Advice on mathematics coursework for econometrics students

I have the following advice for new undergraduate students at the University of Sydney who wish to specialize in the study of econometrics. This may not be the best advice for everyone. It is tailored toward students with a strong mathematical background, who are considering postgraduate study in econometrics or a related quantitative field following the completion of four years of undergraduate study, including an Honours year. I assume that students are pursuing a joint Bachelor of Economics/Bachelor of Advanced Studies degree.

In my view, students of econometrics fitting the above description are best served by taking two majors: one in Econometrics, and one in Mathematics. Fitting both majors into three years of coursework, while satisfying the requirements for entry into a fourth year of Honours in Econometrics, takes some planning. I recommend the following plan for ambitious students. See my comments below for further suggestions.

Year 1, Semester 1

ECMT1010: Introduction to Economic Statistics (6 credit points)

ECON1001: Introductory Microeconomics (6 credit points)

MATH1902: Linear Algebra (3 credit points)

MATH1921: Calculus of One Variable (3 credit points)

An additional 6 credit points of Open Learning Environment (OLE) courses

Year 1, Semester 2

ECMT1020: Introduction to Econometrics (6 credit points)

ECON1002: Introductory Macroeconomics (6 credit points)

MATH1904: Discrete Mathematics (3 credit points)

MATH1923: Multivariable Calculus and Modelling (3 credit points)

An additional 6 credit points of OLE courses

Year 2, Semester 1

ECMT2950: Intermediate Econometrics (6 credit points)

ECOS2901: Intermediate Microeconomics (6 credit points)

MATH2922: Linear and Abstract Algebra (6 credit points)

MATH2921: Vector Calculus and Differential Equations (6 credit points)

Year 2, Semester 2

ECMT2160: Econometric Analysis (6 credit points)

ECOS2902: Intermediate Macroeconomics (6 credit points)

MATH2923: Analysis (6 credit points)

MATH2970: Optimization and Financial Mathematics (6 credit points)

Year 3, Semester 1

MATH3961: Metric Spaces (6 credit points)

Any two third year elective courses in Econometrics (12 credit points)

Any other relevant course (6 credit points)

Year 3, Semester 2

MATH3969: Measure Theory and Fourier Analysis (6 credit points)

Any third year elective course in Econometrics (6 credit points)

ECMT3997: Interdisciplinary Impact in Econometrics (6 credit points)

MATH3888: Projects in Mathematics (6 credit points)

Year 4, Semesters 1 and 2

Courses should be chosen in consultation with your Honours thesis supervisor.

Further comments

  • If only a minor in Mathematics is desired, the courses MATH3969 and MATH3888 may be replaced with any other relevant courses worth equivalent credit points. This may be a good choice for students who aim to seek employment immediately following the completion of their undergraduate degree, rather than pursuing postgraduate study. Such students should consider additional coursework in areas such as computer programming and data science, which are highly valued by relevant employers. An alternative major or minor to Mathematics may also be considered.

  • I have listed the "advanced" versions of first and second year Mathematics courses. These may be replaced with the standard versions of these courses, particularly if only a minor in Mathematics is desired.

  • I have included MATH1904: Discrete Mathematics, rather than the seemingly more relevant MATH1905: Statistical Thinking with Data, because the latter course cannot be taken for credit with ECMT1010: Introduction to Economic Statistics.

  • Even if you are unsure about whether you wish to include Mathematics courses as part of your course plan, I strongly recommend that you at least take the standard versions of the Mathematics courses which I have listed in Year 1. These courses cover fundamental material. You can reassess your plan at the end of Year 1 after you have a better understanding of your goals.

  • MATH2970: Optimization and Financial Mathematics can be used instead of ECOS2903: Mathematical Economics A to qualify for entry to the third year Honours stream in the Economics programme. I have not listed the latter course because it is offered in Semester 1, which is already occupied with four required courses in Year 2.

  • A good choice for the unspecified course in Year 3 Semester 1 may be STAT2911: Probability and Statistical Models. This course is a prerequisite for a number of more advanced courses on statistics which you may wish to take in your fourth year.

  • Depending on the scheduling of OLE courses, it may or may not be possible to take 12 credit points of OLE courses in Year 1. It may be necessary to take OLE courses in later years, possibly moving the unspecified course in Year 3 Semester 1 to Year 1.

  • Where possible, I recommend taking OLE courses that concern coding.

  • Dalyell Scholars are required to take 12 credit points of Dalyell courses, but 6 fewer credit points of OLE courses. This can be done in the above plan by choosing a Dalyell course in Year 1 in place of 6 credit points of OLE courses, and a Dalyell course in Year 3 Semester 1 as the unspecified course.

  • Year 3 includes three third year elective courses in Econometrics. Current course offerings include ECMT3110: Econometric Models and Methods; ECMT3120: Applied Econometrics; ECMT3130: Forecasting for Economics and Business; ECMT3150: Econometrics of Financial Markets; ECMT3160: Statistical Modelling; ECMT3185: Econometrics of Machine Learning; ECOS3903: Applied Microeconometrics; ECOS3904: Applied Macroeconometrics.

  • For advice on applying for admission to leading international Ph.D. programmes in Economics, including advice on undergraduate course selection, I recommend reading this useful discussion by Professor Alexis Akira Toda at the University of California, San Diego.