Best Online Master’s in Economics

by TBS Staff

Updated June 2, 2023

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Money may make the world go round, but the world needs economists to understand how to manage it.

Students in Master's in Economics degree programs receive valuable analytical and quantitative training in the field of economics necessary to success in a variety of professional roles. 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 Ph.D. in Economics to become a university professor or research economist.

A traditional Master's in Economics program does not work for all students, however; online programs may better suit the needs of busy individuals with full–time jobs or familial obligations. This article ranks the 15 best online Master's in Economics degrees available today.

The Best Online Master's in Economics Programs

#1 Best Online Master’s in Economics

Georgia Southern University

  • Statesboro, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Georgia Southern University, located in Statesboro, enrolls master's students in its online economics program. The master of science in applied economics program draws on a rigorous curriculum that prepares graduates for leadership responsibilities. After completing a master's degree, candidates often advance in their current field or pursue new opportunities.

The master's curriculum explores theoretical and practical perspectives in the economics field. Learners complete electives and other specialized courses to gain career-specific training. Applicants without a degree in economics or a related field may need to meet prerequisite requirements to enroll in the program.

Online enrollees work with the program to arrange professional internships at approved locations in their area. The program encourages professional development activities, including networking events, so graduate students can expand their professional connections.

Georgia Southern University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 54%

Total Online Master's Programs: 19

Program Name: Master of science in applied economics

Graduate Tuition In State: $4,977

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $19,890

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$4,371
Out-of-state
$15,425
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$4,977
Out-of-state
$19,890
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
54%
Students Enrolled
26,054
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Best Online Master’s in Economics

Purdue University

  • West Lafayette, IN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

From its campus in West Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue University hosts a top-ranked master's in economics program. The online master of science in economics program strengthens industry-specific skills, preparing graduates for leadership responsibilities. A master's degree allows candidates to move up the career ladder or pursue a new professional path.

The master's curriculum incorporates theoretical and applied approaches to economics. Learners take specialized courses to stand out in a competitive job market. Applicants with a background in economics typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees complete internship requirements at approved sites in their own community. Graduate students grow their professional connections through internships and virtual networking events.

Purdue University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 60%

Total Online Master's Programs: 20

Program Name: Online master of science in economics

Graduate Tuition In State: $9,208

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $28,010

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$9,208
Out-of-state
$28,010
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,208
Out-of-state
$28,010
Retention Rate
91%
Admission Rate
60%
Students Enrolled
45,500
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
22% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#3 Best Online Master’s in Economics

University of North Dakota

  • Grand Forks, ND
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

From its campus in Grand Forks, the University of North Dakota offers an online master's in economics. The master of science in applied economics and predictive analytics program draws on a rigorous curriculum that prepares graduates for leadership responsibilities. After earning a master's degree, candidates may also pursue careers in new industries.

The master's curriculum emphasizes research methods and analytical skills. Learners often choose a specialized concentration, which can help them stand out in a competitive job market. The master's program recommends that applicants bring a background in economics or a related field.

Online enrollees work with the program to find internship opportunities in their local area. The program encourages professional development activities, including networking events, so graduate students can expand their professional connections.

University of North Dakota at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 81%

Total Online Master's Programs: 28

Program Name: Master of science in applied economics and predictive analytics

Graduate Tuition In State: $10,534

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $18,434

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$8,212
Out-of-state
$14,371
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$10,534
Out-of-state
$18,434
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
13,581
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
45% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 Best Online Master’s in Economics

University of Missouri

  • Columbia, MO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Based in Columbia, the University of Missouri hosts a top-rated online master's in economics. The master of arts in economics program draws on a rigorous curriculum that prepares graduates for leadership responsibilities. A master's degree can also prepare candidates for opportunities in new fields.

The master's curriculum incorporates theoretical and applied approaches to economics. Learners choose electives or a specialization to gain focused career training. Applicants with prior experience in economics or a related field often meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees can often complete professional internships at approved locations in their own community. The program encourages graduate students to participate in hands-on experiences and networking events to grow their professional connections.

University of Missouri at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 81%

Total Online Master's Programs: 21

Program Name: Master of arts in economics

Graduate Tuition In State: $9,264

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $25,363

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$9,120
Out-of-state
$26,991
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,264
Out-of-state
$25,363
Retention Rate
88%
Admission Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
30,014
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
32% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#5 Best Online Master’s in Economics

American University

  • Washington, DC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master's degree in economics at American University, located in Washington, offers high academic quality. The online MA in economics with an applied economics specialization uses a rigorous curriculum to prepare graduates for advanced roles in the field. A master's degree helps candidates advance in their current field or pursue a new career path.

The master's curriculum examines theoretical and practical perspectives on economics. Learners individualize the course of study by selecting electives and concentrations. The program recommends that applicants bring a background in economics or a related field.

Online enrollees coordinate with the program to complete internships at approved sites in their local area. Graduate students expand their professional network through internships and online events.

American University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private, nonprofit, four-year

Admission Rate: 36%

Total Online Master's Programs: 16

Program Name: Online MA in economics with an applied economics specialization

Graduate Tuition In State: $30,351

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $30,351

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$49,070
Out-of-state
$49,070
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$30,351
Out-of-state
$30,351
Retention Rate
87%
Admission Rate
36%
Students Enrolled
14,318
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
20% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Best Online Master's

Online Master's in Economics Programs Ranking Guidelines

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

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, 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 AcademicInfluence.com, 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 Master's in Economics Programs

What is a Master’s in Economics Degree?

Master’s in Economics degrees come in a variety of forms, including a Master’s of Science, Master’s of Arts, and Master’s of Business Administration programs. While each comes with unique qualities and concerns, all provide a strong grounding in core principles of economics. The curricula for these programs typically include coursework in economic theories, econometrics, financial analysis, statistics, mathematics, and implementing economic research. Some programs may include field experience or capstone components.

An MA in Economics may place greater emphasis on the research and theoretical aspects of economics, preparing students for careers in research or academic roles. An MS in Economics typically utilizes a more technical and practical approach, focusing on the application of economic principles in real–time, and preparing students for active careers in the public or private sectors. An MBA program treats economics as a specialization on top of core MBA coursework. Students in MBA programs engage with fundamental business administration concepts, alongside specialized courses in economic principles and practices, to prepare for leading economic roles in corporations and financial institutions.

How Long Does it Take to Complete an Online Master’s in Economics Degree?

Like most master’s degree programs, a Master’s in Economics degree typically takes two years to complete. However, some schools offer accelerated programs that may be completed in as quickly as one year, and some offer part–time programs that may be completed in three to six years.

Master’s in Economics Degree Careers

Individuals holding a Master’s in Economics degree may pursue a variety of careers, including:

  • Actuary
  • Compensation and benefits manager
  • Credit analyst
  • Data scientist
  • Econometrician
  • Economic consultant
  • Economist
  • Financial analyst
  • Financial manager
  • Lawyer
  • Management consultant
  • Market researcher
  • Policy analyst
  • Professor
  • Statistician

Master's in Economics Degree Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016 economists saw a median annual salary of $101,050. The following information portrays median annual salaries earned by economists in their top five industries for employment:

Master’s in Economics Degree Salary
Career Median Salary
Finance and insurance $124,660
Federal government, excluding postal service $111,310
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services $110,900
Scientific research and development services $102,000
State government, excluding education and hospitals $69,170

Master’s in Economics Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the job field for economists will grow from 2016–2026 at a rate of 6%, as fast as average for all other occupations

Economics Professional Organizations

Founded in 1885, the AEA has dedicated itself to the advancement of the field of economics for well over a century. Its membership, now greater than 20,000, includes individuals from all areas of involvement in economics. Membership comes with numerous benefits, including a large professional network, access to events and conventions, honors and awards, and access to resources and publications. The NABE connects economics professionals with the goal of encouraging development, discourse, and the spread of information. NABE formed in 1959. Membership includes access to professional resources and publications, networking opportunities, and events and conventions.

Header Image Credit: Thomas Barwick | Getty Images

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