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Graduate Certificate in Economics

Develop essential knowledge in microeconomics and more with the UNSW Graduate Certificate in Economics.

  • Overview
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  • How to apply
  • Student experience
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The Graduate Certificate in Economics, UNSW Sydney, is a pathway to economics that lays the groundwork for future study and career options. Develop critical intelligence in microeconomics and econometrics, plus strong quantitative skills.

Graduates move toward a career or further study in economic policy, economic theory, public policy and economic development.

Why choose this graduate certificate?

In less than a year, gain specific skills related to your career or academic aspirations. The Graduate Certificate in Economics is designed for professionals who are looking to upskill in Economics. Successful completion of the Graduate Certificate makes you eligible for the Master of Economics.

Choose electives in core competencies that are targeted to suit your professional or academic goals. Topics include markets and frictions, statistics for econometrics, financial econometrics and international macroeconomics. See the program structure for detailed information.

We provide students with the tools they need to do policy analysis, consultancy and data analysis... even though we don’t have all the answers, we give our students theoretical and empirical tools to problem-solve for themselves.

Juan Carlos Carbajal
Associate Professor, School of Economics
Find out how our economic research is challenging people’s views on refugees

UNSW Business School is a leading business school in the Asia-Pacific, consistently ranking within the top 50 worldwide for Economics and Econometrics. In Australia, we are rated “Well above world standard” for Economics by the Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) government assessment. Read more about our rankings and reputation.

Our programs are shaped by industry leaders and world-class academics who recognise the future will present career opportunities that don’t exist today. Our students build professional networks among more than 90,000 Business School alumni worldwide. The skills and insights gained from your Graduate Certificate in Economics can have an immediate positive effect on your career.

During this postgraduate degree you will have access to a suite of professional development opportunities offered by Career Accelerator, that are exclusive to UNSW’s Business School students. Career Accelerator helps you build industry connections through networkingmentoringinternships and global business practicums opportunities.

Who is this degree for?

  • Those interested in a pathway to a master’s degree in economics
  • People who wish to gain knowledge and skills in 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

The first part of the course deals with individual decision making, covering fundamental topics such as utility maximization, expenditure minimization, duality, welfare changes, and decision making under uncertainty.

The second part of the course builds on the first by exploring economic environments with asymmetric information (asymmetric information, signalling and screening), as well as other topics in contract theory such as principal-agent problems.

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 Industrial Organisation

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; 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. The main purpose of this course is to introduce students to advanced mathematical techniques used in theoretical economic analysis. In addition, the course will provide a stepping stone to Honours programs in economics and related disciplines and to other advanced undergraduate courses.

This course gives students a working knowledge of basic analysis, topology, and static and dynamic optimisation techniques applied in economics. Topics include logic and set theory, topological principles in Euclidean spaces, properties of real-valued functions (continuity, concavity, quasi-concavity), differentiation in multi-dimensional Euclidean spaces, classical optimisation with and without constraints, comparative statics, and envelope theorems. All mathematical techniques are illustrated with mainstream theoretical applications such as consumer theory and game theory.

Please note: due to substantial change in the ECON3202/5402 course materials this year, students are strongly encouraged to test their assumed knowledge prior to commencing the course, by completing the pre-test quiz here (or: https://www.flexiquiz.com/SC/N/Pre-testECON3202).

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. The course will equip students with the necessary knowledge to be able to conduct their own econometric research using typical economic data.

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

The valuation of financial assets is a cornerstone of real-world financial markets. The economic theory of financial markets provides a logical foundation for modern asset pricing theory. To understand financial markets and to guide daily financial choices, a comprehensive study of economic theories which underpin them is of critical importance.

This course provides an economic treatment of the finance market. We introduce a micro-founded framework which captures how representative agents make investment decisions under uncertainty, based on which an equilibrium asset price emerges. These ideas are captured by the concept of "arbitrage", and the corresponding concept of an "arbitrage-free environment". Then, a set of frequently used financial instruments (e.g., bonds, stocks, futures and options) is introduced, and technologies to value these financial assets are explained with reference to carefully selected real-world examples. The "arbitrage-based" approach of asset pricing models constitutes the pre-midterm (Week 1-5) content of the course.

We then turn to the "utility-based" approach, wherein a well-defined utility structure is established as a model primitive. An equilibrium concept is characterised by features of the utility function (e.g., risk attitude and time preference). We then discuss how uncertainty can be dealt with using state-contingent securities, which in turn lead to desirable economic outcomes. We conclude the course with the introduction of CAPM, which captures how equilibrium emerges as a portfolio in such a utility-based environment. This is a cornerstone of the study of finance and economics, for which the Nobel prize committee in 1990 lauded the work of laureate William Sharpe. Essential studies of finance, such as portfolio management, asset pricing, and investment choice are considered as natural extensions and applications of CAPM.

Overall, the tools and knowledge that students acquire in this course are useful and much sought-after in the public and private finance sector.

ECON5114 Superannuation and Retirement Benefits

This course provides a comprehensive analysis of superannuation and retirement benefits. It aims to provide students with a solid understanding of the institutional arrangements surrounding the provision of superannuation and retirement benefits in Australia, as well as theoretical and public policy issues associated with the economics and finance of retirement income provision in Australia and internationally.

Topics covered include:

  • Rationale for retirement income provision;
  • Alternative models for retirement income provision;
  • Retirement income provision in Australia (superannuation and Age Pension);
  • Risk management and investment strategies for superannuation;
  • Taxation and regulation of superannuation;
  • Structure, performance, and efficiency of the superannuation industry;
  • Recent reforms and policy developments in superannuation; 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 society. The rate of growth and development varies substantially between different economies. This 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 will explore critically the challenges these behavioural regularities pose for economic theory, and we will attempt to think precisely (and often formally) about what might be driving a particular behaviour or economic outcome, and about how to carefully test our hypotheses. Topics we will cover include reference-dependent preferences, prospect theory, choice involving risk, choice over time, bounded rationality, social preferences, behavioural game theory, and public policy.

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
0.7 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​​

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