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.
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
- 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.
See our rankings methodology page.
Johns Hopkins University
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $27,352
Known as America’s 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.
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
- Accounting and Financial Reporting
- Business Leadership and Human Values
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.
College Choice Score: 99.20
Average Net Price: $19,950
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 Duke’s undergraduate degrees and 40 percent of its graduate degrees. Top-ranked programs at Trinity College include graduate degrees in Sociology, Political Science, and Economics.
Duke’s 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 master’s- 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 Sciences
- Advanced Microeconomic Analysis
- Industrial Organization
- Time Series Econometrics
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.
Washington University in St. Louis
College Choice Score: 92.77
Average Net Price: $28,824
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 Report’s 2018 rankings.
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 master’s degree program. Students will earn the MA en route to a PhD in Economics. Requirements for the master’s degree portion of the program include:
- Quantitative Methods in Economics
- Applied Econometrics
At least 18 credit-hours for the master’s 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 student’s chance of acceptance varies from year to year based on the strength of the applicant pool.
New York University
College Choice Score: 92.53
Average Net Price: $35,147
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 country’s largest private universities. NYU’s acclaimed Department of Economics offers a master’s degree program that is one of the most rigorous of its kind in the nation.
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 Theory
- Macroeconomic Theory
- Applied Statistics and Econometrics
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 master’s degree, NYU students may choose to pursue an advanced certificate in Economic Development or in International Economics.
College Choice Score: 90.08
Average Net Price: $31,539
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. BU’s Department of Economics offers programs leading to an MA in Global Development Economics, an MA in Economic Policy, and an MA in Economics.
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 Organization
- Money and Financial Intermediation
- Race and the Development of the American Economy: A Global Perspective
- Energy and Environmental Economics
Applicants should hold a bachelor’s degree in economics, mathematics, or a closely related field. This master’s 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.
University of California San Diego
College Choice Score: 89.94
Average Net Price: $14,770
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 university’s graduate program in Economics is versatile, intensive, and allows students to pursue concentrations in fields like Econometrics, Labor, International Trade, and more.
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 Economics
- Organizational Economics of Development
- Nonparametric and Semi-Parametric Methods
- Theory and Testing of Intertemporal Asset Pricing Model
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.
College Choice Score: 88.12
Average Net Price: $28,076
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.
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 Finance
- Resource and Environmental Economics and Policy
- Income Inequality, Poverty, and Economic Justice
- Advertising and Imperfect Competition
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 master’s 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.
University of Southern California
College Choice Score: 87.58
Average Net Price: $32,932
U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Southern California twenty-first among all national universities. USC’s 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.
The Master of Arts in Economics is one of USC’s 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 Critique
- Contracts, Organizations, and Institutions
- Antitrust Economics and Competition Policy
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.
University of Maryland, College Park
College Choice Score: 86.27
Average Net Price: $15,757
The University of Maryland earned the #15 slot on U.S. News & World Report’s Most Innovative Schools ranking. As the flagship institution of the University System of Maryland, UMD offers 92 undergraduate majors, 107 master’s 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.
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 Care
- Information, Game Theory, and Market Design
- International Macroeconomics and Finance
- Applied Time Series Analysis and Forecasting
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 master’s degree, a Graduate Certificate of Economics Analysis is available by taking only the five core courses.
Georgia Institute of Technology
College Choice Score: 85.87
Average Net Price: $13,340
The Georgia Institute of Technology offers highly ranked programs in engineering, computing, business, design, and liberal arts. Although Georgia Tech’s 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.
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 Institutions
- Money and Capital Markets
- Innovation and Entrepreneur Behavior
- Science, Technology, and Public Policy
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.
University of Texas at Austin
College Choice Score: 84.49
Average Net Price: $16,010
Ranked among the top 20 public universities nationwide by U.S. News & World Report, the University of Texas at Austin is the flagship institution of the nine-school University of Texas System. The Master of Arts in Economics from UT Austin was established in the 2013 academic year. Since then, it has developed a reputation for providing comprehensive quantitative training in modern economics.
This degree program is available through three distinct pathways: a 10-month track, an 18-month track, and a 24-month track. Regardless of how long students take to complete the program, the curriculum requires ten courses for a total of 30 credit-hours. No thesis is required for the degree. Students in this program will have the opportunity to take classes such as:
- Mathematics for Economists
- Real Analysis for Economists
- Markets for Electricity (Energy Policy and Economic Issues)
- Statistical Learning and Data Mining
Although students are expected to have a quantitative background and some exposure to economics courses, a bachelor’s degree in economics is not required. Graduates of this program will be prepared to pursue jobs in the private or government sector that require economic, analytical, and statistical expertise. This degree is also ideal for students who plan to pursue doctoral study.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
College Choice Score: 83.59
Average Net Price: $16,683
As a land-grant institution serving over 47,000 students, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is dedicated to a mission of pioneering research and transformative learning. The university is located in east-central Illinois, roughly 140 miles south of Chicago and 125 miles west of Indianapolis. Launched in 1984, the Policy Economics graduate program now boasts an alumni network of over 1,600.
This innovative, versatile program leads to a Master of Science in Policy Economics. The degree offers a wide range of specialization options, including environment and natural resources, law and economics, urban and regional economics, and many more. Depending on their chosen specialization, students in this program may take courses such as:
- Development and Growth Policy
- Government Regulation of Economic Activity
- Economics of Innovation and Technology
- Public Goods Theory
This program offers a PhD-specific track, which is designed to allow students to transition directly into doctoral study after completing the MSPE degree. The PhD track is competitive: Admission is reserved for students with a strong background in economics, quantitative methods, and English, as well as excellent GRE scores. Alumni of the MSPE program have gone on to become ministers of finance, directors of government agencies, and senior economists.
University of Oklahoma
College Choice Score: 81.30
Average Net Price: $17,966
Situated 20 minutes south of Oklahoma City, the University of Oklahoma is a public research institution with a student body of over 31,000. The university was established in 1890 and today offers a comprehensive array of degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. The Graduate College at OU serves over 4,000 students as they pursue advanced degrees in disciplines such as mass communication, business, economics, and much more.
The Master of Arts in Economics from OU is available both on campus and fully online. Coursework is offered on campuses in Washington, DC; Norman, OK; and Lawton, OK. This is an accelerated degree program, featuring 16-week classes that are designed to accommodate the schedules of working adults. The program requires 32 credit-hours, which may be earned through coursework such as:
- Contemporary Economic Methods and Analysis
- Research in Economic Problems
- Economics as a Social Science
- International Trade Theory
At the end of their program, students will have three options for their culminating activity. They may choose to write a thesis, complete a research project, or take six additional credit-hours. All degree candidates will need to pass a comprehensive examination and earn a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.
University of Delaware
College Choice Score: 80.95
Average Net Price: $15,894
With a main campus in Newark and additional campuses in Wilmington, Dover, Georgetown, and Lewes, the University of Delaware is a research-focused institution that was founded in 1743. Today, the university serves over 23,000 students and ranks among the top 40 national public universities, according to U.S. News & World Report. An array of nationally recognized graduate programs are available through UD’s acclaimed Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics.
The Master of Arts in Economics is designed for maximum flexibility. Students will take required coursework in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometric theory. Beyond this, candidates will have the opportunity to specialize in areas such as agricultural economics, energy policy, experimental economics, urban affairs, and more. Elective coursework for this degree may include:
- Economic Analysis for Business Policy
- Econometrics of Cross-Section and Panel Data
- International Trade and Development
- Contemporary Issues for Economic Educators
Applicants are not required to hold a bachelor’s degree in economics. In fact, this MA program is especially well-suited to students who earned their undergraduate degree in a field such as political science, finance, or public affairs. The University of Delaware offers a number of master’s degrees in related disciplines, such as Economics and Applied Econometrics, Economics and Entrepreneurship for Educators, and International Business.
Texas A&M University
College Choice Score: 79.95
Average Net Price: $15,455
Home to more than 68,000 students, Texas A&M University recently came in first in a Money Magazine ranking of “The 50 Best Colleges You Can Actually Get Into.” This comprehensive institution offers 128 undergraduate programs and 268 graduate programs. The Department of Economics at TAMU houses the Economics Research Laboratory as well as world-class degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral level.
At Texas A&M, students can earn a Master of Science in Economics through a three- or four-semester track. This program offers a concentration in either financial economics or financial econometrics. A total of 36 credit-hours is required to earn this degree. Students will be able to customize their academic path with elective courses such as:
- Economics of the Multinational Firm
- Decisions Under Risk and Uncertainty
- Econometric Analysis of Financial Data
- Accounting Concepts and Procedures
College Station, home to Texas A&M’s main campus, is consistently ranked as one of the most affordable places to live in the United States. Students applying to the MS in Economics program must have a GRE score in the fiftieth percentile or above. Graduates of this program have been hired by Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, International Bank of Chicago, and many other global institutions.
University of Missouri
College Choice Score: 79.30
Average Net Price: $16,317
The main campus of the University of Missouri is located on 1,200 acres in Columbia, roughly 70 miles from St. Louis. A public institution founded in 1839, Mizzou now enrolls more than 33,000 students in 13 distinguished schools and colleges. U.S. News & World Report ranks the university’s graduate program in Economics sixty-third nationwide.
Mizzou students pursuing a Master of Arts in Economics will complete a 30-credit-hour program of study. Twenty-one credit-hours will be earned in a required core of coursework. The remaining nine credit-hours can be earned through elective coursework. Graduate students will have the opportunity to take the following courses:
- Industrial Organization and Competitive Strategy
- Dynamic Optimization and its Applications to the Natural Sciences and Economics
- The Banking System and the Money Market
- History of Economic Thought
To qualify for admission to this program, prospective students must submit GRE scores with a minimum quantitative score of 155. A bachelor’s degree in economics is not required. Mizzou offers a PhD track for the Economics program, which allows students to earn an MA in the course of doctoral study by passing a comprehensive exam. The Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business at Mizzou also offers an acclaimed MS in Finance.
North Carolina State University
College Choice Score: 78.83
Average Net Price: $13,066
In 2018, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance ranked North Carolina State University as the seventh Best Value for Out-of-State Students Among Public Colleges. Serving more than 33,000 students, NC State has a student-to-faculty ratio of just 13:1. The world-class academic options at NC State include graduate degrees in Accounting, Agricultural and Resource Economics,
Forestry and Environmental Resources, Economics, and more.
The graduate program in Economics is available as a Master of Science degree or as a Master of Economics degree. The MS degree requires a thesis and a final oral examination, while the MR degree is a coursework-only program. Students in both degree tracks can choose one or more concentrations from four available options: financial/macro econometrics, international trade and development, natural resource and environmental economics, and economic policy. The following coursework is available through this program:
- Introduction to Commodity Futures Markets
- Dynamic Environmental and Resource Management
- Computational Methods in Economics and Finance
- US Agricultural Policy
Students pursuing either the MS degree or the MR degree may choose the terminal master’s track, which features an applied focus. Alternatively, they may choose the PhD preparation track, which has a more theoretical emphasis and provides students with a stronger foundation for doctoral study.
West Texas A&M University
College Choice Score: 78.71
Average Net Price: $12,022
Founded in 1910, West Texas A&M University is a public institution offering 59 undergraduate degree programs, 38 master’s degree programs, and one doctorate. The 176-acre campus in Canyon, TX is the academic home of over 10,000 students, including roughly 2,500 graduate students. WTAMU earned second place in a 2018 ranking of economics and finance graduate programs from TFE Times.
The Master of Science in Finance and Economics is presented by the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business. Students may choose to earn this degree on campus or online. The degree requires 36 credit-hours and is designed to be completed in two years, although some students may be able to complete it in just one year. Coursework for this degree may include:
- Economics of Health and Medical Care
- Problems in Government Finance and Fiscal Policy
- Corporate Governance and Ethics
- Quantitative Analysis in Business
GMAT scores are typically required from applicants to this program. However, students with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above may request to have this requirement waived. Candidates for the MSFE degree will be required to pass a comprehensive exam. The exam will emphasize critical thinking skills, knowledge of business ethics and global business environments, and the integration of statistical, quantitative, and theoretical concepts.
University of Wisconsin–Madison
College Choice Score: 77.95
Average Net Price: $15,874
The University of Wisconsin–Madison is a land-grant research university enrolling more than 43,000 students. Founded in 1848, the university is anchored in the “Wisconsin Idea”: a belief in education as an influence for good beyond the boundaries of the classroom. The 250-plus master’s, doctoral, and professional programs at the University of Wisconsin–Madison include an outstanding degree in Economics.
The program at UW–Madison culminates in a Master of Science in Economics. This degree is ideal for students with a background in economics seeking advanced training, or for students with a background in another academic discipline who are preparing for a PhD program in economics or a related field. The curriculum for the degree requires a minimum of 30 credit-hours. Students will have the opportunity to take electives in a diverse range of topics, such as:
- Economic Forecasting
- Economics of Growth
- Game Theory and Economic Analysis
- Economics of Health Care
Applicants to this program must submit GRE scores. Although a bachelor’s degree in economics is not required, prospective students must have completed coursework in introductory and intermediate microeconomics as well as introductory macroeconomics prior to applying. Once accepted, degree candidates are expected to enroll full-time every semester until they finish the program.
George Washington University
College Choice Score: 75.75
Average Net Price: $39,562
The main campus of George Washington University is situated just four blocks from the White House. The university’s location provides students with access to federal agencies as well as multinational private organizations like the National Institutes of Health, the World Bank, and many more. GW offers a practical, intensive Economics program that prepares students to conduct empirical analysis, forecast economic trends, and measure the impact of government policies.
The Master of Arts in Applied Economics requires 30 credit-hours. The curriculum features six core courses and four elective courses. This program offers an array of specialization options, including budgetary and fiscal policy, development economics, industrial organization, behavioral economics, and more. All candidates for this degree will take the following courses:
- Mathematical Methods for Economics
- Probability and Statistics for Economics
- Applied Econometrics
- Time Series Analysis and Forecasting
Students who enroll in this program on a full-time basis can earn their degree in three semesters. Many classes are offered during the evening, allowing part-time students to continue working while they pursue their academic goals. Degree candidates will have the opportunity to take electives from the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, the Milken Institute School of Public Health, the Graduate School of Business, and the School of Engineering and Applied Science.
Stony Brook University
College Choice Score: 75.17
Average Net Price: $13,615
As part of the State University of New York system, Stony Brook University is one of the nation’s most dynamic public research institutions. Stony Brook is a member of the elite Association of American Universities, a consortium that includes only 60 universities nationwide. The multifaceted Economics program at Stony Brook allows students to choose a degree path that perfectly aligns with their academic and professional goals for the future.
The basic track for the Master of Arts in Economics requires 33 credit-hours. If desired, students may choose to specialize in Industrial Strategy; People, Markets, and Government; or Macroeconomic Policy. All of the concentration tracks require a minimum of 42 credit-hours. The following coursework is available to students in this program:
- Computational Economics and Dynamic Modeling
- Labor Economics Theory
- Demographic Economics
- Advanced Macroeconomic Theory
This unique program does not require any background in economics. However, students are encouraged to have a strong foundation in linear algebra, multivariate calculus, and differential equations. All first-year students in this program must enroll on a full-time basis. After the first year, students can enroll part-time. Graduates will be considered for continuation into Stony Brook’s PhD in Economics track. These students are eligible for funding for the following two years in the doctoral program.
College Choice Score: 74.54
Average Net Price: $31,823
A private research institution, Syracuse University is home to almost 15,000 undergraduates and 5,000 graduate students. The university has offered progressive, future-focused education in the heart of New York State for almost 150 years. Syracuse’s Department of Economics, housed within the renowned Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, offers an excellent graduate program for aspiring economists.
The Master of Arts in Economics degree features a required core of five mandatory classes and five more elective courses, for a total of 30 credit-hours. Degree candidates with an undergraduate background in economics can complete the program in one calendar year. Those without an economics background can expect to earn the degree in three semesters plus a summer session. Students will have the opportunity to take the following electives:
- International Macroeconomics and Finance
- State and Local Government Finance
- Economics of Science and Technology
- Development Finance: Building Inclusive Financial Systems
Prospective students will be required to submit GRE scores as part of the application process. Once accepted, students have the option of completing a master’s thesis in place of three or six credit-hours of elective coursework. To graduate with this degree, students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above.
University of Arizona
College Choice Score: 74.09
Average Net Price: $16,466
Founded in 1885 and located in Tucson, the University of Arizona is the state’s land-grant institution. U of A is at the forefront of interdisciplinary scholarship and entrepreneurial partnerships, ranking twenty-second for research investments among all public institutions of higher learning. The university offers an exceptional program in economics with a strong focus in microeconomics.
The Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona presents a Master of Science in Econometrics and Quantitative Economics. Graduates of this program will be prepared to serve in high-level positions in industry and government, or to pursue doctoral study. This degree program requires 30 credit-hours, to be earned over the span of three semesters. Available electives for this degree include:
- Economics of Healthcare
- Market Design
- Energy Economics
- Experimental Economics
GRE scores are required from all applicants to this program. However, there is no established cut-off score for acceptance. Students are expected to hold a bachelor’s degree in economics or a closely related discipline. All students admitted to the program will begin in the fall semester and enroll on a full-time basis. The University of Arizona also offers an MS in Applied Econometrics and Data Analytics and an MS in Pharmaceutical Sciences with a concentration in Pharmaceutical Economics, Policy, and Outcomes.
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
College Choice Score: 72.14
Average Net Price: $16,242
The University of Minnesota consists of five campuses: Duluth, Crookston, Morris, Rochester, and a flagship Twin Cities campus. In total, UMN enrolls approximately 31,000 undergraduate students and 16,000 graduate and professional students. As one of the nation’s leading research universities, UMN offers an array of world-class graduate programs in disciplines such as psychology, health care, law, business, economics, and much more.
The Master of Arts in Economics from UMN Twin Cities is an optional part of the PhD track: Students will be admitted to the doctoral program and may choose to earn the MA in the process of earning the PhD. The MA degree requires 30 credit-hours. This will include 16 credit-hours in core coursework, eight credit-hours in economics electives, and six credit-hours outside the major. Degree candidates may choose to take electives such as:
- Advanced Topics in Economic Development
- Cooperative Game Theory
- Game Theory for Engineers
- Economics of the Health Care System
Students in this program may choose to specialize in economic growth and development, mathematical economics, public economics, and numerous other areas. Degree candidates may also customize their academic path with a minor. This program allows candidates to undertake thesis research in either microeconomic or macroeconomic theory.
Claremont Graduate University
College Choice Score: 71.98
Average Net Price: $69,840
Located 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, Claremont Graduate University has been a leader in post-baccalaureate education since its founding in 1925. Claremont has a median class size of just ten students, representing its commitment to the success of each individual. Economics students at Claremont benefit from the university-wide philosophy of responsive, hands-on education.
The Master of Arts in Economics can be earned in conjunction with another degree, such as a PhD in Psychology or Education. By pursuing a dual degree program, students will be able to count some credit-hours toward both degrees and reduce their overall time to graduation. The Economics program is also available as a terminal, standalone master’s degree track. The single-degree program will require 36 credit-hours, to be earned through classes such as:
- Applications of Behavioral Economics
- Microeconomic Analysis
- Asian Economic Development
- International Finance and Economic Development
This degree can be earned in 12 to 18 months. Students are able to begin their course of study in the fall, spring, or summer semesters. Extensive research opportunities are available through this program. Degree candidates will have the chance to participate in faculty-led research projects covering topics such as capital flow reversals, faulty mental models, macroeconomic policy design, and much more.
University of Connecticut
College Choice Score: 70.32
Average Net Price: $19,064
U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Connecticut at number 18 among the nation’s Top Public Schools. The town of Storrs, home to UConn’s main campus, is roughly 90 minutes away from Boston. UConn offers a diverse range of excellent graduate programs, including a Master of Arts in Economics and a Master of Science in Quantitative Economics.
The MA degree track features required coursework in Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Mathematical Economics, and Econometrics. In addition to this core coursework, students will complete five elective courses based on their professional goals and interests. The MSQE program combines training in economics with training in quantitative and data analytical methods. Electives for students in either program may include:
- Open Source Programming with Python
- Operations Research
- Convex Optimization with Python
- Financial Econometrics
Applicants are required to submit GRE scores. There is no designated minimum score, but preference is given to candidates with a verbal score of at least 160 and a quantitative score of at least 155. Students pursuing the MA degree will have the option of completing a thesis as their capstone experience. The Economics graduate program currently enrolls about 70 students. Of these, approximately 30 percent are women, and 70 percent are international students.
Georgia State University
College Choice Score: 70.29
Average Net Price: $14,573
Located in downtown Atlanta, Georgia State University is a public research university serving more than 51,000 students on seven metropolitan campuses. Georgia State has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top five Most Innovative Schools nationwide. The university offers over 250 degree options, including a top-tier Economics graduate program that focuses on public policy and empirical evaluation.
Students at Georgia State can earn a Master of Arts in Economics with an optional emphasis in Policy. The standard degree requires a minimum of 33 credit-hours, while the Policy specialization track requires a minimum of 36 credit-hours. Coursework for this degree may include the following:
- Environmental and Natural Resource Economics and Theory
- Theory of the Firm and Business Strategy
- Economics of the State and Local Public Sector
- Industrial Organization and Antitrust Economics
Degree candidates may enroll on either a full-time or part-time basis. Regardless of whether students choose to add the Policy emphasis, the degree is thesis-optional. Students may be able to earn course credit by completing internships. Alumni of this program have gone on to leadership positions in Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank, Bank of America, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and more.
Florida State University
College Choice Score: 69.54
Average Net Price: $16,506
Established in 1851, Florida State University is the oldest continuously operating site of higher education in Florida. Through its main campus in Tallahassee and numerous satellite campuses, the university enrolls over 41,000 students, representing every county in Florida and 140 countries worldwide. FSU is a Carnegie-designated Doctoral University with Highest Research Activity. FSU’s College of Social Sciences and Public Policy presents an interdisciplinary Economics program with an intensive real-world focus.
The Master of Science in Applied Economics requires 32 credit-hours. Candidates for this degree typically begin in the fall semester with 11 credit-hours, followed by 12 credit-hours in the spring and 9 credit-hours in the summer. Students will graduate at the end of the summer semester. Required coursework for this degree includes:
- Applied Microeconomics
- Applied Econometrics
- Analysis of Economic Data
- SAS for Economists
During the summer semester, students will complete a 6-credit-hour applied project and a 3-credit-hour applied project lab. As part of the applied project series, students will write a proposal as well as an interim and final report. The course also requires an oral presentation. FSU students have the opportunity to participate in a dual degree program, leading to both an MS in Applied Economics and a Juris Doctor degree in Law.
Iowa State University
College Choice Score: 69.42
Average Net Price: $13,623
The first classes at Iowa State University were held in 1869. Today, the university is home to nearly 36,000 students and ten schools and colleges. The Debbie and Jerry Ivy College of Business at Iowa State is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top five least expensive public graduate business schools for both in-state and out-of-state students. Ivy College of Business offers a dual degree program leading to a Master of Science in Economics and a Master of Finance.
Iowa State’s program requires 56 credit-hours and is designed to be completed in two academic years. The curriculum features 33 credit-hours toward the Finance degree and 23 credit-hours toward the Economics degree. Students in this program will have the opportunity to take courses such as:
- Case Studies in Financial Decisions
- Advanced Derivatives and Risk Management
- Fraud Examination and Prevention
- Data Management for Decision Makers
Another dual degree program leads to a Master of Finance and a Master of Business Administration. Students at Iowa State can also enroll in a single-degree track leading to a Master of Finance. For all three of these tracks, either GRE or GMAT scores are required as part of the application process.
College Choice Score: 67.49
Average Net Price: $36,294
Located in Waco, TX, Baylor University is a private, nationally ranked research institution. Baylor was chartered by Baptist pioneers in 1845, making it the oldest continually operating university in the state. Today, the university offers 142 undergraduate degree programs, 75 master’s degree programs, and 42 doctoral programs. These diverse academic options include exemplary programs in Economics at the bachelor’s and master’s degree level.
Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business offers an analytically and strategically focused Master of Science in Economics. Students may choose to pursue this degree through a thesis track, which requires 24 credit-hours of coursework and a 6-credit-hour thesis. The non-thesis track requires 36 credit-hours of coursework. Both tracks can be customized with economics electives that align with the student’s individual interests and goals. Available economics electives include:
- Math Analysis in Economics
- Economics of Government
- Comparative Economic Systems
- International Trade
Economics students may have the opportunity to work as teaching and research assistants. Baylor students who are pursuing other graduate degrees (such as a Master of Taxation, Master of Business Administration, or Master of Accountancy) may choose to earn an Economics minor. Graduates of the Economics program have gone on to secure jobs in consulting firms, forecasting groups, financial institutions, non-governmental organizations, and other national and international agencies.
College Choice Score: 67.22
Average Net Price: $27,478
The campus of Lehigh University, located on 2,358 wooded acres in Bethlehem, PA, is renowned for its beauty. The university’s academics are just as highly regarded: U.S. News & World Report places Lehigh among the top 50 national universities in the country. TFE Times ranks the Economics graduate program at Lehigh among the top 50 nationwide.
The Master of Science in Economics from Lehigh is a thesis-optional program requiring 30 credit-hours. This degree features an emphasis on applied economics. While it can prepare students for doctoral study and a career in academia, it is also suitable as a standalone master’s degree leading to a career in industry. Required coursework for this degree includes:
- Managerial Economics
- Mathematical Economics
- Advanced Macroeconomic Analysis
- Economic Analysis of Market Competition
In addition to required courses in economics, students will have the opportunity to take electives in international relations, engineering, political science, marketing, and other complementary disciplines. With a student-to-faculty ratio of just 9:1, both undergraduate and graduate students at Lehigh will have very small classes taught by world-class faculty. Alumni of the Economics program have taken on leadership roles in prestigious organizations such as Merrill Lynch, the US Department of Labor, IBM, and many more.
College Choice Score: 67.20
Average Net Price: $26,625
Established in 1789, Georgetown University is the nation’s oldest Catholic and Jesuit institution of higher education. The university is dedicated to real-world application of research, scholarship, faith, and service. As a major international research university located in Washington, DC, the Georgetown community includes nine schools and 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The university is home to an array of top-tier graduate programs in academic disciplines spanning the liberal arts, law, medicine, sciences, and business.
Launched in the fall of 2017, the Master of Science in Economics from Georgetown is designed as a two-year, full-time program. The degree requires 45 credit-hours, including five courses (15 credit-hours) in intensive quantitative coursework. Degree candidates will also complete six electives in applied economics. Options for these elective slots include:
- Energy Economics and Policy
- Monetary Theory and Policy
- Monetary and Financial Economics
- Behavioral Economics and Finance
Applicants to this program must submit GRE scores, along with an academic statement of purpose and three letters of recommendation. Georgetown also offers a master’s degree in Applied Economics, which requires only 30 credit-hours. A master’s degree in Political Economy is offered through a partnership with the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management of the Université Libre de Bruxelles.
University of Houston
College Choice Score: 65.11
Average Net Price: $15,571
The University of Houston boasts one of the nation’s most diverse student populations. In addition to its 45,000 students, UH is home to 2,600 distinguished faculty members and 25 leading-edge research centers. The university’s Economics program is designed to prepare graduate students to analyze business trends and policy issues in the context of the global economy.
Housed within the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, the Master in Applied Economics is a 12-month program focusing on statistical analysis, data management, and economic forecasting. Students will be expected to enroll in this program on a full-time basis. The curriculum features 30 credit-hours, including a 6-credit-hour capstone course or internship. Candidates for this degree may take classes such as:
- Economic Forecasting
- Energy Economics
- Health Economics
- Capital Market Economics
To qualify for admission to this competitive program, students should have a minimum GPA of 3.0 on the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework. GRE scores are required, and preference is given to students with total scores (verbal plus quantitative) of 300 or above. The Applied Economics program begins in the fall semester and runs through the following summer. Classes are typically scheduled during the day on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
University of Oregon
College Choice Score: 64.48
Average Net Price: $15,355
Serving over 23,000 students, the University of Oregon is located in the scenic Willamette Valley between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains. The university has been selected for membership in the elite Association of American Universities. It is one of only two institutions in the Pacific Northwest, and one of 62 institutions in all of North America, to earn this distinction. UO’s Department of Economics offers pathways leading to a Master of Science or a Master of Arts.
Specializations for both the MA and the MS degrees are available in Economic Growth and Development, Environmental Economics, Experimental Economics, and many other areas. The MA degree requires students to demonstrate competency in a foreign language. Elective coursework for either degree may include:
- Economy of the Pacific Northwest
- Industrial Organization and Public Policy
- Issues in Economic Growth and Development
- Behavioral and Experimental Economics
Both the MS and MA degrees are available through thesis and non-thesis tracks. The coursework-only program must be completed within three years, while the thesis program must be completed within five years. The majority of graduates from the Department of Economics’ master’s degree programs have found jobs with local, state, federal, or foreign governments, or with private research and consulting firms.