Best Online Bachelor’s in Economics 2021

by TBS Staff

Updated August 22, 2022 is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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A bachelor's degree in economics introduces degree-seekers to topics like economic financing, supply and demand, and economic decision-making.

An online economics degree prepares graduates for careers as actuaries, financial analysts, market research analysts, and operations research analysts. Many of these career paths pay above-average salaries and have strong job growth projections.

For example, professionals with bachelor's degrees in economics earn an average salary of over $70,000 per year, according to PayScale. They can also find work as economists — a field that reported a median annual salary of over $105,000 in 2019.

Our list ranks the top online bachelor's programs in economics to help prospective students find the best fit for their professional goals. This article also introduces economics concentrations, career paths, and earning potential for economics graduates.

The Best Online Bachelor's in Economics Programs

  1. Florida International University

    Miami, FL



    Serving over 55,000 students, FIU offers an online bachelor of arts in economics. Students can choose from three yearly start dates.

    Students take required foundational courses such as principles of macro and microeconomics before moving on to upper-division training. Notable upper-division courses include measurement and analysis of econ activity and introduction to econometrics. Approved departmental electives and general education courses round out curriculum requirements.

    Applicants need a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for admission. Students must also submit SAT or ACT scores. Students with 60 or more transfer credits do not need to submit standardized tests.

    Florida International University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  2. Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

    University Park, PA



    Founded by Penn State in 1998 to address the needs of online students, Penn State World Campus offers an online bachelor of arts or science in economics.

    Students in the BA track focus more on qualitative aspects of economics, while BS-track students focus on strong analytical skills. Notable course requirements include introductory microeconomic analysis and policy, statistical foundations for econometrics, and intermediate macroeconomic analysis.

    Applicants need a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for admission. Students also need to complete econ 102 and 104 with a grade of "C" or better for eligibility.

    Pennsylvania State University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

  3. Utah State University

    Logan, UT



    Serving over 28,000 students, USU offers an online bachelor of science in economics. Students can choose from optional concentrations such as managerial economics, economic theory, and international economics and trade.

    Required courses include introduction to microeconomics, introduction to econometrics, and introduction to macroeconomics. Students must also complete departmentally approved electives. Students with a language interest can also pursue a bachelor of arts in economics instead.

    Applicants need one of the following for direct admission: graduate in the top 10% of their high school graduating class, possess a minimum GPA of 3.7, or receive a minimum ACT score of 28 (SAT score of 1310).

    Utah State University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

  4. Fort Hays State University

    Hays, KS



    Founded in 1902, FHSU offers an online bachelor of business administration with a major in international business and economics. Students study both business and economics principles.

    Required business courses include principles of accounting, managerial finance, and management principles. Students then take economics courses such as money and banking, options and futures markets, and financial markets and institutions. The department also offers an accounting club, finance club, and economics club.

    Applicants need a high school diploma or GED equivalent and a minimum GPA of 2.25 or ACT composite score of 21 (SAT equivalent) to qualify for admission.

    Fort Hays State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

  5. University of Utah

    Salt Lake City, UT



    Serving just over 32,000 students, UOnline offers a bachelor of science in economics. Students can choose between three concentrations: history of economic thought, economic history, or econometrics.

    Economics core coursework includes principles of micro and macroeconomics, mathematics for economists, and probability and statistical inference for economists. Students take approved economics electives and focus area courses along with general education requirements to complete the degree.

    Applicants need a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for admission. Students do not need standardized test scores but can send them for consideration.

    University of Utah is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

  6. Washington State University

    Pullman, WA



    Founded in 1890, WSU's Global Campus offers an online bachelor of science in economic sciences. Students can choose between two concentrations: management or commodity marketing.

    Required courses include fundamentals of micro and macroeconomics, introductory econometrics, and an economics capstone. Students can take business administration courses and approved electives to complete general education requirements.

    Learners can choose from three start dates per year. Applicants need a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for admission. Students do not need to submit standardized test scores. Transfer students need a minimum GPA of 2.5 for eligibility.

    Washington State University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

  7. Oregon State University

    Corvallis, OR



    Founded in 1868, OSU offers an online bachelor of arts or science in economics. Learners can choose between four start dates per year.

    Course requirements in the 180-quarter-credit program include an introduction to micro and macroeconomics, public policy analysis, and an introduction to economic research. Students can choose from two concentrations in addition to a general track: managerial economics or law, economics, and policy.

    Applicants need a high school diploma or GED equivalent and a preferred GPA of 3.0 in subject-area courses to qualify for admission. Students do not need to submit standardized test scores.

    Oregon State University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

  8. Eastern Oregon University

    La Grande, OR



    Founded in 1929, EOU offers an online bachelor of science in economics. Students can complete courses completely online in an asynchronous format.

    Required courses include micro and macroeconomics, history of economic thought, the economics of development, and international economic analysis and issues. An econometrics capstone series allows students to explore critical issues and apply research methods.

    Applicants need a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for admission. Students with a minimum GPA of 2.75 receive automatic admission. The program does not require students to submit standardized test scores.

    Eastern Oregon University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

  9. North Carolina A & T State University

    Greensboro, NC



    Serving over 11,000 students both online and on-campus, N.C. A&T offers an online bachelor of science in economics. Students can choose optional concentrations by following a course series outside the required courses.

    Economics course requirements include principles of economics, quantitative analysis, money and banking, and introduction to management information systems. Students take general education courses and electives to finish the degree.

    Applicants must meet the North Carolina minimum course requirements, such as four units of English and math, to apply for the program. Students over 21 need a high school diploma or GED record to qualify for admission.

    North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  10. University of Hawaii at Manoa

    Honolulu, HI



    Founded in 1907, UH Manoa offers an online bachelor of arts in economics as a degree completion program.

    Students take courses such as introduction to economics, principles of macro and microeconomics, data analysis and visualization, and the economy of Hawaii. The department also offers various departmental workshops in applied microeconomics and energy and environmental research, among others.

    Applicants must hold an associate degree or the lower-division credit equivalent to qualify for the degree completion program.

    University of Hawaii at Manoa is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior Colleges and University Commission (WSCUC).

Best Online Bachelor's

Online Bachelor's in Economics Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

Featured Online Bachelor's in Economics Programs

What Is an Online Economics Degree?

Earning an economics degree strengthens analytical and problem-solving skills. Students complete complex assignments and projects that require economic analysis and forecasting, preparing them for many different careers.

During an economics degree, majors study economic decision-making, the role of public policy in the economy, and the evolution of financial markets. Some programs incorporate internships to help enrollees gain practical experience. Students may also specialize their coursework through concentrations or electives.

An online economics degree prioritizes flexibility and accessibility. At many schools, online learners complete the same curriculum as on-campus students. However, the distance learning format allows students to complete their coursework around work or personal responsibilities, which appeals to busy adults and working professionals seeking career advancement.

What's the Difference Between a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science?

Many colleges and universities offer both a bachelor of arts (BA) and a bachelor of science (BS) in economics. Generally, BA and BS programs require the same major coursework, but differ in terms of general education requirements. At most schools, BA students complete more humanities and social science courses, including a foreign language, while BS enrollees take more math and natural sciences classes.

BA and BS degrees in economics take around four years of full-time enrollment to complete. Majors in both options build strong analytical skills, which lead to job opportunities as economic researchers, financial analysts, and forecasters.

Choosing an Online Economics Program

When choosing an online economics degree, prospective students should consider factors such as cost, degree requirements, and program length. Applicants can also research whether schools offer accelerated courses, summer sessions, and economics concentrations. Learn more about how to choose an online degree with the links below.

What to Expect When Pursuing a Bachelor of Economics Online

During a bachelor of economics online program, undergraduates take courses in macroeconomics, microeconomics, and applied economics, building strong analytical and research skills. Many programs also offer concentrations. Online learners can usually complete internship requirements locally.

Economics Curriculum

  • Macroeconomics: Macroeconomics studies economic systems on a large scale, including issues like economic output, financial growth, and employment. Students learn about fiscal policies, international economics, and government regulations.
  • Microeconomics: Microeconomics courses consider the economic behavior of individuals and small groups, including topics like supply and demand, pricing, and behavioral economics.
  • Financial Economics: In financial economics courses, students learn about financial systems and markets. They study national and international financial institutions while also learning about theories in financial economics.
  • Public Economics: This course explores the impact of regulation on the economy and the interplay between the government, the financial markets, and private businesses.
  • Labor and Industrial Organizations: Labor economics examines supply and demand issues, the role of taxes in markets, and the effects of minimum wage laws. Topics may also include income distribution, the impact of unemployment on labor markets, and public policy about labor.

Economics Concentrations

Behavioral Economics

Behavioral economics blends economics with psychology to understand how individuals and organizations make decisions. Students explore topics like optimal decision-making, rational choice theory, and how scarcity influences behavior. The concentration can lead to careers in risk analysis, market research analysis, and research.

Financial Economics

A financial economics specialization examines the distribution of resources, including the economic theory behind financial risk, opportunity costs, and financial incentives. Economics majors learn about forecasting and decision-making using uncertain information. The concentration prepares majors for careers in financial services.

Industrial Organization

The field of industrial organization explores strategic behavior in a corporate- or industry-scale context. Learners study the impact of market competition, regulatory policies, and other factors that influence firms' strategies. Graduates pursue careers in finance, tourism, and agriculture.

International Economics

Students examine the connections between the international economy and governmental policies, the role of international relations in the economy, and global policymaking. The concentration prepares graduates for careers in international business and research.

Public Policy

Coursework analyzes the links between policy and economic behavior. Students examine the influence of laws on individuals and organizations to prepare them for roles working in the public sector and in public policy firms.

Economics Organizations

Professional economics organizations can help students network and prepare to join the workforce. These organizations host conferences and events, offer professional development and career resources, and grant certifications.

Aspiring economists can join specialized organizations that align with their career goals, like the National Association for Business Economics, which emphasizes business economics. Similarly, the Global Association of Economics Education focuses on economic literacy for marginalized communities. Students can also benefit from the career resources offered by the American Economic Foundation.

Economics Careers

The quantitative analysis and critical thinking skills gained during online economics degrees help graduates in many different career paths. Professionals with economics degrees can find work as actuaries, financial risk analysts, economic researchers, and data analysts.

Many federal agencies hire economics majors for careers in data analysis and economic forecasting. Economics majors can also work in the financial services industry as analysts or in marketing as market researchers.

What Kind of a Salary Can I Earn With an Economics Degree?

An online economics degree prepares graduates for high-paying careers, including management consultant, financial analyst, or budget analyst. Economists earned a median salary of $105,020 in 2019. The information below highlights the highest-paying careers available for graduates with a bachelor's degree in economics.

Highest-Paying Careers With a Bachelor's Degree in Economics

Career Median Annual Salary (2019)
Compensation and Benefits Managers $122,270
Personal Financial Advisors $87,850
Management Analysts $85,260
Management Consultants $85,260
Financial Analysts $81,590
Financial Examiners $81,090
Budget Analysts $76,540
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Get an Economics Degree Online?

Yes. Many colleges and universities offer online economics degrees, including both bachelor's and master's programs in economics.

Which Is the Best Economics Degree?

A bachelor's degree in economics prepares graduates for entry-level careers as analysts, researchers, and forecasters. Some careers, including economist, require a master's degree.

Is an Economics Degree Hard?

Economics students need strong skills in math, finance, and statistics. An economics enrollee with strong analytical and logical thinking skills will thrive.

Is a Degree in Economics Worth It?

Earning an economics degree often pays off. According to PayScale, the average salary for professionals with bachelor's degrees in economics exceeds $70,000 per year.

What Can I Do With a BA in Economics?

An economics degree prepares graduates for careers like financial analyst, actuary, management consultant, and budget analyst. The federal government often hires economics graduates, as do private sector companies.

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