The study of economics at UM, leading to the award of Bachelor of Social Sciences, started in 1981 when the discipline was part of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the ex University of East Asia. The Economics Programme was formed in 1993 as a unit of the combined Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities (FSH). 

In 2002, the Department of Social Sciences was created inside FSH and the Economics Programme is within the new departmental structure.

In September 2006, our Programme was approved to be upgraded into the Department of Economics within the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities.

With the resumption and expansion of the FSH Economics Programme, areas such as economic research (especially those dealing with the local economy), conferences / seminars and publications (including the currently well-established Workshop on Economics) have been strengthened.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of our University, the Economics Programme had the honour to invite Joseph Stiglitz, 2001 Nobel Laureate in Economics, to deliver a public lecture titled “Lessons from the Financial Crisis in Asia” under our Distinguished Lecture Series.  Stiglitz made his first public lecture in Asia after receiving the Nobel Prize and received the honorary degree of Doctor of Social Sciences conferred by our University.  His lecture attracted an audience of more than 1,200 - attending at four venues with the aid of simultaneous broadcasting - and was one of the successful academic events of the last decade in Macao.

In 2005, a university-level appointment was made to Sir James A. Mirrlees, 1996 Nobel Laureate in Economics, as Distinguished Professor of Economics. 

Currently, we offer degrees at both undergraduate (B.Soc.Sc. in Economics) and postgraduate (M.Soc.Sc. in Economics and Ph.D.) levels.  Minor in economics is also possible since 2006.

The objectives of our Department are:
·   To develop its role as a significant resource contributing to the enrichment of Macao society by providing social-science based economics training that provides sound analytical skill in matters of both theory and policy.

·   To provide high quality academic education and training in the field of economics and to prepare students for employment in the private and public sectors as well as for advanced studies at the Master and Ph.D. levels.

· To provide students and staff opportunities of useful research, leading to the advancement of economic knowledge and contributing, as well, to the local community's policy-making process.
Our more-than-500-strong graduates are now active across the globe and in a wide variety of positions: many are now successfully engaged in education, private industry, and public service pursuits -- here in Macao, of course, but also across Asia, Europe and North America.

Our research performance was first time being ranked systematically with some objective indicators (such as impact-factor-adjusted pages) in the region of Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao for the period of 2000-2009.  Among the 75 institutions, UM was ranked number 19 (Yu & Gao, 2010, China Economic Review).  The results indicate that our economics research has been gradually recognized internationally.