Master's Degree in Specialized Economic Analysis: International Trade, Finance, and Development Program

Program Director


Jaume Ventura

PhD, Harvard University

CREI, UPF, and Barcelona GSE

Scientific Director


Fernando Broner

PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

CREI, UPF, and Barcelona GSE

International Trade, Finance, and Development is a demanding master program that combines rigorous analytical training with a focus on policy.

The ITFD Program provides rigorous training in the economics of international finance, trade, and development for students interested in demanding professional careers and doctoral programs.

What can be done to avoid financial crises? How can growth in the least developed countries be accelerated? How can wealth be distributed equitably and sustainably? This program will allow students to acquire a thorough knowledge of the conceptual and empirical tools of modern Economics applied to international trade, finance, and development.

Tailor your program to fit your interests and goals

The program starts in the first term with a set of courses on economic growth and development, international trade and finance, and quantitative methods. In the second and third terms, students can choose from a wide array of courses and tailor their learning experience to their interests. Some students chose to specialize in development, others in international trade and finance, while others opt instead for a more balanced approach that combines training in both areas.

Students complete a master project by the end of the academic year, allowing them to specialize in a policy topic of their choice. They also attend a series of policy lessons delivered by international experts.

Study with experts from academia and international organizations

The master's faculty consists of internationally renowned scholars who have previously held academic positions at MIT, NYU, Chicago, Berkeley, Stanford and Cambridge. They have also worked or held consulting appointments at international organizations, including the World Bank, the IMF, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the European Central Bank.

Alumni choose from a world of career paths

Past ITFD graduates have found employment in international organizations, government agencies, central banks, financial institutions, research and consulting firms, and NGOs.

Several past graduates have decided to pursue further studies and have joined prestigious PhD programs in Europe and the United States, including the London School of Economics, Stanford University, and Harvard University.

Program schedule: 

The course offer displayed is for the current academic year (2020-21). Course offer is subject to change.

  • In the first term, program students are required to take a Mathematics, Statistics and Computational Tools brush-up course.
  • A master project, which will be supervised in regular meetings with an advisor, will allow each student to put their knowledge into practice and improve their writing and exposition skills.
  • Students must complete 60 ECTS by the end of the program (a total of 6 mandatory courses and between 5 and 9 elective courses)

Fall Term: Core Knowledge (September - December)

Course Title Credits Professor(s)
Quantitative and Statistical Methods I 6 Geert Mesters
International Finance 3 Jaume Ventura
History of Economic Globalization 3 Claudia Rei
Economic Growth and Development 3 Manuel García-Santana
International Trade 3 Jaume Ventura

Winter Term: Applications (January - March)

Course Title Credits Professor(s)
Students must enroll in one section of the following course:
Quantitative and Statistical Methods II: Development 6 Albrecht Glitz
Alessandro Tarozzi
Quantitative and Statistical Methods II: Finance 6 Christian Brownlees
Electives (choose 15 credits):
Development Economics 6 Gianmarco León
Alessandro Tarozzi
Macroeconomics II 6 Luca Fornaro
Danilo Guaitoli
Political Economy 6 Maria Petrova
Ruben Durante
Exchange Rates and Monetary Policy 3 Fernando Broner
Economics of Migration 3 Albrecht Glitz
Firms, Technology and the International Economy 3 Manuel García-Santana

Systemic Risk and Financial Crises

3 José Luis Peydró
Foundations of Data Science 3 Omiros Papaspiliopoulos (TBD)

Spring Term: Advanced Topics and Policy (April - June)

Course Title Credits Professor(s)
Master Project 6 Fernando Broner
Manuel Garcia-Santana
Policy LessonsPolicy Lessons are shared by all programs in the Master's in Specialized Economic Analysis. Students must choose two Policy Lessons among those organized by any of the programs (Competition, EPP, ITFD, and Macro) 3 Simon Evenett
Alberto Martín
Electives (choose 12 credits):
Sovereign Debt and International Financial Markets 3 Fernando Broner
Trade Policy and International Policy Coordination 3 Giacomo Ponzetto
Topics in Economic Growth and Development 3 Luigi Pascali
Social Economics 3 Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell
Giacomo De Giorgi
Topics in Applied Econometrics for Public Policy 6 Jaume García-Villar
Quantitative and Statistical Methods III 6 Gergely Gánics
Experimental Economics 6 Rosemarie Nagel
Topics in Macroeconomics: Macroeconomics and Finance I * 3 Victoria Vanasco
Vladimir Asriyan
Topics in Macroeconomics: Macroeconomics and Finance II * 3 Andrea Caggese
Alberto Martín

* PhD-level courses. Subject to directors' permission and schedules permitting.

Master's degree awarded

Upon successful completion of the program, students will receive a Master's Degree in Specialized Economic Analysis awarded jointly with Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) and Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF).

All Barcelona GSE Master's degrees have been recognized by the Catalan and Spanish Education authorities within the framework of the Bologna Process (in Spanish, “Master Universitario o Master Oficial”).

Quality indicators

What skills and knowledge will I acquire in this program?
  • Gain a thorough understanding of the economics of international trade, finance and development
  • Build an in-depth knowledge of the analytical tools of modern economics
  • Receive extensive training in econometric and statistical methods
  • Acquire the ability to apply theoretical and empirical tools to address pressing policy issues
Who will benefit from this program?
  • Graduates with a strong quantitative background from all fields, particularly Economics, Business, Engineering, Political Science
  • Junior professionals from private firms, research centers, central banks, financial institutions, the civil service, and NGOs
  • Aspiring PhD students looking for a solid foundation in the theory and empirics of international trade, finance, and development

Student profile in more detail

Who hires ITFD graduates?
  • Consulting Firms
  • Financial Services
  • Government & Authorities
  • International Organizations / Non-profits
  • Research & Academic Institutions
  • Other Industries

Examples of recent ITFD placements:

  • Asian Development Bank (ADB) − Research Associate − Manila, Philippines
  • Banco de España − Research Assistant − Madrid, Spain
  • Bloomberg − Debt Capital Markets Data Analyst − London, United Kingdom
  • Economic and Finance Ministery − Capital Market Analyst − Lima, Peru
  • European Central Bank − Traineeship in the DG International and European Relations − Frankfurt, Germany
  • European Commission − Traineeship − Brussels, Belgium
  • European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) − Trainee − Frankfurt, Germany
  • European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) − Trainee − Frankfurt, Germany
  • Evidence for Policy Design Harvard − Research Associate − Delhi, India
  • Goldman Sachs − Analyst in High Yield Credit Institutional Sales − New York, NY, United States
  • HM Treasury − Head of International Trade and business investment, economics groups − London, United Kingdom
  • Imperial College London − PhD Student − London, United Kingdom
  • Instiglio − Associate − Bogota, Colombia
  • Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) − Consultant − Washington DC, United States
  • Laterite − Research Assistant − Kigali, Rwanda
  • OECD − Trainee in the Development Center − Paris, France
  • Organization of American States (OAS) − Consultant − Washington DC, United States
  • Princeton University − Senior Research Specialist − Princeton, NJ, USA
  • United Nations (UN) − Internship at the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia − Geneva, Switzerland
  • Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) − PhD Student − Barcelona, Spain
  • World Bank − Investment Analyst − Johannesburg, South Africa
  • World Food Programme − Programme Officer − Colombo, Sri Lanka

Alumni career paths in more detail



ITFD Student Profile 2019-20

24 students from 14 countries (92% international)

Most represented countries in this year's cohort:

  • Italy (5)
  • United States (4)
  • United Kingdom (3)

Most common academic backgrounds:

  • Economics and Finance




ITFD alumni career paths

An overview of ITFD career paths for recent cohorts

  • Most ITFD alumni (95%) enter or return to the professional work force
    5% continue their education in a PhD or other post-graduate program
  • Most common industries:
    Financial Services, International Organizations, Government, Research
  • Cities with most ITFD alumni:
    Barcelona, Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Paris, Luxembourg
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    Joana Carreiro '14

    Research Assistant
    Originally fromGermany
    Currently living in
    San José
    Costa Rica
    My first position after the ITFD master was a traineeship in the Monetary Policy Divison of the European Central Bank. At the ECB, we were eight Barcelona GSE students from our cohort, and I believe that this confirms how well our Barcelona GSE profile fits the requirements of institutions such as the ECB.
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    Yajna Sanguhan '14

    Research Associate
    Originally from
    United Kingdom
    Currently living in
    Sri Lanka
    My research looks at gender and poverty in the context of post-war Sri Lanka. Understanding the gendered dimensions of poverty not only requires superior data but a better use of the currently available data.
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    Bea Tanjangco '14

    Research Assistant
    Originally from
    Currently living in
    My work with the World Bank group falls under the Trade and Competitiveness global practice and my current project there concerns Philippine logistics and export competitiveness.
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    Bernard Yaros '14

    Associate Economist
    Originally from
    Philadelphia, PA
    United States
    Currently living in
    Philadelphia, PA
    United States
    One of the most interesting moments in the job was when the Swiss National Bank unexpectedly abandoned its exchange-rate ceiling, which sent the franc soaring in value. From one month to the next, I had to completely change our forecast for Switzerland.
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    Henrik Sigstad '13

    PhD Candidate in Economics
    Originally from
    Currently living in
    Boston, MA
    United States
    I believe the most important way the ITFD program impacted me was by maturing my way of thinking about Economics. It taught me about the interaction between theory and empirics, and how to reason precisely around economic problems.
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    Palwasha Mirbacha '11

    Education Specialist
    Originally from
    Currently living in
    It had been a long-term dream to get a job with the WBG. One of the interview panel members knew about UPF and when I told him about the Barcelona GSE, he automatically recognized the value of my education. It sealed the deal for me with the World Bank Group.
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    Max Bode '11

    Research Fellow
    Originally fromGermany
    Currently living in
    Boston, MA
    United States
    ITFD prepared me very well for my current job, as I apply the skills I learned in class every day. Also, outside the classroom, the faculty at the Barcelona GSE never hesitated in taking time to give career advice or share their personal take on the world of economics.