Why This Matters


    The median annual wage of economists is more than twice the median salary for all other occupations. The top 10% of economists earn more than $185,020.


    Job growth for economists is expected to grow much faster than the national average, as skilled workers are needed to analyze big data and help businesses make strategic decisions in an increasingly complex global economy.


    More than 2,900 new economists are needed over the next decade with an increasing need for employees who specialize in research and consulting services.

Our Research

This list covers graduate degree programs that teach students advanced economic theories and principles and prepare them for leadership roles in the global workforce. Degrees offered include Master of Science in Applied Economics, Master of Arts in Economics, Master of Science in Finance and Economics, Master of Science in Health Economics and Clinical Outcomes Research, Master’s in Econometrics and Quantitative Economics, and Master of Science in Policy Economics.

Accreditation is given to master’s degree programs that meet specific quality standards at the national and regional levels. The schools on our list are accredited by national accreditors such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Programs are also accredited by regional organizations, including the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), and Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WSCUC).

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 80 hours to write this article
  • 151 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 322 education programs we compared

The Top 50 Master’s in Economics Degree Programs

Best Master's in Economics Degree Programs
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What You Should Know About This Degree

When choosing a graduate program in economics, you should also consider pursuing a Master of Finance degree. Finance uses mathematical principles and theories to perform financial analysis, risk management, and forecasting. Graduates often work in investment banking or corporate finance as fund managers or financial advisors. On the other hand, economics focuses on future and past risks associated with goods and services. It analyzes how the overall economy works to make strategic decisions and develop new economic policies. Finance often deals with the present, specializing in day-to-day financial transactions and operations. This field is often more technical than economics and focuses on the real-world application of financial methodologies. While economists are prepared to work in financial institutions, they often pursue research positions and careers in academia. Determine which job opportunities you would like to be eligible for when considering a field of study.

Certifications in micro and macro economics can help future economists gain a competitive edge when applying for jobs in the global workforce. The National Development Council, American Academy of Financial Management, and National Economic Development Council all award certifications in the field of economics. Graduates should consider obtaining certifications such as the Economic Development Finance Professional, Chartered Economist, and Certified Economic Developer.

What’s Next?

Ask yourself these questions when researching Master’s in Economics degree programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Students must hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent to pursue a master’s degree in economics. Many programs also require a minimum GPA and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score. Some may also require letters of recommendation and professional work experience.
  • How long does it take to complete this online degree? Most graduate programs in economics take two years of full-time study to complete. The programs on our list require a minimum of 30 credits and a maximum of 51 credits to graduate.

Application deadlines and entry requirements vary by program. Research detailed information about the program to which you are applying by visiting the school’s website.

Graduate degree programs require a financial investment. Consider how you will pay for your education. There are scholarships and grants, as well as federal student aid, that you might be eligible to receive. Some employers may also pay part or all of your tuition fees.