If you have a passion for finance, data analysis, and want to play a part in solving economic issues, a career in economics might be a good fit. Economics majors work in various sectors like the government, education, financial institutions, health, business, and international organizations. A Master’s Degree in Economics lets you achieve higher-level jobs and career paths.
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In this article, you will find a comprehensive overview of the best economics master’s degrees. Top universities offer accredited degrees that teach beyond the basic concepts in economics. They help you improve your analytical skills, master statistical software, and learn how to effectively use data analysis tools.
A Master’s Degree in Economics has the potential to open so many different career doors. Whether your career aspiration is to work in finance or banking, or to help create policy changes or help businesses, the options are seemingly limitless.
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Below we will break down what an MA in Economics entails, what careers you can get with your master’s degree, what salary to expect, and which are the best master’s programs to check out.
What Is Economics?
Economics is a social science that deals with value in the form of products, services, and money. Courses in economics study production from resources, distribution, and consumption by society. Economics covers topics like employment, land, currency inflation, economy, policies, and investment.
Economics is the study of economic resources, how and why they are created, produced, and used. In economics, you will usually learn how to solve problems related to unemployment, the environment, inflation, inequality, market failures, and national wealth distribution.
Generally, the way these problems are solved is by identifying the economic decisions made in a company or society, and then informing the organizations and governments how they can improve their decision-making.
What Is an Economics Master’s Degree?
A Master’s Degree in Economics helps you advance your statistical and data analytical expertise. It allows you to apply your economic knowledge and logical thinking to propose better solutions to organizations and businesses. This degree opens up many career opportunities to become economists, financial advisors, financial managers, consultants, analysts, or managers.
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The average bootcamp grad spent less than six months in career transition, from starting a bootcamp to finding their first job.
Colleges and universities will offer a Master of Science or a Master of Arts degree in Economics, Applied Economics, or other branches of economics. Some students pursue a degree in business administration with a concentration in economics. All programs cover the subdivisions of macroeconomics and microeconomics to different extents.
Economics Master’s Degree Requirements
A bachelor’s degree is not always compulsory. You will need to have previous exposure to economics, calculus, linear algebra, statistics, and finance. To apply, you need to submit your previous transcripts, proof of prerequisites, and GRE test scores. Admissions might also ask for a statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, and language test results.
How Much Does an Economics Master’s Degree Cost?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average tuition for a Master’s Degree in Economics is $12,171. The total cost of education can increase to $19,314 with additional fees in public institutions as compared to $25,929 from private universities. In many cases, the university website publishes the total cost of the program or the cost per credit.
Economics Master’s Degree Financing Options: How to Pay for Your Economics Degree
If you are looking for ways to finance your studies, consider federal student loans, merit-based fellowships, federal aids, and private loans. Your university might offer scholarships for women, military, and highly qualified students.
Best Master’s in Economics Programs
A master’s degree program will not only help set you apart, but it will also help you gain the crucial skills needed for most economics careers. You can choose to go from an MBA with an economic concentration or either an Master of Arts or Master of Science in Economics.
MBA programs can offer classes in the economics of healthcare, financial markets, econometrics, growth of the global economy, energy, or the environment. Generally, an MA or MS will be more focused on knowledge of macroeconomics, microeconomics, and econometrics. Also, if you wish to do further study and go into a PhD program then an MA or MS might be the way to go.
Starting from your undergraduate degree to the end of your master’s degree, it will take six to eight years to enter the industry. The majority of master’s programs take between one and four years of full-time study to complete.
Below is a list of great Master’s Degree in Economics programs to help you on your journey.
Best Economics Master’s Degree Programs and Schools: Overview
|American University||Master of Arts in International Economics||Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)|
|Clemson University||Master of Arts in Economics||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)|
|Georgetown University||Master of Arts in Applied Economics||Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)|
|Johns Hopkins University||Master of Science in Applied Economics and Certificate in Investments||Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)|
|Ohio State University||Master of Applied Economics||Higher Learning Commission (HLC)|
|University of Delaware||Master of Arts in Economics and Entrepreneurship for Educators||Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)|
|University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign||Master of Science in Policy Economics||Higher Learning Commission (HLC)|
|University of Southern California Dornsife||Master of Science in Applied Economics and Econometrics||Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)|
|University of Texas||Master of Arts in Economics||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)|
|University of Wyoming||Master of Science in Economics||Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
Best Colleges for Economics: Top Economics Master’s Degree Programs
You can earn a Master’s Degree in Economics from an accredited institution to gain a wide range of crucial skills and a comprehensive understanding of economics to excel in an economics career. Below is a list of the top master’s degree programs offered by leading institutions.
Master of Arts in International Economics | American University
This program exposes students to international economics, public policy, trade, economic development, and finance. Students learn to apply theoretical concepts, research methods, mathematical tools, and econometrics to the global market and economic issues and policies.
Master of Arts in Economics | Clemson University
This is a flexible program offering both a thesis and non-thesis learning pathway which can be completed in as little as 12 months. The curriculum teaches economic theory, data analysis tools, statistical analysis, and government policy. Graduates learn skills that can be applied to diverse fields including private and government institutions.
Master of Arts in Applied Economics | Georgetown University
The focus of this program is the application of economics in the modern world. The curriculum covers both advanced macroeconomics and microeconomic theories. Students learn to apply data analysis, quantitative methods, statistical tools, and mathematical models for economic analysis and computations.
Master of Science in Applied Economics and Graduate Certificate in Investments | Johns Hopkins University
This program gives a graduate certificate in addition to a master’s degree over 15 courses. They are equipped with economic theories, analytical skills, empirical skills, and data analysis methods. Business and social sciences courses come together in this program by John Hopkins to boost a career in diverse fields.
Master of Applied Economics | Ohio State University
This is a brief program over two semesters to prepare professionals for a career in the finance and business fields. The curriculum emphasizes hands-on experience, critical thinking, analytical skills, quantitative skills, and problem-solving. Graduate students learn to use statistical software and models including Stata, Matlab, R, and SAS.
Master of Arts in Economics and Entrepreneurship for Educators | University of Delaware
This economics program is designed for students who want to pursue a career in academia and teach students in economics, entrepreneurship, finance, and business. The instruction comes in a hybrid format where students take part in the course online while some courses are taken on campus. This is an interdisciplinary program that brings education and economics together.
Master of Science in Policy Economics | University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
This is a STEM-designated program that covers core courses in econometrics, microeconomics, macroeconomics, and economic statistics. The school offers diverse courses for specialization in development, labor, law, monetary, public, international, and industrial economics. Students have the flexibility to complete their master’s degree in one to two years or follow a PhD track.
Master of Science in Applied Economics and Econometrics | University of Southern California Dornsife
This is a STEM-designed program with coursework in economics and specialization in six areas in the field of economics. The tracks include behavioral economics, health economics, big data economics, financial economics, economic policy and development, and economics consulting. Students can pursue a PhD program after graduation.
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Master of Arts in Economics | University of Texas
This graduate degree has three available tracks based on the time to complete the degree, making it easier for students to choose their own pace of study. The program has a STEM designation opening up opportunities for research, further study, and employment. They work with policies, data analysis, legislation, banking, and financing.
Master of Science in Economics | University of Wyoming
This program prepares professionals for economic careers and doctoral programs. Wyoming provides excellent faculty, an experimental economics lab, and opportunities to network in the field. Students develop analytical and data analysis skills to solve economic problems.
Best Online Economics Master’s Degree Programs and Schools: Overview
|American University||Master of Arts in Economics, Applied Economics Specialization||Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS)|
|Arizona State University||Master of Science in Supply Chain Management||Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
|Boston University||Master of Science in Insurance Management||Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)|
|Northeastern University||Master of Science in Commerce and Economic Development||New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)|
|Northwestern University||Master’s in Public Policy and Administration||Higher Learning Commission (HLC)|
|Peru State College||Master of Science in Organizational Management – Entrepreneurial and Economic Development||Higher Learning Commission (HLC)|
|Purdue University||Master of Science in Economics||Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC-NCA)
Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
|University of Illinois||Master of Science in Data Analytics||Higher Learning Commission (HLC)|
|University of Missouri||Master of Arts in Economics||Higher Learning Commission (HLC)|
|Washington University||Master of Science in Business Analytics||Higher Learning Commission (HLC)|
Best Colleges for Economics: Top Online Economics Master’s Degree Programs
Online degrees in economics also open up job opportunities. Online economics graduates are equipped with theoretical knowledge, quantitative background skills, and practical training for a career in economics. Here is a shortlist of the best online programs from graduate schools to pursue an online Master’s Degree in Economics for career advancement.
Master of Arts in Economics, Applied Economics Specialization | American University
If you want to increase your marketability in the growing field of economics, this degree has a policy-oriented curriculum. Students acquire in-depth knowledge of economic theories and the skills to handle the complexities of current economics. Professional degrees like this one prepare students for a wide variety of careers in the field of economics.
Master of Science in Supply Chain Management | Arizona State University
This program is an engaging educational experience where students learn about global competition, new markets, sustainability and social responsibility, the modern economic environment, logistics and procurement, products and services, and supply chain management.
Master of Science in Insurance Management | Boston University
If you are interested in insurance, this program is ideal for you. Professionals with previous experience with insurance and a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) credential can get up to four specialized courses waived for a short route to a master’s degree. Boston University offers two scholarships in addition to financial assistance for students.
Master of Science in Commerce and Economic Development | Northeastern University
Students in this program apply economics and public policy using mathematical modeling and data analysis techniques. Full-time students can complete this STEM program in 12-18 months. If you have your CFA, CFP, FRM, or PRM licenses you can graduate in less time. If you are not yet licensed, the program will prepare you for success in the CFA examinations.
Master’s in Public Policy and Administration | Northwestern University
This program has five academic tracks that give prospective students the opportunity to choose a track matching their career goals. This economics degree program helps them get roles in administration, government, or financial and consulting firms. Northwestern University offers financial aid for students and supports their journey through a student council.
Master of Science in Organizational Management – Entrepreneurial and Economic Development | Peru State College
This program in economics is a good fit for entrepreneurs and professions passionate about the implementation of social and economic projects. The curriculum covers topics like organizational management, economic development, and entrepreneurship. The degree requirements include a thesis and an internship or research project.
Master of Science in Economics | Purdue University
If you want to complete your master’s degree in a top-ranking school, Purdue University offers an economics program with specialization. The courses focus on current methods of quantitative analysis and the use of big data and machine learning in econometrics.
Statistical tools like Stata, Matlab, and EViews are part of students’ rigorous training. They also learn programming tools like Python, business forecasting, game theory, and experimental economics from expert economics professors.
Master of Science in Data Analytics | University of Illinois
This is a curriculum designed to include in-demand skills regarding data analytics. Students learn to make accurate economic predictions, compare fluctuations, optimize products and services, analyze market trends, and recommend better solutions to solve economic issues.
Master of Arts in Economics | University of Missouri
This program goes beyond supply and demand. It emphasizes the importance of data analytics, big data, and globalization. A graduate of the program has the skills to become an economist or data analyst. This degree is designed such that students can focus on industry-specific electives like international trade, banking, game theory, econometrics, and applied statistics.
Master of Science in Business Analytics | Washington University in St. Louis
This program focuses on data analysis skills to prepare professionals for jobs as financial analysts, economic analysts, and research analysts. Students get quantitative training and learn programming languages to work with large volumes of data. Washington University does not require a GMAT/GRE score for admissions and provides career resources and professional advisors.
What’s the Average Economics Master’s Degree Salary?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), economists earn an annual median salary of $108,350. Economics is a good career choice for the high salary potential. You can find out more about the different career options available to graduates with a Master’s Degree in Economics below.
Top Economics Master’s Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview
|Economics Master’s Degree Jobs||Average Salary|
|Social and Community Service Managers||$69,600|
|Market Research Analysts||$65,810|
Master’s in Economics Jobs and Salaries: Best Economics Master’s Degree Jobs Explained
So what can graduate students with a Master’s Degree in Economics look forward to in the United States? Firstly, the job outlook for economists has a growth rate of 14 percent over the next 10 years, which is amazing compared to other jobs. Secondly, with information from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics median salaries, below are just some of the careers and salaries you could go secure.
- Average Salary: $125,350
- Job Outlook: 9%
- Number of Jobs: 7,000
- Highest-Paying States: Maryland, Virginia, Michigan
Political scientists often have a background in economics with concentrations in policy making, social work, and labor laws. They have a portfolio of experiences in political science and public administration.
- Average Salary: $108,350
- Job Outlook: 13%
- Number of Jobs: 18,600
- Highest-Paying States: New York, Washington DC, California
Economists are experts in economic trends, issues, and solutions. They collect data, perform analysis, and present forecasts or recommend solutions. They work in banks, government agencies, research firms, or multinational business companies.
- Average Salary: $89,330
- Job Outlook: 5%
- Number of Jobs: 275,200
- Highest-Paying States: New York, Maine, Montana
These experts consult and advise business professionals and managers to make financial, accounting, and business decisions. They are familiar with statistical models and predictive models for decision-making. They might use historical data for their recommendations, perform risk assessments, and make recommendations for financial investments and goals.
- Average Salary: $86,110
- Job Outlook: 5%
- Number of Jobs: 3,000
- Highest-Paying States: North Carolina, California, Illinois
Sociologists are experts in social behaviors and study societies and societal problems. They do extensive research and data analysis to find patterns in human behaviors and usually have strong analysis and presentation skills.
- Average Salary: $80,560
- Job Outlook: 12%
- Number of Jobs: 16,000
- Highest-Paying States: Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Indiana
Economics professors share their interest in economics with postgraduate students. This is an academic occupation where they can also carry out research work. Part of the job is also to design or assist in developing the curriculum and lesson plans. They support innovative student projects and research initiatives of the educational institution.
- Average Salary: $78,970
- Job Outlook: 5%
- Number of Jobs: 52,500
- Highest-Paying States: Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia
Budget analysts provide statistics and analyses related to budgets. They share useful information about previous budgets and support the development of newer ones. They conduct research from financial documents, research, and reports.
- Average Salary: $71,790
- Job Outlook: -2%
- Number of Jobs: 119,400
- Highest-Paying States: New York, Washington DC, Massachusetts
Insurance underwriters assess insurance applications. They assess the risks involved and determine the conditions. They often specialize in the different types of insurance policies. These professionals are familiar with accounting and financing concepts.
Social and Community Service Managers
- Average Salary: $69,600
- Job Outlook: 15%
- Number of Jobs: 174,200
- Highest-Paying States: Washington DC, Rhode Island, New Jersey
Social and community service managers manage social services departments and teams in community halls, social work organizations, and social government institutions. Coursework in behavioral economics is helpful for this position. They have good oral communication skills, documentation management skills, and know-how to handle sensitive situations with clients.
Market Research Analyst
- Average Salary: $65,810
- Job Outlook: 22%
- Number of Jobs: 740,900
- Highest-Paying States: Washington, New Jersey, Delaware
This is a research-centric job that studies sales, marketing, and economic trends. Market research analysts gather data through different methods to generate business reports, forecast market trends, and help to improve business strategies.
- Average Salary: $59,870
- Job Outlook: 4%
- Number of Jobs: 12,700
- Highest-Paying States: Iowa, Washington DC, Maryland
Survey researchers design and conduct surveys and questionnaires to collect data for analysis. Their work helps to make strategic and problem-solving policies. They are familiar with data collection methods and create graphs, images, and other visual mediums to display their findings.
Economics Bootcamp vs Economics Master’s Degree: Which Is Better?
The best educational path for you will depend on your resources and long-term career goals. If you are looking to upskill or land an entry-level job, you might consider an economics bootcamp. Bootcamps are intensive study programs with curricula designed to align with industry trends. If you are choosing between an advanced degree and a bootcamp, check out the benefits of each below.
Benefits of an Economics Master’s Degree
- Degree tracks. A graduate program can follow a course-based track or a research-based track. Many programs offer elective courses in different focus areas or concentrations for students to specialize in. The program length can vary so students can choose the schedule and cost that suits them best.
- Funding options. Different scholarships are available at federal, university, and department levels. There are also funding opportunities for research work.
- Career opportunities. Many jobs require a master’s degree or PhD for intermediary or advanced positions. A degree will increase your chances of getting a lucrative job. Accreditations associated with your program give a positive impression on your resume.
- Resources. Students get access to numerous student activities, clubs, associations, networking events, company information sessions, workshops, and professional services. You can even receive health support or student discounts.
- Online degrees. Many reputable colleges and schools are offering online master’s degrees. If you want to reduce cost, avoid the commute to campus, or still be able to work full-time, you can earn an online degree.
Benefits of an Economics Bootcamp
- Program length. Instead of years of education, bootcamp courses generally take only a few weeks to a few months. In a short period of time, you will sharpen your skills and have hands-on learning experiences.
- Relatively low cost. Bootcamps cost less than getting a degree from an educational institution. If you already have a bachelor’s and work experience, you can brush up on specialized knowledge areas in a bootcamp to avoid residential and additional fees of learning.
- Industry-based curriculum. Bootcamps are designed to prepare you for a job after completion. The curricula are based on current market trends and demands, allowing the courses to help you achieve your professional goals.
- Complement your expertise. If you already have a degree and years of experience, maybe you only need to gain knowledge in specific areas or simply need a quick refresh of general concepts.
- Trending skills. The programs cover the latest concepts, issues, and technologies. For example, if you have a job opportunity that involves data analytics, you don’t need to go study for a new degree. You can learn these new tools quickly in a data science bootcamp.
Should You Get a Master’s Degree in Economics?
Yes, you should get a Master’s Degree in Economics if you aspire to take on senior roles. These professionals earn a high annual salary compared to many other occupations and have access to a wide array of job opportunities in economics.
A job in economics can be satisfying if you are interested in numbers and people. You can find rewarding jobs in public finance, international finance, the energy sector, nonprofit organizations, private businesses, and more. Master’s degree holders have a solid foundation in economics, business acumen, and the practical skills to succeed in the field.
If economic theory, data analysis, financial economics, and helping businesses with their strategies, and/or advising policymakers sounds exciting to you, then go for a program in economics. Careers in economics are expected to grow. No matter what sector of economics you go for, you are bound to have an interesting and fulfilling career.
Economics Master’s Degree FAQ
Is a Master’s Degree in Economics worth it?
Yes, economics graduates have specialized knowledge and advanced skills that help them stand out in the job market. Along with your credentials, you also gain highly valuable interpersonal, public relations, and business development skills.
Which is better, an MBA or an MA in Economics?
If your career goal is to work in business and finance, a Master’s of Business Administration will be beneficial. For deeper knowledge in economics, you can earn a Master’s of Science in Economics. The cost of a degree in economics can be more reasonable than an MBA from an accredited institution.
How many years is a Master’s Degree in Economics?
A Master’s Degree in Economics takes two years to complete in general. Some programs allow students to earn their graduate degrees in ten to twelve months, varying for any credits transfer. Additionally, some online programs offer more flexible schedules.
What do you study in a Master of Economics program?
Economics majors earn their degrees by studying microeconomics and macroeconomics, econometrics, and other fields of economics. Usually, there are three-credit courses in 30-credit master’s degrees.
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