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The Dual Master’s Degree Program in Applied Economics & Social and Economic Policy is suitable for those who wish to pursue further studies in economics and social policy and related disciplines or seek professional positions in private and public sectors that require solid knowledge in economics, social policy, and analytical skills.
# QS World University Rankings by Subject (Economics and Econometrics) 2020
^ U.S. News & World Report 2021 (Best Education Schools)
Modern economic and public-policy decisions demand mastery of quantitative methods and data-driven analysis. A pathbreaking dual-degree program—jointly designed by the Department of Economics at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University —opens the door to the study of economics and its application to real world policies in both Chinese and US contexts.
Students spend 10 months at CUHK, taking courses team-taught by CUHK and Northwestern faculty, then transition to Northwestern for 7 months of additional coursework. Upon completion of the program, students receive a master of science in applied economics from CUHK and a master of science in social and economic policy from Northwestern.
The CUHK Department of Economics is among Asia’s top-tier schools, known for its leading research on Chinese economic issues. Northwestern University, with a main campus just north of Chicago and fronting Lake Michigan, is ranked ninth-best in the US. Its School of Education and Social Policy, ranked seventh-best in the US, is world- renowned for the study of social, educational, and economic policy. Both universities have multicultural student bodies and alumni networks that span the globe.
The CUHK-Northwestern dual-degree program is expected to attract highly qualified students who will become leaders in their professions: as policy makers in civil service and nonprofit organizations and as economic analysts and thought leaders in public and private industry and academia.
The program is distinctive for its academic concentrations and rigor, the prestige of its institutions and faculty, its affordability, and its incomparable student experience.
with advanced knowledge in economic science, economics oriented policy making and various applied fields, so as to help students acquire a deep understanding of the complex interplay between theorization and data analyses in studying real world issues, and to lay a solid foundation for advanced studies and research work.
in quantitative analyses involving the application of econometric tools to analyze empirical datasets, derive estimates, test hypotheses and make forecasts; and making informed and insightful decisions in social and economic policy, commercial, managerial and personal contexts with the knowledge and skills in economics and public policy and econometrics.
with attributes to apply economic reasoning to explain the economic rationales for the public policies of China and the US; and develop sensitivity towards the changes in economic landscapes and shifts in economic regimes in the age of rapid globalization, so as to excel in professional positions in public and private sectors.
The program requires completing 15 courses for a total of 36 units of credit, including 22 units in economics, policy, and quantitative analysis and 14 units in electives.
4 required CUHK courses (semester- equivalent) at 3 units each
2 elective CUHK courses (semester-equivalent) at 3 units each
3 required/elective Northwestern courses (quarter-equivalent) at 2 units each
3 required/ elective Northwestern courses (quarter- equivalent) at 2 units each
3 required/elective Northwestern courses (quarter-equivalent) at 2 units each
This course provides an exposition of advanced microeconomic analysis. Topics include consumer theory, general equilibrium, game theory, information economics, and market design etc. The course is designed to emphasize the applications of microeconomic theory in real-world contexts.
This course covers modern developments in major macroeconomic theories related to long term growth and short term business cycle changes. Emphasis is given to the applications of modern macroeconomic methods in producing quantitative forecasts and predictions, as practiced in principal macroeconomic research organizations such as central banks and investment groups. Topics featured in the course include: (1) Dynamic Programming, (2) Computable General Equilibrium Models, (3) Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Models, (4) Macroeconometrics and (5) Bayesian Methods.
This course introduces the essential mathematical methods for economic analysis. To underscore the relevance of mathematics to economics, this course motivates the study of mathematical methods with the analytical needs of economists, and illustrates the study with appropriate economic applications. The following topics will be covered: elementary real analysis, linear models and matrix algebra for static or equilibrium analysis, differential calculus and comparative static analysis for general function models, optimizations with constraints, differential and difference equations and dynamic optimization. Basic calculus and elementary linear algebra are prerequisites.
Econometrics combines economics, mathematics, statistics with its applications involving real data analysis and computer programming. This course is an introductory course on the applications of econometric analysis at the graduate level. Topics include: linear model, large sample theory, parameters estimation methods, hypotheses testing, panel data models, discrete choice and censored data, etc., with applications to many real world economic problems.
This course provides a deep discussion of theoretical concepts and empirical tools to understand the design and effects of economic policy, including tax and transfer policy, social insurance, and the effects of macroeconomic factors on individuals, firms, and organizations.
This course offers an introduction to fundamentals of economic analysis in the evaluation of education, health, and social policy, using economic reasoning to explain the economic rationales for policies as well as the potential consequences, expected and unexpected, of the policies.
This course instructs students in the ways to interpret empirical research papers for business and policy decision-making. The courses provide an elementary understanding of empirical analysis used in economic and policy analysis, and focus on how to understand the nature of the evidence, the magnitude of the effects generated by the research, and the degree of uncertainty associated with the evidence so that students will develop greater confidence in how best to use empirical research for their decision-making.
This course offers an introduction to the process by which the preferences of individuals are converted into public policy, including an examination of the complexity of policy problems, methods for designing better policies, and a review of tools used by analysts and policy makers.
This course provides an introduction to important policy-making entities and processes at the federal, state, and local levels; understanding of the divisions between and interrelationships among these levels of government on key economic and social policies; and key constructs for describing and analyzing the policy- making process in the United States.
Using the Chinese economy as a context, the course is designed to guide and train students to think courageously, creatively, and critically. Students are required to find “puzzles” in the contemporary Chinese economy, to develop economic issues of general relevance from these “puzzles”, to frame these issues into theoretical or empirical questions, and finally to draft papers based on these questions. The course relies heavily on class discussion. Students are required to present at each stage of their thinking process. Students are advised to take ECON5012, 5022 and 5122 before taking this course.
This course is a graduate-level survey of monetary and financial economics with an emphasis on macroeconomic elements. The major focus will be on models and theories of money and financial intermediation but relevant empirical literature will be incorporated as well. The topics that will be covered include standard methods of introducing money into the neoclassical growth framework, overlapping generations models, and search theoretical foundations for money.
The aim of this course is to provide students with a foundation to pursue further research in the theory of financial economics. This course requires a sound understanding of microeconomic theory and an understanding and appreciation of finance problems as prerequisites. It is presumed that students are already familiar with the material at the level of Copeland and Weston (1988). It should be emphasized that research in finance requires a rigorous training in both microeconomic theory and econometrics.
This course offers theoretical, empirical and current topics in international trade. Attention is given on applications of basic trade theory to real-world economic problems. The major topics include: neoclassical trade theory of pattern of trade and gains from trade, strategic trade theory under imperfectly competitive markets, labour migration and capital mobility, market distortions and commercial policies, dynamic trade theory and economic growth, regionalism and economic integration, international debts, economic crises, etc.
This course is a graduate-level course of international finance. It will cover some recent topics on current account dynamics, real business cycle, exchange rate and international monetary policy. We will be focusing on the basic implications of the theory and empirical support for the theories. In addition, we will be discussing the experience of currency and capital market crises and the evolution of global imbalances in the last decade.
This course explores the framework and analytical methods that are commonly used in applied economic research, drawing most examples from development economics, growth analysis, and labor economics. The main objective is to examine how analytical tools of economics can be applied in studying simple models of individual, household, and market behaviors. Conceptual and empirical research will receive approximately the same class time. Special applications are made to the Chinese and East Asian economies.
The course provides a theoretical and empirical foundation for the analysis of labor market. Topics to be covered include: labor supply and demand, minimum wages, migration, human capital and education production, labor market incentives, efficiency wage, and skill investment. Students should preferably have finished graduate level ECON5012 and ECON5122 before taking this course.
Topics covered in this course include game theory (dynamic games, games with imperfect and incomplete information, bargaining, coalition, signaling games), contract theory, incentive schemes, business integration and strategic alliances, research and development, intellectual property rights and protection, optimal regulation, deregulation, privatisation, and case studies.
This course addresses the economic theory and empirics of corporate finance and governance. The goal is to help students understand major research issues in the field and develop their skills to apply theory to corporate finance practices. It focuses on important topics such as capital structure, ownership structure, capital budgeting and corporate governance institutions. The course extensively uses the tools of game theory, information economics and microeconometrics. Students are recommended to take ECON 5012 and ECON 5122 before taking this course.
This course provides an introduction to the theory and empirics of behavioral economics and behavioral finance. In this course, classical assumptions on economic agents such as rationality and time consistency are relaxed, allowing students to analyze investors and financial markets from a non-traditional perspective. The course is therefore a good complement to the mainstream economic and financial theories built upon individual rationality.
This course is an introduction to rigorous and policy‐relevant impact evaluation strategies and techniques for postgraduate students in economics. The course's main emphasis is on empirical strategies to identify the causal effects of public policies and programs. The course has a strong focus on applications, although students will be expected to fully understand the conceptual underpinnings of each strategy. Topics include instrumental variables, fixed effects, differences-in-differences, experiments, and regression discontinuity design for policy evaluation.
In many countries, health care spending grows much faster than GDP. Countries like the Unites States spend about 20 percent of its GDP on health care. As one of the most important “goods”, how health care is financed and delivered has large welfare implications. In this course, we will apply methods and reasoning from microeconomics to the health care sector. In particular, we will investigate different aspects of the health care system and assess how various policies affect the functioning of the health care system.
This graduate course includes two parts. The first part provides elementary theories of monetary policy and fiscal policy, providing students a general framework for policy analysis. The second part mainly discusses the development of Chinese monetary policy and fiscal policy in the past three decades, the potential policy reform and its implications to the Chinese economy. In addition, how monetary policy and fiscal policy respond to financial crises or public health crises will be widely analyzed and discussed in this course.
This course provides an introduction to contemporary public policies in China. These include economic public policies such as labor, trade, tax and poverty alleviation, as well as social public policies such as environment, population, education, healthcare and social security. This course focuses on using economic concepts and theories to analyze and evaluate such policies.
This is a course on special topics in Economics. The topic may change from one year to another. Some recent topics are international trade, and monetary and financial economics.
This course provides a deep discussion of theoretical concepts and empirical tools regarding policies focused on families and children at age ranges from early childhood through emerging adulthood. Policies that are administered through both the expenditure side and the taxation/revenue side of government will be considered
This course provides a deep discussion of theoretical concepts and empirical tools to analyze the design and effects of important education policy questions including, for example, class size, school choice, school accountability, teacher evaluation, and curriculum design.
This course provides a comparative view of China and the United States through the lens of education, human development, and social policy.
This course provides a deep discussion of theoretical concepts and empirical tools regarding the distribution of health and illness in society, the organization of the health care system and delivery of health care services, and the relationship of one to the other; current challenges and future development of the health care system; and clinical, epidemiological, economic, and sociocultural approaches to analyzing health and health care.
This course provides a deep discussion of theoretical concepts and empirical tools regarding the interaction between computing objects and humans in the workforce, at home, and elsewhere in an era of ubiquitous computing. Special attention will be paid to the role of policy and industry in this environment.
*The availability of elective courses varies from year to year. Subject to the approval of the Division Head of both universities.
In addition to the tuition fee for your study at CUHK, you also have to prepare your budget for other expenses related to your daily living in Hong Kong. Normal ranges of study-related expenses are as follows:
*Source: Education Bureau, The Government of HKSAR:
In addition to the tuition fee for your study at Northwestern University, you also have to prepare your budget for other expenses related to your daily living in the U.S. Normal ranges of study-related expenses are as follows:
*Source: Northwestern University:
The career prospects of our graduates are excellent. With their specialized understanding of economic science and quantitative skills, they are amongst the most desired employees in the job market, particularly as professionals in the banking and finance sector, and policy makers in civil service and nonprofit organizations and as economic analysts and thought leaders in public and private industry and academia. Both CUHK and Northwestern University have dedicated career units to foster excellence in career development, preparation, and professional opportunities for students by providing comprehensive services and programming and by promoting strong partnerships with employers, academic departments, and the university community.
CUHK is the lead university regarding career services and placement in the program. CUHK Department of Economics has set up a Career Unit to support students at every stage of the career development process. To prepare students for a competitive global economy, the Career Unit organizes various learning and development workshops, company visits and one-on-one counselling services, with the aim of enhancing students’ career readiness. Examples include workshops on writing impressive resumes, job interview skills, job market trend, Bloomberg training, professional business and dining etiquette and personal grooming. We offer up-to-date information and support on internships and graduate jobs. In the process, students learn how to clearly identify and articulate their career goals and develop a successful, targeted job search strategy.
Besides the department’s career unit, the Career Planning and Development Centre advocates all-round career preparation through a range of career-focused services and programs, to provide students with comprehensive job market information and insightful advice to help actualize their career aspirations. For more information, please visit https://cpdc.osa.cuhk.edu.hk/.
The mission of Northwestern Career Advancement (NCA) is to foster excellence in career development, preparation, and professional opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students and alumni by providing comprehensive services and programming and by promoting strong partnerships with employers, academic departments, and the university community.
The wide range of career services for students includes advising, job and internship search assistance, career assessments, access to employment databases, career fairs, and on-campus recruiting. For more information, please visit https://www.northwestern.edu/careers/.
Substantial scholarships will be awarded to applicants with outstanding qualifications upon admission and to students who have exhibited distinguished academic performance upon completion of the program.
Applicants should submit applications through the online admission system from 1 September 2020. All required documents must be received before an application is considered. Those not selected in one round will be reassessed in the next round until admissions close.
The tuition for the August 2021– December 2022 academic year is HK$380,000. Students are required to pay the tuition fee in three instalments. Additional costs—including fees for student visas, travel, housing, meals, and insurance— vary.
Tuition fee and other fees (e.g. application fee) are NOT refundable or transferable once paid.
To be considered for admission, an applicant must hold a bachelor’s degree —ideally in economics, public policy, social policy, or a related field—from an accredited institution. Strong academic ability, including quantitative proficiency, is required.
Applicants will be assessed on the basis of past academic performance, work experience, references, language skills, and an in-person or virtual admissions interview. Although applicants are considered separately by CUHK and Northwestern, final admissions decisions are jointly made; only one application is required.
Please visit the Graduate School homepage here for further information on general qualifications for admission, application periods, application procedures et cetera.
Students must obtain the appropriate Hong Kong and US student visas as required by law. Successful applicants receive assistance with their visa applications, housing search, and general transition issues.
Note: If extraordinary circumstances temporarily render US travel impractical, the entire program could be delivered in Hong Kong.
i (a) CUHK qualifications (Bachelor’s or higher degrees):
i (b) Other qualifications:
ii TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for two years from the test date. Applicants must request the test organization of TOEFL/ IELTS to send their official score reports directly to the CUHK Graduate School. Student copy of score report will NOT be accepted.
iii Hard copy of Confidential Recommendations must reach our office directly from the referees, or in sealed envelopes and send by the applicant with other supporting documents to our office. The referees can also choose to submit the Confidential Recommendations via internet.
Please visit the CUHK Graduate School homepage for further information on general qualifications for admission, application periods, application procedures et cetera.