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

Program Director


Jaume Ventura

PhD, Harvard University


Scientific Director


Fernando Broner

PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


International Trade, Finance and Development is a rigorous Master's program taught by world-class faculty.

The ITFD Program provides rigorous training in International and Development Economics. Its design reflects the view that a broad-based program focused on these fields offers the best training for ambitious students who want to pursue challenging careers in international organizations, government agencies, central banks, financial institutions, research and consulting firms and NGOs. Many ITFD graduates also pursue academic careers, either immediately or after one or two years working in non-academic jobs.

ITFD students receive a thorough preparation in theoretical modeling, quantitative and empirical analysis, and handling of large datasets. Starting in September, students take refresher courses in Mathematics and Statistics, and introductory courses in Matlab, R, and Python. In the first term, they take core courses in Econometrics, Data Science, International Trade and Finance, and Economic Growth and Development. In terms two and three, students choose from a varied set of courses in different fields, ranging from the more applied and policy-oriented to PhD level courses. They also attend a series of policy lessons delivered by international experts and complete their Master Project, under the supervision of ITFD faculty

ITFD faculty consists of internationally renowned scholars who have previously taught at top academic institutions, including MIT, Chicago, Stanford and Harvard. ITFD faculty has also held positions at leading international organizations, including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the European Central Bank.

Tailor ITFD to fit your interests and goals

The ITFD Program is very flexible, in terms of both covered fields and teaching style. Students can take advantage of the broad set of elective courses in terms two and three to specialize in international trade, finance or development. For example, students particularly interested in Economic Development or International Economics can choose itineraries focused on these fields. Students interested in Econometrics and Data Analysis can take up to five courses in Quantitative and Statistical Methods and in Data Science as part of the program.

Students interested in pursuing a PhD can opt for advanced courses, including up to four PhD-level courses offered by the UPF PhD Program (organized jointly with BSE). After completing ITFD, students can stay for a second year and enroll in either the Program in Economics, the Program in Finance, or the program in Data Science for Decision Making. Automatic admission to these programs is granted upon successful completion of the ITFD Program. Relative to traditional two-year programs, this option is more flexible since students can decide after the first year whether to stay for another year and obtain a second degree.

ITFD opens the door to 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. For example, past placements include World Bank, OECD, Inter-American Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, World Trade Organization, UN Development Programme, European Commision, HM Treasury, European Central Bank, UBS, BBVA, NERA Economic Consulting, McKinsey, J-PAL and Harvard’s EPoD.

After graduating from ITFD, students who opted for the more advanced courses are fully prepared to start a PhD at prestigious programs in the United States and Europe, including the Economics PhD program at UPF. For example, our alumni have pursued graduate studies at Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, New York University, London School of Economics, Stanford GSB and Cambridge.

Program schedule: 

The course offer displayed is for next year's edition. Course offer is subject to change.

Course list for current students


Master project

The master project is a required component of all BSE Master's programs. Working individually or in groups, students use the tools and knowledge they've acquired during the entire year to explore a topic of their choice. A professor supervises throughout the project.

Examples of master projects from recent International Trade, Finance, and Development cohorts

Select a project to view a summary on the BSE Voice, our student and alumni blog:

Class of 2023
Class of 2022
Previous years

Master's degree awarded

Upon successful completion of the BSE International Trade, Finance, and Development Program, students will receive a Master's Degree in Specialized Economics Analysis awarded jointly with Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) and Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF).

All Barcelona School of Economics 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”).

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:

  • Amazon - Planning Analyst  (London, United Kingdom)
  • Bank of England - Analyst (London, United Kingdom)
  • Department for International Trade (DIT) - Regional Advisor - Latin America and the Caribbean (London, United Kingdom)
  • ECB - Trainee in the DG International, Int. Policy Analysis (Frankfurt, Germany)
  • European Commision - Bluebook Trainee (Brussels, Belgium)
  • FactSet - Development Program Intern (Frankfurt, Germany)
  • Focus Economics - Economist (Barcelona, Spain)
  • Government of Singapore - Policy Manager (Singapore, Singapore)
  • Idinsight - Senior Associate (Lusaka, Zambia)
  • IMF - Research Assistant for Colombia + Peru (Washinghton, DC, United States)
  • J-Pal - Policy Associate (Washinghton, DC, United States)
  • OECD - Consultant (Paris, France)
  • The US Bureau of Labor Statistics - Economist (Washington, DC, United States)
  • The World Bank - Research Assistant (Washington, DC, United States)
  • The World Bank - Trade Analyst (Indonesia, Jakarta)
  • United Nations Development Programme - Junior Economist - Business operations and finance (Copenhagen, Denmark)

Alumni career paths in more detail

Can I enter another BSE Master's directly from this program?

Students who successfully complete the International Trade, Finance, and Development Program are eligible for direct admission to the following programs, if they stay for a second consecutive year:

Master’s Degree in Data Science:


Master’s Degree in Economics and Finance:

A 20% discount will be applied on the second program's tuition fees. All BSE Alumni are eligible for this discount at any time.

Read more about taking a second BSE Master’s degree

Will this program prepare me for a PhD in Economics?
  • ITFD provides thorough training in theoretical modelling and econometrics.
  • ITFD students have access to advanced PhD-level courses offered by the UPF PhD Program.
  • ITFD students with outstanding performance in the first term have the opportunity to apply to the UPF PhD Program at the beginning of the second term and be admitted before finishing the ITFD Program.
  • ITFD students have joined some of the most prestigious PhD programs, including:
    • Stanford University
    • Harvard University
    • Columbia University
    • New York University
    • London School of Economics
    • University of Cambridge
    • University of Rochester
    • Universitat Pompeu Fabra
    • Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
    • Stanford Graduate School of Business



ITFD Student Profile 2023-24

34 students from 22 countries (88% international)

Most represented countries in this year's cohort:

  • Spain and United States (4 students each)
  • Germany, India, Italy, Netherlands, Russia, Venezuela (2 students each)

Most common academic background:

  • Economics and Finance
Chart displays years of work experience. 10 students have 0-1 years of experience. 12 students have 1-2 years of experience. 12 students have 2-5+ years of experience.


ITFD alumni career paths

An overview of ITFD career paths for recent cohorts (Class of 2021, 2022, 2023)

  • Most common industries:
     International Organizations and Non-Profits, Consulting Firms, Financial Services
  • Cities with the most ITFD alumni:
    Barcelona, Paris, London, Frankfurt, Brussels
ITFD Placements by Industry
  • logo

    Marta Guasch '17

    Research Assistant
    Originally fromSpain
    Currently living inUnited Kingdom
    The program not only prepared me academically to work as a researcher, but it also offered me career paths that I could have never dreamed of. The excellence and reputation of the program is well-known in the academic world. For instance, all research assistants in my unit at the World Bank were BSE alumni who studied the ITFD program.
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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 BSE students from our cohort, and I believe that this confirms how well our BSE 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.
  • logo

    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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    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 BSE never hesitated in taking time to give career advice or share their personal take on the world of economics.
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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 BSE, he automatically recognized the value of my education. It sealed the deal for me with the World Bank Group.