The strong analytical and quantitative training graduates of Master in Economics degree programs receive makes them valuable employees in an array of industries, as well as in consulting, policy analysis and design, and in government agencies. Graduates have the opportunity to become a leader or analyst in banking, investment and wealth management, international finance and economics, corporate financial management, and in a variety of other sectors. Some graduates go on to acquire a PhD in Economics to become a university professor or research economist.
The Master in Applied Economics Degree
Master in Applied Economics degree programs typically provide students the solid understanding of the fundamental tools of economic analysis they need to perform rigorous evaluations of economic issues and policies. The degree programs provide a solid foundation in microeconomic and macroeconomic theory. The programs provide students extensive training in the methods and tools needed to understand complex policy issues, industry trends, and analytic strategies within specialized areas of economics such as finance, healthcare, marketing, and the environment.
Master in Applied Economics degree programs provide graduates a solid understanding in the advanced quantitative methods they need as a business economist, government staff economist, market analyst, financial analyst, economic researcher, or economic consultant.
Master in Applied Economics degree graduates work in policy analysis ranging from government to businesses to nonprofit organizations. Some graduates use their skills to help corporations and financial companies make vital economic decisions. Some graduates apply their skills in sales and revenue forecasting, economic modeling, or marketplace trend analysis. Some graduates seek teaching positions at high schools or community colleges.
The Master of Arts in Economics Degree
Master of Arts in Economics degree programs typically have an emphasis on academic research. These programs cover economic theories and improve students’ skills in applying theories to economic issues. The programs typically cover advanced coursework in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics. Master of Arts in Economics programs sometimes serve as a stepping stone to a PhD in Economics.
The Master of Arts Degree and the Master of Science degree in Economics both emphasize analytical, technical, and quantitative skills, but the Master of Arts degree typically provides more flexibility (through more electives) for students seeking a more policy-oriented education.
See also: What can I do with an Economics degree?
Online Master in Economics degree program ranking guidelines:
We selected the degree programs based on the quality of the program, types of courses provided, and faculty strength, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation, specifically a strong reputation for quality online degree programs.
The Best Online Master in Economics Degree Programs
1Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University, a private research university founded in 1876, enrolls more than 20,000 students. John Hopkins University offers a host of undergraduate and graduate (including doctoral) degree programs, with multiple degrees available in many disciplines.
Johns Hopkins University’s online Master of Science in Applied Economics degree helps students develop skills to construct and estimate economic models through the use of econometrics and quantitative techniques, as well as economic reasoning. The program also focuses on analyzing and interpreting economic data and applying the data to national and global policy and markets.
The program prepares graduates for a host of career options, including those in government agencies, international organizations, financial institutions, consulting firms, education, and nonprofit agencies.
Students can enter the program in the spring, summer, or fall term. Part-time students can complete the program in about two years, while full-time students can earn their degree in three to four semesters.
The online Master of Science in Applied Economics degree program consists of 10 courses, including Macroeconomic Theory, Microeconomic Theory, Econometrics, and Statistics.
Students can tailor the program to meet their personal and professional goals with the following curriculum areas:
- Financial Economics and the Macroeconomy
- Public Policy
- International Economics and Development
- Environmental Economics
- Spatial Economics
- Quantitative Methods
- Health Economics
Johns Hopkins University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
2Purdue University, Krannert School of Management
(West Lafayette, IN)
Purdue University in West Lafayette, a public, sea-grant, space-grant, and land-grant university founded in 1869, enrolls about 38,700 students. The flagship of the Purdue University system, the school offers approximately 270 programs leading to undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as professional degrees in veterinary medicine and pharmacy.
Designed for students with undergraduate majors in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) areas, Purdue University’s online Master of Science in Economics degree program helps students develop decision-making and quantitative skills needed in policy-making and managerial careers, as well as doctoral programs in economics.
Offered through the Krannert School of Management, the program provides students with the foundation to formulate and estimate economic models through quantitative techniques. Students can tailor their degree with concentrations in advanced theory and applied economics/business.
Classes begin each August. Students can complete the fully online, 30-credit-hour program in two years.
The online and on-campus programs feature the same content. Purdue University also offers a hybrid program.
The online Master in Economics degree program consists of 14 courses, including:
- Intermediate Economics
- Financial Econometrics
- Behavioral Economics
- International Economics
Students also must complete an independent study.
Purdue University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
American University, a private research university founded in 1893, enrolls more than 12,000 students. Affiliated with the United Methodist Church, American University features a secular curriculum leading to a host of undergraduate and graduate (including doctoral) programs.
American University’s online Master of Arts in Economics degree with an Applied Economics Specialization provides students with a solid understanding of economic theory. Designed to prepare graduates for careers in government agencies, financial institutions, corporations, and non-profit agencies, the program focuses on analyzing and quantifying human and organizational behavior, as well as interpreting economic models. The program also helps students develop analytical and communication skills.
Students must complete Calculus I or the CLEP exam before beginning the program.
Students can complete the online program in as few as 20 months.
The online Master of Arts in Economics degree with an Applied Economics Specialization features 10 eight-week courses, such as:
- Microeconomic Theory
- Introduction to Mathematical Economics
- Macroeconomic Theory
- Applied Econometrics
- Labor Economics
- Public Economics
- Finance, Stability and Growth
Students also must complete a capstone seminar.
American University’s online students have access to the same resources as on-campus students.
American University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
4University of North Dakota, College of Business & Public Administration
(Grand Forks, ND)
The University of North Dakota, a public, space-grant research university established in 1883, enrolls nearly 15,000 students. The largest and oldest university in the state, the University of North Dakota offers more than 220 programs of study leading to a host of undergraduate, graduate (including doctoral), and professional degrees, as well as a specialist program in educational leadership.
The University of North Dakota’s online Master in Applied Economics degree provides students with a strong foundation to collect and analyze data, apply economic theory, and effectively communicate technical material. The program helps students develop decision-making and economic analysis skills, as well as an understanding of macroeconomic theories.
The degree program provides students with hands-on experience, preparing them for careers in a range of businesses or government agencies.
The University of North Dakota’s program features three start dates each year.
The fully online program features live web classes, which students must attend at set times. Students can view recorded lectures and access course materials anytime.
Depending on whether students choose the thesis or non-thesis option, the program consists of 31 or 32 credits.
Online students have access to a variety of support services, including tech support, online tutoring, advising, and library resources.
The Online Master in Applied Economics degree program includes classes such as:
- International Economics
- Advanced Macroeconomic Theory
- Applied Economic Analysis
- Mathematics for Economists
- Demographic Methods for Economics
- Managerial Finance
- Advanced Price Theory
- Labor Economics and Labor Relations
The University of North Dakota is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business also provides accreditation to the university’s programs.
5Georgia Southern University, College of Business Administration
Georgia Southern University, a public research university founded in 1906, enrolls more than 20,500 students. Part of the University System of Georgia, Georgia Southern University offers more than 110 majors in a host of baccalaureate, master, and doctoral programs.
Georgia Southern University’s online Master of Science in Applied Economics degree provides students with analytical skills in financial economics, regulatory issues, and economic development. The program features the study of quantitative analysis, economic development, market analysis, and regulatory industry analysis. Designed to prepare graduates for careers in government, financial institutions and industry, the program also helps students analyze profit maximization strategies, as well as consumers’ choices, using mathematical microeconomic tools.
Georgia Southern University’s fully online program features small classes with a flexible schedule. Students can complete the 30-hour program in two years.
The online Master of Science in Applied Economics degree program includes the following courses:
- International Economics
- History of Economic Thought
- Applied Econometrics
- Behavioral Economics
- Applied Dynamic Optimization
Georgia Southern University is regionally accredited by the Southern Associations of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business also provides accreditation to the university’s business programs.