The work of such roles includes, but is not limited to, analyzing economic trends data to forecast future trends, and the impact they'll have on businesses and consumers.
If you're looking for other affordable master's programs as well, take a look at our list of the most affordable graduate schools.
Sample economics-related careers include:
- Asset Manager
- Banks And Financial Institutions
- Business Analyst
- Claims Adjuster
- Commodities Broker
- Compliance Analyst
- Economic Analyst/ Consultant
- Economic Development Specialist
- Economic Loss Specialist
- Financial Analyst
- Financial Services Firms
- Government Enterprises (Financial Economic Development)
- Government Regulatory Agencies (Federal, State)
- Healthcare Providers
- Industry Forecaster
- Lecturer/ Professor
- Management Consultant
- Operations Research Analyst
- Public Utilities
This college ranking was based on 10 colleges across the U.S. that offer an online master's-level degree program in Finance, or as a concentration of an MBA or other graduate degree.
The ranking is based on in-state tuition. Note that per-credit-hour costs are listed where available, but may not be equivalent to the NCES (http://nces.ed/gov/) tuition data, which can be one AY (Academic Year) behind, while collge Web site data can be update more frequently. We've also included Payscale salary data for colleges, as available, but the values are not part of this ranking.
See our rankings methodology page.
Georgia Southern University
In-state tuition: $6,636
Out-of-state tuition: $26,518
Georgia Southern University’s College of Business Administration is fast-growing as a purveyor of online business degrees. It confers the Master of Science in Applied Economics, a degree perfect for analytical economics undergraduates. This university is regionally accredited by the SACS COC.
The M.S. in Applied Economics is a research degree, designed specifically for students who are interested in developing their analytical skills within the economics field. This degree encompasses a variety of different skills that are sorely needed in every industry, from business to government, and a student who graduates with this degree will be in high demand once they graduate.
This online business school has one flat tuition rate for graduate students in the M.S. in Applied Economics program. The rate, which is shared by both in-state students and out-of-state students, is currently $410 per credit hour. This rate also reflects technology and distance education fees, making GSU one of the most transparent schools when it comes to online education.
GSU, which is part of the University System of Georgia, has a broad spectrum of financial assistance available for online students. Loans, scholarships, and grants are always available. Students are encouraged to speak with a financial aid advisor to learn about which of these options may be right for them.
#grads: 2,496 (45% take all online courses; 13% take some online courses)
Payscale early career grad salary: $39,500
University of North Dakota
In-state tuition: $7,044
Out-of-state tuition: $18,807
Economics students will be pleased to learn that the University of North Dakota — part of the North Dakota University System — has one of the highest-rated Master of Science in Applied Economics. This is a 100 percent online program for students interested in applied research and economic development. This university is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC.
The MS of Applied Economics degree at UND is meant for students who want to pursue a degree in economics research. This means that the program is a professional degree that focuses on the statistical and academic aspects of economics, rather than the practical features that most economists use when working with businesses and organizations.
The UND online student, regardless of residency, only has one tuition rate for all students. That rate is $435.12 per credit hour, which includes online and distance course fees. Textbook and technology fees may also apply.
While this is a great tuition rate for any student, it is also possible to get tuition assistance. Military members, both active-duty members and veterans, are eligible for reduced tuition. Students who work for a company that offers tuition reimbursement may find the Employer-Provided tuition assistance program useful. For all other students, financial aid is available for those who qualify.
#grads: 3,374 (44% take all online courses; 7% take some online courses)
Payscale early career grad salary: $56,400
Ball State University
In-state tuition: $8,242
Out-of-state tuition: $20,356
Ball State University has an interesting way of approaching economics as an online degree. Instead of offering a stand-alone degree, this school confers a Graduate Certificate in Health Economics, Policy, and Administration through its online MBA program. This university is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC. The business school, which is where this certificate and degree is housed, holds independent accreditation by the AACSB.
Though not a degree in and of itself, the school’s Graduate Certificate in Health Economics, Policy, and Administration acts as a concentration within the MBA program. The certificate, and the 12 credit hours it entails counts towards the MBA, making it a nice addition to a student’s resume.
As the name suggests, this is an economics concentration that deals primarily with the health care industry. As such, is it is perfect for students who currently work in, or have interest in working in, the health care industry at the administrative level. As a certificate, it can stand alone on a resume, ensuring that students are recognized for this specialized education.
This is one of the cheapest online graduate schools is incredibly competitive. In-state students pay just $394 per credit hour and out-of-state students pay $590 per credit hour. It is important to note that this rate does not include technology, program, and course fees.
#grads: 4,594 (61% take all online courses; 8% take some online courses)
Payscale early career grad salary: $49,400
Youngstown State University
In-state tuition: $8,280
Out-of-state tuition: $12,780
Youngstown State University is known as an urban research university that has a vested interested in being one of the best online colleges in the country. This school confers the Master of Arts in Financial Economics. This school is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC.
The school’s internet portal is located at eYSU, where this economics degree is housed. While this is not an online MBA, it is nonetheless a professional degree that will prepare any student for becoming a valuable member of a business, government agency, nonprofit organization, or even as a community or political leader. This is also one of two such programs in the entire nation.
Tuition rates are not currently available online. Students are encouraged to contact the Distance Education office at Youngstown in order to learn more about tuition rates, applicable fees, and estimate textbook costs. However, this school has recently been named one of the best online master’s in economics degrees by both The Financial Times and the Princeton Review.
#grads: 1,312 (6% take all online courses; 8% take some online courses)
Payscale early career grad salary: $33,600
In-state tuition: $9,208
Out-of-state tuition: $28,010
At Purdue University, online education is considered the same as on-campus education. That’s good news for economics students who are interested in pursuing the school’s Masters in Economics. This university is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC.
This school has two different pathways to gain an online graduate degree in economics. The first is the fully online program, where students are never required to attend campus for any reason. This is perfect for working professionals who live out-of-state and cannot travel to school because of work or personal commitments.
The second is the hybrid program, where students are expected to complete the first year of the program online and then attend campus for their second year. This pathway is encouraged for international students and for students interested in possibly completing a doctorate after they complete their graduate degree.
Purdue University is a world-renown institution that has convenient tuition rates. In-state students pay just $622.72 per credit hour while out-of-state students pay $1,145 per credit hour. International students may find their tuition rates are based on if they take the hybrid pathway. Financial aid is available for all U.S. residents; international students may be eligible for independent scholarships in their home country or university system.
#grads: 9,912 (16% take all online courses; 3% take some online courses)
Payscale early career grad salary: $69,900
In-state tuition: $9,510
Out-of-state tuition: $17,502
Ohio University’s eCampus is growing, and with that growth comes an online economics degree. This school confers the Master of Financial Economics, which is fully available as an online degree program, making it perfect for working professionals and busy students. This school is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC. The program is also further accredited by the AACSB and endorsed by the Chartered Financial Analyst exams.
This is a great degree for economics students interested in preparing for a career in financial economics. This program satisfies the requirements for students to sit for the CFA exam, a certification that is welcome on any applicant’s resume. It is also a great educational opportunity for students who wish to work in finance in the business sector.
This online business school features online-specific tuition, something that not all colleges offer. The current tuition rates for this program are $795 per credit hour for in-state students and $814 per credit hour for out-of-state students. This includes various fees, such as technology and program fees, so students are never surprised by actual tuition costs. Books, however, are separate and should therefore be taken into account when budgeting for this program.
#grads: 5,644 (38% take all online courses; 2% take some online courses)
Payscale early career grad salary: $55,300
Southern New Hampshire University
In-state tuition: $18,810
Out-of-state tuition: $18,810
Southern New Hampshire University, known as SNHU to students, has been a prime example of what online education can accomplish. For economic students, this is amplified by the school’s first online economics degree, the Master of Science in Applied Economics. This school is regionally accredited by the NEASC.
A graduate degree in economics can be used to find a student employment in almost every industry. From agriculture to transportation, this degree prepares students to understand the role of economics in the context of business, nonprofits, governments, and communities. It is, in fact, one of the most malleable and desired programs for graduate students.
SNHU often appears on lists that rank the best cheap online grad schools, and that’s for good reason. Tuition at this school is extremely affordable. The school has frozen it’s online tuition rate at $1,881 per credit hour for all graduate students, a rate that has not changed since 2013.
The school, like most other accredited online universities, also provides discounts for active-duty military service members and their spouses. Financial is available for most students as well. It is encouraged that students apply for fiscal assistance as soon as possible,
type: private nonprofit
#grads: 17454 (88% take all online courses; 4% take some online courses)
Payscale early career grad salary: $52,600
Pennsylvania State University — World Campus
In-state tuition: $19,328
Out-of-state tuition: $33,142
World Campus is one of the best-known internet institutions in the country, and it is housed at Pennsylvania State University’s main campus at State College. It confers the Master of Professional Studies in Community in Economic Development. The university and it’s internet portal hold regional accreditation from MSCHE.
Unlike other online colleges on this list, Penn State offers a specialized degree in economics. The MPS in Community and Economic Development focuses on communities and how economics can and does affect social and organizational change within them. For this reason, this is a program best suited for students who want to become local community leaders and politicians as well as activists and nonprofit administrators focused on positive change within cities and towns.
This is a very affordable degree, especially when one stops to consider that Penn State is one of the premier accredited online universities in the country. The current tuition rate is $821 per credit hour for all students, regardless of residency status. This university also has a wealth of financial aid options available for all of their online students, most of which can be browsed online through the school’s website.
#grads: 6,565 (1% take all online courses; 5% take some online courses)
Payscale early career grad salary: $64,100
University of Detroit at Mercy
In-state tuition: $26,802
Out-of-state tuition: $26,802
The University of Detroit at Mercy offers graduate students interested in a degree in economics the chance to earn their diploma online. This school confers the Master of Arts in Economics, a graduate degree that is sure to see students fulfill their dreams of moving on to doctoral degree programs. This university is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC.
This online economics degree is particularly useful for students who wish to move into law, business, or government. Because the international business and financial sectors are growing, several businesses are requiring candidates to have an advanced degree in economics. UD-Mercy provides that, ensuring that students have the option to move into advanced career positions as well as become researchers when in doctoral programs.
The economics degree at this university is reasonably priced. Students pay a tuition rate of $3,074 per credit hour. This does not include books, which comes to an estimated $880 per year. Financial aid is available to all students, so they are encouraged to apply as soon as they are accepted into the program.
type: private nonprofit
#grads: 2,248 (3% take all online courses; 10% take some online courses)
Payscale early career grad salary: $53,300
In-state tuition: $27,468
Out-of-state tuition: $27,468
American University has long been a respected institution in America, and it has since moved into applying their popular curriculums to its online school. This private school confers a Masters in Economics, a program created by professional economists. The university is regionally accredited by the MSACSS.
This program is notable for its flexible schedule, which is a necessity for online students. With full-time study, it is possible to graduate from AU in as little as 20 months, without causing stress to a student’s professional or personal life. Students are also welcome to study part-time, increasing the time to degree completion by an average of one year.
The Master of Arts in Economics, Applied Economics specialization from AU is among the top cheap online grad schools in the country. The current tuition rate is $1,579 per credit hour and is fixed for both in-state and out-of-state students. There are other fees that may not be reflected in the tuition, and students are encouraged to use the school’s Net Price Calculator to total the cost of their education at the university.
type: private nonprofit
#grads: 5,289 (10% take all online courses; 4% take some online courses)
Payscale early career grad salary: $51,100