Masters Programs in Economics

What Could You Learn in a Masters in Economics?

Those pursuing a master’s degree in economics may wish to work in government or private sector gathering data and making informed decisions about economic activities and trends. Companies often have a lot of raw data available to them that may provide some insight into the world around them, business practices, customer trends, and other aspects. They use statisticians to help them take that data and turn it into usable information for planning and execution of tasks within the company.

In the private sector these individuals may work in private banks, startups, consulting firms, or tech companies, for example, to gather information and data based on what those organizations need. Government agencies and international organizations may also use these individuals to help them gather information and make decisions.

To pursue these positions individuals often need to have core skills. Those skills may include some business education but often includes a significant amount of mathematics and software skills.

Economics Masters Programs

Featured Online Programs in Economics

25 Schools Graduating Students with a Masters in Economics

According to NCES, these are 25 schools by the number of graduating students in the area of Masters in Economics for the 2019/2020 school year:

College / UniversityGraduatesAcceptance Rate
Johns Hopkins University23011%
George Mason University4587%
Georgetown University4414%
Binghamton University2741%
Southern New Hampshire University2788%
University of Massachusetts-Amherst2464%
California State University-Los Angeles2348%
American University22N/A
University of Florida2137%
University of Houston2065%
North Carolina State University at Raleigh1945%
San Diego State University1934%
The University of Texas at San Antonio1977%
University of Oregon1882%
Cornell University1711%
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor1723%
Colorado State University-Fort Collins1681%
Wayne State University1673%
Central Michigan University1470%
CUNY City College1446%
University of Denver1459%
University of Virginia-Main Campus1424%
California State University-East Bay1376%
Claremont Graduate University13N/A
New York University1316%

Courses for a Masters in Economics May Include

The goal of many of these programs is to prepare students with the ability to use a quantitative approach to solving economic problems and to build and test economic models against various theories, often using complicated economic tools. They may also learn how to work with other people and how to research topics important to their field of research and development.

Take a look at some of the courses that may be a part of a master’s degree in economics. Each school sets requirements and specific course options while also providing electives that allow students to choose what is interesting and applicable to their needs.

1st course Introduction to Mathematical Economics

Introduction to Mathematical Economics

This course is designed to lay the foundation for future courses in the program. Topics typically covered include logarithms and differential calculus. Static analysis of linear models, multivariate differential calculus, all with an emphasis on applications to economics, may also be included.

2nd course Microeconomic Theory

Microeconomic Theory

The course often focuses on the behavior of individuals and firms and how they interact in the economic marketplace. Types of market structure and the effects they have on firm behavior is also typically covered. The role of the government in the economy and public policy and how they influence the economy are other likely subjects.

3rd Course Macroeconomic Theory

Macroeconomic Theory

In this course, students look at inflation and unemployment. Other topics that may be covered include business cycles, income determination, and long-run growth. An analysis of monetary and fiscal policy and financial crisis is typically covered.

4th Course Applied Econometrics

Applied Econometrics

In this course, students may learn the application of statistics and mathematics to economics. This is done to test hypotheses and to learn to forecast future trends. The use of statistical software is also introduced in this course for many students..


Labor Economics

This course often covers a variety of topics and how they relate to labor as a whole. Topics that may be covered include wages, employment, collective bargaining, and pricing. Empirical studies of wage differentials and collective bargaining wages are main focuses of this course typically.


Public Economics

This course often focuses on market equilibrium and market efficiency. Public sector programs and the financing of government intervention are covered in many cases. Taxation and deficit financing are also topics often looked at in this course.

  • Some of the nation’s most affordable tuition rates, from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
  • Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
  • Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 24/7 online classroom access

5 Most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about a Masters in Economics

Either educational track, an MBA, or MA in economics could provide a great opportunity for students. Those who wish to work in the corporate world may wish to focus on an MBA. Those who wish to focus on the practical side of economics may wish to pursue an MA.

Making the decision to pursue a Masters in Econ is a personal one, but many people find it offers a few opportunities. This may include gaining more modern education in topics that are new or changing. It may also be a requirement for some businesses for those who wish to be promoted at some time in the future. Though a lot of work, a Masters in Econ may be beneficial to those who want to change their education major from business to a more specific area like economics.

Each school sets the rules for who is eligible to work in this program. Most commonly, a student may need to have a bachelor’s degree in some area, which is often in business or economics. They may need to complete other prerequisites to enroll in a master’s program in economics as well.

The topics range widely but typically include history of economics, micro and macroeconomics, math for economists, economic theory, and game theory among other topics.

Typically, it takes 2 years to complete a Masters in Economics. Students may be able to complete an accelerated format which may speed up the program for completion in 18 months.

Find Funding for Masters Programs in Economics

Those considering a master’s degree in economics who need help with funding may find several paths available to them. NCES found that the average graduate tuition for the 2018 to 2018 school year was $18,947. Paying for that out of pocket may prove difficult. For graduate students who wish to complete their education, then it’s important to consider funding options available to them.

There are several potential ways to pay for college. Here is a look at some of those.


Scholarships are one of the options many students seek out as a first step. That’s because students often do not have to repay scholarships. That opens the door for reducing costs for master’s degree programs and makes it easier for many to continue their education. There may be scholarships for completing a master’s degree in economics available.

Byron Hanke Fellowship

Who Can Apply: This fellowship is available for graduate students who are willing to participate in a fellowship project addressing management, institutions, organization and administration, public policy, or architecture, as well as political, economic, social, and intellectual trends in community association housing.

Amount: $3,000

Deadline: May 1

Betty Rendel Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This award is for U.S. female college juniors and seniors who are majoring in political science, government, or economics.

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: June 1

Government Finance Professional Development Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This award is for U.S. and Canadian part-time graduate students who have been employed by a state or local government for two or more years and are preparing for a career in state or local government finance.

Amount: $40,000

Deadline: January 4

GFOA Minorities in Government Finance Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship is available for U.S. or Canadian college juniors, seniors, and graduate students who belong to one of the following groups (as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau): Black or African American, Asian, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or a Pacific Islander. Students must be majoring in public administration, (governmental) accounting, finance, political science, economics or business administration (with a specific focus on government or non-profit management).

Amount: $10,000

Deadline: January 4

Carefirst/Hal Cohen Memorial Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship is available for graduate students in Maryland who are majoring in economics or health policy. Applicants must have a grade point average of 2.8 or higher to be competitive during the selection process.

Amount: $2,500

Deadline: April 1

Federal Loans

Federal loans may be one option for paying for college costs even at the graduate level. Loans available for graduate programs are a bit different and not as readily available as they are for undergraduate loans, though. Those who are considering this route may be able to tap into low-cost loans that fit their needs if they meet loan qualifications.

Here is a look at some of the options for graduate degree programs through federal student loans:

• Direct Unsubsidized Loans: These are available to graduate schools and professional students. Unlike direct subsidized loans, which are made available to undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need, direct unsubsidized loans do not have a need based requirement. More students may be eligible for them.

Direct PLUS Loans: These are made available to professional or graduate level students. They are designed to pay for educational expenses that are typically not paid for through other loans. Eligibility for these loans is not based on financial need. However, some require a credit check to be performed, and borrowers may not qualify without meeting other requirements in some cases.

• Direct Consolidation Loans: These loans enable a student to combine all of their undergraduate and graduate level federal debt into one new loan. This consolidation loan is typically provided after a student completes their education.

Individuals need to check all eligibility requirements for each loan offer before determining which one may be correct for their needs.

Private Student Loans

Private student loans may be an option for those who are looking for help with master’s degree costs. Private student loans are not backed by the federal government but rather by third party providers. As a result, they have very different terms and conditions, typically. It is important for individuals to take a closer look at each component of a private student loan to determine if it may fit their specific needs.

It’s a great idea to compare the following on each student loan before making a borrowing decision for them:

  • Credit score requirements and any income requirements for the lender
  • Limitations on repayment adjustments may be applicable
  • It may be difficult to consolidate these loans in comparison to federal loans
  • There may be fees associated with obtaining the loan or applying for it
  • Some loans offer a fixed rate APR while others charge a variable rate

It’s worth taking a closer look at all of the options available before making a decision on which loan to select for a master’s degree program.

Is economist a great career?

One career path that some may wish to pursue with a master’s degree in economics is becoming an economist. This job requires people to formulate plans based on research and repairs related to economic conditions. This may include understanding and predicting economic programs and the distributions of goods or services as they apply to this. This job often entails collecting and processing economic and statistic data from a range of sources.

Those who wish to work in this field may need specific skills. That may include technology skills such as using analytical or scientific software such as SAS, MiniTab, and IBM SPSS Statistics. It may also involve the use of internet browser technology, presentation software, and spreadsheet software.  Additionally, many careers in this path may also require computer and electronics skills, critical thinking skills, math skills, and the ability to actively listen and make decisions.

Work activities may include reviewing professional data and literature to maintain knowledge of the industry, preparing technical reports and presentations, and supervising other people. Many also work to forecast economic, social, or political trends as they apply to the job or company.

Those who work in this field typically need to have a graduate degree such as a master’s degree or a PhD. They may need to have extensive skills and experience to work as an economic or work under another economist to gain valuable skills. It’s less likely for a person to receive on-the-job learning for this type of work instead, relying on their master’s degree to help them complete work-related tasks.

Economics Masters Programs , Important skills for Economists

  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.

2020 Median Salary for Economists

Here are the 2020 median salary details for those who work as an economist, according to the BLS.

New Jersey$941,800Missouri$89,460
New York$115,250Nebraska$59,920
North DakotaN/ANew HampshireN/A
Oklahoma$78,810New Mexico$88,030
Pennsylvania$77,370North Carolina$97,520
South Carolina$52,550Ohio$98,100
Utah$103,980Rhode IslandN/A
VirginiaN/ASouth DakotaN/A
West VirginiaN/AWyomingN/A

Is statistician a great career?

A statistician may be another path to consider for those with a master’s degree in economics. This is a field in which people work to develop and apply math and statistics theory in an effort to collect, organize, interpret, as well as summarize data as it relies to their tasks. There are various specific fields of study and application here including biostatistics, business statistics, economic statistics, and agricultural statistics.

Some of the tasks required in this field include analyzing and interpreting statistical data as a way to identify relationships within that information and working to understand trends and how those trends may affect the results of research. They may also prepare data for processing by organizing it in various ways. They then use that data to create charts, bullets, and graphs to explain the information they’ve learned from the information.

To perform this job, individuals may need a range of skills, including analytical and scientific software experience, database user interface and query software, presentation software, data mining software, and other forms of development software. They may rely on their math, critical thinking, reading, and complex problem-solving skills to perform their work. Many in this field need to have abilities with math reasoning, number facility, and deductive reasoning.

Economics Masters Programs , Important skills for Economists
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.

Activities on the job may include analyzing data to develop and find trends, evaluate technical data to determine the effects it may have on plans, and prepare data for analysis by others.

To work in this field, many employers expect a person to have a master’s degree and have completed graduate school. They may receive some on the job experience, but this is minimal in most cases.

2020 Median Salary for Statisticians

Here is the 2020 median salary for statisticians according to the BLS by state:

New Jersey$117,550Missouri$66,950
New York$98,830Nebraska$70,770
North Dakota$63,090New Hampshire$77,730
Oklahoma$59,340New Mexico$61,690
Pennsylvania$82,670North Carolina$100,480
South Carolina$67,330Ohio$81,280
Utah$70,400Rhode Island$99,710
VirginiaN/ASouth DakotaN/A
West Virginia$73,650WyomingN/A

Find the best Economics masters programs

Use our degree finder to find the best economics masters programs that fit your goals. You may find online and on-campus economics masters programs near you.


Sandy Baker


Sandy has extensive experience writing educational articles for topics ranging from online education to college degrees. She’s worked with several Ivy League colleges to create blogs, newsletters, sales material for recruiting as well as “how to manage” college lifestyle pieces. Additionally, she’s written for well-respected study abroad programs helping students to find international opportunities spanning the globe from South America to Africa and Asia.

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