Economic Development Graduate Programs Online

Online economic development graduate programs are ideal for students who want to explore and comprehend economic development theories and applications but need to do so through distance education. If you need a flexible schedule, want to attend a specific school distant from where you live, or prefer to live and work in another country while you earn your degree, online education is the perfect option for you. provides information about a host of accredited online economic development programs at the certificate, master’s degree, and doctorate degree levels. Begin your search now or read further to learn more about online economic development programs.

Through economic development graduate programs, students may explore how to enact economic development without losing sight of the needs and well-being of people and communities. They will likely engage in an advanced study of disciplines such as economics, public policy, community development, business and other interesting subjects. They might also learn about economic development’s practical application which manyly involves the processes and policies by which governments and other entities contribute to people’s economic, social, and political health. Economic development comprises of a “policy intervention endeavor” and utilizes local, national, and global public policy initiatives to affect change.[i] Economic development might also be called modernization, westernization, and industrialization.[ii]

If you engage in Online Economic Development Graduate Programs, you’ll learn about this exciting field from the comfort of your own workspace. You may also be able to design your schedule around an already-busy personal or work life. Each of these features may make pursuing your graduate degree a more realistic and desirable option.

Who Pursues a Graduate-Level Economic Development Degree?

As a field, economic development encompasses many disciplines and requires a variety of talents from people across occupations. Accordingly, students from many backgrounds might pursue a graduate degree in economic development. They may have bachelor’s degrees in subjects such as political science, international affairs, economics, sociology, anthropology, business, mathematics. With current concerns for environmental health and sustainability, they might also have bachelor’s degrees in environmental science, engineering, or architecture as they relate to sustainable development.

Professionals pursuing economic development graduate certificates or degrees may have working experience in the field of economic development (or a closely related one), or they might use their advanced degree to move their careers in a new direction. No matter their background, students who want to enact social, political, and economic change in small, medium, and large communities might pursue a graduate degree in economic development.

Also of note, while many economic development graduate programs accept students from a variety of backgrounds, they may still require students to have completed particular coursework with satisfactory grades. Some programs may require students to have successfully completed economics courses (in beginning and intermediate micro- and macro-economics, for example), matric algebra, and calculus. Students who haven’t taken or earned satisfactory grades in courses like these may have to do so prior to gaining official acceptance into a program. The specific prerequisites of a program vary, of course, by program level (certificate, master’s, or doctorate) and school.

What Skills Might I Develop in Online Economic Development Graduate Programs?

As a field, economic development often depends upon professionals with well-developed theoretical and practical knowledge. Therefore, many programs may emphasize theoretical study and practical application. Students preferably emerge from their programs knowing how to read and conduct academic research and apply their knowledge to address economic development issues and affect change. As such, many programs teach students in the following areas:

  • Specialization: professionals might have a specialization that enables them to understand and influence a particular component of economic development
  • Economic theory and practical application: professionals work to develop knowledge and appreciation for various theories and know to apply them to real-world situations
  • Communication: professionals study how to effectively communicate with diverse groups of people orally and through written means
  • Research: professionals learn to use research tools to affect change and how to use research to influence public policy

Students may develop skills like these and others through their programs. They may also explore how to apply them to a variety of contexts and settings such as governmental, academic, international, business, and others.

What Will I Likely Study in Online Economic Development Graduate Programs?

Students typically engage in a study of economic development’s historical, present-day, and future contexts, applications, and goals. They may also engage in community projects, case studies, internships, and workshops to learn how to apply theory to practice. Overall, students develop the knowledge and skills they need to influence policy and contribute to communities’ social, economic, and political well-being.

In Online Economic Development Graduate Programs, students may engage in community and group learning through online interfaces and by interning or otherwise working with organizations in their local communities. In the case of online learning, professors or directors in programs might review and approve students’ in-person work from afar.

In the online classroom, economic development certificate, master’s, and doctorate degree programs may draw from disciplines such as economics, political science, history, sociology, business, and others. Within these disciplines, students might study topics such as:

  • Public policy
  • Development (community, regional, national, rural, or urban, for example)
  • Government (local, national, and international) and political economy
  • Economics (essentials, principles and theories, and specific types like development and business economics)
  • City planning (land use, collective choice, and community building and organizing, for example)
  • Finances (reporting and fund-raising, for example)
  • Corporate climate and culture
  • Ethics of development and working with communities
  • Research methodologies
  • Statistics

Students may explore subjects like these through online core and elective classes. They might also opt to pursue a particular concentration or specialization in areas such as international development, environmental design, public policy, urban economics, or tourism.

What Graduate-Level Degrees May I Pursue in Economic Development Online ?

There are three primary types of online graduate-level programs in economic development:

  • Certificate programs
  • Master’s degree programs
  • Doctorate degree programs

Online Certificate Programs

Students typically complete online certificate programs over the course of one year. They take three to five courses that provide an overview of economic developments applications and implications and give students a framework for thinking about the subject. Some programs focus students’ studies in a particular area of economic development such as sustainability, tourism, urban development, or other areas. You may browse online graduate certificates in economic development through our search tool on your left. These online programs are wonderful for working professionals who want to enhance their knowledge or simply “try on” the field of economic development.

The Master’s Degree in Economic Development

The economic development master’s comes in two primary forms: the Master of Art or the Master of Science. Within those types of degrees, students might earn their degree in economic development, or they might earn their degree in subjects under the economic development umbrella such as Community Development, Global Development, Political Economy, or Urban Studies. These are just some of the many expressions of the master’s degree in economic development.

In many cases, students earn their master’s degree in economic development through two years of fulltime study. They complete a collection of core and elective courses and may concentrate their studies in a particular area. To conclude their programs, students typically complete a capstone project (which may be a thesis or community-based project), take a comprehensive exam, and, in some programs, participate in an internship.

Many students who pursue their master’s in economic development do so to enhance or pursue careers in public, private, and non-profit organizations of all sizes.

The Doctorate Degree in Economic Development

The Doctor of Economic Development is a research-intensive degree that students earn through a collective of core and elective courses. In many cases, students earn their doctorate over five to six years of fulltime study. While core coursework will likely cover the essentials of economic development, elective coursework will typically enable students to focus their studies according to their career goals and research interests. Doctorate programs often conclude with students’ completing a capstone project (a dissertation or research-intensive community project, for example), passing a comprehensive exam, and, in some cases, completing an internship or student-teaching session at a college or university.

Many students emerge from their doctorate programs ready to pursue careers as researchers and teachers in college-level academia or as upper-level managers in for-profit, non-profit, governmental, or research organizations and institutions. offers 16 Online Economic Development Graduate Programs

You may begin your search for Online Economic Development Graduate Programs here. You’re already in our online section; now you may simply browse our listings of all online graduate programs in economic development, or you may narrow your search to browse by program level (certificate, doctorate, or masters), program format (hybrid, online, or campus), or location (city, state, or country). Through, you may compare Online Economic Development Graduate Programs to determine which might perfectly suit your needs. Good luck!

Sources: [i] | [ii]

  • University of Nebraska - Lincoln

  • Kansas State University

  • North Dakota State University

  • Akamai University

  • University of Victoria

  • Northeastern University

  • Green Mountain College

  • Tulane University

  • Clemson University

  • The University of Southern Mississippi

  • University of Maryland University College

  • Kennesaw State University