The Master of Science in Economic Theory and Policy

The M.S. curriculum consists of ten core courses, including two mentored research workshops and a thesis seminar, and six electives. Students complete most of their required courses in the first year. In their second year, students undertake a year-long research project under the direction of one of the Levy Institute’s core teams, culminating in a thesis. The following is a sample course of study (core courses are denoted by an asterisk). Electives courses for Spring 2020: Development Finance, Poverty, Gender and Social Policy, Inequalities across Time and Space.

M.S. Course Work

Year-one Courses

The first year of the program is largely devoted to an intensive set of core courses in economic theory, with one elective in each semester.

Semester I
  • Advanced Macroeconomics*
  • Advanced Microeconomics*
  • Research Methods I*
  • One Elective
Semester II
  • Money, Finance and Instability*
  • Research Methods IIA: Stock-Flow Consistent Modeling Methods* or Research Methods IIB: Introduction to Stock-Flow Modeling and Public Policy Analysis*
  • Two Electives
Year-Two Courses

The second year emphasizes research and the application of theory to policy evaluation. A crucial component of the Levy M.S. is the extensive research training in the second year of the program. M.S. candidates, working under the close supervision of program faculty, apply their course work to an active research project. The research training is designed to help candidates hone their skills and deepen their substantive knowledge in one of the five concentrations offered by the program.

Semester III
  • Research Workshop I*
  • Macrodynamics and Modeling*
  • Public Economics*
  • One Elective
Semester IV
  • Thesis Seminar*
  • Research Workshop II*
  • Two Electives

The M.S. Thesis

The M.S. thesis is completed in the second year of the program and must be an original piece of work, possibly linked to some aspect of the student's research. The intention is for the student to pursue a topic intensively, drawing on and integrating knowledge from the coursework and research, demonstrating skill in developing and conveying recommended policies and action on a particular issue or problem.

The Thesis Composition
Theses typically run a minimum of 40 pages in length, depending on the level of quantitative work presented. In the Levy M.S. program, theses fall into four general categories: original research, analytical literature review, case study analysis, and project based. Extensive information on the thesis process—including grading, your thesis committee, Bard’s Institutional Review Board, the contents of the thesis, citations and formatting, and printing and binding—is included in the Levy Institute M.S. Thesis Guidelines. The guidelines are updated annually and are available to students at the beginning of the thesis process.

Thesis Timeline
  • End of May (Year I): One-sentence description of potential thesis area of interest due—summer adviser assigned following review
  • Beginning of September: Thesis idea due—thesis adviser assigned
  • Mid-October: Exploratory literature review due
  • End of October: Detailed thesis proposal due
  • End of November: Individual 20-minute presentation of thesis contents
  • Mid-Dec/Jan: Draft of literature review and methodology chapters due
  • Late February: Follow-up presentations
  • End of March: Full thesis draft due
  • End of April: Thesis final version due (including abstract/executive summary)
  • Beginning of May: Thesis due (final draft with adviser approval)
  • End of May (Year II): Digital copies due to the Levy Institute office