Earn your bachelor’s in economics and master’s in policy economics over a period of five years!

The MSPE 4+1 Track is a five-year program that confers both a bachelor’s degree in economics, and a Master of Science degree in Policy Economics (MSPE). With the MSPE 4+1 Track, UIUC undergraduates from economics and other disciplines begin the coursework for their master’s degree in their senior year and then finish the remaining requirements in the following year. As the MSPE degree normally takes up to two years to complete, students who follow the MSPE 4+1 Track effectively save one year of time and tuition.

About the Master of Science in Policy Economics Program

The MSPE Program is consistently ranked among the top 10 professional master’s programs in economics in the United States: https://tfetimes.com/best-economics-program-rankings/.

The MSPE Program provides an applied economics degree, with an emphasis on econometric techniques, statistical analysis, and policy evaluation.

Students who enter the program do so mainly for one of two reasons. The first reason is to acquire the necessary skills to work as an analyst in the private or public sector. The MSPE curriculum, with its equal emphasis on theory, econometrics, and the applied fields, provides the training you need to analyze large data sets, making you well suited for government positions in policy analysis and business research positions in finance, marketing, and strategy. The second reason is to obtain adequate preparation to begin a Ph.D. Program in Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics, Finance, or Accountancy.

MSPE Curriculum and Field Specializations

The MSPE Program consists of 10, four-credit courses, four of which are required: Microeconomics (Econ 500), Macroeconomics (Econ 501), and Econometrics (Econ 502 and 503). Beyond these four required courses, students must then take six elective courses chosen from various fields of economics. Two of these six electives must be taken in one field of specialization. Students can choose from a large number of fields of specialization. You can read more about the curriculum on the MSPE website: https://economics.illinois.edu/mspe/program/mspe-curriculum. The course descriptions can be found in UIUC Course Explorer, under Courses of Instruction for Economics.

Timeline for Completion of the MSPE Program using the MSPE 4+1 Track

Senior Year Fall Semester:

  • Microeconomics (Econ 500)
  • Economic Statistics (Econ 502)
  • Continue the coursework toward graduating with B.S. or B.A. in May.

Senior Year Spring Semester:

  • Econometrics (Econ 503)
  • Finish the coursework to graduate with B.S. or B.A. in May.

MSPE Year Fall Semester Program:

  • Macroeconomics (Econ 501)
  • MSPE Elective # 1
  • MSPE Elective # 2
  • MSPE Elective # 3

MSPE Year Spring Semester:

  • MSPE Elective # 4
  • MSPE Elective # 5
  • MSPE Elective # 6

Applying to the MSPE 4+1 Track and Admission to the MSPE Program 

Applying to 4+1 Track

Undergraduates in the spring semester of their junior year can request entry into the MSPE 4+1 Track by sending an email to the MSPE Office (econ-mspe-track@illinois.edu). Be sure to use “MSPE 4+1 Track” in the subject heading of your email.

In your email:
•    Briefly explain your interest in the MSPE Program and your coursework plan for the fall and spring semesters of your senior year to graduate with a B.S. or B.A. in the spring semester. Do not include the 500-level MSPE courses that you would take during those semesters in the description of your plan.
•    Attach a copy of your unofficial transcript that you have requested from the Registrar’s Office with the grades for the courses taken through the fall semester of your junior year.
•    In the e-mail list the courses that you are currently taking this semester.
•    Provide the name of one instructor from the courses that you have taken in your major who has agreed to serve as a reference for you. The MSPE staff will contact this instructor directly for a short recommendation.

Admission to the MSPE Program

During the spring semester of senior year, students in the MSPE 4+1 Track apply for admission to the MSPE Program using the standard application procedure of the Graduate College.

The application deadline is April 1st.

The application materials for the MSPE Program are listed on the MSPE website under Admissions. These application materials include an official transcript and degree certification (if applicable), a personal statement, and three letters of recommendation.

Eligibility for Acceptance into the MSPE Program

To be admitted to the MSPE Program, students must have at least a 3.0 GPA as of the end of the fall semester of their junior year and be on track to graduate in spring of their senior year.

In addition, students must have received a grade of B or better in each of the MSPE courses taken during their senior year.

Although entry into the MSPE 4+1 Track does not guarantee admission into the MSPE Program, we expect that students who successfully complete the three required core MSPE courses during their senior year will satisfy the other criteria for admission into the MSPE Program.


Please email econ-mspe-track@illinois.edu.