Top Accredited Online Economics Degree Programs

What is an Economics Degree?

Economics degree programs take a look at labor, consumption, and wealth. They explore how goods and services are exchanged for money. And, they could help you prepare for career paths like Economist.

If you’re interested in the role of money in society, studying economics will shed some light. For instance, you could learn how banks operate, and why cost inflation occurs.

You could also prepare to solve economic problems. These include unemployment, stagnant wages, and income inequality. In short, economics is a topic that affects everyone. Understanding how it works could help you make a difference in your community and beyond.

Bachelor's in EconomicsMaster's in EconomicsMBA in Economics
This program features a business core, with a focus on economics. You’ll study areas like cost and inflation theories, market structure, and capital budgeting. Plus, you’ll learn to think critically and solve problems in business, finance, and beyond.This program helps students understand economics from a psychological perspective. You’ll examine subjects like decision-making, negotiation, and how consumers make choices. And, you’ll apply theories to solve socioeconomic problems.The MBA covers core business knowledge, from managerial problem-solving to global commerce. The Business Economics specialization adds three additional courses that apply economics to the business world.

Courses include:

  • Business Statistics
  • Political Economics
  • Macroeconomics

Courses include:

  • Choice Architecture
  • Brain and Behavior
  • Consumer Motivation

Courses include:

  • Macroeconomics of Financial Markets
  • Managerial Economic Analysis
  • Market Structure & Firm Strategy
Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)No specific program accreditationProgram is accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE)

Economics Degree Programs

You could earn an economics degree at the undergraduate or graduate levels. What most programs have in common is a focus on math. You’ll typically take courses like calculus and statistics in an economics Bachelor’s program. These courses are often prerequisites for graduate economics programs.

Bachelor’s in Economics Programs

At the Bachelor’s level, prepare to pursue a broad overview of economics. That includes macroeconomics, which focuses on large-scale factors like national productivity. And don’t overlook microeconomics, which deals with how individuals and businesses make monetary decisions.

You’ll also explore economic schools of thought, like capitalism. And, you’ll study the nuts and bolts of economics – like how currency works.

You could encounter two main types of Bachelor’s in Economics program:

  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Economics – This program takes a liberal arts approach. You may focus more on economic theory than applied economics. And, you may take more electives or language courses.
  • Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Economics – This program tends to emphasize applied economics. That means you’ll apply economic theory to practical problems – often using business case studies or simulations. You may also focus more on math and quantitative analysis.

No matter which program you take, you’ll probably pursue courses like:

  • Introductory Econometrics
  • Money and Banking
  • Applied Economic Statistics
  • Global Economic Policies
  • Economic History and Modern Development
  • Current Issues in American Economic Policy
  • Basics of Business

Some programs also offer concentrations. For instance, you could focus on managerial economics, finance, or marketing.

Master’s in Economics Programs

Earning a Master’s in Economics is often required for an Economist career path. You’ll build on your undergraduate foundations while pursuing more advanced coursework. Again, courses will span both macro- and microeconomics. So, you’ll study everything from U.S. fiscal policy to how consumers make choices.

Your program’s focus may depend on what degree type you pursue, like:

  • Master of Science (M.S.) in Economics – This program may cover both theory and applied economics. As a STEM program, it may emphasize quantitative courses.
  • Master of Arts (M.A.) in Economics – The M.A. is also a STEM program, with a focus on quantitative and analytical skill areas. But, it may offer more flexibility to take electives that promote critical thinking, research, and problem-solving.
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Economics – The MBA is a business degree. So, the program involves a broad overview of business topics, along with concentration courses in economics.

Courses you could take include:

  • Behavioral Economics
  • Survey of Economic Development
  • Labor Economics
  • Economic Analysis of Multinational Corporations
  • Game Theory
  • Open Economy Macroeconomics

Master’s in Economics programs often include concentrations that could help you narrow your focus. For instance, a concentration in financial economics covers portfolio management and other skill areas. A concentration in advanced theory may be great for those considering a PhD program down the road.

Economics Doctoral Programs

Over half of Economists earn a doctoral degree. A Ph.D. in economics requires advanced coursework, usually during the first part of the degree. Candidates may also spend several years on in-depth research in the field. Research could take place in areas of study such as:

  • Theoretical and Applied Econometrics
  • Health Economics
  • Game Theory
  • Behavioral Economics
  • Public Finance
  • Energy Economics

Earning a PhD in economics usually means writing one or more major research papers. In the final years of the program, students also write and defend a dissertation.

How Long Does It Take to Complete an Economics Degree Program?

Full-time students can usually earn a Bachelor’s degree in economics in about four years. A Master’s may be earned in about two years. And a PhD in economics calls for several years of study after earning a Bachelor’s.

Economics Degree Programs That Could be Completed in 24 Months or Less

SchoolDegree Level# of Credits RequiredStart DatesMinimum Months to Complete
Ashford UniversityMBA42Multiple22 months
The Chicago School of Professional PsychologyMA (Behavioral Economics)N/AN/A24 months
Regent UniversityMBA42N/A16 months

The Average Cost of an Economics Degree Program

NCES put the average cost of attending a public, four-year school at $19,189 per year. Private and for-profit schools had higher average tuition: $39,529 per year. Of course, you could find schools that cost more or less than these averages. Compare tuition costs for these online economics programs:

SchoolDegree Level# of CreditsCost Per CreditTotal Tuition Cost
Regent UniversityMBA42$650$27,300
Ashford UniversityBachelor's120$485$58,200
The Chicago School of Professional PsychologyMA (Behavioral Psychology)N/A$1,164N/A

Top Schools for Economics Degree Programs

NCES states that 784 institutions offered general economics programs. From those schools, 40,722 degrees were awarded to students. The majority (89%) of these were Bachelor’s degrees.

School2016 Total Grads/Degrees Awarded2018/19 Tuition (Out of State Unless **)
University of Wisconsin-Madison647$36,805
University of California-Los Angeles613$42,218
University of California-San Diego575$43,159
New York University570$51,828**
University of California-Davis556$43,394
University of California-Berkeley551$43,176
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor544$49,350
The University of Texas at Austin526$37,580
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign491$31,664
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill479$35,170

*Estimated for full-time, beginning undergraduate students

Choosing an Accredited Economics Degree Program

Accreditation could help you know if your economics program upholds certain quality standards. Economics degree programs may be accredited by the same organizations that accredit business programs. These include:

  • Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). This organization accredits programs in business or related areas – like business economics. They focus on teaching quality, student outcomes, and a commitment to improvement.
  • International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE). This organization accredits undergraduate and graduate business programs. That may include those with a focus on economics. IACBE looks for excellence in business education, faculty qualifications, and other factors.
  • AACSB. This organization accredits business schools, some of which may offer economics programs. They evaluate areas like innovation, faculty, and professional engagement.

That said, it may be most important that your college or university is accredited – even if your program isn’t. Accreditation is a must if you plan to apply for federal financial aid. (Financial aid may be available for those who qualify.) And, employers may look for graduates from accredited schools.

What Kinds of Jobs do Economics Majors Get?

According to the most recent census data, there were 3.63 million General Economics graduates in the workforce.

Career paths related to economics are growing. For instance, Economist roles are projected to grow 6% by 2026. Market Research Analyst roles were projected to grow 23% in the same timeframe. That’s much faster that average for all occupations.

Do you see yourself in the field of economics? There was a moderate gender gap, with 67.3% of economics graduates identifying as male. The average age of a graduate in the workforce was 42.9.

Top Salaries by State for Economists

StateEmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
District of Columbia6,380$134,260
New York750$127,520

Find the Perfect Online Degree For You

What kind of jobs can you get with an economics degree?

Business and financial careers may grow 10% from 2016 to 2026. That’s faster than average for all occupations! Here are a few career paths to consider if you plan to earn an economics degree. 


Economists study how goods and services are produced and distributed. They also research solutions for economics problems, like unemployment. The largest employer of Economists was the federal government. But, many work in specific industries, like healthcare or energy.

  • Median Salary: $104,340 per year
  • Job Growth Through 2026: 6% (As fast as average)
  • Typical Entry-level Education: Master's degree

Market Research Analysts

Market Research Analysts help companies understand how to market products and services. They do so by looking at factors like market conditions, trends, and buyer behavior. Since most industries need market research, these professionals work for many kinds of employers.

  • Median Salary: $63,120 per year
  • Job Growth Through 2026: 23% (Much faster than average)
  • Typical Entry-level Education: Bachelor's degree

Chief Executives

Chief Executives are at the helm of companies and organizations. They provide strategic direction, set goals, and direct other top executives. Many Chief Executives are entrepreneurs and are therefore self-employed. But, others worked for organizations in industries like healthcare and technical services.

  • Median Salary: $189,600 per year
  • Job Growth Through 2026: 8% (As fast as average)
  • Typical Entry-level Education: Bachelor's degree