Why This Matters

  • ECONOMISTS MAKE $105,020 PER YEAR

    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.

  • DEMAND FOR ECONOMISTS EXPECTED TO INCREASE BY 14%

    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.

  • 23,500 ECONOMISTS EXPECTED IN THE U.S. BY 2029

    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 53 Master’s in Economics Degree Programs

Best Master's in Economics Degree Programs
01
Intelligent Pick
The University of Texas at Austin
01
Most Customizable Program
JHU Advanced Academic Programs
01
Best Career Placement
University of Maryland
01
Best for International Macroeconomics
University of Houston
01
Best in the Southwest
University of Arizona
01
Best for Asian Economic Development
Claremont Graduate University
01
Best Assistantships
George Mason University
01
Best HBCU
Howard University
01
Best for Applied Economics
Southern Methodist University
01
Best for Quantitative Methods
UNC Charlotte Master of Science in Economics
01
Best in the Northwest
University of Oregon
01
Best Athletics
The University of Texas at Arlington
01
Best for Schedule Flexibility
Georgia Southern University
01
Best for Data Analytics
University of North Dakota
01
Best in the South
West Texas A&M University
01
Best Catholic Institution
University of Detroit Mercy
01
Best Public Institution
Youngstown State University
01
Best Dual Degree Programs
University of Missouri
01
Best in the West
UCLA
01
Best Online Program
Purdue University
01
Best for International Students
The University of Oklahoma
01
Best for Policymaking
American University
01
Best for Practical Training
NYU Arts & Science
01
Most Innovative Curriculum
Georgia State University
01
Best in the Southeast
Duke University
01
Best Electives
Georgetown University
01
Best for Financial Econometrics
The College of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M University
01
Best Baptist Institution
Baylor University
01
Best in the Northeast
Boston University
01
Best Part-Time Program
Northeastern University
01
Best for Study Abroad
Ohio University
01
Most Affordable Program
Western Illinois University
01
Best for Urban Policy
Tufts University
01
Best Student-Faculty Ratio
Lehigh University
01
Best for Monetary Theory
Southern Illinois University
01
Best for Veterans
Florida State University
01
Best for Behavioral Economics
University of Southern California
01
Best for Food & Agricultural Economics
Cornell University
01
Best Career Counseling
Columbia University
01
Best for Economics of Big Data
University of Wisconsin-Madison
01
Best Faculty
George Washington University
01
Best for Interdisciplinary Approach
Stanford University
01
Best Guest Speakers
University of Delaware
01
Best for Public Finance
University of Michigan
01
Best Full-Time Program
NC State University
01
Best Fellowships
Stony Brook University
01
Best for Law and Regulation
University at Buffalo
01
Best Internships
Georgia Institute of Technology
01
Best for International Trade
Pennsylvania State University
01
Best Field Experiences
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
01
Best in the Midwest
University of Minnesota
01
Best Scholarships
Temple University
01
Best Combined BS/MA Program
Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University

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.