in responsibility and maturity is by competing for graduate assistantships. A graduate assistant provides tutoring help to Principles students and helps faculty in their research. Besides regular assistantships, our Department has also won a presidential assistantship several times. Several economics students have also been awarded graduate assistantships in various departments around campus while pursuing their economics degree. After graduation, many of our students have secured professional jobs. They are working with federal and local governments, and large and small businesses including financial corporations. Some of the M.A. graduates have gone on to teaching at community colleges and to Ph.D. schools for higher education.
The Department of Economics has undergone significant changes in the last few years and continues to evolve further. The goal of all these changes is to make our undergraduate and graduate programs stronger through quality education. Students experience a helpful environment in the Department for their personal enrichment. We invite you to stop by the Department if you are in the area or contact Dr. Upadhyay (217-581-3812 or firstname.lastname@example.org) for any graduate program questions you may have. You may also follow the links on the left panel for more information.