Top 15 Best Online Master’s in Economics 2022

15 Best Online Master's in EconomicsWith an online economics master’s degree, you can open many doors for employment. Workers with a master’s degree in this field can be found working in a wide range of sectors, from education to government to finance, and many points in between. And since economists make an excellent living, you can look forward to the potential of a lucrative career as well.

Not all online master’s degree programs are built alike, though. Selecting the right program for you requires that you do some research into the requirements of the degree programs that you’re considering. That’s why we developed this list.

Before we get to the best economics master’s programs, let’s discuss a few features that are typical to online graduate degrees in economics.

What are the Admissions Requirements for the Best Online Master’s in Economics?

If you search “online master’s in economics no GRE,” you’ll find a handful of options. Far more online economics master’s degree programs require that you take the GRE, or, alternatively, take the GMAT. Likewise, some of the best economics master’s programs require you to have a bachelor’s degree before you apply for admission. Others give you the option of getting your bachelor’s and master’s degrees in a single program.

The point is that each program is a little bit different in terms of its admissions requirements. As you search for a program that is a good fit for you, be sure you take a look at the admissions requirements for every program to ensure that you meet the minimum requirements.

Be aware that applying to graduate school often requires letters of recommendation from undergraduate professors. To ensure that your professors have enough time to write you letters of recommendation, check the due dates for those materials and give your professors plenty of time to write you a letter.

What does the Best Online Master’s in Economics Offer?

Aside from differences in degree requirements, you’ll find that the best online master’s in economics offer a nice mix of expected income after graduation, median debt upon graduation, and high student satisfaction.

Additionally, the best online economics master’s degree programs offer a measure of flexibility for completing the degree. In some instances, this means choosing the length of time it takes you to complete the degree. In other instances, the flexibility of an online economics master’s program might come in the form of being able to choose from multiple degree options or areas of specialization.

You’ll also find that the top master’s programs in economics online are taught by the same professors that teach on-campus courses. This is a significant benefit in that you get the same instruction as on-campus students, even though you might be thousands of miles away.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Economics Master’s Degree?

As noted above, many programs offer flexibility in terms of how long it takes you to complete a program. Typically, online economics master’s degrees take about two years to complete. But as you’ll see in our list of the best online economics master’s programs, some can be completed in less than a year.

Ultimately, how long it takes to get an online economics master’s degree depends on the structure of the program and whether you attend school full-time or part-time.

What are the Best Online Master’s Degrees in Economics?

We use a seven-point methodology to evaluate each program on this list.

Two of those data points are program-specific: the number of degree options available and the median annual wages two years after graduation. There are five data points that rank school-wide information as well: the school’s admissions rate, graduation rate, the median debt upon graduation, student satisfaction, and the type of accreditation (regional or national).

Each of these data points is clearly indicated for each school so you can more easily compare the programs of interest to you. A detailed description of the process by which we have ranked these programs is available on our methodology page.

Below are the best online master’s in economics, ranked from highest to lowest.

1. UCLA

Online Master of Quantitative Economics

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Quick Facts:

  • Length: 12 courses
  • Time to complete: 9 months or 18 months
  • Format: Online
  • Tuition: $1,479.67 per credit for in-state students and $2,738.17 for out-of-state students
  • UCLA offers an intensive option for this program that allows you to complete the course requirements in nine months (three quarters) or 18 months (six quarters).

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Online Program Information:

Number of Degree Options: 1

Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $64,688

School-Wide Information:

Admission Rate: 14%

Graduation Rate: 93%

Median Debt Upon Graduation: $17,239.50

Student Satisfaction: 4.3 out of 5 stars

Type of Accreditation: Regional (2 out of 2 points)

OSR Score: 93.33

This best online economics master’s program from UCLA focuses on providing advanced training to students, specifically in the area of quantitative economics. The purpose of this focus is to prepare students for work in private industry, the public sector, and the financial sector, among others.

This is a STEM-certified program – the only such degree on this list. Core coursework and elective coursework give you the opportunity to learn more about econometrics, microeconomics, and macroeconomics, while also affording you the chance to gain hands-on experience in applying the knowledge you gain. 

Part of this hands-on experience comes in the final quarter of the top online economics program during the capstone project. Working with your faculty advisor, you will design a detailed research project and prepare a report on that project in the form of a research paper. It is not a thesis but is a working project that serves a similar function as a thesis.

2. Johns Hopkins University

Online Master of Science in Applied Economics

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Quick Facts:

  • Length: 10 courses
  • Time to complete: 12-24 months
  • Format: In-person or online
  • Tuition: $4,866 per course
  • Dual credentials are available in economics and business administration, economics and financial management, or economics and investments

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Online Program Information:

Number of Degree Options: 2

Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $61,638

School-Wide Information:

Admission Rate: 11%

Graduation Rate: 92%

Median Debt Upon Graduation: $17,574.50

Student Satisfaction: 3.9 out of 5 stars

Type of Accreditation: Regional (2 out of 2 points)

OSR Score: 91.67

This 30-credit online master of science program from Johns Hopkins University offers you the flexibility of starting in any semester. Courses can be taken synchronously or asynchronously, which gives you added flexibility for completing your studies. Additionally, you don’t have to have a bachelor’s degree in economics to be admitted to the program – students come from many different educational backgrounds.

Once admitted to this top online program, you’ll learn from professors and practitioners that have real-world experience in a variety of economic applications including:

  • analytical economics
  • policy creation
  • finance
  • consultancy

Among the programs on this list, this one offers two distinct benefits. First, graduates of this online master’s program in economics have among the highest median earnings of any program on this list. Second, graduates of this program also have among the lowest median debt of any program on this list.

However, the admission rate is just 11 percent, so the competition for spots in this program can be fierce. Once admitted, though, students graduate at a 92 percent rate.

3. Northeastern University

Online Master of Science in Commerce and Economic Development

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Quick Facts:

  • Length: 10 courses
  • Time to complete: 12-18 months
  • Format: Online
  • Tuition: $1,463.33 per credit
  • This program is offered by the College of Professional Studies, but it was designed in collaboration with the College of Social Science and Humanities. As such, the program focuses on applied economics and its use in making informed economic decisions in the public and private sectors.

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Online Program Information:

Number of Degree Options: 1

Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $60,701.50

School-Wide Information:

Admission Rate: 20%

Graduation Rate: 87%

Median Debt Upon Graduation: $26,651

Student Satisfaction: 4.2 out of 5 stars

Type of Accreditation: Regional (2 out of 2 points)

OSR Score: 90

There are four areas of concentration for students in Northeastern University’s program:

  • Economic Analysis
  • Economic Entrepreneurship
  • Data Analytics
  • Financial Economics

Each of these specialties results in a master of science in commerce and economic development.

As a student in this program, you will take part in experiential learning activities. You will learn from professors in an online classroom environment and then be asked to put your skills to the test in real-world settings. This format is particularly ideal for students that already have a full-time job in economics or a related field because you can apply your learning directly to your current job.

This is also a STEM-designated program. With an emphasis on leadership, technology, economics, and public policy, it is a multimodal learning experience that will help you gain the knowledge and skills you need to be an effective practitioner of economics.

4. Boston College

Online Master of Science in Applied Economics

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Quick Facts:

  • Length: 10 courses
  • Time to complete: 16 months
  • Format: Online
  • Tuition: $1,248 per credit
  • If you’re in the Boston area, you can choose to take courses online, on campus, or a mixture of both.

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Online Program Information:

Number of Degree Options: 1

Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $54,067.5

School-Wide Information:

Admission Rate: 26%

Graduation Rate: 91%

Median Debt Upon Graduation: $16,250

Student Satisfaction: 4.2 out of 5 stars

Type of Accreditation: Regional (2 out of 2 points)

OSR Score: 88.33

Of all the schools represented on this list, Boston College boasts the lowest median debt upon graduation at just $16,250. As a result, you might find that pursuing your online master’s degree at Boston College ends up being a smart financial choice.

In addition to that, Boston College gets high marks from students – the institution’s 4.2 rating is among the highest on this list.

The training you’ll receive in this program runs the gamut from finance and marketing to industry trends and complex policy issues. It is a true multi-disciplinary program of study.

The skills you learn over the course of this cheapest economics degree will help you develop into a competent economist that has the ability to work in:

  • financial sector
  • industry
  • government positions
  • policy-making positions

To be considered for admission, you must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with at least a 3.0 GPA. You must also take the GRE or GMAT.

5. University of Detroit Mercy

Online Master of Arts in Economics, Financial Economics, or Applied Data Analytics

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Quick Facts:

  • Length: 10 courses
  • Time to complete: 1 year
  • Format: Online
  • Tuition: $581 per credit
  • Detroit Mercy offers three graduate degree options in this field: a Master of Arts in Economics, a Master of Arts in Financial Economics, and a Master of Science in Applied Data Analytics.

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Online Program Information:

Number of Degree Options: 3

Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $48,519

School-Wide Information:

Admission Rate: 79%

Graduation Rate: 63%

Median Debt Upon Graduation: $21,250

Student Satisfaction: 3.4 out of 5 stars

Type of Accreditation: Regional (2 out of 2 points)

OSR Score: 76.67

Students in Detroit Mercy’s online master’s of economics programs benefit from the unique feature of allowing you to learn at your own pace. As a result, you can complete any of the three 30-credit programs in one academic year – the shortest time frame of any program on this list. Additionally, there is no GRE or GMAT requirement, so there are fewer restrictions on admission to the program.

Courses are taught by full-time faculty who also teach the on-campus versions of the economics courses. This means that you get the same education as on-campus students, even though you might be thousands of miles away from campus.

This is a regionally accredited program, too, so the credits you earn in this program would likely transfer to another program if you decided to switch schools. And with three different online master’s degree options in economics, Detroit Mercy gives you the greatest variety of degree options on this list.

6. American University

Online Master of Arts in Applied Economics

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Quick Facts:

  • Length: 10 courses
  • Time to complete: As little as 20 months
  • Format: Online
  • Tuition: $1,812 per credit
  • Course objectives focus on developing actionable skills, like solving complex mathematical economic models, utilizing models to predict changes in economic indicators, and conducting research on economics. 

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Online Program Information:

Number of Degree Options: 1

Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $50,187

School-Wide Information:

Admission Rate: 21%

Graduation Rate: 79%

Median Debt Upon Graduation: $23,649

Student Satisfaction: 3.9 out of 5 stars

Type of Accreditation: Regional (2 out of 2 points)

OSR Score: 76.67

Students in American University’s online master of arts program enjoy the flexibility of learning online while also having hands-on guidance from professors throughout the course of the economics program. The professors in this top online program are scholars in economics and have experience in economics research and applications in real-world settings. Your development as an economist will be hastened by working with such experienced faculty.

Since American University is based in the Washington, D.C. area, you can benefit from the University’s many connections with organizations that impact today’s global economy. Whether you take part in job shadowing, an internship, or something in between, you can put your classroom learning to the test in the real world.

Speaking of classroom learning, this online economics program has a policy-focused curriculum. As such, you will learn how to interpret economic models, utilize mathematical theories, analyze human behavior, and analyze organizational behavior in order to make a positive impact on the economy.

7. Purdue University

Online Master of Science in Economics

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Quick Facts:

  • Length: 10 courses
  • Time to complete: 2-3 years
  • Format: Online
  • Tuition: $1,018.80 per credit for in-state students and $1068.80 per credit for out-of-state and international students
  • Though there is only one degree option available, there are four specialty areas that you can choose from: Business and Data Analytics, Financial Economics, Public Economics and Policy, and Advanced Theory

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Online Program Information:

Number of Degree Options: 1

Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $52,376

School-Wide Information:

Admission Rate: 67%

Graduation Rate: 73%

Median Debt Upon Graduation: $18,151

Student Satisfaction: 4.2 out of 5 stars

Type of Accreditation: Regional (2 out of 2 points)

OSR Score: 75

With one of the lowest median debt upon graduation rates and one of the highest student satisfaction rates among schools on this list, Purdue University offers a combination of affordable education and quality education. As a regionally-accredited university, the credits you earn at Purdue should easily transfer to other accredited institutions. Additionally, credits that you’ve already earned at other accredited institutions could count towards your degree at Purdue. Since this online economics program has two entry points – January and August – you can start your studies at a point that’s best for you.

This best-value online master of science program in economics is asynchronous and completely online – there are no campus visits required. The curriculum is innovative and forward-thinking, with coursework on big data and machine learning, statistical software applications, business forecasting, and computational tools for economics.

Admission to the program requires that you have at least a 2.6 GPA (if you have a non-STEM undergraduate degree) or a 2.8 GPA (if you have a STEM degree). In either case, no GRE or GMAT score is required.

8. University of Missouri

Online Master of Arts in Economics

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Quick Facts:

  • Length: 10 courses
  • Time to complete: 2 years
  • Format: Online
  • Tuition: $492.90 per credit
  • The primary focus of this program is in the data analytics space. However, the core coursework offers a broader area of study, including economic theory, economic research, and economic application, as well as analytics software and programming languages.

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Online Program Information:

Number of Degree Options: 1

Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $44,149

School-Wide Information:

Admission Rate: 82%

Graduation Rate: 68%

Median Debt Upon Graduation: $21,000

Student Satisfaction: 4.2 out of 5 stars

Type of Accreditation: Regional (2 out of 2 points)

OSR Score: 75

The University of Missouri’s cost-effective online master’s in economics program requires that you take just one or two courses each semester in order to graduate in a two-year timeframe. This kind of scheduling flexibility is of great benefit if you work full-time or have other responsibilities that limit your available time for studying. 

In addition to the core coursework discussed above, you’ll have an opportunity to select from a wide range of elective courses to fulfill the graduation requirements. These electives cover topics related to:

  • game theory
  • econometrics
  • public economics
  • the banking system
  • international trade

Course learning revolves around observation, research, and hands-on learning. Together, these experiences will make you a more well-rounded student and you’ll be better prepared to enter the workforce too.

As one of the only programs on this list with a cost of less than $500 per credit, this program is a budget-conscious choice as well.

9. Penn State

Online Master of Professional Studies in Community and Economic Development

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Quick Facts:

  • Length: 10 courses
  • Time to complete: 2 years
  • Format: Online
  • Tuition: $950 per credit
  • This program focuses on applying economic principles to improving community development in communities of all sizes.

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Online Program Information:

Number of Degree Options: 1

Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $54,818.50

School-Wide Information:

Admission Rate: 78%

Graduation Rate: 73%

Median Debt Upon Graduation: $27,031

Student Satisfaction: 4.4 out of 5 stars

Type of Accreditation: Regional (2 out of 2 points)

OSR Score: 71.67

Penn State is one of the only programs on this list that has an economic development focus. To give students the broadest base of learning, this online master’s program in economics brings together sociology, education, agricultural economics, and many other areas of study.

Designed as a professional program, you can complete the requirements for graduation at a speed that works for you and your current career. For example, you can begin your studies in the 15-credit certificate program in Community and Economic Development. This is a graduate-level course, and the credits you earn can be applied to your master’s degree.

Upon graduation, you’ll be prepared to take on a variety of jobs in the community development space. This includes the potential for working as:

  • community service coordinator
  • development specialist
  • extension educator
  • research manager

Additionally, students rave about the quality of education they receive at Penn State. In fact, Penn State has one of the highest student satisfaction scores on this list.

10. University of North Dakota

Online Master of Science in Applied Economics

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Quick Facts:

  • Length: 10 courses
  • Time to complete: 2 years
  • Format: Online
  • Tuition: $510.73 per credit
  • This program includes research opportunities with the Bureau of Business and Economic research. Students are also eligible for grants to attend conferences and conduct research.

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Online Program Information:

Number of Degree Options: 1

Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $50,827

School-Wide Information:

Admission Rate: 87%

Graduation Rate: 50%

Median Debt Upon Graduation: $23,577.50

Student Satisfaction: 3.9 out of 5 stars

Type of Accreditation: Regional (2 out of 2 points)

OSR Score: 70

If you choose to get your online master of science degree in economics from the University of North Dakota, you’ll be able to do so at a much lower per-credit cost than many comparable programs.

In addition to cost savings, one of the advantages of this cheapest economics program is that you can apply for admission with any bachelor’s degree from a recognized college or university. A GPA of 2.75 or higher is the minimum threshold. The University of North Dakota does require official GRE or GMAT scores, though you can request a waiver for the testing component if you have a graduate degree in a business or STEM-related field from an AACSB accredited institution.

The University of North Dakota also offers students the option of a combined bachelor’s and master’s degree in applied economics. This option is available to students that have at least 90 semester credits already completed. Additionally, you can apply to the accelerated bachelor’s and master’s program in applied economics. If admitted, you can finish both degrees in just five years.

11. George Mason University

Online Master of Arts in Economics

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Quick Facts:

  • Length: 10 courses
  • Time to complete: As little as 18 months
  • Format: Online
  • Tuition: $900 per credit
  • Course offerings include experimental economics, micro and macroeconomic theories, mathematical economics, and public choice/Constitutional economics, among others.

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Online Program Information:

Number of Degree Options: 1

Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $50,153.50

School-Wide Information:

Admission Rate: 89%

Graduation Rate: 74%

Median Debt Upon Graduation: $19,750

Student Satisfaction: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Type of Accreditation: Regional (2 out of 2 points)

OSR Score: 66.67

This online master of arts program in economics from George Mason University is led by the same professors that teach the on-campus economics program. Like the on-campus degree, this online economics master’s blends studies in experimental economics, public choice, and Austrian economics to give you a well-rounded educational experience that will form the backbone of your professional career.

Graduates of this high-value program commonly go on to work in the public sector and private sectors in many areas, including law, politics, and of course, economics. No matter what the field of work, as a graduate of this program, you can draw on the experience of having the opportunity to apply what you’ve learned in real-world situations throughout the course of the online master’s degree program.

While this program is regionally accredited – which is the most respected type of accreditation – the graduation rate is low compared to other schools on this list. However, with a median debt of less than $20,000, George Mason ranks near the top in that category.

12. Southern New Hampshire University

Online Master of Science in Applied Economics

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Quick Facts:

  • Length: 12 courses
  • Time to complete: As little as 15 months
  • Format: Online
  • Tuition: $627 per credit
  • There is no GRE or GMAT required for admission and you can work at your own pace.

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Online Program Information:

Number of Degree Options: 1

Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $48,282.50

School-Wide Information:

Admission Rate: 94%

Graduation Rate: 47%

Median Debt Upon Graduation: $18,250

Student Satisfaction: 3.6 out of 5 stars

Type of Accreditation: Regional (2 out of 2 points)

OSR Score: 63.33

This online master of science in applied economics from SNHU degree brings economics, sociology, history, mathematics, philosophy, and sociology together. It is a truly multi-disciplinary program. Using these multiple perspectives, you’ll learn how to understand the economic past while forecasting the economic future.

You’ll learn skills that pertain to performing quantitative analyses, econometrics, data reporting, theory integration, and much more as well. You’ll acquire these skills while taking a variety of courses from experienced professors in a rich online learning environment.

With a median debt upon graduation at just over $18,000, Southern New Hampshire University offers one of the lowest debt rates among programs on this list. However, it also has one of the lowest graduation rates on this list.

13. Georgia Southern University

Online Master of Arts in Financial Economics

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Quick Facts:

  • Length: 10 courses
  • Time to complete: 2 years
  • Format: Online
  • Tuition: $358 per credit
  • The program includes coursework in a wide range of areas, including health care, international trade, consumer choice, economic development, and financial markets.

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Online Program Information:

Number of Degree Options: 1

Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $40,760.50

School-Wide Information:

Admission Rate: 91%

Graduation Rate: 50%

Median Debt Upon Graduation: $19,329.50

Student Satisfaction: 3.9 out of 5 stars

Type of Accreditation: Regional (2 out of 2 points)

OSR Score: 63.33

The online master’s of applied economics program at Georgia Southern University offers the learning experiences you need to be a competent economist. This includes developing the quantitative and analytical skills that are so important for careers in politics, business and industry, marketing, consultancy, and many more.

Your studies are completely asynchronous, so you can complete the necessary work on a schedule that works best for you. Many students complete this program in just five semesters, with a course load of just two courses per semester.

Graduates of this program have gone on to have successful careers in government, the private sector, finance, law, and state agencies, to name a few. The wide range of professional pursuits among program graduates speaks to the flexibility and wide applicability of this degree.

Georgia Southern offers students in this program the option of also getting a graduate certificate in Applied Economics. This certificate meets regional accreditation for teaching if that’s a career path that interests you.

14. Youngstown State University

Online Master of Arts in Financial Economics

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Quick Facts:

  • Length: 11 courses
  • Time to complete: 2 years
  • Format: Online
  • Tuition: $446.59 per credit
  • This program has a very small enrollment (11 students as of 2021), so you can expect a good level of individual attention from your instructors.

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Online Program Information:

Number of Degree Options: 1

Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $47,215.50

School-Wide Information:

Admission Rate: 70%

Graduation Rate: 34%

Median Debt Upon Graduation: $18,850.50

Student Satisfaction: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Type of Accreditation: Regional (2 out of 2 points)

OSR Score: 63.33

The online master of arts in financial economics program from Youngstown State is an affordable option that boasts one of the lowest median debt figures upon graduation of any school on this list.

Though there is just one online degree option, Youngstown State gives you the flexibility of starting the master’s program as an undergraduate. This “4+1” program allows you to finish your undergraduate and graduate degree in just five years.

Over the course of this top online economics program, you’ll learn about topics related to economic theory. You’ll also learn how to analyze financial markets to prepare you for a career in the financial services industry.

Additionally, you’ll study econometrics, valuation of stocks, financial capital management, and you’ll learn both microeconomic theory and macroeconomic theory. If you wish to continue your education and get a Ph.D. in economics, it is advised that you take supplemental courses in mathematics, finance, and, of course, economics.

15. West Texas A&M University

Online Master of Science in Finance & Economics

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Quick Facts:

  • Length: 12-15 courses
  • Time to complete: 2 years
  • Format: Online
  • Tuition: $500 per credit for in-state students; $540 per credit for out-of-state students
  • This program is specifically designed for students that work full-time. You get up to six years to complete the degree.

Visit the Program Website

Online Program Information:

Number of Degree Options: 1

Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $47,010.50

School-Wide Information:

Admission Rate: 58%

Graduation Rate: 51%

Median Debt Upon Graduation: $20,800

Student Satisfaction: 3.6 out of 5 stars

Type of Accreditation: Regional (2 out of 2 points)

OSR Score: 63.33

While West Texas A&M has just one online graduate degree in economics, you can choose different areas of concentration by taking more classes in finance, economics, or you can split your concentration between both.

Whatever your area of concentration, you are allowed to choose your course load each semester that you’re in the program. This includes the option of taking courses during one or two summer sessions.

As the only option on this list with a finance and economics emphasis available, this program is a good fit for students that want to work for financial institutions, in economic advising or consulting, or in policy-oriented careers in the public or private sectors. This degree is also good preparation for continuing education in a Ph.D. program in economics, marketing, finance, or management, or even a law degree.

This program does not require that you have an undergraduate degree in economics or finance. This enables you to apply for the program so long as you have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are economists in demand?

At present, economics is a hot field of work and economists are in demand. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects there to be strong job growth for economists through the end of the 2020s.

According to a BLS report from 2020, growth for this career is expected to be at a 13 percent rate through 2030. This is a much faster rate than average. As a result, about 1,600 new jobs are projected to be created each year.

While some of these positions are expected to be new, many open positions for economists will be for existing positions that are no longer filled. For example, as the workforce ages and baby boomers continue to retire in large numbers, more economist positions will open up. This is not the only source of job openings, though.

The BLS products that the need for economists in the research and consulting sectors will be a primary reason for job growth. Economics research and consultancy are growing rapidly because so many businesses and organizations require the expertise of economists to study market trends, sales figures, and to forecast the future economic climate. Add in the growing reliance on big data and an increasingly complex global economy, and you can see why economists are expected to be in high demand now and in the coming years.

How long does it take to get an online master’s in economics?

Each online economics master’s degree is going to be a little different in terms of their graduation requirements. As such, programs differ in the length of time that you can complete them. However, by and large, you can complete most online master’s degrees in economics in two years if you attend school full-time.

Of course, if you go to school part-time, the timeline for finishing your degree will be extended. For example, if you take six credit hours per semester, you’ll be able to finish most online master’s degree programs in economics in five or six semesters, or 2.5-3 years.

On the other hand, if you’re aggressive about pursuing your degree and you take extra courses each semester or take courses in the summer, you can complete a typical 30-36 credit hour master’s program in economics in little more than three semesters or 1.5 years. For example, you might take 12 credits in the fall, nine credits in the spring, and nine credits in the summer to complete your degree ahead of schedule.

One component to consider, though, is when the courses you need to take are offered. In some cases, courses are only offered at certain times, like in the fall, or even at certain points in a program, like the second year of study. Naturally, these constraints can impact how long it takes you to complete your degree.

Remember as well that transfer credits can shorten the timeline. If, for example, you took three master’s level economics courses a couple of years ago at a different school, you might be able to transfer those credits to your current program. Since taking nine credits is considered full-time for graduate students, transferring those credits could cut an entire semester off your current studies.

Is a master’s in economics a good degree?

Given that economics is a rapidly growing field, and given that many online economics master’s degrees can be completed in two years or less, it’s a good field to consider for your future education and career. The combination of a relatively short period of time to get the degree plus expected high demand for qualified workers is hard to beat.

Additionally, economists can make excellent salaries depending on their level of education and work experience. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for economists in 2020 was $108,350. The wage ceiling for economists is actually much higher – up to nearly $200,000 per year. Even the lowest ten percent of earners in this field still make nearly $60,000 per year. While money isn’t everything, having the possibility of earning a nice living after graduation certainly makes economics an attractive option.

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