Springe direkt zu Inhalt

Structure of the Master in Public Economics

The following Master program in Public Economics comprises a total of 120 credit points. 

Core Courses (36 ECTS)

The Master's in Public Economics emphasizes a rigorous theoretical education. Therefore, the program comprises six manadatory modules focussing on national and international Public Economics. We recommend to complete these modules within the first two semesters of your studies.

A microeconomic education is a key part of any Economics program. Therefore, this modul shall provide you with in-depth methods and knowledge on microeconomic fundamentals. During the course, you shall familiarize yourself with the newest microeconomic approaches and applications, so that you may develop an intuitive understanding of far-reaching microeconomic relations. The goal of this module is to train you to recognize restrictions, and approaches as well as to carry out model extensions.

Among the module contents, you may find:

  • Households’ and firms’ decision theory
  • General Equilibrium Analysis
  • Fundamental theorems of Welfare Theory
  • Partial Equilibrium Analysis
  • Imperfect Competition
  • Game Theory

Being an important core area of Economics, Advanced Macroeconomics provides you in-depth methodic and specialized knowledge on the fundamentals of Macroeconomics. In this course you shall get a broad overview of the quantitative methods of growth and business cycle theory.

You shall learn to solve macroeconomic models formally and to interpret derived results. Upon course completion, you shall have gained an intuitive understanding of macroeconomic correlations as well as the ability to carry out individual model ampliations based on the limitations of the presented approaches.

The course content comprises:

  • Growth theories (e.g. Solow model, Ramsey model)
  • Business cycle theories: Real Business Cycle Model, New Keynesian Models
  • Modern Methods of Macroeconomics, e.g. Dynamic Optimization.

The module Welfare Economics contemplates the Theory of Market Failure from a public finance perspective and provides advanced methods for analysing public expenditure. Students shall learn to analyse fundamental problems of a welfare state in an independent manner and to assess the economic importante of central welfare institutions within a market economy.

The course content comprises, among others:

  • Insurance role of the welfare state
  • Market failure and insurance
  • Ensuring labour income through the State
  • Redistribution by means of income taxation
  • Public supply of private goods
  • Poverty alleviation

Command of microeconometric methods is a key requirement for the independent execution of empiric analyses in the field of Public Finance. Besides fundamental empirial models, students shall learn quasi-experimental methods of modern causal analysis. The theoretical contents are illustrated through empirical analyses of microdata in relation to current economic policy issues. The goal of this module is to enable students to perform independent, empirical work and to analyse and develop the presented methods and approaches.

The course content comprises, among others:

  • Logit, Probit, Tobit models
  • Difference-in-differences methods
  • Instrumental variables

This module provides students with an understanding of the public finance interdependence of open economies. In this respect, diverse issues, such as European integration, globalization, tax competition and global trade policy. The goal of this module is to provide the economic tools to identify and solve public finance problems in scenarios with competing state stakeholders.

The course content comprises, among others:

  • Federalism
  • Strategic aspects of taxation: e.g. tax competition, ta coordination.
  • Economics of international negotiations
  • International aspects of consumption, factor income and resource taxation
  • Economics of customs and trade policy. 

Public Finance theories on optimal taxation as a part of economic income policy are a fundamental component of this module. Based on the contents therein taught, the students shall obtain a deep understanding of the working mechanism of taxes. Students shall furthermore learn about the relevant interest conflicts of taxation as well as discuss these from an economic perspective. Upon successful completion of this module, students shall be able to provide economically founded recommendations in order to develop and analyse taxation theory and policy instruments.

The course content comprises, among others:

  • Optimal taxation theory
  • Tax incidence analysis
  • The excess burden of taxation
  • Design of tax systems and tax reform
  • Conflict of interests between efficiency and redistribution
  • Taxation of external effects

Elective Courses (12 ECTS each from two different elective fields)

The four elective fields offer students the possibility to tailor their studies according to their interests. In order to complete the program succesfully, students must take at least 12 credits from two different elective fields (the so-called “12 out of 2” rule).

  • Current Research Questions on Empirical Public Economics and Economic Policy (6 ECTS)

  • Current Research Questions on International Fiscal Policy (6 ECTS)*

  • Current Research Questions on Social Policy (6 ECTS)*

  • Current Research Questions on Public Economic Theory (6 ECTS)

  • Poverty and Distribution (6 ECTS)**

  • Selected Topics in Social Policy (6 ECTS)*

  • Selected Topics in Taxation Theory and Policy (6 ECTS)*

  • Income Tax Law (6 ECTS)

  • Empirical Public Economics and Economic Policy (6 ECTS)**

  • Reforming the Welfare State (6 ECTS)**

  • Microeconometrics (6 ECTS)*

  • Tax Effects (6 ECTS)

  • Knowledge Transfer (6 ECTS)**

  • Current Research Topics on Labor Market Economics (6 ECTS)*

  • Current Research on Educational Economics (6 ECTS)*

  • Advanced Labour Economics (6 ECTS)**

  • Working with Panel Data (6 ECTS)*

  • Selected Topics in Labor Market Research (6 ECTS)*

  • Economics of Education (6 ECTS)*

  • The Legal Parameters of Labor Policy (6 ECTS) 

  • Labor Market Policy  (6 ECTS)*

  • Knowledge Transfer (6 ECTS)**

  • Current Research Questions on Microeconomics (6 ECTS)

  • Current Research Questions on Political Economy (6 ECTS)*

  • Selected Topics in Social Policy (6 ECTS)*

  • Design of Economic Systems (6 ECTS)**

  • Information Economic (6 ECTS)

  • Economics of Innovation and Innovation Policies (6 ECTS)**

  • Öffentliche Regulation of State-Owned Enterprises (6 LP)**

  • Public Choice (6 LP)

  • Knowledge Transfer (6 ECTS)**

  • Current Research Questions on international Macroeconomics (6 ECTS)*

  • Current Research Questions on Macroeconomics (6 ECTS)*

  • International Institutions (6 ECTS)*

  • Selected Topics in Macroeconomics (6 ECTS)*

  • Money and Fiscal Policy (6 ECTS)

  • International Economic History (12 ECTS)***

  • International Economics (12 ECTS)***

  • International Macroeconomics (6 ECTS)**

  • Capital Market Theory (6 ECTS)*

  • Capital Markets and Regulation (6 ECTS)*

  • Complex Methods of Modern Econometrics (6 ECTS)*

  • Methods of Modern Macroeconomics (6 ECTS)*

  • Econometric Analysis (6 ECTS)

  • US Economic Policy (12 ECTS)***

  • Economic History of the 20th Century (6 ECTS)**

  • Economic Growth (6 ECTS)

  • Knowledge Transfer (6 ECTS)**

* Modules not offered every semester according to current study regulations.

** Modules only offered once every two years according to current study regulations.

*** Modules offered every third semester according to study regulations.

Elective Courses (12 ECTS)

The free elective area offers students the possibility of choosing modules from all elective fields. Students can therefore deepen their chosen elective field or take modules from different elective fields as well.

Furthermore, courses with a public finance focus approved during a semester abroad or at the Berlin School of Economics (BSE) may be recognized.

Are you interested in a semester abroad during your Master? Then inform yourself with our colleagues at the International Office.

Before you leave to your desired university abroad, you should inform yourself about the possibility of getting said courses recognized for your Master study. Your Master’s coordination will be glad to assist you.

Further information on studying abroad

In 2019, the former Berlin Doctoral Program in Economics and Management Science (BDPEMS), together with the Graduate Center of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW GC), merged to form the new Berlin School of Economics (BSE). With its numerous PhD courses, the BSE offers exciting economic courses at the highest level. As part of the PhD Fast Track students may also get these courses recognized for their Master studies and thus profit from this course offer as well by reducing their future doctoral studies at BSE.

Further information on the course offer at BSE

Did you find an exciting course at BSE? Then clarify the possibility of getting the credits recognized in advance. 

Internship & Research Project (18 LP)

A special feature of our programs is the mandatory internship of at least 540 working hours (approx. 3 months of full-time work), which students are required to complete before program completion.

The mandatory internship can be completed with an external employer or in the form of an independent research project at one of the Chairs of the School of Business & Economics at Freie Universität Berlin.

In an independently organized internship, students shall be able to apply and deepen their learned competencies in a large variety of fields.

Students may also complete this mandatory internship in a public institution, such as a ministry, an economic association or an NGO. Many of said employers fill their internship positions exclusively with students who must complete mandatory internships. This is a decisive advantage for our students.

In order to make sure your desired internship can be recognized as such, said occupation should be within a relevant field and as research-oriented as possible. It should be a good complement to the student’s chosen elective fields and it can also be completed abroad. The duration of the internship comprises about three months.

Further information on the internship

Have you already carried out an internship during your studies? Then the research project may be a good alternative.

The research project comprises the independent completion of a scientific project at one of our Chairs. Consistent to the focus of your studies, the project should have a public finance or economic policy focus.

The organization of the project takes place in a highly autonomous manner and through direct contact with the Chairs. We also provide interesting research propositions exclusively for our students.

Further information on the research project

Master's Thesis (30 ECTS)

For a successful completion of the Master in Public Economics, students must write an independent Master’s thesis. This work may be prepared within a period of 23 weeks.

Usually, the Master’s thesis comprises the finalization of your study. Yet you may also enroll your Master’s thesis in advance under certain circumstances. For this, you are obligated to proof that you have completed modules for at least 60 ECTS. Said modules must contain at least one economic seminar.

Once the requirements for the enrolment of a Master’s thesis are fulfilled, students must then find an appropriate research topic. The topic assignment is carried out independently by each Chair.

In an ideal scenario, you may already have an idea for an exciting topic, which you would like to develop with a potential tutor. If your tutor agrees to the topic, you may enroll your Master’s thesis at the Examination Office at any time.

Many Chairs also publish their own lists with topics of interest, to which students may also apply. Chairs often have additional requirements for students wishing to write their Master’s thesis with them. Students should therefor inform themselves in advance for a prospective application.

Should you not be able to find a tutor, you may enroll your Master’s thesis at the Examination Office by adding preferred tutor options. You shall then be assigned with a tutor by the Examinations Office.

Regardless of which way you choose, the enrolment of your Master’s thesis is, in any case, guaranteed.

Further information on Master's Theses