An undergraduate degree in applied economics will generally allow for entry-level employment with a business in an analytical role. Completing a graduate program in applied economics will enable you to seek roles doing in-depth advising and consulting with businesses or research-intensive roles within government or academia. Coursework at every level will touch on subject matter such as business ethics, international trade and strategic finance.
Bachelor of Science in Applied Economics
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) programs in applied economics discuss how economic ideas and analytical methods are relevant to a variety of real world settings. You'll learn the methods used to examine macro- and microeconomic information and apply your findings to create economic forecasts. Programs will also teach you how to use economic data to devise managerial and financial strategies.
Prerequisites for this bachelor's degree program include a high school diploma, standardized test scores and a background in math, economics or finance.
Applied economics B.S. programs are often interdisciplinary, offering courses in business administration, mathematics and statistical analysis. You'll learn how wealth and capital are accumulated and distributed in society. The following are typically covered:
- Managerial accounting
- Business ethics
- Business statistics
- Strategic financial management
- International investment
Master's Degrees in Applied Economics
Master of Arts (M.A.) and Master of Science (M.S.) programs in applied economics will teach you how to use economic and financial data to make business decisions. You'll also learn about governmental policies and international laws affecting economic relations, and about analyses used in risk management and financial forecasting. Some programs blend courses in economic theory with substantial training in financial management theory.
Students seeking admission into one of these programs needs to have a bachelor's degree in economics or math with undergraduate courses in statistics, micro- and macroeconomics, calculus and economic theory.
Typical M.A. and M.S. curricula emphasize how economic theories can be applied to a variety of local, national and global issues. Many classes discuss international economics, business administration and financial law. You'll usually learn about the following:
- Public finance
- International trade relations
- Monetary theory
- Urban economics
- Emerging global markets
Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Economics
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs in applied economics discuss issues related to labor, business organizations, real estate and financial management. Some programs will require you to specialize in an area of the field, such as industrial organization or labor economics. Most of the coursework deals with developing your analytical and quantitative reasoning skills, and you'll usually work with faculty members to complete a dissertation project.
Ph.D. programs in this field often require incoming students to have a bachelor's degree in math or economics, and take graduate-level courses in economics and math.
The classes in applied mathematics Ph.D. programs cover several topics in behavioral, urban and industrial economics. You'll learn to apply economic theory to issues in natural resource management, urban real estate and government finance. The subjects below are usually discussed:
- Environmental economics
- Markets and prices
- Trade analysis
- Healthcare economics
Popular Career Options
By earning a B.S. in applied economics, you'll be qualified for entry-level positions in several types of businesses. The following are common career options:
- Budget analyst
- Small business manager
- Financial manager
- Market researcher
By earning a master's degree in applied economics, you'll be qualified for analytical positions in businesses of all sizes, as well as with nonprofit organizations and government groups. The careers noted below are popular options:
- Economic forecasting consultant
- Policy advisor
- Corporate economic analyst
After earning a Ph.D. in applied economics, you may choose to enter positions in academia or research, working for colleges or governmental agencies. You might also work independently as a consultant or advisor. Listed below are some popular positions:
- Economics professor
- Economic policy consultant
- Corporate risk management advisor
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
From 2014-2024, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that postsecondary teachers would see a 13% growth in employment opportunities. The median annual wages for economics professors were $94,000 in May 2015.
Students interested in the statistical analysis of economics and finance may find entry level employment after earning a Bachelor of Science in Applied Economics. Those who graduate with this degree and wish to pursue careers in consulting, advising or post secondary education may chose to earn a master's degree or Ph.D.