For centuries, individuals, companies, and countries have worked to understand how people use resources in different financial environments. Whether reviewing the 2008 recession or working to understand how modern technological advancements will reshape the economy and workforce, economists are forward-thinking people who also have a strong grip on the past, and what it can tell them about shifts and trends. If you’re math-savvy and interested in a global approach to concepts, research, policy initiatives, or consultation, you might find that economics is an endlessly fascinating field.
An online master’s in economics is a highly marketable degree, given the number of transferable skills you’ll gain throughout your time in school. You’ll become familiar with quantitative and qualitative data and learn how to communicate complicated ideas simply and effectively.
Many graduates from online economics master’s programs pursue a career directly in the field. Economists can work in a variety of different professional environments, ranging from business organizations and corporations to academic institutions and the government. The outlook is strong for this career in the coming years: the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that economists will earn approximately $100,000 per year, and that the position will grow by 6% over the next several years.
Below, we’ve ranked the most affordable online economics degrees in the country. These schools offer an academically rigorous program at an affordable price, equipping you with a flexible degree and preparing you to pursue a variety of careers without taking on needless debt. If you’re considering a career in the field, and you want to earn your online master’s in economics, be sure to take a look at these top schools.
9 Affordable Online Master’s Degrees in Economics
Georgia Southern University
|Value Score 8.61||
Located in Statesboro, GSU offers many of its graduate degree programs for distance learners, including a two-year master’s in economics online. Coursework is offered entirely online and contains multimedia simulations and presentations designed to engage students in analytical studies of market infrastructures, regulatory issues, and economic growth. With these and other skills in-hand, graduates of the MS in applied economics program are prepared to work for private sector companies as well as government enterprises in areas like public utilities and federal development.
Tuition is $410 per credit hour, with an affordable total cost of approximately $14,000 for the program. Financial aid is available through FAFSA application as well as through the Southern Regional Education Board’s Electronic Campus portal. Online students at GSU have access to student services like career guidance and tutoring, and are welcomed to join one of the program’s professional student groups, like The Eagles Economics Society or the Southern Investment Association.
|Value Score 8.50||
With the main campus located in West Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue offers several online degrees, including an online master’s in economics. This master of science in economics is a 19-month program designed for individuals with work experience and/or undergraduate degrees in STEM disciplines. In addition to learning useful communication and leadership skills, MSE students also engage in studies of data interpretation using qualitative modeling techniques in econometrics to back up their managerial decisions.
The 30-credit curriculum is a combination of core, major, and advanced elective courses, allowing students to shape their education to match their skills and interests. Furthermore, students can extend their degree work from two years to three to include a thesis and concentrations in either applied economics/business or advanced theory. Cumulative tuition is affordable at roughly $30,000, and online students are welcomed to join one of Purdue’s several professional organizations, like the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship or the Jane Brock-Wilson Women In Management Center.
University of North Dakota
|Value Score 6.72||
The University of North Dakota’s Emaster’s in applied economics can be completed entirely online. The 32-credit curriculum consists of synchronous web meetings aimed at engaging students in economic theories, data collection, and data analysis, while developing effective critical thinking and communication skills. In addition to coursework in international financial management and labor relations, students have the option to pursue a thesis or non-thesis track. The non-thesis track is an independent study requirement where students must show adequate academic skills, but do not need to contribute original work.
Tuition at UND is both affordable and flexible. UND offers in-state tuition ($435 per credit hour for online students) regardless of a student’s residency status. What’s more, financial aid is available in multiple forms, including discounts for active military and veterans as well as employer-provided tuition assistance. Students in this online economics master’s program will have access to online tutoring through SMARTHINKING and UND’s student success and writing centers.
Youngstown State University
|Value Score 6.72||
Youngstown State University offers an online master’s degree in economics. The master of arts in financial economics is a 33-credit program that prepares students for careers in fields such as banking, insurance, and financial advising by teaching you to interpret stock market movements and make managerial decisions. In addition to courses in econometrics and securities analysis, students are also asked to take two electives, one of which can be substituted for a thesis project.
All students get access to YSU’s support services, but nontraditional and veteran students should note that they will get an Adult Peer Mentor upon entering the program who will help them with the transition into college life and academic work. Tuition is affordable, priced at $10,195 annually for Ohio residents and $16,584 for those out-of-state. Students interested in the MAFE program must have completed at least one course in statistics, calculus, and micro- and macroeconomics before applying.
Southern New Hampshire University
|Value Score 6.42||
Southern New Hampshire University offers several graduate degrees for distance learners, including a master of science in applied economics. The 36-credit curriculum helps students build the interpretive skills needed to understand market data as well as the managerial prowess to turn information into practical strategies and actions. In addition to core courses in topics like ethical decision-making and applied econometrics, students also choose four electives to individualize the degree to their current career and future goals. Students pursuing this online economics master’s degree program also get to build relationships with SNHU’s impressive alumni network through networking events and professional opportunities.
Tuition is among the cheapest in the nation, priced at $627 per credit hour, with reduced prices for active duty military and their spouses. Online students at SNHU can expect high-quality education services, including career and academic advising, technical support, and subject tutoring.
University of Detroit Mercy
|Value Score 4.86||
The University of Detroit Mercy offers a master of arts in economics that prepares students for positions in both private and public financial organizations, while also outfitting them with the historical knowledge, ethical thinking, and communication skills expected of a liberal arts education. Graduates leave the program with a greater understanding of the U.S. economy and its relationship to the global business landscape. This online master’s in economics degree program consists of 30 credit hours; half of which are taken in core requirements, while the other half are chosen from varied electives, including a thesis option. This allows students to personalize their degree to match their areas of interest and future career goals.
Courses are facilitated online through the Blackboard learning portal. Student services, including personal counseling, information technology aid, and library/research assistance, are available to online students. UDM is regionally accredited, meaning students residing in some states are not eligible for the MAE program.
Golden Gate University – San Francisco
|Value Score 4.58||
Located in San Francisco, Golden Gate University has a history of providing flexible degree programs for nontraditional and adult learners. The College of Business and Management offers an online master’s in economics in the form of a concentrated master of business administration. This 54-credit curriculum is intensive and a good fit for those who do not have an extensive background in economics. Students take 30 core classes, 12 in the economics concentration, and finish with a capstone project. This MBA’s courses teach students economic analysis, financial planning, and business management.
Financial aid is available in the form of FAFSA assistance, employer tuition reimbursements, and payment plan options. GGU is a predominantly distance learning institution with a rich network of support services for online students, including career advice, library services, tutoring, and an accessible administrative portal called GGU4YOU.
Johns Hopkins University
|Value Score 3.78||
Based out of Baltimore, John Hopkins University offers many of its graduate degrees to distance learners, including a master of science in applied economics. The MSAE is a 30-credit program that teaches students to engage with rapidly changing and increasingly important national and global economic ideas, including data inquiry and analysis as well as the creation and application of policy for fields from healthcare to environmental aid.
The curriculum consists of five core requirements and five electives, where students can choose to specialize in subfields like spatial economics and quantitative methods. Applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0, as well as academic experience in calculus. Those who have only taken one calculus class previously are required to enroll in a non-credit mathematical methods for economists course, priced at half-tuition, during their first semester.
|Value Score 2.31||
Located in Washington, D.C., American University offers an online master’s in economics degree program led by lauded experts in the field who will teach you how to quantify and interpret data, including human behavior, in order to create and test strategies that will make a positive impact on the national and global economies. The master of arts in economics, with a specialization in applied economics, consists of 10 three-credit courses in areas such as public economics, applied econometrics, and finance stability and growth.
Students can take advantage of many financial aid options to make this program even more affordable. What’s more, active military and veterans qualify for additional financial aid. The MAE program at American University is highly successful, with statistics showing that over 96% of graduates go on to either lucrative careers in the field or to continue their education. AU has made their distance learning programs a priority, with support services including online orientation sessions, 24/7 technology assistance, and individualized student services coordinators.