Why This Matters


    Although a bachelor’s degree will qualify you for some entry-level jobs, most economist positions do seek candidates who have a master’s degree, due to the complex nature of the job’s responsibilities.


    One of the fastest growing economics fields is market research analysis, as industries increase their use of data in making decisions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 139,200 new jobs.


    The average annual salary for an economist is $104,340. A bachelor’s-level position like a market research analyst earns an average annual salary of $63,120, according to the BLS.

Our Research

For this list, we compiled the best master’s programs in economics. A variety of degrees are available in this field, including a Master of Science (MS), Master of Business Administration (MBA), and Master of Arts (MA).

Our criteria included delivery method and accreditation. We sought programs that are delivered completely or primarily online to ensure accessibility for the highest number of students. We also looked for schools with regional accreditation, as well as programs with programmatic accreditation from agencies like the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). These accreditations confirm the programs’ commitment to quality.

After narrowing our list of master’s programs in economics, we reviewed them all based on cost, reputation, flexibility, outcomes, and faculty. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale of 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 86 hours to write this article
  • 193 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 433 education programs we compared

The Top 19 Online Master’s in Economics Programs

Best Online Master's in Economics Degree Programs
Intelligent Pick
University of Detroit Mercy
Best Private University
JHU Advanced Academic Programs
Best for Veterans
Georgia Southern University
Best in the Midwest
University of North Dakota
Best Financial Economics Focus
Youngstown State University
Best Certificate Options
SUNY Empire State College
Best Public University
University of Missouri
Best in the South
West Texas A&M University
Best Health Economics Focus
Xavier University
Best Entrepreneurship Focus
University of Houston-Victoria
Best in the Northeast
University of Delaware
Best Online University
Southern New Hampshire University
Most Affordable
Western Illinois University
Best Specialization Options
Purdue University
Most Flexible
Northeastern University
Best Agribusiness Focus
Southern Illinois University
Best Behavioral Economics Focus
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Most Experienced Faculty
American University
Best Community Development Focus
Pennsylvania State University

What You Should Know About This Degree

When selecting a master’s in economics program, your first decision is what type of degree you want to earn. Your options include a Master of Science degree, which has an in-depth, technical focus; a Master of Business Administration, which teaches economic principles through a business lens; and a Master of Arts, which takes a theoretical approach to the field. Consider your career goals and what orientation best suits your interests when choosing a program.

Although a master’s degree is the minimum level of education needed for economist jobs, because of the advanced research and analytical skills needed, many individuals also earn a doctorate degree. This opens up job opportunities and helps you obtain higher-level positions.

If you are considering a doctorate, factor that into your master’s program selection process. You will want to attend a regionally accredited school and may find it helpful to complete a thesis as part of your master’s degree.

Many master’s programs offer a broad-based education, but there are a number of specialization areas within economics, including community and economic development, behavioral economics, and health economics. Some programs offer a degree in that specific area, while others allow students to build that focus into their degree through electives. This is also something you’ll want to consider when researching programs.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Online Master’s in Economics programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Most master’s in economics programs accept students from all backgrounds, although they may have prerequisites for coursework in mathematics, business, or research. Look carefully at the program’s eligibility requirements before applying to ensure that you meet the minimum qualifications for admission.
  • Are there any in-person requirements? Although a program may deliver all coursework online, students may still be required to complete some in-person components of the program. These components may include internships, externships, or residencies. During your research, review the curriculum to see if it includes any in-person requirements so that you can plan on accommodating them in your schedule and budget.

Other steps you can take at this point include gathering your application materials, confirming application deadlines and procedures, and planning how you will fund your graduate degree. Admissions representatives and financial aid counselors can assist you if you have questions. Funding resources include student loans, scholarships, assistantships, and tuition benefits from your employer if you are currently working.