Degrees in Economics: Program Options By Level

Oct 20, 2019

Economics is an academic discipline that explores the consumption, production and distribution of goods and services. Bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs in economics are available at most accredited colleges or universities.

Essential Information

Bachelor's degree programs in economics give students fundamental knowledge of the field; these programs include extensive math coursework as well as general education requirements. To be admitted into a program, students will need to submit SAT or ACT test scores and have a high school diploma or GED.

Master's and doctoral programs offer the opportunity to specialize in a particular area of economics and engage in research in the field. Specialization areas include market research, history, international trade and more. Students hoping to gain admission into a graduate program will need a bachelor's degree, GRE scores, and go through an admissions interview.

Bachelor's Degrees in Economics

A bachelor's degree in economics has students learn about investment markets, financial institutions and probability. Many colleges and universities have students pursuing undergraduate education in economics take a number of mathematics courses, like statistics, calculus and algebra.

A bachelor's degree in economics will have students taking courses in various social sciences, such as sociology, geography and psychology. Some potential areas of study include:

  • Regulated industries
  • Modern American capitalism
  • Healthcare economics
  • Economic development
  • Urban economics

Master's Degrees in Economics

Graduate education allows students the opportunity to concentrate on specialized areas of economics. A significant portion of graduate economics education focuses on various theories in microeconomics and macroeconomics.

A graduate degree in economics might involve courses in economics analysis and financial institutions. Course topics may include:

  • Public policy
  • Financial economics
  • Economics and law
  • Environmental economics
  • Resource economics

Doctoral Degrees in Economics

Doctorates in economics offers advanced education in policy analysis, monetary theory and game theory. Students earning economics doctoral degrees concentrate on international politics, the legal system and economic forecasting.

Classes leading toward an economics doctorate teach students about securities, loans and other financial instruments. Some potential course topics include:

  • Microeconomic theory
  • Quantitative methods
  • Public economics
  • Macroeconomic theory
  • Environmental economics

Popular Career Options

Masters' degrees in economics might lead to a job in academics or research. Some career possibilities include:

  • Credit analyst
  • Investment banker
  • Bookkeeper
  • Market analyst
  • Educator

Doctoral degrees in economics might lead to employment with think tanks and institutions of higher learning. Some career possibilities include:

  • Financial services
  • Insurance sales agent
  • Claims processor
  • Business consultant
  • Professor

Employment Outlook

Individuals with bachelor's degrees in economics often find employment in financial activities, like real estate, finance or insurance. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), economists are expected to experience average job growth of 8% from 2018-2028. The median annual wage for these professionals was $104,340 in May 2018.

Economics degrees are widely available at the undergraduate and graduate levels. While bachelor's programs focus on essential economics concepts, master's and doctoral programs offer numerous specializations allowing students to focus on areas that interest them. Aside from work as an economist, graduates of these programs may find employment as consultants, credit analysts and more.

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