Compare School Options

Most schools have rolling admissions and financial help so you can start your degree in a few weeks!

An online bachelor’s degree in economics prepares graduates for careers in a variety of fields, including business, government, finance, academia, consulting, and research. Several government agencies hire economists with undergraduate degrees throughout a range of occupations and industries for economic health evaluation and identification of risk factors. This degree also provides a strong foundation for students who want to pursue graduate study in economics and prepare for high-level positions.

Employment of economists is expected to grow by 6% through 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median annual pay for economists is $105,630. Meanwhile, budget analysts earn a median annual salary of $79,940, while median pay for financial analysts is $95,570,

For a bachelor’s in economics, students must typically earn 120 credits. Full-time students usually complete this degree in four years of full-time study. This program’s cost varies and mainly depends on the type of school a student chooses. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that in the 2021-22 academic year, average undergraduate tuition was $7,869 at public universities and $37,095 at private institutions.

How to Choose an Online Bachelor’s in Economics Degree Program

Choose your area of study

As you’re starting your college search process, it’s a good idea to clarify what your educational and career goals are, so you can find a bachelor’s in economics program that aligns with your interests and aspirations.

Students may choose a Bachelor of Science (BS) or a Bachelor of Arts (BA)  in economics. Bachelor of Arts programs offer a broader curriculum with a more theoretical approach to the field. Bachelor of Science programs prepare students for applied economic positions with an emphasis on mathematics and quantitative elements.

Also, this is a good time to determine your logistical needs for an online program. Some economics degree programs are delivered synchronously, with students attending live virtual classes. Others are asynchronous, with coursework delivered through an online portal that students can access 24/7. Both learning formats have advantages and disadvantages, so students should determine which best meets their needs. Students should also consider whether they want to enroll full-time or part-time.

Research schools and programs

When researching online bachelor’s in economics degrees, confirming that a recognized regional accrediting agency accredits the schools you’re considering is important. This ensures that the institution meets rigorous standards for providing high-quality education. Only students enrolled at accredited schools can be considered for federal financial aid. A school’s accreditation status can also affect future employment and educational opportunities for students.

There are several ways for students to research schools and programs. The college’s website is a good place to start. Students can also contact program representatives and admissions counselors to ask questions directly. Find out if the school or program hosts virtual information sessions or open houses for online students, and follow social media accounts for the school and program where available.

Here are some valuable questions to ask when researching schools:

  • Are classes offered synchronously or asynchronously?
  • How do students interact with classmates and faculty?
  • Who are the faculty and what are their qualifications?
  • Are there any experiential learning components, like internships?
  • What networking opportunities are available to online students?
  • What support services does the school provide to online students?

Prepare for tests and applications

Carefully review the school’s admissions processes, and check with an admissions counselor if you have any questions. Application procedures and requirements vary among schools, so it might be helpful to create a spreadsheet or checklist to keep track of submissions, especially if you’re applying to multiple schools.

A standard application for an online bachelor’s in economics consists of:

  • Completed application and required fees
  • Official high school transcript showing proof of graduation or a GED
  • Letters of recommendation from teachers, employers, and mentors who can speak to your academic potential
  • An essay or personal statement
  • A resume or CV

Some schools still require SAT or ACT scores. However, schools are increasingly  implementing test-optional policies. Students should also check if there are specific requirements such as a minimum high school GPA.

Students who have previous college credits from another institution should also submit their transcript from that school, so their credits can be applied to their new degree program.

Select your program

Review the program’s curriculum, faculty, and course delivery methods to find the ones that best meet your needs. For some students, there may be only one or two schools that fit their parameters. Other students apply to several schools to increase their admissions chances. There’s no right or wrong number of schools to apply to, but students should keep in mind that most schools charge application fees, which can quickly add up.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Begin planning early by contacting the school’s financial aid office and getting clarity on the program’s total cost and financial aid options.

Most students will want to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which schools use to determine students’ eligibility for need-based financial aid like student loans, grants, work-study, scholarships, and assistantships. Many schools and external organizations offer merit-based aid for high-achieving students, including scholarships, grants, and fellowships.

Students working while earning their degree can inquire about employer tuition assistance benefits. Veterans or active-duty military members should explore tuition discounts and GI Bill benefits. It’s also common for schools to offer payment plans so students can pay tuition in installments.

The Top 50 Online Bachelor’s in Economics Programs

Best Online Bachelor's in Economics Programs Badge

Utah State University

Oregon State University

Pennsylvania State University

Florida International University

University of Utah

Colorado State University

Washington State University

Eastern Oregon University

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

University of West Georgia

West Texas A&M University

Arizona State University

Western Illinois University

San Diego State University

Fort Hays State University

UMass Lowell

University of Hawai'i at Manoa

SUNY Empire State College

University of Central Arkansas

Liberty University

Regent University

University of Wisconsin Whitewater

Medgar Evers College - CUNY

University of Arizona

Eastern New Mexico University

University of North Carolina

Limestone University

Colorado Christian University

Texas State University

Ottawa University

University of Maine

Indiana University East

University of New Mexico

Discover More Options

How We Rank Schools

This list focuses on undergraduate programs offering bachelor’s degrees in economics or a related field. All programs are available at nonprofit, accredited institutions, either public or private, with high quality standards for post-secondary education. We reviewed fully online programs and online/in-person hybrid programs.

We evaluated each degree program on factors like tuition costs, faculty, reputation, student resources, and admission, retention, and graduation rates. We then calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

We also compared our picks to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

What Can You Expect from an Online Bachelor’s in Economics Degree Program?

Most bachelor’s in economics programs require 120 credits, with a curriculum that covers basic to advanced economic skills and concepts.

Required courses usually include microeconomics, macroeconomics, economic theory, banking and finance, history of economic thought, international trade theory, statistics, and more. Students learn how to analyze economic patterns and changes and understand market and consumer behavior to help organizations assess risk and opportunities. They also develop transferable skills like analysis, communication, and critical thinking.

Concentrations offer flexibility to allow students to follow personal and professional interests. Students planning on venturing into business can choose a managerial concentration with courses teaching practical skills and business management. Other possible concentrations include banking and financial economics, international economics, commodity marketing, business economics, and political economy.

Internships or other experiential learning requirements are common in this degree program. Programs might also feature a capstone project, in which students demonstrate the theoretical and practical knowledge they gained in the program with a comprehensive project.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online bachelor’s in economics degree program

  • Survey of International Economics. Students study international trade issues, monetary topics, and theory. Topics encompass currency issues and global economic policies.
  • Public Economics. At the end of the course, students understand the role of the government in the economy, including the benefits of government policy.
  • Banking and Financial Economics. This course focuses on basic economic theory, business, and practices of financial institutions. Students will discuss economic outlook changes or policies that influence the world’s economy.
  • Applied Regression Economics and Forecasting. The class focuses on how  institutions and businesses use statistical modeling. Students will study how to predict future economic outcomes.
  • Economic Statistics. Estimation, sampling, probability distribution, and confidence intervals are covered. Learners explore the practical examination of present statistical data to today’s economic trends.

What Can I Do With an Online Economics Degree?

A bachelor’s degree in economics prepares students for entry- and mid-level jobs focusing on collecting and analyzing data, especially related to finances. These skills are in demand in a number of sectors, including government and public policy, finance, business, and healthcare. Some common jobs for individuals with bachelor’s degrees in economics are actuary, budget analyst, and financial analyst.

Another option is to pursue a master’s degree in economics, such as a Master of Science (MS) or Master of Business Administration (MBA).  These advanced degrees help students sharpen their skills so they can tackle high-level research and analysis and are a common requirement for economist jobs. Depending on the program, students may be able to pursue their master’s immediately following their bachelor’s program, while others seek out students with professional experience.

Career outlook

  • Economist — Research economic issues related to education, the labor force, international trade, and other topics by collecting and analyzing data. Advise businesses, governments, and individuals based on this research and analysis.
    • Median annual salary: $115,730
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 6%
    • New jobs projected: 1,200 per year
  • Budget analyst — Help public and private organizations plan their finances by preparing budget reports and monitoring organizational spending.
    • Median annual salary:  $84,940
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 3%
    • New jobs projected: 3,600 per year
  • Actuary — Use mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to assess the risk of potential events and help businesses and clients develop policies that minimize the cost of that risk.
    • Median annual salary: $120,00
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 23%
    • New jobs projected: 2,300 per year

Online Bachelor’s in Economics Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online bachelor’s in economics degree program?

Speak to an admissions counselor for the most accurate information about how to apply to a specific online bachelor’s in economics program.

In general, students complete an online application, and submit supplemental materials through a school’s online application portal. Undergraduate students may submit the Common Application, which facilitates applications to multiple schools. To be considered official transcripts and test scores usually have to be sent directly from the school or testing agency, respectively.

Letters of recommendation should come from teachers, employers, or colleagues who can speak to your academic and professional abilities and skills, especially as they relate to this field. Give yourself sufficient time to craft a well-written personal essay and ask a trusted teacher, counselor, or friend to review it before submitting it.

How much does an online bachelor’s in economics degree program cost?

Contact schools directly and speak to a financial aid counselor about tuition, fees, and financial aid for the most accurate answer.

Costs vary from school to school, but undergraduate tuition at public universities is $12,394 on average. In contrast, private universities charge, on average, $37,095.

Some of the factors that influence college costs include:

  • Public versus private status – Public schools are usually less expensive than private schools, although their tuition rates may be different for in-state and out-of-state students
  • Additional fees – Most schools will charge students additional fees beyond tuition for things like virtual classroom technology, library resources, labs, and more
  • Potential savings – Online students can expect to save money by eliminating transportation expenses and having more flexibility with living expenses

How long does it take to earn an online bachelor’s in economics degree?

Most online bachelor’s in economics programs are designed to be completed in four years of full-time study. Part-time students may take longer to complete the program. Students who want to finish their degree faster can inquire about accelerated programs that allow students to take a higher credit load each term. Additionally, students who have an associate degree or other previously earned college credits can transfer credits to a new program, cutting down on program completion time.

Is an online economics degree worth it?

An economics degree equips students with an array of in-demand skills, including analytical and critical thinking, research experience, and an understanding of complex financial and economic concepts. The employment outlook for many common career paths for this degree, including economists and actuaries, are expected to grow at a faster-than-average pace in the coming decades.

From a return-on-investment perspective, this degree can also lead to higher-than-average salaries. Economists earn a median annual wage of $115,730, well above the overall median wage, which is $48,060. For economists working in scientific research and development, the median annual wage is $140,940. For those working in the federal government, the median annual wage is $135,200.