Chart your academic journey and career
Coursework and technical skills are the key ingredient to your success.
So you’re thinking of pursuing a career as an economist! When selecting courses, we encourage you to take econometrics, macro/micro economics—at least through intermediate theory—statistics, and mathematics. Seek opportunities to get some kind of research experience, even if just taking a class with a research requirement. And build relationships with professors who could write reference letters later. Brushing up on your technical chops will also help, so consider Object-Oriented Programing, and learning languages/frameworks such as Stata, MATLAB, Python, R, SAS, and LaTex.
Before applying, keep in mind that each location may have different hiring cycles and requirements. Please review each and plan accordingly. For example, some locations require a letter of recommendation from a professor, writing examples, and/or previous project-based experience. Other locations also would like to see that you have been a tutor or participated in an internship.
We wish you well on your journey!Explore opportunities east
Keep me in the loop!
If you would like periodic updates on job postings or events, subscribe to email notifications here.
A Day in the Life
Research assistants engage in a wide variety of activities and tasks throughout the day.
Collect & Discover
As a research assistant, you will work alongside economists throughout the full lifecycle of research projects. Projects typically start with looking at a policy question and theory, reading the literature on the topic, then selecting and gathering data to test the theory.
Review & Analyze
After the data collection process, you will then perform data cleansing, regression analysis, and produce tables and graphs with the results.
Format & Present
Research findings are documented in policy briefings and working papers. RAs play an important role in helping to review all statistics, citations, and calculations reported in papers and ensuring that they are current before the paper is submitted to a journal or conference.
It’s not all about the work! You’ll have plenty of time for social and enrichment activities inside and outside of work.
Ask an RA
Research assistants shared with us the typical questions they receive. Here’s what they had to say.
What motivated you to pursue an economics career?
Honestly, it was my intermediate economics professor who saw how inquisitive I was in trying to understand why poverty still prevails in some of the wealthiest countries. I wanted to understand this more and make an impact.
Coursework and Skills
What types of classes should I take to strengthen my candidacy?
A combination of coursework in upper-level mathematics and statistics, econometrics, computer programming, and economics strengthens your application, but if you’ve gained similar experience through internships, jobs, enrichment programs or other training, highlight that in lieu of what may or may not be listed on your academic transcript.
What is the work environment like?
The economic research divisions across the Federal Reserve System offer a collegial and academic environment that emphasizes learning and teaching at all stages of careers. Members of the research departments collaborate to serve the public good and to challenge and support one another on their assumptions, thinking, and conclusions.