In order to receive the MA or MS degree, students must pass BOTH PARTS of the Comprehensive Exam: Microeconomics and Macroeconomics.
The Comprehensive Exam consists of two thematic parts: microeconomics topics and macroeconomics topics, both with the application of econometric techniques. The microeconomics part covers, among others, the analysis of supply and demand, the use of optimization techniques, consumer and producer behavior, competitive markets, monopoly pricing with market power, and welfare analysis. The second part includes, among others, the determination of macroeconomic equilibrium in the goods, financial, and labor markets, monetary and fiscal policies, and issues ranging from business cycles to taxation and economic growth. Econometric techniques are applied to the forecasting of key macroeconomic variables.
The Comprehensive Exam is offered twice a year: in the fall semester and in the spring semester. To graduate, the student must successfully pass both parts of the Comprehensive Exam by the end of the student's program.
When are exams offered and how do I sign up?
Both exams are always offered during exam week (finals week). Current master's students will receive an email approx. one month before finals with the date and times of each exam, and instructions for signing-up. Students are urged to sign up well in advance of the exam.
Who creates the exams?
The exams are created by a faculty committee that structures the exam around the content of various applications of economics.
Is there a sample exam available to study?
Sample comprehensive exams are not distributed. This is to deter students from studying only the sample questions and bypassing key material for their exam, which can lead to a failing result. We encourage all students to carefully review the materials in ECO 505, 507 580, 581 and their applications in the students' subsequent classes.
What should students bring to the exam?
What items are NOT ALLOWED at the exam?
Students with a special learning need (i.e. disability) who require special arrangements or additional time for the exam should contact the Assistant Director.
Where does the exam take place?
The Assistant Director will email students the information on exam location well in advance. All exams take place on UB campus. Students may not take the exam off-campus. There is no exception to this rule.
Are there any alternative exam dates?
Unfortunately, there are no alternatives exam dates. The exam cannot be administered unless all students take it at the same place and time. Students who have a conflict with the exam date should contact the Assistant Director.
When are results distributed?
It usually takes about two weeks to calculate exam results. Students will receive a spreadsheet via email with PASS/FAIL grades. Students will be able to identify themselves by the last 4 digits of their person numbers.
Can exam results be contested?
Please review the procedure for students who fail the comp exam:
If students have completed all courses but failed the exam, what should they do?
If a student fails a comprehensive exam, he or she must continue taking it whenever offered. Per Graduate School Policies and Procedures, if a student has fulfilled all the course requirements and is not taking any more courses, the student will have to register for at least one Graduate Economics credit (usually ECO 598) in order to maintain continuing student status.
In order for a student to graduate, they must maintain continuous registration status as outlined by the Graduate School. This states that a student must be registered for at least one credit for the semester in which they are graduating. For example:
With any additional questions about the comprehensive exams, please contact the Assistant Director of the Master's Programs.