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The 10 Best Online Master’s of Economics Graduate Schools

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Updated: February 26, 2024, Reading time: 25 minutes

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Are you interested in Economics? Good, because currently, there is an upward trend of undergrads pursuing postgraduate study for two basic reasons.

First, the pandemic has stunted the job market, which leads to the second reason, which is, that instead of sitting idly at home, most would rather spend the next 18 to 24 months earning a master’s degree.


Overview:
The field of Economics has been back on the rise since the recent pandemic; therefore, it’s the perfect time to consider earning your online Master of Economics degree. As many programs are delivered online or in a hybrid format, it’s easier than ever to find a convenient way to earn your degree. Distance learning options also allow for time flexibility and compliance with health protocols such as social distancing.

Quick audio summary:


Best Master's Economics fact 2
Grad School Center 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.

Master of Economics vs. MBA

What makes an MBA so popular is that it is the “jack of all trades.” It is not a master of none, though, but it only touches upon a few business topics here and there. For some MBA curricula, Economics would only appear in the course catalog, perhaps in the form of the “Principles of Micro/Macroeconomics,” or the more general “Principles of Economics.” It’s that broad. 

With an online Master’s of Economics, this degree is perfect if the student is deeply interested and invested (they might’ve taken an economics minor at the undergraduate level) in Economics and how it threads into the various sectors or industries at play.

What to do with a Master of Economics Degree

Pursuing a postgraduate study in economics is greatly beneficial and arms the bearer with versatile career options. Along with traditional professional routes like academia, research, government work (public policy), and financial institutions, a master’s in economics can also open up fin-tech, data analytics, and data science opportunities, thanks to their strong background in statistics and higher-order mathematics.


METHODOLOGY

With a master’s degree in Economics, you can have a wealth of career options and opportunities for growth! Take the right first step by choosing the right online master’s program! We compiled the Best Online Master’s of Economics Graduate Schools from top-flight universities that impress with these features:

economics

The Best Online Master’s of Economics Graduate Schools

masters of economics

Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Department of Economics

economics

Cambridge, MA

Online Master of Applied Science in Data, Economics, and Development Policy (Blended)

The Department of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has a long-standing reputation for contributing to the country’s economic public policies, research, and implementation. For more than a hundred years, the department has been instrumental in global entrepreneurial training and economic research.

It has also produced Nobel laureates in the field of Economics and experts who have held public positions and helped shape economic policies worldwide.

Standout Features:

The program strongly focuses on global economics and political economics as well as evidenced or data-based policy development. It also has course offerings on data science and analysis, as well as psychology concerning economics. It balances out the fundamentals with a strong focus on global economic policy formulation.

It is the perfect program for professionals looking to venture into federal or state work, policy and research, think tanks, and non-governmental economic organizations.

Consistent with the department’s focus on global economic policy formulation, graduates from the program have previously done their capstone projects with similarly focused organizations such as the World Food Programme, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), the World Bank, the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) and the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) among others.


Purdue University – Krannert School of Management 

economics

West Lafayette, IN

Online Master of Science Economics

Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management prides itself on being a business school powerhouse. Its Master’s in Finance and MBA programs are regarded by the Wall Street Journal as one of the best in the world. Regardless of the concentration, the Krannert School of Management produces graduates of Business, Finance, and Economics who are also competent in Analytics and Business Technology.

Standout Features:

Purdue undergrads enrolled in a STEM track such as Mathematics, Computer Science, Statistics, and select specialties of Engineering who are minoring in Economics can fast-track their undergrad and postgrad studies to earn both a BS in their STEM program and an MS in Economics sooner than the traditional route. This is an attractive pathway that expands a graduate’s career prospects.

Aside from its various business-related programs being ranked as one of the best globally, Krannert also ranks as one of, if not the top-ranked business school in the world for the diversity of its enrollees’ geographical and industrial backgrounds and gender.


American University

economics

Washington, DC

Online Master of Arts in Economics

American University in Washington, DC, established as a national university by the US Congress in the late 1800s, is strategically situated right in the country’s capital. Aspiring policymakers or those interested in being part of think tanks, non-profits, and other legitimate causes are assured of quality education and training from this century-and-a-half-old university.

AU’s program offerings, such as postgraduate degrees in Counter-Terrorism and Homeland Security, Public Administration, Strategic Communication, and Applied Economics, are relevant to today’s global landscape and challenges.

Standout Features:

The university’s online MA Economics program has a superbly high employment rate, with close to 100% of its graduates being employed across all sectors, be it the government (federal or state), private-for-profit, or private-non-profit firms.

Aside from its online MA Economics program being one of the top-ranked programs in the country, American University is also a good ground for military veterans, other service members, and their dependents looking to further their education.

Through the Yellow Ribbon program, American University and the Department of Veterans Affairs will cover the school expenses of the eligible student.


Georgia Southern University – Parker College of Business

economics

Statesboro, GA

Online Master (MS) of Science in Applied Economics (MSAE)

Established in 1906, Georgia Southern University offers more than 100 degrees from the undergraduate to the postgraduate level. It also houses the Parker College of Business, which since 1965 has conferred various business degrees in varying formats, including the MSAE and, up until recently, the Ph.D. in logistics and SCM.

Standout Features:

One of the curriculum standouts is elective on Applied Dynamic Optimization, which covers a wide array of topics from public and tax policy, agricultural and natural resources economics and management, production planning, and execution based on the Optimal Control Theory and the use of statistical computational software. 

Georgia Southern University, located in a coastal state, is a leading research facility on issues such as coastal climate change, particularly on the issues of preserving coastal biodiversity and sustainability. Other research impact areas of the university include logistics, supply chain, and manufacturing.


University of North Dakota

economics

Grand Forks, ND

Master’s of Science in Applied Economics and Predictive Analytics (MSAEPA)

The University of North Dakota was founded ahead of its namesake state in 1883. It is a well-recognized center for applied research in various fields such as medicine, technology, and finance, among others.

It is an academic behemoth under its square footage (521 acres) and its program offerings – from medicine, and engineering to aviation and the more advanced technologies of crewless aircraft. It carries a Carnegie Classification of RU-H, which means a university with high research activity.

Standout Features:

Undergrads who are keen on pursuing the MS AEPA Program can do so while they are still at the undergraduate level through two pathways:

The student must complete the MSAEPA program within one year after receiving their bachelor’s degree.

UND and North Dakota have recently been awarded the Larry Abernathy Award for exemplary collaboration between these two communities. The International Town and Gown Association award is bestowed annually, promoting and fostering a healthy and symbiotic relationship between an academic institution and the residential community surrounding it.


University of Missouri

economics

Columbia, Missouri

Missouri Online’s Masters of Arts in Economics

Missouri Online, launched in March 2021, is the brainchild of the University of Missouri’s four systems, namely, UM Columbia, UM Kansas City, UM Science and Technology, and UM St. Louis. As the Higher Learning Commission accredits all four UM systems, it goes without saying that Missouri Online’s curricula follow the HLC’s Guidelines, especially those concerning distance education.

Standout Features of UM’s MA in Economics:

The program can be taken during any of the three terms: summer, fall, and spring. So, with due diligence and attendance, students can finish the program in about two years by just taking one or two courses per term. Students can then healthily juggle the pursuit of a master’s degree with a job.

For the 2021 Spring commencement exercises, Missouri Online conferred degrees to 1,128 online students who hail from various demographic and geographic backgrounds. From ages 20 to 82, it’s like each American state is represented among this batch of graduates, with a significant number of international graduates.


University of Detroit Mercy

economics

Detroit, MI

Master of Arts in Economics

The University of Detroit Mercy, a diversity-promoting Catholic school, accepts non-denominational or non-sectarian or non-Catholics into their wide range of programs: Architecture, Medicine and Health Sciences, Business, Engineering, Liberal Arts, and Law. 

Standout Features:

The program has the seal of approval from the Higher Learning Commission. In addition, the faculty handling the online modality of the program is the same set of professors handling the brick-and-mortar version.

The University of Detroit Mercy is a constant and active presence in the community. Its School of Dentistry and School of Law provide free services and assistance, while its Design Center brings together students and community members through civic projects.

The university has also helped establish the Live6 Alliance, the Mercy Primary Care Center, and Saturday pre-college classes that cater to younger students.


West Texas A&M University – Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business

economics

Canyon, Texas

Online Master of Science (MS) in Finance and Economics (MSFE)

The online graduate programs of the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business, housed by West Texas A&M University, are among the highest-ranking online programs in the field, as hailed by varying school ranking experts.

Its online MBA has been hailed as one of the Top 25 and 50 programs for three years straight by the Princeton Review. At the same time, its online MSFE program is hailed as the second-best in the field by The Financial Engineer’s rankings. 

Standout Features:

The college is generous in offering financial aid to students who might need it. In AY 2020, the college had awarded $1.75M worth of scholarships. Its mother university, West Texas A&M, also offers scholarships to eligible students. It also accepts tuition subsidies from employers.

In May 2021, several WTA&M master’s programs were awarded as the best for quality and value for money in the Southwest Region. Among the recognized programs were the Master’s in Communication Sciences, Master’s in MIS, Master’s and Fine and Studio Arts, and the Master’s in General Agriculture.


Johns Hopkins University – Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

economics

Washington, DC

Master’s of Science in Applied Economics

When one thinks of John Hopkins University, the usual next word that comes to mind is “medicine” or “science.” Now boasting of 9 schools that house and cultivate various disciplines of study.

Within the halls of JHU’s Kreiger School of Arts and Sciences is the Advanced Academic Programs (AAP), which cater to professionals looking to advance their careers through AAP offerings, one of which is the Master’s of Science in Applied Economics.

Standout Features:

JHU-AAP offers its students the option to accelerate their studies to earn a double master’s or a master’s degree and a certificate in another discipline to get the most value for their time and money. The MS in Applied Economics can be earned alongside an MBA, a Certificate in Financial Management, or a Certificate in Investments. 

JHU’s Kreiger School of Arts and Sciences houses various fields of study that are not just focused on Economics and Business. Other relevant and exciting fields like Biotechnology, Communication, Film and Media, Liberal Arts, Writing, Organizational Leadership, Research Administration, Museum and Heritage Studies, and Governmental Studies are among the areas students can choose.


Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Blacksburg, VA

Online Master of Ag and Applied Economics

“Ag” stands for Agriculture, in case you’re wondering about this program put forth by Virginia Tech, one of the country’s top-ranked schools for research and innovation. Count on this MS of Ag and Applied Economics program to promote and impart new ways of thinking, analyzing, and implementing economic ideas across industries, especially in agriculture and the global supply chain.

As an agricultural hub and among the fastest producing in the country, it is no wonder that the brains at Virginia Tech decided to combine these two economic concepts to bring forth real, feasible solutions.

Standout Features:

It’s the first of its kind to gear the program towards a new approach to Economics – industry-centered and evidence-based, thanks to Data Science and Mathematical Programming. Its cohort-based learning style and competency-based assessment are rare in economics, especially at the postgrad level.

Virginia Tech celebrated the 150th anniversary of its founding. The commemoration kicked off in July 2021 and culminated in December 2022 to mark the university’s sesquicentenary.


What is an online Master of Economics Degree?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an online Master of Economics Degree?

It can come in many names, Master’s of Economics or sometimes, Applied Economics, and it can either be a Master of Science or Master of Arts. If it’s the former, you know that the concentration is more on interpreting data and how these are used to predict future trends and formulate hypotheses, inferences, and even policies.

If it’s the latter, then it’s about how seamlessly weave economic theories into various industries such as banking, finance, supply chain, health care, and even politics and governance.

A master’s degree in Economics is normally the next step after earning a bachelor’s in Economics, but short of having a Ph.D. As with other master’s studies, the curriculum is highly concentrated on directly relevant topics to the field. In the case of Economics, some core subjects would include Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Econometrics, sometimes Statistics, and even Calculus. 

Classes are held online or on campus. Some schools offer a hybrid mode of delivery, while some schools offer a separate online and in-campus track.

What are some course concentrations or specializations?

As mentioned, there’s the traditional Microeconomic Theory, Macroeconomic Theory, and Econometrics. Depending on the school’s focus or approach to the program, courses on Data Science and or Machine Learning may be available, as well as, Mathematical Programming using R or Python or data visualization.

Courses that touch on financial economics, and industry-specific economics such as supply chain, healthcare, agriculture, and even public policy may be available. Statistical Economics and Calculus may or may not be available because these courses are prerequisites to admission to the program more often than not.

What are the Job Prospects?

Graduates of the master’s program, whether under a more specific program such as Applied Economics or Financial Economics, have boundless job prospects. There are traditional routes such as government work, whether federal or state level, for-profit or non-profit organizations, policy-making bodies, and think tanks.

Financial institutions are also a way to go – banks, hedge funds, investment entities, and other corporate establishments such as financial management or advisement. Then there’s the academia – research, and education – always a foolproof plan for any Economics professional with a master’s degree. 

One of the upcoming trends nowadays, thanks to fin-tech (financial technologies), data science and machine learning play a role in these industries, whether as a data economist, statistical economist, or even a data scientist. If this is the route for you, make sure your master’s program focuses on data science and mathematical programming, or you can self-study programming in R or Python to give yourself a head start.

What is the job outlook for an economist?

Fret not Economists, as the job outlook for this field is steadily rising despite the pandemic. The BLS projects a 6% rise in job market share until 2032, an average rate compared to other occupations. In addition, the BLS projects that job prospects are brighter and more versatile for those with a master’s degree. In 2022, the year of recovery from the pandemic, the annual median salary of economists (assuming these are postgrad economists) is $113,940.

Another fact that entices several professionals to pursue a master’s in economics is that, unlike other postgrad studies, to be admitted to a master’s in economics program, you need only to have a bachelor’s degree in any field of concentration, with one caveat: most schools would require that you have taken some courses on Calculus and or Statistics or minored in Economics in your undergrad.

But the fact that you don’t have to have a bachelor’s in economics just to be admitted to the master’s program should be a sigh of relief and a great motivator to jumpstart your application.

Most economists find work in “hub” states – California, Texas, and Florida. These states house cross-industry companies like California has Silicon Valley, and Texas and Florida have agriculture, technology, aviation, and global supply chains.

Other concentrations of economists can be found in the tri-state area, especially New York, which is the country’s financial capital. As for its other East Coast neighbors – Virginia, Maryland, and DC –  its proximity to federal government agencies makes it a hub for policymakers and researchers.

On the other hand, some of the highest-paid economists can be found in California, Maryland, DC, and New York (where most of them are) and Massachusetts, Vermont, Chicago, Louisiana, Alabama, Colorado, and Washington.


Key Takeaways


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