Programme overview

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Economists are social scientists equipped with a specific set of tools, which include:

  • Models (or abstract simplifications) capturing salient aspects of social interactions in a given context, and
  • Empirical methods to quantify the relevance of causal mechanisms based on real-world data.

The application of these tools can provide an understanding of how the economy works, and shed light on a wide range of social issues, from decisions within the firm or the family to the design of public policy interventions.

The MSc in Applied Economics (MScAPEC) provides students with a unique opportunity to learn how to use the tools of economics, and tackle real life questions such as:

  • When do markets work and fail?
  • What are the trade-offs involved in regulating the banking sector?
  • How do we tackle climate change?
  • What are the costs and benefits of globalisation?

The core objective of the programme is to provide a rigorous training in modern economic methods: teach students how to apply abstract reasoning to concrete problems, and use a data-driven approach to inform market strategies or policy interventions.

Focus on what matters: we emphasize real-world applications rather than technical details. Our teaching team includes academic professors and professional economists from renowned institutions such as the Swiss National Bank, the UN Conference on Trade and Development, the Swiss Federal Office for Spatial Development, and the World Trade Organization.

Skills acquired

Our students acquire the tools and skills required for cutting-edge economic analysis, including:

  • a core set of models for micro and macro policy analyses used in the economic profession;
  • state-of-the-art empirical methods, focusing on their application with the most widely used software (R and Stata); and
  • the ability to read and reflect on the scientific literature, applying these tools to real-world issues.

Structure of the programme

The programme officially starts with a one-week "maths camp," taking place just before the beginning of the autumn semester (attendance is not graded). 

The programme builds on a set of diversified courses, and students have to combine compulsory and optional courses to complete 60 ECTS. Students can specialise (or major) in one of two areas:

  • Energy and Environmental Policy; or
  • Data Science

To major in one of these, students must complete a pre-specified list of optional courses. These specialisations allow students to acquire additional skills in their area of interest, and signal their interest and skills to potential employers; however, students can also opt for an MSc in Applied Economics without specialisation.  

The programme culminates in a dissertation on an applied topic chosen by the candidate under the supervision of a faculty member (30 ECTS). The dissertation can either be a research thesis or an internship thesis. 

Degree awarded

Master of Science in Applied Economics

with an optional major in:

  • Energy and Environmental Policy
  • Data Science

Director of the programme

Alumni's testimonies

  • Julia Macuglia, 2021, Major in Environmental and Energy Policy 
    see interview


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