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Structure of the Master in Public Economics

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

Core Modules (36 ECTS)

The Master’s in Public Economics emphasizes a solid foundation of economic theory. The core courses consist of 5 courses, which build off your knowledge gained during your Bachelor's. In order to pass these courses, a good basis of microeconomic theory is necessary.

We suggest you complete these 5 courses within the first 2 semesters of study. All of the 5 courses are in English.

The last step of your Master's is your Master's Thesis. This is accompanied by colloquim.

Our two mandatory courses in national public economics enable you to formally analyze the role of governments in the economy using neoclassical models and theory.

This course provides students with an understanding of public finance's interdependencies within open economies. In this respect, diverse issues such as European integration, globalization, tax competition, and global trade policy are presented. The goal of this course is to provide the economic tools to identify and solve public finance problems in scenarios with competing state stakeholders. Topics: Federalism Strategic aspects of taxation: e.g. tax competition, tax coordination. Economics of international negotiations International aspects of consumption, factor income and resource taxation Economics of customs and trade policy.

Command of microeconometric methods is a key requirement for the independent execution of empirical analysis in the field of Public Finance. Besides fundamental empirical 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 course is to enable students to perform independent, empirical work and to analyze and develop the presented methods and approaches. Topics: Logit, Probit, Tobit models Difference-in-differences methods Instrumental variables

Our course in Macroeconomics is based on the Bachelor’s course and discusses advanced methods in modern Macroeconomics. If you are interested in further elective course in this area of study, you should complete this course at the beginning of your Master’s.  Topics: Solow-Model Ramsey-Model Real Business Cycle New keynesian Model Dynamic Optimization

The final part of your education in public economics is a colloquium, in which you will present the preliminary results of your Master's Thesis to your fellow students. This will introduce you to the practice of presenting and discussing academic research. It also gives you the oppurtunity to improve your thesis through constructive criticism and advice.

6-ECTS Modules

6 ECTS electives allow to advance your chosen specialization. Thus, most of the courses on offer are listed in the economic debates-section. Here, our researchers introduce you to their own current research and the discourse associated to it.

However, within the area of 6 ECTS electives, you can also attend courses that allow you to further enhance your methodological and formal skills, as well as acquire key interdisciplinary skills or already attend doctoral courses.

You can already take PHD courses at the Berlin School of Economics (BSE) during your Master's. These courses will be recognized both in the Master's program and in a later PHD program at the BSE. All courses from the first year of study at the BSE are open to you, and are recognized in the following modules. Modules: Advanced Economic Theory Advanced Empirical Economics Advanced Economic Policy Analysis Advanced Quantitative Economics Advanced Statistical Methods 

Internship & Research Project (18 ECTS)

A characteristic of the Master's in Public Economics is the practice oriented internship. This gives you the chance to apply the knowledge you learned in lectures and seminars in practice. Since the Master’s Program is research orientated, this gives you the chance to gain actual practical experience. In the foreground is the individual economic argumentation with political questions. 

In order to support your individual interests and career plans, you can do an internship at an external institution or your own research project with an economics professor here at the Freie Universität.

In an organized internship you can apply and deepen your learned knowledge in a variety of fields.

Since the internship is a mandatory component of your studies, the internship offers you the opportunity in the course of your studies to gain practice at a public institution: for example a ministry, a trade association, or a NGO. Many of these organizations only take mandatory internships. This gives you an advantage, when applying. 

The internship can be done in the long semester break during the Summer. Since many interesting positions can only be achieved in advance, you should start looking at internships by the beginning of your second semester. 

Further information on the internship

Have you already done enough internships during your studies? Then a research project is an Alternative.

The research project consists of you completing research with a professor of economics at the Freie Univesität. The study should be in the field of Public Finance or Political Economics.

The organization is mostly decentralized. You simply contact a professor you would like to work with. There are also posted research projects to choose from.

Further information on the research project

Masterthesis (24 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 is at the end of your studies.However, you can register and complete your thesis earlier.. For this, you are obligated to prove that you have completed at least 60 LP. Of these courses, one must be an economic seminar.

Once the requirements for the enrollment of a Master’s Thesis are fulfilled, students must then find an appropriate research topic. The topic is chosen individually and with the help of an advisor.

In the ideal scenario, you may already have an idea for a topic, which you would like to develop with a potential advisor. If your advisor agrees to the topic, you may enroll your Master’s Thesis with the Prüfungsbüro.

Many professors also publish their own lists with topics of interest, to which students can apply. Their chairs often have additional requirements for students wishing to write their Master’s Thesis with them. Students should therefore inform themselves in advance befor a prospective application.

Should you not be able to find an advisor, you may enroll your Master’s Thesis at the Prüfungsbüro by adding your preferred advisor. You will then be assigned an advisor.

Regardless of the path you choose, the enrollment of your Master’s thesis is guaranteed.

Further information on Master's Theses

When writing your master's thesis, you must complete the Academic Practice module. During this module, you will present the preliminary results of your Master's Thesis to your fellow students. This will introduce you to the practice of  presenting and discussing research. It will also teach you how to incorporate constructive criticism and suggestions into your research.