Frequently Asked Questions

What does a combined degree/4+1 program mean?

A combined degree, also called a 4+1 program (or even a 3+1 or 3.5+1), refers to a program in which you complete your bachelors and masters degree program requirements and share some amount of credit hours between the two programs. Both degrees are conferred at the same time when all requirements are met.

The 4+1 MAAE is a combined degree with the ACE B.S. degree. You may share up to six elective hours (400-level) between the two programs. We refer to this as “double-dipping” credits. This brings the total required hours for the MAAE degree from 32 to 26 hours. Your B.S. degree requirements are unchanged.

Should I apply for the combined BS/MAAE (4+1) or the standalone MAAE?

Are you a University of Illinois ACE undergraduate wishing to complete the masters program directly after your B.S.? Apply for the combined BS/MAAE.

If you are not a University of Illinois ACE student and/or if you are taking a gap between your B.S. and masters studies, apply for the standalone MAAE.

What is the difference between the standalone MAAE and the combined BS/MAAE?

The combined BS/MAAE is for ACE undergraduates enrolling in masters studies directly after completing their B.S. requirements. The combined MAAE can be competed with 26 graduate-level credit hours, while the standalone MAAE requires 32 graduate-level hours. See the timeline differences here.

What is the difference between the MAAE and Master’s of Science (MS)?

Both programs require students to complete coursework in graduate-level microeconomic theory, econometrics/statistics, and other quantitative methods.

MS students are required to conduct independent research and write a thesis under the supervision of a faculty advisor. MAAE students do not write a thesis but have additional coursework requirements and must complete an internship.

The MS program is designed to prepare students for research-focused positions and further graduate study. The MAAE is designed for students seeking professional careers post graduation.

What does the admissions committee consider a “strong application”?

  • Overall GPA above 3.25
  • Good performance in intermediate microeconomics, advanced statistics, and mathematics (preferably differential calculus)
  • Strong recommendation letters from at least two academic sources and one other professional or academic source
  • That you are on-track to fulfill all ACE B.S. requirements

Is funding available for the MAAE? 

This is a fully self-supporting program, students are billed tuition. Limited scholarships are available through the Department of ACE.

MAAE students are ineligible for assistantship positions that provide tuition and partial fee waiver. However, hourly course assistant positions are available. Contact the MAAE program staff with questions.

Is my financial aid affected going from an undergraduate student to a graduate student? 

Some scholarships/financial aid that you may have received as an undergraduate may no longer apply as a graduate student. For financial aid, please reach out to the Financial Aid Office. For individual scholarships, reach out to the source.

Which undergrad courses will best prepare me for the MAAE?

  • Intermediate microeconomics: ACE 300 (taught as ACE 398 before fall 2020) or ECON 302
  • Advanced statistics: ACE 262/264 (taught as ACE 261 before fall 2020) or ECON 202 and 203
  • Calculus, preferably differential/Calculus I: MATH 220, Calculus II: MATH 231

Although alternative course numbers listed above may fulfill ACE B.S. requirements, we recommend you take the ACE versions whenever possible.

Does transfer credit count?
Yes, and you should have strong grades in those classes regardless of institution.

How long will it take to complete the MAAE?

Once you fulfill all ACE B.S. requirements, the masters portion can be completed in two semesters and usually one summer for an internship (before or after you complete the masters-level coursework).

When are applications due?

ACE undergraduate students interested in the MAAE, should discuss with their advisor during their junior-standing year or before.

Applications are due January 15th for fall cohort and October 15th for spring cohort. Submit an official application (second-stage) through the Graduate College application during your senior-standing year. More details.

When do I get my bachelors and masters degrees if I am in the combined BS/MAAE (4+1) program?

As a combined program, you will receive both degrees at the same time, upon completion of all your undergraduate and graduate program requirements. You cannot pursue your BS/MAAE after officially graduating with your BS. If you have already completed your BS, you would have to pursue the MAAE.

Can I take ACE 500, ACE 562/ 564 (or equivalent), or a graduate-level elective as an undergraduate, and count towards the MAAE requirements?

Undergraduates can take grad-level coursework, given they have taken the prerequisites, receive permission from the instructor, and there is space in the class. You should have performed well in the prerequisites and feel confident in moving up to the grad-level curriculum. See example of prerequisites below. Yes, the course work can count towards your MAAE requirements.

  • ACE 100 >> ACE 300 (formerly ECON 302 or ACE 398) >> ACE 500
  • ACE 262 and 264 (formerly ACE 261 or ECON 202 and 203) >> ACE 562 and 564 (or equivalent)

Can I start the program in spring of my senior year?

Yes, but it is off-cycle, so the timeline is different. ACE 500 and ACE 562/564 (or equivalent) are MAAE requirements that are currently only offered in the fall semester, so you would have to successfully complete those during the fall of your senior year in order to move forward with your graduate requirements. That may mean you are short on undergraduate hours, but those could possibly be taken during your graduate program if approved by your advisor. You will be considered a graduate student during your last two semesters, so spring and fall (and summer if taking courses).

What do I need to know about Graduation?

For more information on graduation ceremonies and requirements to participate, see ACES Convocation and University of Illinois Commencement information.