Santa Clara University

Beyond The Bachelor's Degree: Graduate School Options

A significant proportion of Santa Clara's economics alums choose to go on to graduate school. Of those responding to the Economics Department's surveys, 18 percent went on to earn an MBA, 14 percent had gone on to study law, 3 percent had obtained a Ph.D., and another 13 percent had obtained masters degrees or credentials in a variety of different subjects.

Links to programs that offer a Ph.D in Economics can be found at: 


The Professional Economist

Graduate study is particularly important for those who actually wish to become professional economists and do economics--as college and university teachers, researchers and economic analysts--for a living. Professional economists work in a variety of jobs in all sectors of the economy. In addition to colleges and universities, large employers of economists include:

  • Banks and other financial institutions
  • Major industrial enterprises
  • Federal government agencies
  • State & local government agencies
  • International organizations
  • Economic consulting firms
  • Non-profit organizations


Much of the work professional economists do in the nonacademic sector consists of analyzing economic conditions in specific markets, regions, or national economies; estimating future needs and availability of human and natural resources; providing economic development plans; analyzing and forecasting financial market activity; and developing policies to combat inflation, unemployment, and poverty.

Most economists specialize in one or more subfields within economics. An idea of the variety of specializations available to economists can be obtained by reading the announcement of the examination for economists issued by the U.S. Civil Service Commission. The announcement lists the following specialized fields: financial economist, regional economist, industry economist, international economist, transportation economist, housing economist, urban economist, labor economist, industrial organization economist, agricultural economist, development economist and energy economist. Professional economists working in all of these fields have a common foundation in economic theory and a common knowledge of economic tools.

Information on the job outlook for economists can be obtained from the U.S. Dept. of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Note: Because graduate study in economics requires an extensive background in mathematics, you should meet early on with your advisor to plan an appropriate course of study if you think you might have an interest in graduate school.

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