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It might be called “The Dismal Science,” but an understanding of economics is essential in modern business. If you are looking for the best school for a Master’s in Economics program, you need to look for one that has a top-rated business college. While many schools offer economics degree programs, those that have an accredited business college will be able to provide you with information and skills that go above and beyond a basic Economics degree.

Top-rated business colleges often have relationships with local corporations and can provide internships for students who meet the qualifications. This type of opportunity provides hands-on skills and experience that can’t be learned in the classroom. Mentorships are also available. These programs pair you up with a mentor who has many years of experience in their career. By tapping into this knowledge, you can learn valuable lessons that might not be taught in the coursework any longer. It brings old school learning into a new school setting.

Methodology: Ranking the Best Master’s Programs in Economics

Great Business Schools is interested in programs that have a real impact on students’ careers and lives. That’s why our ranking of the best master’s degrees in economics focuses on accredited, trusted institutions known for quality and reputation. Schools are ranked according to their cost, student satisfaction, and alumni salary, using data from College Scorecard, IPEDS, and Niche. 

1. University of Maryland

u maryland

The University of Maryland has an MS in Applied Economics that is one of the best masters programs in economics in the world. This program focuses on providing students with the skills they need to serve as professional economists. The program is STEM-designated and is offered via evening classes in two locations: College Park and downtown Washington, DC. Students typically work during the day and attend classes at night. Graduates frequently land jobs in government agencies, private consulting firms, and non-profit organizations.

The Department of Economics at the University of Maryland is ranked among the top 20 economics programs in the US by the National Academy of Sciences. The department has a large, diverse faculty that has experience in all areas of economics, including public economics, political economy, labor economics, international economics, industrial organization, and natural resource economics.

Highlight: International students qualify for a 2-year extension of the Optional Practical Training after graduation.

Degree: MPS in Applied Economics

2. Binghamton University – SUNY

binghamton u

The MA in Economics from Binghamton University – SUNY is one of the best master in economics programs available. There is an emphasis on small class sizes and close student-faculty interaction. Most classes have between 5 to 20 students. Students have access to regularly scheduled workshops and seminars where speakers discuss the research they are doing. The program focuses on applied, experience-based work that helps prepare students for their future careers.

Binghamton University offers an interdisciplinary education with a global perspective. The school is one of the leading research universities in the nation and one of the top public colleges in the nation. Binghampton’s campus is an inclusive community that fosters cross-cultural experiences and an international educational perspective. The school has won several awards for innovation in global education and has programs that provide study groups for foreign language students.

Highlight: There is a 4+1 program that allows students to complete their bachelor’s and master’s degrees together in just five years.

Degree: MA in Economics

3. Northeastern University

northeastern u

Northeastern University offers an MS in Economics that is one of the best masters degrees in economics in the country. The program is designed to prepare students either for a career as a professional economist or to pursue a PhD in economics. Students can attend part- or full-time and the program consists of 32 credit hours of work. The program gives students a firm grounding in quantitative methods and economic theory. Students have opportunities to practice applying the tools they learn in the program.

The Department of Economics at Northeastern University gives students an understanding of local, national, and global economic issues facing society. The department offers a rigorous curriculum that incorporates technology and research. Students participate in independent learning and benefit from close professor-student interaction. The program provides students with the analytical skills they need to be successful economists.

Highlight: This is a STEM-certified program.

Degree: MS in Economics

4. University of Wisconsin

u wisconsin madison

The master’s degree in economics from The University of Wisconsin-Madison is one of the best masters programs in economics for students who need a background in economics for their careers or those who want to continue their education at the PhD level following graduation from the master’s program. Students who earned their bachelor’s degree at a lesser-known school will also benefit from completing their master’s degree at a well-known state university. The program provides a solid understanding of economic theory as well as strong quantitative skills.

The Department of Economics at UW-Madison is committed to excellence in teaching and research. The department has more than 35 faculty members and over 300 graduate students. The department is certified eco-friendly at the gold level by the university’s Office of Sustainability.

Highlight: This program places more focus on econometrics than most other economics programs.

Degree: Master of Economics

5. University of Illinois

u illinois urbana

The University of Illinois offers an MS in Economics that is one of the best master in economics programs for students interested in economic policy. There is a concentration in policy economics available. Students must start in the fall semester. One semester of linear algebra and two semesters of calculus are required for admission. The course comprises microeconomic theory I & II, macroeconomic theory I & II, econometric analysis I & II, and four electives.

The University of Illinois tackles innovative research that addresses the problems that plague society. The school is committed to changing the world through research and education. The University of Illinois provides transformational learning experiences that prepare students to be agents of change in the world. The school’s mission is to enhance the lives of those who live in the community and beyond.

Highlight: The program consists of 40 credit hours, and graduate teaching experience is encouraged.

Degree: MS in Economics

6. George Mason University

george mason logo

The MA in Economics from George Mason University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences is one of the best masters degrees in economics in the country. The program combines experimental economics, Austrian economics, and public choice economics. George Mason’s economics programs are highly-ranked and focus on the relationships between legal, political, and economic institutions. The school’s economics faculty is popular with the media for providing their expert opinions on economic policy.

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences averages $15-20 million in annual research funding. The school has a strong liberal arts foundation and helps students develop competencies in project management, critical thinking, ethics, and communication. These skills help students reach success in all areas of their lives. The school is committed to innovation in research, teaching, and community engagement.

Highlight: Students benefit from the school’s location and the resources available in the Washington, DC area.

Degree: MA in Economics

7. Boston College

boston college

The Woods College of Advancing Studies at Boston College offers a STEM-designated MS in Applied Economics that is one of the best masters programs in economics around. The program teaches students to analyze date in order to analyze marketing efforts, understand consumer behavior, develop forecasts, and evaluate programs. Students can attend evening classes either full- or part-time while continuing to work. The program covers economic development, marketing research, the economics of insurance and banking, health care economics, and big data.

The Woods College of Advancing Studies offers top-quality Boston College programs in a flexible format that makes them accessible to students at every stage of their careers. The school provides a supportive community where adult students can advance their careers and prepare to become ethical leaders serving a global community. The programs offered adhere to rigorous standards and follow the Jesuit tradition of educating the whole person.

Highlight: Students engage in hands-on learning to prepare them for their future careers.

Degree: MS in Applied Economics

8. University at Buffalo

university at buffalo suny

The MA in Economics from the University at Buffalo Department of Economics is one of the best master in economics programs for students who want to learn practical applications for economic theory. The program prepares students for highly competitive positions in government, advocacy groups, international trade, health care, and finance. The program consists of 30 credit hours, including macroeconomics theory, microeconomics theory, econometrics I & II, and topics in microeconomics.

The Department of Economics at the University at Buffalo is committed to providing an interactive personal experience that leads to student success. The department encourages mentor/mentee relationships between students and faculty. Upper-level classes are small to promote faculty support. The school is constantly improving its courses and curriculum to better serve the needs of its students. Courses promote finding fresh perspectives, identifying contexts, and critical thinking.

Highlight: There are two combined degrees that include an MA in economics. They are JD law/economics and economics/education policy analysis.

Degree: MA or MS in Economics

9. University of Michigan

u michigan

The University of Michigan offers an MA in Applied Economics that is one of the best masters degrees in economics for students seeking careers as professional economists. The program offers a challenging curriculum that provides practical analytical training. There is an emphasis on policy and the use of economic tools to solve problems. The program usually takes about a year and a half to complete. The Master of Applied Economics is not designed to prepare students for the PhD program. Students who wish to complete a PhD should consider the Master of Arts in Economics.

The Department of Economics is focused on the success of its alumni, staff, faculty, and students. The department has a history of excellence and is committed to inclusion, equity, and diversity. Students have access to outstanding educational opportunities, including the chance to participate in research.

Highlight: This program is designed to allow the flexibility for students to follow their own interests related to economics.

Degree: Master of Applied Economics

10. University of Connecticut

u connecticut uconn

The MS in Quantitative Economics from the University of Connecticut is one of the best masters programs in economics for students who are interested in quantitative methods for data analysis. Students learn how to apply quantitative methods to solve economic problems. This program combines economic theory with the tools available for analyzing economic data and teaches students to analyze other types of data as well, including big data. The program consists of 30 credits, including macroeconomics, microeconomics, and applied econometrics I & II.

The Department of Economics at the University of Connecticut is proud of its students’ successes. Graduates from the masters program have excelled in government and business careers and serve as faculty members at various colleges and universities. The department is proud of its diversity and its faculty members regularly participate in research projects in their areas of expertise.

Highlight: This is a STEM-designated program.

Degree: MS in Quantitative Economics

11. Columbia University

columbia university

Columbia University offers an MA in Economics that is one of the best master in economics programs for students who want to pursue a career in the field immediately after graduation. The curriculum is rigorous and highly technical. Students must take microeconomic analysis I & II, macroeconomic analysis I & II, mathematical methods for economists, and econometrics I & II, as well as three electives in economics.

The Department of Economics at Columbia University has a long history of economics education. Columbia was one of the first schools in the country to offer a curriculum for economics. Columbia University’s biggest contribution to economics was the first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, who graduated from Columbia. The Department of Economics at Columbia is one of the most highly-ranked economics departments in the US.

Highlight: This program takes a year and a half to complete.

Degree: MA in Economics

12. University of Texas at Dallas

ut dallas logo

The MS in Economics offered by the University of Texas at Dallas is one of the best masters degrees in economics. The program provides advanced training in quantitative skills and economic theory. Students learn to apply what they have learned to real-world problems and improve their critical thinking skills. Graduates are qualified for positions in regional and urban planning, regulation, labor arbitration, forecasting, data analytics, insurance, and banking. They are also prepared to pursue a PhD in economics.

The School of Economic, Political, and Policy Sciences is a leader in research related to economic, political, and social issues. The school produces graduates who work in the private sector, government, and non-profit organizations or pursue advanced education. Faculty members at the school are experts in their fields and help support students to ensure their success. The school performs research that makes a difference in the world.

Highlight: This program requires a minimum of 36 credit hours.

Degree: MS in Economics

13. University at Albany – SUNY

suny albany

The University at Albany offers an MA in Economics that is one of the best masters programs in economics for students who want to help shape the economic landscape. Students learn to influence economic outcomes and find solutions for financial problems using research-driven data. Graduates are ready to serve as outstanding professional economists. Students can choose a concentration in international economics, economic forecasting, public economics, health economics, and finance and credit markets. The program trains students to become experts in the area of their concentration.

The Department of Economics is focused on studying the way people use their resources. Students will gain an understanding of how income inequality, inflation, unemployment, and other economic issues affect us every day. Economics students learn to understand economic problems and come up with solutions to help solve them.

Highlight: This program consists of 30 credits and can be completed in as little as one year.

Degree: MA in Economics

14. University of San Francisco

u san francisco

When you are looking for the best masters programs in economics, you want to consider the MS in Applied Economics from the University of San Francisco. The degree program emphasizes the use of technology in economics and strives to ensure that students are ready to take on challenging roles when they start working in a modern environment. It ensures that students are knowledgeable about the use of technology as it applies to economics.

The University of San Francisco emphasizes the importance of STEM in economics and student education. It strives to prepare students for a changing work environment and gives students an opportunity to develop skills that are useful in different positions. Students are able to combine their knowledge of economy and economic theories to technology and the development of new businesses.

Highlight: The University of San Francisco offers evening courses to give working students a flexible schedule.

Degree: MS in Applied Economics

15. Oklahoma State University

oklahoma state

Oklahoma State University offers one of the best master in economics programs to help students with their career goals. The MS in Economics focuses on the practical application of economic theories in a modern business environment. It teaches students to use quantitative skills that apply to the field of economics so that students are able to work in a variety of industries and positions.

The way Oklahoma State University stands apart from other programs is the flexibility of the master’s program. The degree is designed around adults who are already working and may have complex schedules. It also recognizes that students may want to enhance their skills with additional courses, so it provides an opportunity for students to work around their current obligations and improve their skills. 

Highlight: Oklahoma State University offers scholarships to graduate students who may need assistance with the cost of a degree.

Degree: MS in Economics

16. Oregon State University

oregon state

When you want to find the best masters degrees in economics, you can consider the programs at Oregon State University. Oregon State offers an MS or MA in Applied Economics, so students have the ability to select the degree program that fits their situation and goals. The economics programs emphasize the analytical skills that apply to economics professionals as well as the policy that may impact the economy. It provides a well-rounded view of the economy and the way economic theories apply to different systems.

Oregon State University stands out for its emphasis on sustainability and modern market environments. Students learn the skills they need to analyze and evaluate sustainable development, as well as the impact of different goals for businesses that emphasize long-term sustainability. It gives students an opportunity to consider modern concerns and policies as they apply to economics.

Highlight: Oregon State University allows students to complete their master’s degrees at an accelerated rate.

Degree: MS or MA in Applied Economics

17. University of Alabama

u alabama

The University of Alabama offers an MA in Economics that prepares students for their work in modern businesses, corporate environments, or government positions. The degree program emphasizes the development of traditional economic analytical skills, as well as modern quantitative skills and statistical analysis. It gives students a strong foundation that they can build on when working in a long-term career.

The University of Alabama offers three concentrations, or areas of focus, for students in the economics program. Students can focus on applied economics, Ph.D. preparation, or public policy economics. The variety of different programs and concentrations ensures that students are able to focus on a specific career path. It allows students to emphasize their interests and develop the right skills based on their career objectives.

Highlight: The University of Alabama allows students to finish their master’s degrees at an accelerated pace and students can complete a master’s degree in one year.

Degree: MA in Economics

18. University of Kentucky

u kentucky

The University of Kentucky offers one of the best master in economics programs for students who want to advance in their careers. KU’s MS in Economics degree program emphasizes microeconomics and macroeconomics to give students a strong foundation in their field. It also allows students to select electives that provide specialized skills and training in a student’s area of interest.  

The University of Kentucky stands apart by focusing on doctorate-level training for students. The master’s degree program is designed around students who plan to continue into a doctoral program; however, it does allow students who are not planning to move forward into a higher level of education to complete the degree in certain situations. 

Highlight: The University of Kentucky is AACSB-accredited for its degree programs.

Degree: MS in Economics

19. University of California, San Diego

uc san diego

The University of California at San Diego offers one of the best masters degrees in economics for students who do not plan to continue into a doctoral program or who need a degree for their career or job while they are working on a higher level of education. The MA in Economics gives students a strong foundation in core topics of study and prepares students to handle leadership roles in an economics field. It helps students gain the skills they need to understand the application of theories to a real-world environment.

The University of California at San Diego differs from other programs by emphasizing the differences between the master’s degree program and the school’s Ph.D. program. The degree is not given to students who plan to complete a Ph.D. unless they need the degree for their job. It may be awarded to students who are not ready for a Ph.D. or who decide they do not want to pursue a higher level of education.

Highlight: The University of California at San Diego offers an assistantship program to help graduate students with the costs associated with their degrees.

Degree: MA in Economics

20. Stony Brook University

stony brook suny

Stony Brook University offers an MA in Economics that emphasizes research as it applies to economic theories. The degree program teaches students the fundamental skills they need to apply a theory to a real-world environment or a business. It also ensures that students are aware of the strategies used in research programs to clarify information, double-check results, and maintain a high level of professionalism when looking into important details.

Stony Brook University prepares students for the challenges they may face when working in a complex environment. Since economics are essential for many fields and industries, it opens doors of opportunities for students in business, finance, corporate environments, policy, and government positions. The focus on research ensures that students are able to read and understand the results of research in economics and can then use the information in their careers.

Highlight: Stony Brook University has a diverse student population, which offers a wide array of backgrounds to help students gain unique perspectives on economic topics.

Degree: MA in Economics

21. University of Southern California

u southern california

The MS in Economics and Econometrics from the University of Southern California is one of the best masters programs in economics for students who plan to work in a global environment, a technology company, or a teaching position. The degree program emphasizes econometrics and it teaches students the theories and applications of theories that are applied in different countries, world banks, or big data technology businesses. It is designed around the changing systems and the ways that work well in a digital environment.

The University of Southern California differs from other programs by focusing on the role of economics in big technology and data analytics businesses. It teaches students about the ways technology may change or impact the economy and provides an opportunity for students to work as a consultant for large technology companies. 

Highlight: The University of Southern California is the 23rd best school in the nation for its economics degree program.

Degree: MS in Economics and Econometrics

22. Hunter College – CUNY

hunter college

Hunter College offers an MA in Economics that helps students make connections with potential employers and gain the skills they need to work in an exciting field. The degree program gives students the fundamental research and theoretical skills to keep up with the demands of a modern work environment. It also prepares students to recognize the potential complications that may arise when it comes to new policies or government programs.

CUNY’s Hunter College is located directly in Manhattan and gives students an opportunity to network with large firms and businesses before completing a master’s degree. It emphasizes the value of effective communication and connections, as well as the role of economists in different industries and fields of study.

Highlight: Hunter College offers evening classes to help working adults keep up with the course materials.

Degree: MA in Economics

23. Duke University

duke u

The MA in Economics from Duke University offers a flexible approach to student education that prepares students to accomplish their personal goals. The degree program teaches quantitative approaches to the field of economics so that students are ready to take on challenges in their careers. It also allows students to tailor their courses to fit their long-term goals for a career.

Duke University allows students to study courses from different industries and fields of study as part of the economics program. By allowing students to take classes in mathematics, political science, finance, or other industries, students are able to cater their knowledge to fit with the different interests that may apply to their career goals. It offers an opportunity to develop specialized skills.

Highlight: Duke University requires students to complete a portfolio as part of their master’s degree program.

Degree: MA in Economics

24. Florida International University

florida international

Florida International University offers an MA in Economics that gives students an opportunity to advance in their careers. The degree program offers a greater depth of study when compared to an undergraduate program and it prepares students to take on more challenging responsibilities at work. The emphasis on the practical application of economic theories helps students reach their goals.

Florida International University gives students the fundamental skills they need to handle a variety of situations in their jobs. It prepares students to work on an international level by teaching trade theory. It also ensures that students understand the way policy impacts the economy.

Highlight: Florida International University allows students to complete their degree within 18 months.

Degree: MA in Economics

25. Lehigh University

lehigh u

The MS in Applied Economics from Lehigh University is one of the best options for students who do not plan to continue into a doctoral program. The degree program emphasizes the master’s degree and provides students with a well-rounded view of economics as it applies to different environments and industries. It also ensures that students are able to focus on their studies at the master’s level rather than trying to combine their degree with a doctoral program.

Lehigh University offers a STEM-designated master’s degree in applied economics, so it is specifically identified as a degree program that is part of the STEM field. Since it emphasizes the role of mathematics, technology, and science in economic studies, it prepares students to work in big data, government agencies, or large corporations.

Highlight: Lehigh University sets high standards for student achievement and encourages students to maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher in their master’s degree program.

Degree: MS in Applied Economics

How Do I Choose a Master’s in Economics Program?

It’s important to determine whether you want to take your courses online or in the classroom. Students who are working toward their Master’s degree are often working full-time jobs in addition to caring for their families. This can make finishing a Master’s degree program extremely difficult, especially when it comes to studying, working, and trying to maintain quality family time. If this is the case, you need to find a school that offers an online Masters’ degree program that can be completed when it is convenient. Students can study and turn in their coursework when they can, instead of being held up in a classroom for several hours at a stretch.

Is Economics a Good Career Path?

Economics is an excellent career path with numerous opportunities for advancement. The ability to understand economics on a local, national, and global level is the key to understanding how individuals and companies operate in the financial world. The fact that our country’s economy and that of the world work hand in hand guarantees many opportunities for advancement and growth within the industry. A Masters’ in Economics degree can be used in almost any type of industry. While there are several excellent job opportunities dealing with investments, corporate funds, banking, and other financial careers, students can also use their degree to excel in creating powerful marketing strategies and evaluating growth patterns when it comes to city and county agencies.

Understanding what Economics is and how it is used is the key. Economic patterns and trends affect everything from insurance premiums to stock market numbers. All of these numbers and patterns affect you in some way shape or form. Earning a Masters’ degree in Economics gives you not only an understanding of how these things work, they also give you the information you need to make positive changes when they are called for. Job opportunities are available with non-profit organizations, government agencies, and many other entities that rely on understanding marketing trends and using them to continue their growth.

The fact that economics is a driving force in terms of financial security is just one reason why earning a Masters’ degree in economics is worth it. Economics goes far beyond just the financial aspect. It involves learning how money is generated, how it is spent or invested, and how it is transferred from one place to another. An economics degree takes you through the many steps that are involved in earning money as well as the numerous ways money is used to support the operations and functions of businesses and governments. 

What Can I Do With a Masters’ in Economics?

There are several different paths you can take with a Masters’ in Economics degree. You can work in either the public sector or the private sector. You can work with non-profit organizations or large corporations that make millions of dollars a year. Many individuals who have an economics degree work with investment companies or as analysts that provide valuable information to banks and other organizations. Graduates who have a Masters’ degree in Economics can also find work with marketing agencies and others who specialize in sales and advertising. The opportunities for growth in these areas are extensive. To get started, all you have to do is find the right Masters’ in Economics degree program that best suits your needs and career goals.

A Masters’ in Economics degree also provides opportunities in terms of consulting work. Consultants who specialize in helping companies make better decisions in terms of spending, selling and investments are in high demand. Even industries that have nothing to do with finances or money require the services of consultants who are well-versed in economics and the patterns often associated with growth and loss. Having these skills can make you an irreplaceable member of a team that must constantly be working for the betterment of the company.

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