Best Master’s in Economics Degrees

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From global agencies to humble startups, the study of economics can be applied anywhere. Learn about the Best Master’s in Economics here.

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Economics is the driving force of the modern world. There is a significant need for highly trained economists and analysts who can anticipate and respond to change, examine and extrapolate trends, and think in terms of an interconnected, globalized society.

You may already have an academic background in economics or you may just be getting started in this field. Either way, this ranking can help you find an economics graduate program that leads to your ideal career.

What kind of master’s degree in economics should you get?

As you begin your graduate school search, you’ll find it helpful to think about specific features that you want in an academic experience. Do you plan to attend full-time or part-time? Would you prefer a small college or a large university? And, very importantly, will you earn your degree in person or online?

Earning your degree online offers less structure and face-to-face interaction with peers and professors, but a much greater amount of flexibility and convenience. If you think distance education is right for you, visit our ranking of the Best Online Master’s in Economics Degrees.

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Top 10 Best Master’s in Economics Degrees

Rank School Location
1 Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
2 Duke University Durham, NC
3 Washington University in St. Louis St. Louis, MO
4 New York University New York, NY
5 Boston University Boston, MA
6 University of California San Diego La Jolla, CA
7 Tufts University Medford, MA
8 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
9 University of Maryland, College Park College Park, MD
10 Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, GA

How much money do people make with a master’s degree in economics?

Becoming an economist typically requires either a master’s degree or a PhD, depending on where you want to work and the specific type of job you’re seeking.

Although these jobs require more education than most other occupations, the investment will pay off. The Bureau of Labor Statistics cites a median salary of $102,490 per year for economists. The expected job growth rate between 2016 and 2026 is 6 percent – roughly on pace with the expected growth rate for all occupations.

What can you do with a master’s degree in economics?

Many graduate programs in economics will allow you to specialize in a particular aspect of the field. You may choose to concentrate in microeconomics, the economics of health care, economic policy, or another niche.

The coursework and internship experiences that you undertake as a graduate student will influence your career options. As a result, it’s a good idea to have a clear focus for your professional goals before you begin your program.

Here are some job titles you may choose to work toward:

  • Financial Analyst
  • Economist
  • Market Research Analyst
  • Budget Analyst
  • Operations Research Analyst

What are the requirements for a master’s degree in economics?

Before you start sending applications, be sure you’re familiar with the admissions requirements for each school on your list. Every school will be different.

Many graduate programs will require scores from either the Graduate Record Examination or the Graduate Management Admission Test. Some programs have specific cut-off scores that you’ll need to clear before you’re considered. Others ask that you submit your test results, but don’t have an established minimum score.

Other common application requirements include transcripts from any universities you’ve attended, a statement of purpose, and two or three letters of recommendation.

What are the best master’s degrees in economics?

Our rankings are based on the five factors that we’ve determined to be most important and relevant to an outstanding college experience. Those five factors are Quality, Reputation, Affordability, Value, and Satisfaction.

We use sources such as PayScale, U.S. News & World Report, and student review sites like RateMyProfessor and Cappex to get a comprehensive picture of each program. Using a weighted formula that takes into account all five factors, each school is assigned a composite score and ranked accordingly.

We hope this ranking brings you one step closer to earning your graduate degree in economics.

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Johns Hopkins University
    Location

    Baltimore, MD

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Known as Americas first research university, Johns Hopkins University has served as a model for other educational institutions around the world for more than 140 years. JHU is a truly global university: Faculty and students conduct research on six different continents. The Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, together with the Carey Business School, offers an innovative program for graduate students seeking a world-class education in economics.

    Program Features

    The program at Johns Hopkins is a dual degree track, leading to a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Science in Applied Economics. Students who work full-time can complete this program in three years. A total of 31 courses are required, including the following:

    Microeconomic Theory MacroeconometricsAccounting and Financial ReportingBusiness Leadership and Human Values

    Notables

    Students in this program will have the opportunity to specialize in a specific area for their MBA degree. Concentrations are available in Entrepreneurship, Financial Businesses, Health Care Management, Management/Leading Organizations, Marketing, and Real Estate and Infrastructure. If students do not choose an established MBA concentration, they will be able to customize their degree path with 18 credit-hours in elective coursework. Students in certain concentration tracks will be able to take all of their MBA coursework online.

  2. Duke University
    Location

    Durham, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Duke University enrolls approximately 6,500 undergraduates and 8,600 graduate and professional students. Located in Durham, NC, Duke is home to nationally recognized programs in law, business, engineering, and the arts and sciences. Trinity College of Arts and Sciences awards almost 80 percent of Dukes undergraduate degrees and 40 percent of its graduate degrees. Top-ranked programs at Trinity College include graduate degrees in Sociology, Political Science, and Economics.

    Program Features

    Dukes 30-credit program leads to a Master of Arts in Economics. A minimum of 15 credit-hours must be earned in economics courses. In addition to this core coursework, students often enroll in masters- and doctoral-level classes in related departments, such as Political Science, Public Policy, Finance, Statistics, and Mathematics. Degree candidates may take classes such as:

      Game Theory with Applications of Economics and Other Social SciencesAdvanced Microeconomic AnalysisIndustrial OrganizationTime Series Econometrics

      Notables

      All candidates for this degree must complete a capstone course. A number of choices are available for this capstone requirement, including courses such as Empirical Methods in Financial Econometrics, Applied Econometrics in Microeconomics, International Monetary Economics, and many more. An internship is optional, while a portfolio featuring at least one substantial research paper is required.

  3. Washington University in St. Louis
    Location

    St. Louis, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    With a student body of over 15,000, Washington University in St. Louis boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of just 8:1. The university was founded in 1853 and today offers outstanding undergraduate and graduate programs in art and architecture, business, medicine, law, social work, and more. The graduate program in Economics at WUSTL was named to twenty-seventh place in U.S. News World Reports 2018 rankings.

    Program Features

    Washington University in St. Louis allows students to earn a Master of Arts in Economics with 36 credit-hours of graduate-level coursework. However, this is not a terminal masters degree program. Students will earn the MA en route to a PhD in Economics. Requirements for the masters degree portion of the program include:

      MacroeconomicsMicroeconomicsQuantitative Methods in EconomicsApplied Econometrics

      Notables

      At least 18 credit-hours for the masters degree must be earned from the Department of Economics. The remaining credits may be earned from within the department or in a complementary academic field. Candidates must earn a GPA of at least 3.0 to continue onto the doctorate level. This program is competitive, and an individual students chance of acceptance varies from year to year based on the strength of the applicant pool.

  4. New York University
    Location

    New York, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    As a private nonprofit research institution, New York University operates degree-granting campuses in Abu Dhabi, Shanghai, and New York City. With over 50,000 students, NYU is one of the countrys largest private universities. NYUs acclaimed Department of Economics offers a masters degree program that is one of the most rigorous of its kind in the nation.

    Program Features

    The Master of Arts in Economics from NYU may be completed in as little as three semesters of full-time study. This program provides a strong foundation in advanced economic theory and is designed to help students elevate their skills in economic analysis and public policy. The curriculum features a minimum of 32 credit-hours, including a written special project report. Core requirements for the degree include the following classes:

      Mathematics for Economists Microeconomic TheoryMacroeconomic Theory Applied Statistics and Econometrics

      Notables

      Both full-time and part-time students must complete all requirements for this degree within five years of enrolling. Graduates of this program have gone on to doctoral study at prestigious universities such as the University of Chicago, UCLA, University of Oxford, Georgetown, and other top institutions. After earning the masters degree, NYU students may choose to pursue an advanced certificate in Economic Development or in International Economics.

  5. Boston University
    Location

    Boston, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The 33,000 undergraduate and graduate students at Boston University represent more than 130 countries. These students are pursuing degrees and certificates across 250 fields of study in 17 renowned schools and colleges. BUs Department of Economics offers programs leading to an MA in Global Development Economics, an MA in Economic Policy, and an MA in Economics.

    Program Features

    The Master of Arts in Economics requires a minimum of 32 credit-hours, to be earned through eight courses. Four of these courses are core classes. The remaining four courses can be earned from a wide range of electives, which are designed to develop quantitative skills and specialized knowledge in specific areas of economics. Available electives at the graduate level include:

      Market Structure and Industrial OrganizationMoney and Financial IntermediationRace and the Development of the American Economy: A Global PerspectiveEnergy and Environmental Economics

      Notables

      Applicants should hold a bachelors degree in economics, mathematics, or a closely related field. This masters degree track features a written comprehensive examination as the culminating activity. The full program can be completed in one academic year. After earning this degree, graduates will be prepared to serve as an economic analyst in a major corporation, consulting firm, central bank, or governmental agency.

  6. University of California San Diego
    Location

    La Jolla, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The mission of the University of California San Diego is to transform California and the world through education, research, and public service. In 2018, Times Higher Education ranked UC San Diego the fifth best public university in the world. The universitys graduate program in Economics is versatile, intensive, and allows students to pursue concentrations in fields like Econometrics, Labor, International Trade, and more.

    Program Features

    UC San Diego offers a Master of Arts in Economics, which requires 36 credit-hours in upper-division undergraduate or PhD-level economics courses. At least 24 credit-hours must be earned in the core first-year PhD sequence. Students in this program have the opportunity to take electives such as:

      Models in Behavioral EconomicsOrganizational Economics of Development Nonparametric and Semi-Parametric MethodsTheory and Testing of Intertemporal Asset Pricing Model

      Notables

      To pursue an MA in Economics from UC San Diego, students must be admitted to the PhD program. However, students may earn the MA if they choose not to continue on to the PhD, if they are advised against continuing to the doctoral degree, or if they need the MA to secure a job while pursuing the doctorate. Otherwise, students in this program will typically earn the PhD without earning an MA.

  7. Tufts University
    Location

    Medford, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Established in 1852, Tufts University is a private institution with a main campus in Medford, MA. The community of Tufts includes 5,500 undergraduate students, 5,900 graduate and professional students, and over 1,500 distinguished faculty members. One of Tufts many renowned graduate programs is designed to prepare students with theoretical and empirical foundations in economics.

    Program Features

    The School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts offers a Master of Science in Economics. This degree requires six core courses and two elective courses. The core courses consist of three two-semester sequences in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics. Choices for the two elective courses may include the following:

      State and Local Public FinanceResource and Environmental Economics and PolicyIncome Inequality, Poverty, and Economic JusticeAdvertising and Imperfect Competition

      Notables

      The Economics program at Tufts is available through two distinct tracks. The course-based MS in Economics can be earned in one year of full-time study. The research-based MS in Economics, which requires a masters thesis, can be completed with a two-year residency. The Department of Economics also offers an interdisciplinary MS in Environmental Economics and Urban Planning. PhD programs are available in Human Developmental Economics and in Economics and Public Policy.

  8. University of Southern California
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    U.S. News World Report ranks the University of Southern California twenty-first among all national universities. USCs main campus is located in Los Angeles, offering students all the opportunities and advantages of one of the biggest metropolitan areas in the world. The university offers an MA in Economic Development Programming, an MS in Spatial Economics and Data Analysis, and an MA in Economics.

    Program Features

    The Master of Arts in Economics is one of USCs most popular programs. The degree requires a minimum of 32 credit-hours. This program begins during the fall semester, and students will complete the course sequence by the end of the following summer term. Degree candidates may take courses such as:

      Mathematical Methods in Dynamic Economics Theory of Value: Classical Origins and Neoclassical CritiqueContracts, Organizations, and InstitutionsAntitrust Economics and Competition Policy

      Notables

      Applicants will be required to take the GRE, with a recommended minimum score of 150 on the verbal section and 151 on the quantitative section. Once accepted, students may be eligible for research assistant positions with the Los Angeles Behavioral Economics Laboratory. LABEL provides exceptional graduate students with the opportunity to work on NIH- and NSF-funded projects in Experimental Economics and Neuroeconomics.

  9. University of Maryland, College Park
    Location

    College Park, MD

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Maryland earned the #15 slot on U.S. News World Reports Most Innovative Schools ranking. As the flagship institution of the University System of Maryland, UMD offers 92 undergraduate majors, 107 masters degree programs, and 83 doctoral programs. The Applied Economics program at UMD is taught entirely by PhD economists, many of whom work at government agencies, non-governmental organizations, or private consulting firms.

    Program Features

    The curriculum for the Master of Professional Studies in Applied Economics focuses on quantitative analysis, economic modeling, and econometrics. This program can be completed in as little as 15 months, although students are welcome to take a longer path toward graduation if they wish. The degree requires ten courses, including five core courses. Students may take classes such as:

      Economics of Health CareInformation, Game Theory, and Market DesignInternational Macroeconomics and FinanceApplied Time Series Analysis and Forecasting

      Notables

      Courses for this degree are offered in the evenings at both the Washington, DC and College Park, MD campuses. The average class size for this program is 16.4 students. For students who prefer not to complete the requirements for a masters degree, a Graduate Certificate of Economics Analysis is available by taking only the five core courses.

  10. Georgia Institute of Technology
    Location

    Atlanta, GA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The Georgia Institute of Technology offers highly ranked programs in engineering, computing, business, design, and liberal arts. Although Georgia Techs academic offerings are diverse, these programs are united by a common commitment to improve the human condition through advanced science and technology. The renowned Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts at Georgia Tech offers a 30-credit-hour Master of Science in Economics.

    Program Features

    All candidates for the MS in Economics will take core coursework in Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Probability and Statistical Methods, and Econometric Analysis. In addition to these required courses, students will take two economics electives and four economics or non-economics electives. Options for elective courses include:

      Management of Financial InstitutionsMoney and Capital MarketsInnovation and Entrepreneur BehaviorScience, Technology, and Public Policy

      Notables

      Full-time students can earn this degree in one calendar year, assuming they take classes in the fall, summer, and spring semesters. Part-time students can spread the required coursework out over several years. Highly qualified students from outside of Georgia may be eligible for out-of-state tuition waivers. Students receiving these waivers will only pay the in-state tuition rate. Classes for this degree are typically held during the day, in either a M-W-F format or a T-Th format.

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