The Master in International Economics is a small, selective programme focused on preparing students for jobs in international organisations, governments, NGOs and think tanks as well as the private sector. Our program is also well suited to students who want to go on and do a PhD (either at the Graduate Institute or in another university). About one sixth of our master students choose this option.
The programme combines a rigorous training in the advanced empirical and analytical tools that are required for careers in international economics with a policy orientation. It provides students with the necessary work-skills, and the institutional and historical background they will need to apply the tools to real world problems.
This applied approach – teamed with our close connection to the international organisations in Geneva (where many students do internships) and across the world – explains the remarkable success of our students over the years . Graduates have secured jobs in top-level national and international institutions (ranging from the World Bank, IMF and OECD, WTO, WIPO, ILO and other UN agencies, central banks, and economic ministries), policy institutions such the WEF, NGO and think tanks, as well as consultancies, multinationals and banks.
Reuben Muhindi Wambui, the 2020 winner of the Rudi Dornbusch Prize for best Master thesis of International Economics. Reuben is now working as Africa Regional Coordinator at UNEP FI.
David Ryfisch, currently Team Lead International Climate Policy at Germanwatch
Satoshi Araki, currently Junior Economist at the OECD
The professors are known worldwide in their respective areas and offer first-hand experience in using international economics to address the world’s many problems. Teaching is by professors (not graduate students) using hands-on, problem-solving approaches. In addition to lifelong academics, the faculty includes practitioners such as the Chief Economist of the World Trade Organisation, and faculty members which have spent part of their career working in policy institutions such as the World Bank, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission, and the US Federal Reserve. In addition to the core economics courses , the department offers an applied course taught by department’s alumni holding senior positions in international organizations. This course provides our students a unique opportunity to better understand how economics is used in policymaking and to get to know personally senior staff at organizations such as the IMF, the World Bank and the OECD.
A supportive, collaborative learning environment
The high professor-student ratio, the small class sizes, and the highly diverse student body create a collegial, stimulating, and friendly atmosphere. As Julieta Contreras, a Master student from Mexico who graduated in 2020 put it: “there is an environment of collaboration where you can develop skills together with your classmates. There is solidarity and friendship .”
A critical part of the training stems from constant interactions with bright, open and diverse minds from all over the world. Interdisciplinarity is a core principle of the Graduate Institute so you will be networking with students of international law, international history, international relations, social anthropology, and international development.
Located physically at the centre of Geneva’s numerous international organisations, the Graduate Institute is a global hub for policy-relevant research in international relations in general and international economics in particular. Talks, debates and events are held virtually every evening in the Graduate Institutes ultra-modern building (the ‘Maison de la Paix’). The Graduate Institute has also a close link with the London-based Centre for Economic Research (CEPR), the premier network of economists in Europe: the President of CEPR, one of its vice presidents and the editor in chief of VoxEU (CEPR’s policy portal) are all professors at the Graduate Institute and our students benefit from joint events organized by the CEPR and the Graduate Institute.
Beyond academics, living in Geneva exposes our students to a diverse, cosmopolitan environment, where you cannot help but broaden your horizons while picking up some French. The Graduate Institute is bilingual (English and French), but all economics courses are taught in English.
The teaching programme
The Master programme is organised into four tracks – International Finance, Development, Finance and Development, and International Trade. Regardless of your track, you will in the first three semesters take the six core classes (two semesters of microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics) and write your Master’s thesis in the fourth semester. A math refresher course (affectionately known as the "math bootcamp") is taken before the beginning of the first semester. The track-specific courses are taken from the second semester on you select electives offered by the department as well as some courses offered by other department (law, history, political science, anthropology and sociology) and partner institutions (e.g. the University of Geneva or Lausanne). There is also a possibility of doing the third semester on exchange at one of our partner institutions. Download the Flyer for details.