Online Economics Masters Degree Program Information

Get info about online master's degree programs in economics. Read about program requirements and course topics, as well as career and continuing education options.

Essential Information

Master's-level economics programs usually lead to a Master of Science in Applied Economics (MSAE) degree. This type of program is not especially common in a distance learning format. Applicants often hold a bachelor's degree in economics or business, although certain economics programs may be well-suited for those with undergraduate training in technology, math, engineering or science fields.

Economics master's degree programs may offer concentrations in business economics, economic development or economic theory. In some cases, economics master's degree programs allow students to complete all of the degree program requirements fully online. However, hybrid degree programs are also available, allowing students to take some coursework online and complete on-campus research through an independent study course or for a thesis.

Important prerequisites include GRE or GMAT scores and a bachelor's degree in economics or business.

Master's Degree in Economics

An online master's degree program in economics provides an in-depth review of economic theory and explores practical applications of economic practices. Practical applications may include quantitative analysis, market analysis and financial analysis. Students learn to collect data, understand the factors that individually and collectively influence the direction of an economy, and assess what effect those factors have on a business. Enrollment requires a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and GRE or GMAT scores. Online economics programs at this degree level are rare compared to those for the bachelor's degree.

Program Information and Requirements

Online master's degree programs in economics are offered both in an online format and as a hybrid of online and traditional classroom approaches. Class lectures may be available either live on the web at scheduled times or via recordings accessible at the student's convenience. Live chat sessions and reading assignments are similarly web-based. A master's degree program is typically completed in 2-3 years.

Students need a computer, web browser and Internet access to take part in an online program. Schools may use content management software such as Blackboard.

List of Common Courses

Online master's degree programs are generally built around a set of core courses with supporting electives. Students learn advanced theories and practices in regard to economic policies and decisions.


This course examines macroeconomic theory, and students apply theoretical models to evaluate public policy and analyze the business cycle.

Economic Mathematics

Students learn to apply calculus and linear algebra to economic analysis. Topics covered in the course include production functions, economic cycles and dynamic equilibrium.

Economic Analysis

This course uses the mathematical tools introduced in earlier courses to conduct empirical inquiries into economics at the regional and global level. Students design studies that assess the outcomes of public policy decisions.

Career Information for Economics Graduates

An online master's degree in economics can lead to employment with private corporations, research and consulting firms or government agencies. Economists who work for corporations may monitor government legislation or analyze competitors, while those who work for consulting firms forecast economic trends. Economists who work for government agencies collect and analyze data on production and employment around the country. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 6% growth in employment for economists from 2014-2024. As of May 2015, the median salary of economists was $99,180 per year.

Continuing Education Information

Students who earn an online master's degree in economics are academically qualified to pursue a doctoral degree in economics. A few Ph.D. programs are available online, but most are classroom-based. Alternatively, individuals could also pursue a master's degree in related areas, such as business administration or international development.

Students who earn an online economics master's degree have the chance to study fully online or hybrid. Courses that will be taken in these types of programs include macroeconomics, economic analysis, and economic mathematics.

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