Masters Fellowship at GMU

by Russ Roberts on March 26, 2008

in Education

Just wanted to let you know that there’s a new full-time full-fellowship Masters program in economics here at George Mason University. The application deadline is April 18. Tuition is covered plus you get an annual stipend of $24,500. If you want to change your life and change the world, more info is here.

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Marcus March 26, 2008 at 4:04 pm

Can an economically illiterate computer programmer apply for the job?

No? Hmmm. Assortative mating burns me again!

Russ Roberts March 26, 2008 at 4:22 pm


Go for it. We'll teach you economics.

colson March 26, 2008 at 4:35 pm

Also, on a side note along similar lines, The Koch Charitable Foundation Associate program deadline is April 1. You get to work with public policy groups and/or other non-profit organizations. I noticed the Mercatus Center is one possible option.

This may be a good way to get to Virginia and get settled in the community with a job prior to starting the MA program. You can work for a year before hitting fall 09 start.

shawn March 26, 2008 at 4:36 pm

nono, sorry folks, nothing to see here, move along…this is all just a big joke, no fellowship to be had…

colson March 26, 2008 at 4:37 pm

on a secondary note – I'm not affiliated with the Koch program or companies but thought it may serve other liberty-minded people out there to tie together two experiences into a unique experience.

cef March 26, 2008 at 5:30 pm

Grrr… Any chance this could done part-time through distance education? You can keep the stipend and the degree. I just want the education.

Blakeney March 26, 2008 at 8:13 pm


I'd second Professor Roberts: you don't need to have much econ background to succeed in a graduate economics program. Seriously. What you need (in my experience) is motivation and interest, and to be pretty good at math.

Typically your first graduate year would be spent un-learning and re-learning basic undergraduate economics, except this time with lots of partial derivatives. I'd guess that whatever math you've learned as a programmer would put you way ahead of the pack of former econ majors.

That's what happened to me, anyway :-) . I started in a PhD program a couple of years ago without any econ background to speak of, but with a degree in math and several years of experience as an actuary. It was a whole lot easier for me to learn the economics than it was for my classmates to learn the math.

Anyway, go for it, and good luck!

Mike B

Russ Roberts March 26, 2008 at 8:18 pm


Unfortunately, what you say is true of most Ph.D programs–math is crucial to success and a background in economics isn't particularly important.

Fortunately, our Masters program doesn't have any formal math requirements that I know of.

Greg Newburn March 26, 2008 at 8:47 pm

Would that I could afford to live in Northern Virginia on $24.5k/yr. Rather, would that I could convince my wife that we could live in NoVa for $24.5k/year.

This program looks incredible (however, I'm not sure it beats the GMU LLM program).

Totally off-topic: Prof. Roberts, have you ever thought of adapting "The Invisible Heart" into a screenplay? A few of us old Koch Fellows have been kicking that idea around lately.

Blakeney March 26, 2008 at 8:51 pm

Drat! I was trying to scare all the other applicants off so I could apply myself :-)

Mike B

Richard Pointer March 26, 2008 at 10:16 pm

I am particularly interested in this program. But my undergraduate Economics professors are either unenthusiastic about GMU, or I have tapped them out for letters of recommendation.

I think my stats and background are good: 3.8 UGPA 3.8 GGPA, 650V, 780Q, 5.5AWA. Math through linear algebra and Calc II. But just having been mauled with a PhD application process in Political Science, I fear being rejected.

Maybe next year.

Mathieu Bedard March 26, 2008 at 10:23 pm

Is this program opened to foreign students?

Jeff Holmes March 27, 2008 at 6:55 am

Might this fellowship be offered next year?

I'm a bit out of the county at the moment.

Martin Brock March 27, 2008 at 7:01 am

I'd apply if I weren't so ooooold.

wintercow20 March 27, 2008 at 8:53 am

Seems to be a great program. When I was in grad school (PhD program), our stipends were nowhere near that high, so that seems like a great deal, particularly for a masters program. Plus, you'll be learning more interesting things than you'll find in Mas-Colell, Romer's Macro book, etc.

I am envious!

Michael Fisk March 27, 2008 at 9:07 am

It says that the program is for those with no plans for going into academia… what about those who aren't sure about whether or not they want to go on for a Ph.D. program in Economics or not? Currently debating between going into academia or, after a Master's program, going to law school to study antitrust law, but I don't know…

Would such a program be suited for one like myself?

M. Hodak March 27, 2008 at 10:43 am

Ah, to be young and without real responsibilities again…

shawn March 27, 2008 at 1:35 pm

how about…somewhat young and avoiding real responsibilities? :)

Mesa Econoguy March 28, 2008 at 12:28 am

$24,000 stipend? See?

Income inequality!!!!



Mesa Econoguy March 28, 2008 at 12:34 am

In all seriously, you need to study under Dr. Roberts.

He teaches many fun courses, such as “How to organize your life.”

Yes, Russ was and is correct, though I didn’t know it at the time.

Dr. Boudreaux makes a mighty fine gumbo, from what I hear….

pierson March 28, 2008 at 4:58 am

«It says that the program is for those with no plans for going into academia… what about those who aren't sure about whether or not they want to go on for a Ph.D. program in Economics or not?»

I was wondering that myself. I might apply in a few years.

Nathan Bowers March 29, 2008 at 6:09 pm

What if I came and audited for a few years?

Russ (Dr. Roberts?), your dept. needs to put "GMU Econ Lectures Greatest Hits" on YouTube. I bet it would go viral in no time.

Sameer Parekh March 31, 2008 at 1:35 pm

Is this the same or a different fellowship than the one that had the March 15th deadline?

Economics Student April 1, 2008 at 10:56 am

What is up with changing the deadline from March 15th to April 18th? Was everyone who applied before the deadline unacceptable? Isn't that bad form? If you set a deadline, then you should select from the people who applied before the deadline, rather than extending the deadline and screwing over everyone who had the good sense to apply before the deadline. It's also awfully shady for you to not even mention that the deadline was extended from March 15th to April 18th. At least if you mentioned it you would be letting people know that maybe the April 18th deadline isn't a real deadline either and you won't respect the applicants who submit their applications in time for that second deadline either. A "new fellowship" my ass. This isn't a "new fellowship", this is the same fellowship that was posted about on MR a few months ago, with a different deadline. It's funny that Prof Roberts teaches a course "how to organize your life" when his Mercatus Center can't even get its act together enough to honor deadlines that they set!

Russ Roberts April 2, 2008 at 8:30 am

Economics Student,

This is the first time I blogged on this. It is a new program. Not everyone here reads Marginal Revolution. Though I do encourage it.

I also encourage anyone who finds this program interesting to take advantage of the extension of the deadline.

shawn May 5, 2008 at 10:35 pm

viva extended deadline, btw.

shawn May 14, 2008 at 6:26 pm


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