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Graduate Certificate in Economics

  • Overview
  • Structure
  • Entry requirements
  • How to apply
  • Student experience
  • FAQs

Why choose this graduate certificate?

  • Excellent pathway to a qualification in economics, and be taught by one of the world’s top 50 leading economic schools
  • Develop essential knowledge in microeconomics and econometrics, plus strong quantitative skills
  • Pathway option: Opportunity to apply to the Master of Economics after completion (Note that the Master of Economics has only one intake each year: Semester 1 - March)
  • Additional information: Courses completed in this graduate certificate do not count towards the Master of Economics
  • Who is this degree for?

    • You’re interested in a pathway to a master degree in economics
    • You would like to extend your knowledge and skills in the field of economics

    Job and career prospects

    The graduate certificate may lead to further studies in economics, which will open up many career opportunities in:

    • Government departments, including the Reserve Bank of Australia, Australian Bureau of Statistics, and The Treasury
    • International organisations, including the major banks
    • Consulting firms
    • Research centres
    • Educational institutions

The Graduate Certificate in Economics consists of 4 courses (24 UOC): one microeconomics core, one quantitative core, one econometric core and one elective course.

Core microeconomics course

Choose one from the following

ECON5300 Advanced Microeconomic Analysis

Selected topics in advanced microeconomics.

ECON5301 Markets and Frictions

This is a course in intermediate to advanced microeconomics. It builds on Microeconomics 2 and studies markets and their equilibrium and efficiency properties when lowering standard assumptions of no frictions, complete information, etc. Topics will include a selection from the following: the interaction between different markets (general equilibrium theory), markets with search frictions or capacity constraints, bargaining, externalities, public goods, and social choice. The course provides students with advanced tools and models of microeconomic analysis, allowing for a deeper understanding of the functioning of real-world markets.

ECON5321 Managerial Economics

This course aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to tackle many of the complex strategic decisions facing modern managers. Topics to be covered include a selection from optimal pricing strategies in the context of complements, durable goods, and price discrimination; strategic competition over prices, product characteristics and capacity; and the role of networks and platforms in modern economies; the theory of bargaining and auctions; and personnel economics.

ECON5323 Organisational Economics

This course studies the internal organisation of firms and other organisations. It provides a rigorous introduction to foundational theories, and then discusses applications to real-world managerial problems. How should incentives be designed in organisations? How should conflict within an organisation be resolved? When should organisations outsource and when should they produce internally? Why do organisations arise in market economies? Tools from game theory, information economics and contract theory are introduced and applied to analyse these (and other) questions.

Core quantitative course

Choose one from the following

ECON5402 Mathematical Economics

Mathematical tools are an important part of theoretical economic analysis. This course gives students a working knowledge of static and dynamic optimisation techniques applied in economics. Topics include classical optimisation with and without constraints, comparative statics, non-linear programming, differential equations, and optimal control. Knowing these tools will equip students to solve complex economic models. All mathematical techniques are illustrated with mainstream theoretical applications such as consumer theory and the neoclassical theory of optimal growth.

ECON5409 Statistics for Econometrics

This course provides the foundations for undertaking modern econometric methods including statistical distribution theory, asymptotic theory, mathematical methods and an introduction to statistical computing including bootstrap and simulation methods. Mastering this course will give students a deeper understanding of the statistical underpinnings of methods and knowledge acquired in other econometrics courses. Throughout the course, material will be presented in the context of simple models in order to concentrate on the concepts.

Core econometrics course

Choose one from the following

ECON5206 Financial Econometrics

This course is concerned with the special statistical characteristics that arise when modelling time series data, such as commodity prices, interest rates or exchange rates. Topics include key characteristics of financial data, concepts of volatility and risk, modelling time varying volatility (ARCH models), and modelling relationships among financial series. The knowledge and methods acquired in this course are particularly useful and sought after in the public and private finance sector.

ECON5403 Econometric Theory and Methods

The course provides unifying methods for estimation, inference and computation for a variety of single and multiple equation econometric models and gives some theoretical justification for the methods. The course emphasises the links between the theory for econometric models, the computations required for inference, and the application of the models to real examples. Being equipped with this knowledge will enable students to conduct a very broad range of relatively sophisticated econometric modelling tasks.

ECON5408 Applied Econometric Methods

This course extends econometric modelling using linear regression to cover nonlinear models such as logit and probit, regression methods for forecasting, and an introduction to the treatment of endogeneity (e.g. instrumental variable estimation). Special emphasis will be placed on the process and potential pitfalls of conducting and evaluating applied econometric research.

ECON6205 Microeconometrics

This course covers the specification, estimation, and use of econometric methods that are necessary to model discrete choices made by individuals, households, firms, etc. Situations where data are available either as a cross section or as a panel will be covered. Special emphasis will be placed on illustrating the appropriate use of such data and application of associated models using case studies drawn from health, labour, and environmental economics as well as business disciplines such as finance and marketing. The course will equip students with the necessary knowledge to be able to conduct research in the specialized area of micro-econometrics and to be informed consumers of such research.


Choose one from the following, or from the core courses above

ECON5106 Economics of Finance

This course is concerned with developing the economic principles underlying the pricing of financial assets and the management of financial risk in an uncertain world.
The course begins with a discussion of stock market indices, the concept of market efficiency and fixed interest securities. We then study decision making under uncertainty, portfolio theory and the capital asset pricing model.
An important part of the course is concerned with how to price a contingent claim, for example, an insurance policy or a financial option. Many new financial products can be viewed as contingent claims. By applying contingent claims analysis, the arbitrage-free price of a new financial product can be ascertained.
We will also consider how to value the capital structure of a firm using contingent claims analysis. The course concludes with a brief discussion of binomial option pricing.

ECON5114 Superannuation and Retirement Benefits

This course provides a comprehensive analysis of superannuation and retirement benefits, primarily in Australia. Topics include: alternative superannuation arrangements, taxation and regulation of superannuation, risk management and investment strategies for superannuation, design of retirement benefits, the retirement decision, policy developments and controversies and international comparisons.

ECON5136 Retirement Saving and Spending over the Lifecycle

This course examines saving and spending decisions by individuals and households over the lifecycle in the context of national retirement savings and incomes policies. We examine the economic and financial risks facing both individuals and product providers, as well as behavioural explanations for deviations from economic rationality and the lifecycle model.
Topics covered include: a taxonomy of the lifecycle; lifecycle theories of consumption and saving; investment strategy, human capital and the retirement decision: risks facing individual retirees and providers of retirement income products (investment risk, longevity risk, interest rate risk, inflation risk, replacement risk); market failure in the retirement benefit market; behavioural explanations for non-rational behaviour including myopia, procrastination, mental accounting, complexity, framing, loss aversion etc.

ECON5304 International Macroeconomics

In the modern global economy, the economic forces and policies of every country affect and are affected by those of the rest of the world. This course introduces students to the key concepts of open-economy macroeconomics and develops a framework in which to analyse issues of importance to an economy which interacts with the world. This framework is applied to aid understanding of international macroeconomic issues such as international asset flows, determination of exchange rates, the current account balance, fiscal and monetary policy in an open economy, policies under various exchange rate regimes, monetary unions, and international economic crises. Students will gain experience interpreting, analysing, and putting into perspective real international economic issues.

ECON5306 Politics and Economics

This course covers theory, evidence and current issues at the intersection between economics and political science. When so many economic decisions are taken by political actors, understanding the economy also means understanding the interactions between politics and economics. Topics considered include economic theories of the state, regime changes and revolutions, voting theory, interest group politics, corruption, the democratic peace, and electoral competition.

ECON5309 Economic Growth, Technology and Structural Change

The process of economic development is never smooth. It is associated with profound changes in the fundamental structures of economic society. The rate of growth and development varies substantially between different economies. The course seeks to explain the factors that determine how societies grow and develop, with special emphasis on the role of technology and finance. Various approaches, including those that consider capabilities, cumulative causation, the role of the state and institutions as well as traditional and structuralist approaches will be examined. Special attention will be paid to problems associated with growth, including those relating to equity and human rights issues.

ECON5310 Development Economics

Poverty and underdevelopment in many countries are among the main challenges for humanity. This course provides an in-depth discussion of different economic explanations of underdevelopment, and modern strategies for fostering development. We will investigate the role of institutions, institutional change, and markets as they relate to economic development, and discuss related domestic and international economic policy questions. Special emphasis is put on the interplay and synergy between economic theory (attempting to explain underdevelopment) and empirical data (providing both motivating facts and specific test grounds for theory). At the end of this course, students will be able to design innovative ways to assess whether a proposed development intervention is likely to successfully improve the welfare of its target population.

ECON5316 International Trade Theory and Policy

The course provides a theoretical analysis of international trade topics with references to empirical evidence. Students will learn the main empirical patterns of current international trade and how to access sources of this information. They will become familiar with the concept of comparative advantage, and study models showing how technological differences, differences in resource endowments, and economies of scale determine trade patterns and income distribution. The effects of various trade policy instruments on welfare will be analysed. The course touches upon currently relevant issues such as offshoring, export subsidies in agriculture and high-technology industries, and international trade agreements. Students will acquire the problem-solving skills necessary to analyse these and similar matters.

ECON5319 Political Economy of Capitalism

The economy can be understood in many different ways. The course examines alternative paradigms in economics, and considers how they analyse the economy. This enables different interpretations of recent events. We will consider various schools of thought such as the Post-Keynesians, Institutionalists, Marxist or Austrians schools. Topics include how prices are determined, labour markets, money and finance with a strong emphasis on economic policy.

ECON5324 Behavioural Economics

Economic research using laboratory and field experiments has discovered seemingly robust behavioural deviations from the model of homo oeconomicus, the rational, egoistic decision maker assumed in “standard” economic theory. In this course, we explore critically the challenges these behavioural regularities pose for economic theory, and will study behavioural economic models of decision-making which aim to incorporate and predict real-world economic behaviour. Specifically we review prospect theory (and its key component loss aversion), and theories of reference-dependent preferences, as well as related topics such as endowment effects, the sunk cost/Concorde fallacy, action inertia, mental accounting, risk and time preferences, self-command/self-regulation, cognitive illusions such as over-confidence, and simple heuristics that make us smart.

ECON5330 Real Estate Economics and Public Policy

The theory of urban land and housing markets, and the spatial development of cities. The roles played by transportation systems and local governments in shaping urban location patterns. Interregional competition, economic development, and the migration of labour and capital. Also looks at the inter-relationship between property and business cycles and effects of macro-economic policy. The course will provide an historical context for these issues, including for example the major property boom and bust of the 2000s.

The Graduate Certificate in Economics is a preparatory program for those who did not meet the entry requirements into the Master of Economics. There are 2 categories of entry.

Category A

To be eligible for the program, you need to have:
  • A recognised bachelor degree (or equivalent qualification) with a credit average (65% or higher) as determined by the UNSW Postgraduate Coursework Entry Calculator; and
  • A major (at least seven courses) in Economics within the bachelor degree

Category B

To be eligible for the program, you need to have:
  • A recognised bachelor degree (or equivalent qualification) with a credit average (65% or higher) as determined by the UNSW Postgraduate Coursework Entry Calculator; and
  • Studied intermediate level microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics as well as mathematical and statistical methods within the bachelor degree

The UNSW English Language requirements also apply to this program.

Note: The courses completed within the Graduate Certificate in Economics do not count towards the Master of Economics.

Application checklist

Before you apply, ensure that you:

  1. Choose the right program that matches your interests and career aspirations
  2. Meet the entry requirements of the program
  3. Check if you are eligible to apply for credits or advanced standing based on recognition of prior learning (RPL) for this program
  4. Note: You can apply for credits during the online application process

  5. Have the various supporting documentation for your application. E.g.

   a. Official academic transcripts
   b. Proof of completion of qualification
   c. Proof of identity and citizenship
   d. Proof of relevant work experience (if required)

    You can upload the above documentation during the online application process

How to apply

You can apply for this program online:

There are three intakes per year:

  • Term 1 (February): 30 November
  • Term 2 (June)*: 31 March
  • Term 3 (September): 31 July

*Please note that not all programs have a Term 2 intake.

Late applications may be accepted after the closing dates subject to the availability of places.

Need help?

Still need help finding the right postgraduate business program for you? Contact us now.

We know you're busy balancing postgraduate study with your personal and other work commitments. So UNSW Business School's dynamic learning spaces, facilities and student support helps you make the most of every day on campus.

Expand your professional network

Your postgraduate cohort is more than a valuable future business network – you'll make lifelong friends in class and at a range of social events. Join a student club – there are more than 180 social, cultural, sports and professional clubs to choose from. The Graduate Student Association is a great place to start.  Find out more

All the support you need to achieve

If it has been a while since you last studied, you may need to brush up on your skills. We'll help with study skills workshops and Career Mentoring programs. Our Meet the Executive series offers unique behind the scenes business insights and the Business School's LEAD Business Leadership program, as well as many other orientation, leadership and mentor programs, can open the door to new opportunities. Find out more

Stay active on campus

Exercise boosts your mental wellbeing and can help you deal with exam or assignment pressures. It's easy to stay fit with state of the art sporting facilities on campus, including a 50m indoor pool, fitness centre, squash courts and a range of competitive sports teams. Find out more

Everything you need in one place

The UNSW Kensington campus is like a village hub, with cafes, bars, banks, a post office, medical and dental centres as well as retail outlets. It's a short bus trip to Sydney's CBD, many beautiful beaches, the SCG and Centennial Park, and movie theatres at Fox Studios. Find out more

Make the most of every opportunity

Your postgraduate degree is a unique chance to get a new perspective on life. So get involved – as well as student clubs and social activities there are internships, volunteer projects, competitions and international exchanges on offer. It's a great way to further develop your leadership, project management or specialist skills.

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Quick facts for students

Program code
Graduate Certificate
Assumed Knowledge
Total Units of Credit (UOC)
Study Mode
Face to face
0.5 years full-time; 1 year part-time
Commencing terms
Term 1 – February
Term 3 – September
Course fee*
Program fee (total)*
* Fees are indicative only

​​​​​​​Area of Study

Browse the list of study areas available for postgraduate study


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Search Degrees​​

Find a degree, course or interest