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.
|#1||Washington State University Pullman, WA|
|#2||Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA|
|#3||Oregon State University Corvallis, OR|
|#4||Colorado State University – Fort Collins Fort Collins, CO|
|#5||Liberty University Lynchburg, VA|
|#6||Fort Hays State University Hays, KS|
|#7||Utah State University Logan, UT|
|#8||Regent University Virginia Beach, VA|
Featured Online Schools
The Best Online Bachelor’s in Economics Degree Programs
Washington state’s original land–grant university, WSU’s Pullman campus drives research on crop health, maintains an innovative energy program, and impacts the state economy at the level of $3.4 billion. The school’s Global Campus offers 12 online bachelor’s degrees and access to the Global Connections extra–curricular activities program.
The bachelor of science in economic sciences of WSU’s Global Campus focuses on business economics, through courses such as introduction to financial accounting, labor economics, and industrial organization. The program, which takes about about four years to complete, encompasses 83 credits, including 25 credits of economic core courses like fundamentals of microeconomics, 21 credits of business economic sciences courses, and 12 credits of upper–level economics electives. Students choose a concentration in commodity marketing or management to make up the final nine credits. They must also complete roughly 34 credits of general education courses, which can be satisfied by transfer. This bachelor of science degree in economics includes a capstone course and the option to complete an internship, or a study–abroad or supervised independent study experience.
WSU’s Global Campus incorporates virtual mentors and a streaming media center to help students navigate their online coursework. Distance learners pay the same discounted tuition rates as in–state students, regardless of their place of residence. Students who have no prior college experience must submit ACT or SAT scores with their application.
Serving 100,000 students over twenty campuses, Penn State’s main location in University Park marks the geographical center of the state. The school boasts a designation among the Carnegie Foundation’s highest research university ratings in the U.S.
As Penn State’s second largest campus, its online system offers students access to support services like career counseling and academic advising. Its bachelor of science in economics prepares students for careers in evaluating market trends and using data analyzation to advise management. Students earn the BS after completing at least 120 credits, including 45 general education credits and 26 general electives. The core curriculum comprises 18 credits in topics like econometrics and statistics. Students must also complete 30 credits of more specialized economics coursework including labor economics, advanced international trade theory and policy, and economics of public expenditures.
Admission requires a high school diploma and prerequisite introductory economics courses with a minimum grade of C. Courses are delivered synchronously; some offered during the summer semester. Depending on how many courses a full–time student pursues beyond the minimum requirement of 12 credits, the bachelor’s degree in economics takes between four and five years to complete. Students enrolled in Penn State’s World Campus pay a lower tuition rate than students enrolled at Penn State’s main campus; those taking less than 60 credits pay the lowest price overall.
Located in the Willamette Valley in Corvallis, OSU sits just one county away from the Pacific Ocean. With $441 million in research funding for 2017, OSU claims the distinction of being the largest institution of public research in Oregon. OSU’s Ecampus hosts over 1,100 online courses and serves over 21,000 students across the globe.
OSU offers both a bachelor of arts and bachelor of science in economics online. Students interested using their economic expertise in the field of business can pursue the managerial economics track in focused business courses. The law, economics, and policy concentration includes coursework in political science and philosophy, and can help students pursuing careers in public service or policy. The major requirements total 51 credits, the majority in core concepts including econometrics and economics of traditional and renewable energy. Students must also earn 48 credits of bachelor’s core courses, including an intensive writing course, in addition to 15 credits of core courses offered by the College of Liberal Arts.
OSU’s Ecampus follows a quarter–term system, equating the 180 credits required for the bachelor’s in economics to the 120 credits required of a typical full–semester system. Students enrolled in OSU’s Ecampus pay discounted tuition rates, regardless of residency status or number of credits. Students must have completed at least 24 quarter credits (or 16 semester credits) to qualify as a transfer student. Non–transfer students must submit their high school diploma or GED transcripts with their application.
On its main campus an hour outside of Denver in Fort Collins, CSU boasts scenic views and over 300 days of sunshine each year. The land–grant university prides itself on sustainability initiatives, and programs in agricultural sciences and veterinary medicine.
The bachelor of arts in economics from CSU Online focuses on society, balancing quantitative skills and theoretical understanding of the influence of the economy on the environment and various types of communities. The degree encompasses 120 credits, including 21 required major courses and 12 credits of economics electives from courses like gender and the economy, economics of public finance, and issues in environmental economics. Beyond general core classes, the degree includes 22–35 credits of general electives. Students in the online bachelor’s degree in economics pair their degree with one of six minors in diverse topics including media studies, sociology, and political science.
Students should note that this program requires credits from previous college experience. In addition, 30 of the program’s total credits must come from upper–division courses at CSU. Distance learners pay a set rate, per credit, at a lower price than the cost of in–state tuition. They may also take advantage of services including academic advising and an online career exploration assessment tool tailored to student interests.
Founded in 1971 to encourage students to become “Champions of Christ”, Liberty University encompasses a 7,000–acre campus in Lynchburg, Virginia. The school serves over 110,000 students—30,000 of them, military—as the country’s largest private nonprofit university.
Liberty University’s online offerings boast 121 bachelor’s degrees and a 17:1 student–to–faculty ratio. Support services include an online library and writing center. The bachelor of science in business administration in economics comprises 120 credits and provides students with an understanding of general business topics like marketing and accounting. The major core courses encompass 39 credits and include topics such as micro and macroeconomics, business law, and organizational ethics. Twelve credits of cognate courses cover topics including modern political and economic ideas and money, and the financial system. Of the required 39–42 general education credits, 12 credits must be completed in the area of Christian life and thought.
Courses are delivered asynchronously and take eight weeks to complete. The bachelor of science degree in economics caters to transfer students, who may apply transfer credits to satisfy up to 75% of the credit requirement. Though part–time students pay a higher tuition rate than full–time students, all distance learners pay a discounted rate.
Founded in 1902 as an entrepreneurial institution, Fort Hays State University calls Hays, Kansas—a historic frontier town in the center of the state—its home. The university sits on 200 acres and maintains a 3,825–acre farm.
Fort Hays State University’s online bachelor of business administration in international business and economics features two core groups of courses: business and international business and economics. The 27–credit business core consists of foundational courses in topics like accounting, finance, and production and operations management. Electives comprise 27 of the 39 credits required for the international business and economics major. Economics courses include quantitative methods and managerial economics. As part of the major, students can also explore coursework in leadership and team dynamics, comparative cultures and societies, or introduction to geographic information systems. General education classes make up 55 credits, and freshmen must take a three–credit seminar totaling 124 credits. Transfer students may substitute an elective in a topic of their choice for the seminar course.The online bachelor’s in economics also offers the opportunity to complete an internship, worth three credits.
Fort Hays State University’s Virtual College offers support services including free online tutoring and guaranteed access to instructors by email or phone. Most courses are delivered through the Blackboard platform in a synchronous format. Online students pay a lower tuition rate than on–campus non–residents.
Located in Logan, USU has occupied the same scenic 400–acre campus for 130 years. The historic land–grant university leads national schools in its commitment to sustainability, running natural gas shuttles and reducing its energy consumption by 18% per square foot of floor area in the past ten years.
Earning a bachelor of science in economics online at USU requires 120 credits, encompassing core, major, and elective courses. Core major topics explore business statistics and the fundamentals of economic theory. Students can choose electives from coursework in law and economics, economics and the history of the U.S., and industrial organization game theory. USU encourages economics majors to take advantage of the program’s flexible schedule and double major in finance or accounting.
Students must apply to the Huntsman School of Business before seeking acceptance into the economics program. They can submit an application in any semester. Unlike its on–campus counterpart, the online BS in economics does not require students to declare a concentration.
USU Online delivers courses through Canvas. The university offers 14–week sessions and two seven–week sessions per semester. Student support services include online advising and tutoring. For online exams, USU certifies local proctors for students living more than 20 miles from a USU campus.
With the motto “Christian leadership to change the world,” Regent University serves over 10,000 students through programs that advocate the values of excellence, innovation, and integrity. The school’s campus sits just 16 miles from the Atlantic Ocean in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Regent University’s online division offers 128 undergraduate programs. The average class contains 17 students. Online students can access on–campus activities including guest speaker lectures and chapel events. Each distant course delivered through Blackboard lasts for eight weeks. All online students must take an orientation course before completing program coursework. Students pay the same tuition rate for on–campus and online programs.
The online bachelor of science in business in economics lays the foundation in business for careers in economic forecasting and analysis. The degree includes core business courses in business statistics and business driven technology, as well as business electives and credits specific to the economics concentration. Concentration topics include political economy and entrepreneurship, market processes, and economics growth. General education courses and general electives also comprise a significant component of the degree. The bachelor of science in economics also features a senior capstone, enabling students to integrate their understanding of business and economics into the creation of a functioning business plan.
Online Bachelor's in Economics Degree Programs Ranking Guidelines
We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
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 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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|
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. Many colleges and universities offer online economics degrees, including both bachelor's and master's programs in economics.
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.
Economics students need strong skills in math, finance, and statistics. An economics enrollee with strong analytical and logical thinking skills will thrive.
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.
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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