Affordable Economics Degrees

Scroll down to see the most affordable economics degrees, as well as info on the different types of economics degrees and economics program accreditation.

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Economics graduates are some of the most valuable professionals in the workforce today. They understand the world from a unique financial perspective, and have excellent skills in analysis, critical thinking and decision making. Many economists work for the federal, state or local government. Others partner with corporations, policy institutes and think tanks, helping them understand how the economy affects their institutions. They become successful CEOs, financial analysts, market analysts, accountants and public policy analysts.

But what exactly is economics? Which courses do you have to take? And what kinds of online options are available? In our short guide to affordable economics degrees, we take a look at the “need to knows” for your education. We break down the types of degrees, examine the importance of regional accreditation.

School Selections

University of California-Irvine

The Department of Economics at UC Irvine's School of Social Sciences offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in economics, in business economics, and in quantitative economics. A specialization in international issues and economics is available in all three majors. A Master of Arts in Economics degree can be earned enroute to a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Economics degree. The Graduate Certificate Program in Economics is designed for international students who plan to apply for admission to a U.S. economics PhD program (whether at UC Irvine or at another university). A certificate is awarded after a student satisfactorily completes the first-year PhD courses. Upper division economics majors can apply for the George R. and Cathleen Hill Undergraduate Award for Excellence in Economics ($1,000).

  • Advanced Placement Credit

30,836 Students

University of Minnesota-Duluth

The Labovitz School of Business and Economics at the University of Minnesota-Duluth offers hands-on learning opportunities through internships, faculty-assisted research and more. Two undergraduate degrees are offered in economics, a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts, allowing students to take courses that most align with their interests and career goals. The BA degree is best suited for those considering careers in business or government, the study of law or graduate degrees in related areas. The BBA degree helps students integrate economic analysis with business management. Scholarships include the Thell Scholarship ($1,000), the Carolyn and Richard Lichty Scholarship in Economics ($1,500), and the David A. and Roberta J. Vose Scholarship ($1,500).

  • Advanced Placement Credit

10,878 Students

Texas A & M University-College Station

The study of economics looks at how limited resources are allocated and valued. At Texas A&M-College Station, students can pursue this study in a business setting or in agricultural economics. The Department of Economics develops analytical and critical thinking abilities, with both a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts awarded. A Master of Science and a Ph.D. in economics is also offered. The Bachelor of Science in agricultural economics offers concentrations in finance and real estate, food marketing systems, policy and economic analysis and rural entrepreneurship. Master of Agriculture, Master of Science and Ph.D. in agricultural economics is also offered. Scholarships include the Capital Farm Credit Scholarship, Chad Hunter Johnson Opportunity Scholarship, Elkin Scholarship and Neal Hahn Memorial Scholarship.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

63,813 Students

Rutgers University

In addition to undergraduate degrees in economics at all three campuses, Rutgers University has a range of accelerated and specialized programs in economics. Students who want to earn a bachelor's and master's degree in a five-year timeframe can choose from an accelerated BA/MA in Economics at the Newark campus or a dual BA/MBA in Economics at Camden. Rutgers also has a Master of Arts and Ph.D. in Economics as well as a Master of Science in Food and Business Economics. Outside the Economics Department, the Mario School of Pharmacy has a Master of Science in Health Outcomes, Policy, and Economics. Rutgers has a huge Economics Department, with more than 1,000 undergraduates majoring in the topic.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

11,720 Students

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Active learning, expert seminars and experiential learning requirements help students at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in their pursuit of a Bachelor of Arts in economics. While a core curriculum has been developed, the college has left flexibility in course offerings that allow students to choose from a variety of electives. Development of critical thinking skills is key to success in the program. A joint degree is offered with the National University of Singapore. A Master of Science in economics and a Ph.D. are both offered; however, the school does not offer separate courses for master's students and Ph.D. candidates. Master's-level students should be prepared to undertake courses with a doctoral rigor.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

29,084 Students

University of California-Los Angeles

UCLA offers a minor in education studies as well as several graduate degree programs. Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy programs are available in the following areas: higher education and organizational change, human development and psychology, social research and methodology, and social sciences and comparative education. A PhD in Urban Schooling is also available. Students can pursue the Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree concurrently with a preliminary administrative credential or with a preliminary teaching credential. There is also an M.Ed. program in student affairs, as well as a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership degree. Upper division students in the Education Studies minor program who plan to teach math or science after graduation can apply for the El-Erian Scholarship.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

41,908 Students

University of Illinois at Chicago

The Department of Economics runs multiple programs, including a BA, MA and PhD in Economics as well as an MA in Applied Economics and a joint MBA-MA in Economics. It earmarks most of its graduate-level financial aid for PhD candidates, who benefit from teaching and research assistantships and the occasional tuition waiver. The department considers undergraduate and graduate applicants alike for most of its scholarships, including the Saffrin Memorial Award and the Krask Award. The undergraduate Economics Club conducts free tutoring for introductory courses.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

29,048 Students

CUNY Bernard M Baruch College

The Bert W. Wasserman Department of Economics and Finance at Baruch College prepares students for careers in business or finance by giving them the tools to analyze economic forces on the micro and macro level. Students can earn a Bachelor of Business Administration to prepare for entry-level careers in business, a government agency, anon-profit organization or consulting firm. A Bachelor of Arts in Economics is also offered to provide students with a more general understanding of economics. All programs at Baruch's Zicklin School of Business are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

18,433 Students

Vassar College

Vassar's Economics Department runs an undergraduate major in the discipline plus three areas of concentration, all of which can also be taken as minors: international economics, public policy and quantitative economics. The department stands out for its embrace of undergraduate research, with assistantships often available during the school year or summer. It also participates in the school's Ford Scholars Program, with 33 teacher-student collaborative research projects receiving funding between 2004 and 2017. The department bestows a quartet of annual honors, including the Hutchinson Prize and Jackson Prize, given to the best paper on American economic history and the best senior seminar paper, respectively.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

2,435 Students

University of California-Riverside

It doesn't take a Bachelor of Arts in Economics (or Business Economics) to see that UC Riverside provides good value - 60 percent of all undergrads get their fees paid for through grants and scholarships. And students receive academic support as well - members of the honor society, Omicron Delta Epsilon, provide free tutoring to classmates. Most students who head for the PhD in Economics receive a research or teaching assistantship, fellowship or scholarship, provided they submit their application before May 1st. Recent graduates have snagged postdoctoral positions at Cornell, research fellowships at University of Leeds and teaching posts at University of Denver.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

21,385 Students

University of California-San Diego

UC San Diego's Department of Economics offers a Bachelor of Art degree in economics and a joint Bachelor of Science degree in economics and mathematics. Students have the option of specializing in one of several areas including environmental economics, finance, health economics, industrial organization, and economic development. The department also offers a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Economics degree. A Master of Arts in Economics may be awarded to students in the PhD program once they have completed the requirements for the degree, but the MA in Economics is not offered as a terminal degree. A PhD in Economics and International Affairs program is available as well. Economics majors can apply for the Robert and Arleen Lettas Scholarship ($2,500).

  • Advanced Placement Credit

32,906 Students

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

The faculty of the University of Minnesota's Department of Economics helps young economists develop the intuition and appreciation for real-world economic phenomena to conduct cutting-edge research in a variety of areas. The school offers Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees, with an emphasis on quantitative analysis. Graduate students can pursue a Master of Arts or a Ph.D. in economics. Students are encouraged to take part in internships in industry or with local and state governments, employment opportunities within the department, the Economics Students Organization and the seminars hosted by the department. As part of the College of Liberal Arts offers a number of scholarships, including the Anna and John Allen/Waller Scholarships ($3,000) and the Brundage Endowed Scholarship ($4,000).

  • Advanced Placement Credit

50,678 Students

Rutgers University

Rutgers University's Economics Department offers an undergraduate major and minor in economics, as well as a Ph.D. in Economics. The undergraduate economics major is available in nine concentration areas: actuarial economics, economic history, econometrics, economic theory, financial economics, health economics, international economics, labor and human resource economics, and public policy economics. Economics majors are required to complete five core courses and seven economics electives. The Ph.D. in Economics requires 48 credits of coursework, 24 credits of research, a qualifying examination, two field examinations and a dissertation. Students can earn a master's degree in the process of earning their Ph.D. but no terminal master's degree program is available. Those who earn a master's with their Ph.D. are required to complete 30 master's credits in a thesis or non-thesis track of study.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

6,408 Students

Buffalo State SUNY

The Department of Economics and Finance at Buffalo State offers a range of programs for those interested in studying economics. The Bachelor of Arts in Economics is a 36-credit program that focuses on international economics, and students are encouraged to take electives that broaden their international knowledge. The Bachelor of Science in Economics requires students to take 39 to 45 credits in the major and to choose a concentration in applied economics or financial economics. Undergrads can also work toward a minor in business economics, economic policy analysis, or international economics. Graduate students seeking the 30-credit Master of Arts in Applied Economics select a track in economic policy analysis or in financial economics.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

10,330 Students

SUNY College at Oswego

SUNY Oswego offers a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematic Economics. The B.A. in Economics requires students to earn 36 or 37 credits in major courses, including 15 credits in core classes, 15 economics electives, and 6 to 10 credits in math classes. The program in applied mathematical economics is split between classes in economic theory and math, and students also learn some computer science. The program emphasizes analyzing and applying statistics and data and is a good choice for students interested in an economic research career. The program requires students to complete 56 to 57 major credits. Qualified Oswego students are invited to join the Omicron Delta Epsilon economics honor society.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

7,937 Students

University of California-Berkeley

The Department of Economics at the University of California Berkeley is No. 1, according to the 2018 U.S. News Best Grad School rankings. Five of its faculty members have received the Nobel Prize for Economics. The undergraduate program has an honors track for students who want to conduct research and prepare a thesis with a faculty adviser. Top students are eligible to join the campus chapter of Omicron Delta Epsilon, the international economics honor society, and the Undergraduate Economics Association organizes speakers, networking events, and case competitions. The department gives cash awards to outstanding students, such as the Schimbor Prize ($2,000) for best honors thesis. The department grants a Ph.D. in Economics, and about half of Ph.D. students receive funding.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

38,189 Students

University of California-Davis

UC Davis offers a Bachelor of Arts in Economics degree through the Department of Social Sciences. The following tracks are available: international macro-finance, behavior and strategy, data analytics and economic analysis, policy, poverty and inequality, and economic history. There is also a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Economics degree offered. PhD candidates can choose to concentrate on specialized topic areas such as advanced economic theory, econometrics, industrial organization, labor economics, and public economics. A Master of Arts in Economics degree is available, but can only be acquired enroute to a PhD and not as a terminal degree. Economics majors with demonstrable financial need and who have completed their freshman year at the university may be eligible for the Michael Alan Anthony Grant.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

35,186 Students

Westfield State University

Economics can be a standalone baccalaureate at Westfield State, but students also have the opportunity to turn it into a dual degree by combining it with Finance, Mathematics or Political Science. That is one of the reasons the Economics & Business Management Department is one of the biggest on campus, fueling membership into student organizations such as the Economic Society, Entrepreneurship Club and Math Club. Students can receive 15 credits through internships, with top performers selected to work as consultants through the department's affiliation with the Small Business Institute. Upperclassmen with financial need may get the Paul Dargin Scholarship if they remain active in student life. And nontraditional female enrollees are eligible for the Bourdon Zonta Scholarship by registering a 3.0.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

6,496 Students

Barnard College

Barnard College offers four tracks for students who want to earn an undergraduate degree in economics. Tracks are: economics, political economy, economics and mathematics, and economic and social history. All four tracks are built around a common core of classes, including intermediate courses in macroeconomic theory and microeconomic theory, plus a class in theoretical foundations of political economy. Students must complete a senior requirement, choosing from a seminar option, a thesis option, or a seminar/thesis option. The Economics Department faculty awards a variety of annual prizes, including the Alena Wels Hirschorn Prize for the best essay on domestic or international economics and for the best senior thesis. Barnard students may earn credit for economics classes at Columbia College.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

2,548 Students

SUNY College at Oneonta

Economics majors at SUNY Oneonta take a senior capstone seminar that allows them to complete an independent research project of their choosing. They get to work closely with faculty members because upper-level econ classes tend to be small, and a computer lab with eight Bloomberg terminals means economic data is always available. For hands-on experience, economics majors can join the Oneonta team for the Fed Challenge, an intercollegiate monetary policy competition hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank in New York City. Juniors and above are eligible to work an internship, which can be worth up to 16 credits. The School of Economics and Business awards six endowed scholarships based on academic achievement.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

6,119 Students

Appalachian State University

The Economics Department at the Walker School of Business at Appalachian State is known for its strength in the areas of environmental economics and experimental economic, and Bachelors in Economics are awarded in the fields of Environmental Policy and Management as well as Regional Economic Development. The department also awards a general Bachelor in Economics and a Bachelors of International Economics as well as a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Students study economic theory and gain analytical skills they will be able to use in business or government jobs. Appalachian State encourages undergraduate research in economics and annually awards the Bradshear Prize for an undergraduate research paper.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

17,932 Students

University of Massachusetts Amherst

The University of Massachusetts-Amherst Department of Economics provides for the study of how efforts are organized to achieve goals. The school offers a Bachelor of Arts in economics, with master's and doctoral programs that provide original research opportunities. The bachelor's program offers a certificate in applied economic research on cooperative enterprises, allowing students to begin research projects in collaboration with faculty as well as private enterprises. While students are not required to concentrate in a specific area, the school does offer a variety of courses that provide a deeper understanding of areas of economics. Scholarships include Economics Alumni Award for Distinguished Service ($500), Economics Writing Aware ($1,000) and the E.W. Eldridge Jr. Memorial Scholarship ($500).

  • Advanced Placement Credit

29,269 Students

Saint Cloud State University

Economics students at St. Cloud are exposed to an array of distinguished economists who come to the college's annual Winter Institute to discuss economic issues. St. Cloud offers a Bachelor of Art degree in Economics, Business Economics, and Mathematical Economics, and a Masters in Applied Economics. St. Cloud also offers an accelerated masters program that allows a student to earn a Bachelors and Masters in Economics in five years. Economics majors at St. Cloud can take part in student organizations such as the Economics Association and Delta Sigma Pi honor society that provide support and networking opportunities.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

16,096 Students

Michigan Technological University

Michigan Technological University's School of Business and Economics offers a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a Master of Science in Applied Resource Economics. The B.S. in Economics curriculum includes 10 core courses in subjects such as microeconomics, macroeconomics, international economics, econometrics, business law and marketing. Students are also required to complete three math courses, four lab science courses and six economics electives. The M.S. in Applied Resource Economics is a 30-credit program that combines business, economics, forestry, geology, engineering, social sciences and technical communications. MTU's School of Business and Economics offers numerous scholarship opportunities to its students, including the School of Business and Economics Leadership Endowed Scholarship and the School of Business and Economics Impact Scholarship.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

7,218 Students

Farmingdale State College

Farmingdale State offers a Bachelor of Science in Applied Economics that prepares graduates for careers in business, financial institutions, governmental agencies, and nonprofits. The program also provides a strong background for students who wish to pursue a graduate degree in a wide range of fields. To earn the degree, students must earn 33 credits in economics classes, including courses in quantitative analysis, money and banking, microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics. Students also select five economics classes as electives. To complete the degree, students take a capstone course in economics research and reporting and complete a senior project.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

8,648 Students

California State University-Long Beach

The Department of Economics at CSU Long Beach offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in economics, business economics, and in mathematical economics and economic theory. The BA in Economics degree provides a solid foundation for students who plan to teach in elementary and secondary school settings. The BA in Business Economics degree emphasizes international economics, business administration, quantitative methods and micro and macroeconomics. The BA in Economics with the option in Mathematical Economics and Economic Theory program focuses on statistics, economic theory and optimization, and the tools of economic analysis. There is also a Master of Arts in Economics degree available. The Ray & Marge Lancaster Scholarship is reserved for economic majors in good academic standing ($1,750 for undergraduates, $2,000 for graduate students).

Stony Brook University

The Department of Economics at Stony Brook University offers degrees in economics at all levels. Students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Economics must take at least 11 courses in the major, including courses in statistics, econometrics, microeconomics and macroeconomics. The Master of Arts in Economics is open to students who do not have a background in economics, and the first year of the program focuses on the fundamentals of economics, with a strong emphasis on mathematics. Students who complete the program may be able to continue into the Ph.D. program without having to take additional classes. The economics faculty in Stony Brook is known for its research into game theory, which is supported by the National Science Foundation.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

25,272 Students

Iowa State University

The economics faculty at Iowa State includes internationally recognized experts in a number of economic specialties. Iowa State offers a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a Bachelor of Business Economics, which is an interdepartmental major that includes business and economics classes. Additionally, the university grants the Masters of Science in Economics and doctoral degrees in economics and in agricultural economics. A study abroad program allows students to see first-hand production and competition in a world agricultural market such as Australia or Argentina. Scholarships available for economics majors include the Arthur Memorial Scholarship ($750), given annually to a freshman.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

35,714 Students

University of Florida

The University of Florida offers a Bachelor of Arts in economics, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration-Economics, Master of Arts in Economics and a Ph.D. in Economics. The curriculum focuses on developing analytical skills to understand how economic decisions are made on personal levels through businesses and the government. Dual degrees available in international business or information systems, and the department works with students on internships and full-time employment. The graduate courses are geared toward research and teaching, and are primarily meant for those pursuing a Ph.D. in economics. Research at the university includes the work of the Public Utility Research Center and the Robert F. Lanzillotti Public Policy Research Center.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

50,645 Students

Berea College

Berea College offers a Bachelor of Arts in Economics with a concentration in international politics and policy, as well as a concentration in methods and models. A five-course economics minor is also available. The international politics and policy concentration requires five core courses in subjects like macroeconomics, microeconomics, politics, statistics, research methods and international political economics. The methods and models concentration requires four core courses in subjects like econometrics, macroeconomics, microeconomics and statistics. Students in both concentrations are also required to complete two capstone research courses. Additionally, economics students can participate in learning opportunities like internships, independent studies, summer research projects and teaching associate positions.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

1,643 Students

SUNY at Binghamton

SUNY Binghamton offers a full range of degrees in economics, from undergrad to doctoral. Undergrads can seek a Bachelor of Arts in Economics or earn a more focused Bachelor of Science in Economics with a specialization in economic analysis, financial economics, or economic policy analysis. Honors programs, independent study and teaching assistantships expose undergrads to hands-on work experience and research. Graduate classes are small and allow a lot of interaction between professors and students. Frequent seminars and guest lecturers provide students with insight into the latest in research. Graduate students may also apply for assistantships, which automatically renew for eight semesters. Graduate fellowships are also available.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

16,913 Students

Michigan State University

Michigan State offers a Bachelors in Environmental Economics and Management through its College of Agriculture and Natural Resources for students who wish to combine an interest in sustainability with a career in economic development. The college also awards an MS or Ph.D. in Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics with a specialization such as environmental and resource management. Michigan State's Department of Economics awards a Bachelors, Masters and Ph.D in Economics with concentrations in a range of topics, including monetary theory, international economics, health economics and labor economics. The Econ Scholars program provides top economics students with a faculty mentor and outside learning opportunities such as meeting distinguished guest economists. Econ Scholars also receive priority for undergraduate assistantships.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

50,538 Students

CUNY Queens College

The Department of Economics at Queens College offers a Bachelor of Arts in Economics along with a variety of business degrees. To earn the economics degree, students must take 11 courses in the subject, including seven required courses in topics such as macroeconomics, microeconomics, econometrics, math and statistics. Majors also take four economics electives. To earn High Honors in Economics, students must maintain a 3.5 grade point average in all required classes and take an honors seminar. To earn a minor in economics, students must take five required courses and two economics electives. The Ecomomicss Department frequently brings in guest speakers in economics and has an economics honor society. Departmental scholarships include the Barham Scholarship ($2,500).

  • Advanced Placement Credit

19,520 Students

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

The Bryan School of Business and Economics at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro offers both Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees in the field of economics. Students in the Bachelor of Science program learn how to apply economic analysis to different business and economic issues, while Bachelor of Arts students focus more on influencing and shaping the economic policy landscape. A minor in economics is available for non-economics majors enrolled at the university. There is also a Master of Arts in Applied Economics degree available. An accelerated BS/BA-MA degree program allows qualified economics majors to complete both bachelor's and master's degrees within five years. Teacher licensure is available for economics majors through the School of Education licensure programs.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

19,393 Students

California State University-Fullerton

The Bachelor of Arts in Economics degree at Cal State Fullerton is offered through the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics. The curriculum includes courses such as financial accounting, business calculus, managerial accounting, business analytics, and the principles of micro and macroeconomics. Students pursuing the Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration program have the option of choosing business economics as their area of concentration. The Master of Arts in Economics degree allows students to customize their program according to the following topics: environmental economics, international economics and finance, industrial organization and labor, public sector economics, banking and finance, and economics of human capital, health, and aging. Outstanding graduate students in economics are considered for the Murray Wolfson Memorial Scholarship ($1,500).

  • Advanced Placement Credit

38,948 Students

Brigham Young University-Idaho

BYU-Idaho requires students seeking a Bachelors in Economics to choose an area of concentration and a complimentary minor. Areas of concentration include pre-MBA, pre-law, international economics, agricultural economics, job ready or graduate study. Students can receive a BS in Economics or a BS in Financial Economics. The BYU Economics Society provides students a gathering place and networking opportunities, and econ majors also have access to the Economics Lab, which is equipped with Bloomberg terminals and staffed by tutors. Economics students are eligible for internships, where they are required to develop and complete a special project that involves analysis and application of economic principles to solve a problem the employer is facing.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

43,803 Students

Northwest Missouri State University

Northwest Missouri State University's School of Business offers Bachelor of Science degrees in economics and business economics, as well as a Master of Business Administration degree in Agricultural Economics. Students in both B.S. programs complete coursework in macroeconomic theory, microeconomic theory, international economics, credit and banking. Students majoring in business economics are not required to complete a minor and students majoring in economics are. Additionally, all economics majors have the opportunity to participate in profession-based learning experiences, such as the New Venture Pitch Competition, study abroad experiences and internships. Student organizations, like the Financial Management Association and the international honor society for economic majors Omicron Delta Epsilon, are available to economics majors as well.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

6,593 Students

CUNY City College

Students who earn a Master of Arts in Economics from City College of New York are prepared for management positions in finance, public policy, or international institutions. M.A. candidates can specialize in finance, business management, public economics, or Chinese economy. Graduate-level classes are scheduled in the late afternoon or evening, and students typically complete the program in about two academic years. The program requires 36 credits without a thesis, or 33 credits and a dissertation. CCNY's Bachelor of Arts in Economics requires students to earn 43 credits within the field and complete a senior capstone project. CCNY also offers an accelerated B.A./M.A. in Economics program. The Department of Economics and Business bestows a number of prizes and named scholarships annually.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

15,778 Students

CUNY Hunter College

Hunter College offers a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in Economics and also has an accelerated B.A./MA. in Economics. Undergrads must complete at least 30 credits in economics to earn the degree, including six required classes - two each in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and economic statistics. They are also required to take four or more electives offered by the Economics Department. The master's program equips students with a background in economic theory and quantitative methods and considers practical applications for what they have learned. Master's students must complete at least 30 credits and can choose a thesis or non-thesis option. The college sponsors frequent guest talks by economic experts during the academic year.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

22,918 Students

CUNY Brooklyn College

Undergraduates at Brooklyn College who major in economics can choose from five concentrations: economic analysis, enterprise and public policy, financial economics, international economics, and political economics. The program results in a Bachelor of Arts in Economics or a B.A. in Teaching Social Studies. To earn the economics degree, studens must earn at least 35 credits in economics, including classes in financial and international economics, urban economics and public policy, and economic analysis. Graduate students earning a Master of Science in Economics choose a track in economic analysis or one in global business and finance. The M.S. degree requires at least 33 credits. Brooklyn College has several departmental scholarships for economics majors, including the Monte and Arline Gordon Scholarship.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

17,410 Students

SUNY College at Plattsburgh

The State University of New York-Plattsburgh believes students need hands-on experience to practice what they have learned. The School of Business and Economics provides opportunities to intern with leading corporations and to study abroad. Teamwork, management, planning and practical application of theory is at the core of the Bachelor of Science in economics program. The school is accredited through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International and features small class sizes, about 10 students in upper-division courses. Faculty act as mentors to students as they complete the degree requirements and a variety of electives to complement their study and prepare them for careers or graduate study.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

5,718 Students

University of North Texas

The University of North Texas offers a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, a Bachelor of Science in Economics, and a Master of Science in Economics. Students who pursue an economics degree will have an advantage in the workplace. Economics majors will take such courses as Econ of Consumption, Econ of Discrimination, Money & Financial Institutions, Strategic Behavior, Economics of Sports, and Urban and Regional Economics. Undergraduates may apply for scholarships like the Abe Melton Scholarship, the Tom Preston Scholarship, and the Rising Eagle Scholarship. Graduate students may apply for scholarships such as the Aaron Wuensch Memorial Graduate Scholarship, the UNT Department of Economics Faculty Graduate Scholarship, and the Cathering & Virgil Rogers Scholarship.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

37,299 Students

California State University-Stanislaus

The College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at Stanislaus State University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Economics program with five areas of specialization. These areas include the following: banking, investment, and managerial economics, international trade and alternative economic systems, economics and the public sector, labor economics, and economic history. Students majoring in Liberal Studies or Social Sciences have the option of choosing economics as their area of concentration. There are several scholarships that are specifically set up for Economics majors, including the Daniel A. MacKenzie Scholarship ($500 per year), the James Brownlee Scholarship, and the Frederick E. Kottke Memorial Scholarship. The number of recipients and award amounts of the Brownlee and Kottke scholarships vary from year to year.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

9,282 Students

California State Polytechnic University-Pomona

Students accepted to the Bachelor of Science in Economics program at Cal Poly Pomona work with an advisor to identify an area of concentration that is relevant to their academic and career goals. Possible concentrations include environmental, financial, international, labor, and quantitative economics. The university also offers a Master of Science in Economics degree. This program has three options: economic analysis, environmental and natural resource economics, and financial economics. As part of the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences (CLASS), Economics majors can apply for a number of scholarships, including the Sharon and Megan Daseler Scholarship Endowment ($1,500) for full-time female CLASS students and the Fleta Mae Milsap Memorial Endowed Scholarship ($500) for under-represented, disadvantaged CLASS students.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

23,717 Students

What is Economics?

Definition of an Economist

Economists study the production, consumption and distribution of wealth. In other words, how goods, services and resources make their way around world economies.

For example:

  • They examine how funds are allocated, how people value a product and how resources are being used.
  • They evaluate trends and forces in the market, the workforce and/or government.
  • They create statistical models and issue forecasts that affect public policy.
  • They even study human behavior.

It’s a field that requires a specific blend of research, mathematical, problem-solving, writing, communication and analytical skills.

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What is a Degree in Economics?

Economics degrees deal with both theory and practice. In the fields of liberal arts and science, economics degrees offer a broad understanding of the societal issues that impact our economy. On the other hand, business degrees in economics tend to emphasize the economy’s impact on corporations and finance. Since it is one of the most versatile majors, economics is a popular choice for undergraduates.

What Do Economics Courses Cover?

Because economists often use statistical techniques, mathematical models and special software to study issues, students should have reasonable math and IT skills, a yen for problem-solving and a strong interest in current affairs.

Courses may cover macroeconomics (large-scale economic phenomena), microeconomics (small-scale economic phenomena), calculus, statistics, business, finance, accounting, law, government, education, sociology and banking.

Types of Economics Degrees

Associate’s Degree in Economics

An associate’s degree in economics is a 2-year undergraduate program focused on fundamental economic principles. It is offered by a wide variety of community colleges and universities.

Most students use the associate’s degree as a stepping stone to further education.

  • Associate of Arts (AA) in Economics or Business: Common preparation for a BA or a BS.
  • Associate of Science (AS) in Economics or Business: Common preparation for a BS.
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Economics: Aimed at those who wish to go straight into the workforce.

Students who don’t have the money or the desire for a bachelor’s degree can look for jobs in a variety of fields, including banking, accounting, insurance and real estate. These will generally be “starter-level” positions (e.g. bank teller, loan officer, etc.).

Bachelor’s Degree in Economics

A bachelor’s degree in economics is a 4-year undergraduate program that is designed to give students a thorough grounding in every aspect of economics. Some students may use this as the basis for a master’s degree or as preparation for law school.

  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Economics: Often incorporates “softer” social science courses (e.g. sociology, psychology, etc.) into the curriculum.
  • Bachelor of Science (BS or BSc) in Economics: Often goes heavy on mathematics and science-based courses (e.g. applied math).
  • Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Economics: Typically focused on practical business applications. The BBA often has more business courses (e.g. marketing, management, etc.) and fewer math and economic theory courses than the BA or BS.

A bachelor’s degree is the required minimum for entry-level economics jobs. Graduates also work as financial analysts, research assistants and market research analysts. However, in order to expand your opportunities and advance up the career ladder, you may wish to aim for a master’s.

Government Requirements

Federal, state and local governments are the largest employers of economists. If you wish to work as an economist for the federal government, you must have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 21 semester hours of economics and 3 hours of statistics, accounting or calculus.

Master’s Degree in Economics

A master’s degree in economics is a respected graduate-level qualification that takes 1-3 years to complete. Since it deals with advanced theory and practice, it prepares economists for practically any career, except a university professorship.

  • Master of Arts (MA) in Economics: Often focused on economic theory and application. Less technical than the MS, the MA is an option for those who majored in something other than economics (e.g. political science).
  • Master of Science (MS) in Economics: Usually includes demanding math and science courses. An MS is generally considered good preparation for a PhD.
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Economics: An applied degree focused on real-world business applications. The MBA may also have less advanced math requirements than the MS.

Most MA and MS programs allow students to focus on a specialty/concentration (e.g. finance, accounting, business, public policy, etc.). Depending on the school, you could also be required to complete a research thesis or capstone project. You may wish to choose the thesis option if you’re interested in a PhD.

Doctoral Degree in Economics

A doctorate in economics is the highest academic credential an economist can achieve. The PhD in Economics takes 3-6 years to complete and delves into the intricacies of economic theory and practice. Most PhD students complete upper-level courses in analysis, research skills and theory, and then work independently on a piece of original research (i.e. dissertation/thesis) in their area of interest.
PhD graduates teach economics at university economics departments, business schools and schools of public policy. They may also be involved with high-level policy and research.

Certificate in Economics

Economics certificates are non-degree qualifications that come in two major flavors:

  • Undergraduate Certificate in Economics: Completed in conjunction with a bachelor’s. This certificate is made up of undergraduate-level courses for students interested in economic theory and practice. A common choice for non-business majors or those who wish to specialize in a specific area of economics.
  • Graduate Certificate in Economics: Requires less credits than a master’s degree. This certificate is made up of graduate-level courses for entry and mid-career professionals who wish to expand their knowledge, improve their job prospects and/or lay the foundation for a master’s degree in the future.

Important Accreditations

Regional Accreditation

We recommend that your college or university have regional accreditation. This is a “seal of approval” granted to institutions (e.g. non-profit and public colleges and universities) by one of six regional accrediting bodies (e.g. Southern Association of Colleges and Schools).

You can learn more about the difference between regional accreditation and national accreditation in Accreditation: Understanding the Difference Between Real Schools and Diploma Mills.

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Benefits of Regional Accreditation

Is a nationally accredited school bad? Not necessarily. However, choosing a regionally accredited school will make it much easier for you to:

  • Transfer credits (many regionally accredited colleges and universities will not accept credits from nationally accredited schools)
  • Apply for student loans, tuition reimbursement, scholarships and funding opportunities
  • Get into graduate school
  • Look good in the eyes of headhunters and recruiters

Regional accreditation only applies to a college or university, not the degree itself. Unlike other subjects, there is no accrediting body specifically for economics programs.

However, if you’re interested in a BBA or MBA, you should see if the business school has accreditation from AACSB, ACBSP or IACBE. We go into more detail about these in our page about affordable MBA programs.

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