35 Best Master’s Degrees in Economics 2020

Economists can apply their knowledge of production and distribution of resources to several areas, including public policy, the environment, and healthcare, among others. Any degree in economics can open many doors, but a Master's Degree in Economics is needed for many jobs as economists. It is also important to note that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that the number of employment for economists will grow six percent by 2026. The median pay in 2018 was $104,340. 

When thinking about starting a graduate program in economics, there are several factors that students should take into consideration. The first of which, being the length of the program. Many of the following programs can be completed in one to two years, depending on the number of courses a student takes each semester.

Next, some programs are STEM-designated, which is essential for international students to note when applying for visas. Finally, if one is looking to pursue a doctoral degree in the field of economics eventually, it can be helpful to complete a degree with a thesis-option to show that one can pursue independent research at a graduate level. 

Methodology

Best College Reviews provides degree rankings, such as the 35 Best Master's Degrees in Economics 2020, from carefully researched data sets published from government and non-profit organizations across the United States. Five primary factors affect how we rank degrees:

– 25% Student Satisfaction

– 30% Earning Potential

– 15% Retention Data

– 20% Affordability

– 10% Acceptance Rates

For an in-depth breakdown of how we calculate each ranking, check out our Methodology page.

 

#35 GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF ARTS IN ECONOMICS
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Score: 82.68

Georgia State University offers a Master of Arts in Economics for students looking to build their ability to understand, analyze, and apply an economic theory. This program emphasizes public policy, allowing students to work in education, economic development, healthcare, social welfare, and public finance. Students can also complete a Policy track. There are also field areas that include Experimental Economics, International Economics, Labor Economics, Public Finance, Program Evaluation, and Environmental, Urban, and Regional Economics. The degree requires 33 to 36 credit hours. Students can also choose between a thesis and a non-thesis option as well as between going to school full- or part-time.
Net Price: $15,350

 

#34 UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS

MASTER OF ARTS IN ECONOMICS
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Score: 83.31

At the University of Illinois, students can complete a 30-credit Master of Arts in Economics. This program provides graduate-level education in economic theory and econometrics in preparation for careers in business, government, and nonprofit organizations. Many graduates go on to a more advanced degree in economics or for degrees in public policy, business, and law. The University of Illinois also allows students to complete a joint MA in Economics and a Master of Business Administration.
Net Price: $11,884

 

#33 UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN ECONOMICS
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Score: 83.52

The University of Kentucky introduces students to graduate-level study through its Master of Science in Economics and requires at least 30 credit hours of coursework. Students build a foundation of knowledge in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics in addition to growing their interest in other areas of the field. This degree also prepares students to go on to complete their doctoral studies in economics. KU also offers several workshops and seminars throughout the year. Some past topics include "Returns to a Prison GED" and "Intergenerational Health Mobility in the United States."
Net Price: $19,361

 

#32 CLEMSON UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF ARTS IN ECONOMICS
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Score: 83.63

Clemson University offers a Master of Arts in Economics which has prepared students to enter the growing fields of data analysis and management. Graduates have also gone on to work at places like Beacon Economics, Bloomberg LP, and Northwestern Mutual Insurance. Many alumni have also enrolled in doctoral programs. The MAE is completable within 12 months, and students have the option to choose between a thesis and a non-thesis option. There are 30 credits of coursework required for the program. Some of these credits come from courses like Law and Economics, Game Theory, and Natural Resource Use, Technology, and Policy.
Net Price: $18,757

 

#31 UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN ECONOMICS
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Score: 84.23

With a solid foundation in theory and technical application, the University of Wyoming's Master of Science in Economics provides a course of study that readies students for a successful career in many fields. This degree requires 30 credits of coursework, and students can choose either the thesis or non-thesis option.

Additionally, students can earn their degree in as little as three semesters, though most graduate in two years. Courses in this program are on topics like Advanced Resource and Environmental Economics, Empirical Industrial Organization, and Frontiers of Economics. UW also supports students' attendance at national conferences, and as a result of this, students can potentially receive travel funding to attend one.
Net Price: $13,441

 

#30 UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE

MASTER OF ARTS IN ECONOMICS
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Score: 84.32

The University of Delaware's Master of Arts in Economics is designed to allow students to explore their interests in the field by offering several electives as part of the curriculum. In fact, only nine of the 30 required credits are fulfilled by specific courses; the student can choose the rest. Many use this flexibility to take classes in economics fields like public finance, industrial organization, regulation and natural resources, and environmental economics. Additionally, students benefit from the Hutchinson Lecture in Macroeconomics, which brings renowned economics researchers to UD's campus. Graduates of UD's MAE have gone on to work at companies like Moody's Analytics, Barclays, J.P. Morgan, and the Federal Reserve System.
Net Price: $16,286

 

#29 UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI

MASTER OF ARTS IN ECONOMICS
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Score: 84.32

The University of Missouri offers a Master of Arts in Economics. This degree requires 30 credit hours of coursework, including six core classes. These are Quantitative Economics, Introductory Economics, Microeconomic Theory, Macroeconomic Theory, Applied Econometrics, and Research Workshop. Missouri's MAE is offered residentially and online, which allows students flexibility while earning their degree anywhere. Missouri designed the Econ program to prepare students for work in the government and with private corporations, as well as to research economics and public policy. For admission, students need to submit an application, two letters of recommendation, a resume, a personal statement, and their official GRE scores.
Net Price: $17,762

 

#28 UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN QUANTITATIVE ECONOMICS
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Score:84.33

The University of Connecticut helps to train students in quantitative methods and economic analysis through its Master of Science in Quantitative Economics. It is a professional degree that requires 30 credits of coursework. Students must take Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Mathematical Economics, and two Applied Econometrics courses as part of the core of the program. Students also receive foundational knowledge in computer science, giving them the necessary expertise analyzing "big data." Courses are available in spring, summer, and fall. U.S. News and World Report have ranked UConn as No. 22 on its list of Top Public Schools and as No. 33 on Best Colleges for Veterans.
Net Price: $18,699

 

#27 FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN APPLIED ECONOMICS
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Score:84.42

Florida State University prepares students to analyze and communicate economic data in its Master of Science in Applied Economics. FSU prides itself on its small class sizes of about twenty-five students, and the program can be completed in one year. It requires 32 credits of coursework that culminate in a policy-based capstone project. Other courses include Leadership and Professional Development, Analysis of Economic Data, and Applied Econometrics.

Additionally, scholarships are available to help minimize cost. Students also gain proficiency with statistical software, including SAS, STATA, and REMI. FSU also has a joint program in law and economics. About twenty-five students are admitted each year to this program.
Net Price: $16,450

 

#26 THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN ECONOMETRICS AND QUANTITATIVE ECONOMICS
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Score:84.84

The University of Arizona offers a Master of Science in Econometrics and Quantitative Economics. This program typically takes eighteen months to complete, and it requires 30 units of coursework for students to graduate. Courses for this program include Labor Economics, Market Design, and Energy Economics. UA has four focuses for students to choose from, which are Econometrics, Microeconomic Theory, Empirical Microeconomics, and Experimental/Behavioral Economics. Students can also benefit from the Economic Science Laboratory, which was founded by a Nobel laureate. To apply, students must submit contact information for two references, transcripts, GRE or GMAT score, a statement of purpose, and a curriculum vitae.
Net Price: $15,758

 

#25 GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF ARTS IN ECONOMICS
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Score: 85.07

George Mason University's Master of Arts in Economics brings together the relationships between economics, politics, and law. While earning an MAE, George Mason students develop a foundation in economic theory before learning how to apply it effectively. Thirty credits are required for graduation, which includes a comprehensive exam. Students can also choose to write a thesis as part of the program. The thesis can count for up to six credit hours of elective credit toward the MA. Additionally, if a student has completed prior graduate coursework in economics, they can transfer up to twelve credits into George Mason.
Net Price: $18,629

 

#24 THE UNIVERSITY OF UTAH

MASTER OF ARTS OR MASTER OF SCIENCE IN ECONOMICS
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Score: 85.13

The University of Utah allows students to complete a Master of Arts or a Master of Science in Economics. The differences between these two programs lie in the fact that the MA requires a foreign language. The MS has specializations in Public Finance, Natural resource and Environmental Economics, and Feminist Economics. The degree requires a minimum of 30 credit hours of coursework. This includes a project or a thesis that must be defended for a student to graduate. Overall, the Masters' in Economics from Utah can be finished in approximately three semesters.
Net Price: $12,363

 

#23 THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF ARTS IN APPLIED ECONOMICS
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Score: 85.42

George Washington University recognizes the importance of data and students' abilities to analyze it through the Master of Arts in Applied Economics. This is a 30-credit, STEM-designated program, and the degree can be combined with several graduate certificates, including Budget and Public Finance, Data Science, Environmental Resource Planning, and Geographical Information Systems. Others are offered through GW's School of Business. Additionally, students can receive funding to conduct independent research. Students can also become involved with the Student Association for Graduate Economics. No GRE is required for admission.
Net Price: $37,638

 

#22 LEHIGH UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN APPLIED ECONOMICS
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Score: 86.69

Lehigh University's 30-credit Master of Science in Applied Economics focuses on its students through small classes and award-winning faculty members. Students can choose between two tracks: Competition and Market Analysis and Policy Economics. For those looking to complete a doctoral degree, there is the option to complete a thesis. Graduates have gone on to their doctorate at universities like Carnegie Mellon, the University of North Carolina, and Harvard University. For those who have entered the workforce, employment organizations include the U.S. Department of Labor, Moody's Analytics, and Morgan Stanley. Additionally, this degree is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Net Price: $26,933

 

#21 TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN ECONOMICS
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Score: 87.23

Texas A&M University awards a Master of Science in Economics that strives to help students connect research and creativity. The MSE has both a thesis and a non-thesis option. The thesis option requires 32 credit hours of coursework, while the non-thesis option needs 36. Students can finish an internship as part of the MSE, although TAMU's economics department offers training in Base and Advanced SAS training, as well. The latter option is historically helpful to graduates of this program when they have entered the workforce. Both scholarships and assistantships are available through the economics department.
Net Price: $19,554

 

#20 COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF ARTS IN ECONOMICS
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Score: 87.23

For students looking to further their study of economic theory, Columbia University has a Master of Arts in Economics. The degree requires ten classes, seven of which are required core courses and three elective courses. Options for these elective courses include Economic Policy Analysis, Advanced Econometrics, Financial Economics, and International Economics. This is a STEM-designated program. Students then take what they learn in elective courses and write a research paper demonstrating their analytic ability. Columbia's graduate school in economics is ranked No. 9 by U.S. News and World Report and No. 3 on its list of National Universities.
Net Price: $22,824

 

#19 STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF ARTS IN ECONOMICS
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Score: 87.30

Stony Brook University has a research-oriented Master of Arts in Economics program that helps students succeed in government, research institutes, and the private sector. Students can choose between a basic program and an advanced MA. The basic program requires eleven courses while the advanced MA includes fourteen classes. The advanced degree is ideal for students who are looking to complete a Ph.D. Elective courses in this program include Game Theory, Computational Economics & Dynamic Modeling, Demographic Economics, and Health Economics. Students must also take a Project in Economics course. Overall, this program requires a strong foundation in mathematics.
Net Price: $14,330

 

#18 UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

MASTER OF ARTS IN APPLIED ECONOMICS
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Score: 87.37

The Master of Arts in Applied Economics at the University of Michigan is perfect for students who are looking for advanced training or growing their skills in economics. Students must complete 38 credit hours of coursework, 18 of which come from elective coursework. Some of these electives include Energy Economics and Policy, The European Economy, and the Economics of Development. Alumni from this program have gone on to work at the United Launch Alliance, the Bank of Mongolia, and the Energy Market Regulatory Authority. Students can also become involved with the Graduate Economics Society. To apply, students should submit the application, a statement of purpose, a personal statement, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, a resume, and transcripts.
Net Price: $16,408

 

#17 UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

MASTER OF ARTS IN ECONOMICS
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Score: 87.41

The University of Southern California offers a Master of Arts in Economics. It can be completed in one and a half years, though some can finish it in a year. It is also a STEM-designated. The program requires 32 units of study. Courses in this program include Game Theory with Economic and Financial Applications, Theory of Value: Classical Origins and Neoclassical Critique, and Contracts, organizations, and Institutions. Students have also been able to serve as a research assistantship at the Los Angeles Behavioral Economics Laboratory working on projects funded by the National Institute of Health and the National Science Foundation.
Net Price: $32,892

 

#16 BOSTON UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF ARTS IN ECONOMICS
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Score: 87.75

Boston University's Master of Arts in Economics emphasizes one's ability to analyze quantitative data through a combination of computer software and mathematical foundations. This is a STEM-designated degree program. The degree requires 32 credit hours of coursework, culminating in a comprehensive exam. Students can also complete a coordinated Master of Business Administration/MA degree by finishing 80 credit hours of coursework. Students are required to take the GRE for admission to this program, and it is suggested that they have completed at least some basic coursework in economics and mathematics.
Net Price: $33,728

 

#15 UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND

MASTER OF PROFESSIONAL STUDIES IN APPLIED ECONOMICS
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Score: 87.99

The University of Maryland has a Master of Professional Studies that is geared toward working professionals. It helps them to utilize economic reasoning, building financial models, and analyzing policy. The degree requires 30 credit hours of coursework, including classes that give students experience with STATA and other statistical software. Some of the courses include Economics of Health Care, Environmental Economics; Game Theory and Market Design; and Applied Time Series Analysis. Alumni of this program also work at places like the Federal Reserve, NDP Analytics, Population Services International, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the National Institute of Health.
Net Price: $17,241

 

#14 UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA

MASTER OF ARTS IN ECONOMICS
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Score: 88.06

Ranked No. 16 in Economics for graduate schools by U.S. News and World Report, the University of Minnesota's Master of Arts in Applied Economics that allows students to gain experience in both the theoretical and applied fields of economics. The MA requires 30 credit hours of coursework, and students can choose from a variety of specializations. These include options such as Econometrics, Economic Growth and Development, Financial Economics, Game Theory, Industrial Organization, International Economics, Labor Economics, Monetary Economics, and Public Economics. This degree also has a capstone project, and students can complete a thesis as part of the program.
Net Price: $16,808

 

#13 UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA – LOS ANGELES

MASTER OF APPLIED ECONOMICS
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Score: 88.17

The University of California in Los Angeles provides a Master of Applied Economics, and the alumni of this program go on to work around the world. Graduates have worked at the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Singapore, Beacon Economics, China Eastern Airlines, and the United Nations Development Program. It is a full-time nine-month program, meaning that students can earn their degree in a year. Courses in this program include Machine Learning, Incentives, Information and Markets, and International Economics. A total of eleven courses are required for students to earn their degree. It culminates in a final project, in which a student works closely with a faculty member.
Net Price: $14,760

 

#12 CORNELL UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN APPLIED ECONOMICS AND MANAGEMENT
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Score: 89.00

Cornell University brings together policy and business in its Master of Science in Applied Economics and Management. Students must complete two full-time semesters of course study, with a minimum of 12 credit hours each semester. This program also requires a master's thesis and a final oral examination. Graduates of this program have gone on to become consultants and analysts at places like the World Bank, Scotiabank, and Citibank. Students have also gone on to doctoral programs.
Net Price: $31,449

 

#11 UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN – MADISON

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN ECONOMICS
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Score: 89.33

The Master of Science in Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is ideal for students who wish to receive advanced economics training or who want to prepare for a Ph.D. program. UW-Madison stresses econometric training that draws from students' foundations in microeconomic and macroeconomic theory as well as their quantitative skills. This program requires 30 credits of coursework. Some of the classes include Economic Statistics and Econometrics, Mathematical Economics, and Microeconomics. UW-Madison is also home to the Economics Career Development offices, which helps students to prepare for the job search, prepare for interviews, and generally, get ready for careers in economics.
Net Price: $15,910

 

#10 TUFTS UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN ECONOMICS
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Score: 90.23

Tufts University is home to a Master of Science in Economics degree. This program has two tracks: a course-based track and a research-based track. The course-based track requires 30 units of study, which can be completed in one year. The research-based track is twelve credits and is typically finished in two years with a master's thesis. Both programs are helpful to students who are looking to grow academically and professionally. For students who have completed prior graduate coursework, up to two courses from another institution can be transferred into Tufts' program. This degree is also STEM-certified. The department also offers an MS in Environmental Economics and Urban Planning.
Net Price: $29,449

 

#9 NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN ECONOMICS
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Score: 90.43

North Carolina State University has the flexibility for students to pursue their professional and academic interests through its Master of Science and a Master of Economics. Students can concentrate in areas, such as Financial/Macro Econometrics; Natural Resource and Environmental Economics; and Economic Policy. The MS degree requires a thesis, while the Master of Economics is a coursework-only path of study. Both are 30-credit hour programs. Graduates from NCSU have gone on to work at the World Bank, the United States Department of State, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the North Carolina Department of Treasury.
Net Price: $13,442

 

#8 GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN ECONOMICS
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Score: 90.46

Georgetown University offers a Master of Science in Economics. This is a two-year program that is considered a STEM degree. This program emphasizes the econometric theory and data analysis. This degree requires 45 credits of coursework. Some of the elective courses include Decision and Game Theory, Business Cycles, and Business & Public Section Forecasting. At the beginning of the program, students complete a two-week residency in which they conduct an intensive course of study specifically in mathematics. This helps to form the quantitative foundation of the program. Additionally, students can choose to complete the program on either a full- or part-time basis.
Net Price: $27,420

 

#7 GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN ECONOMICS
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Score: 90.68

With an emphasis on application, students can earn their Master of Science in Economics at Georgia Institute of Technology. Full-time GIT students have graduated with their MSE within one year, although the degree is also achievable on a part-time basis. This MS requires 30 credit hours of coursework. Students can also earn credit for an internship as part of this program. GIT students can also take classes such as Money & Capital Markets, Public Economics, and Global Enterprise. The MSE is especially helpful for students who wish to work in industry or who wish to pursue further study in economics, management, and law.
Net Price: $15,873

 

#6 UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN ECONOMICS WITH A POLICY ECONOMICS
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Score: 91.09

Students can finish their Master of Science in Economics with a Policy Economics concentration. The MS in Economics is an ideal program for aspiring professionals hoping to specialize in economic analysis or to earn a Doctor of Philosophy in Economics eventually. The orientation for students in this program also includes an intensive in mathematics. There are also opportunities to explore financial institutions, industrial production facilities, and state and government agencies. The degree requires 40 credit hours of coursework and can be completed in as little as one year and as much as two. It is also a STEM-designated program.
Net Price: $16,638

 

#5 JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY

JOINT MASTER OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
& MASTER OF SCIENCE IN APPLIED ECONOMICS
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Score: 91.48

Johns Hopkins University allows students to complete a joint Master of Business Administration and a Master of Science in Applied Economics. This is a three-year program that results in the conferral of two degrees. The MBA also includes a choice of concentrations, which are Entrepreneurship, Financial Business, Health Care Management; Management and Leading Organizations; and Real Estate and Infrastructure. To earn their degree, students must finish 31 courses, which can include Accounting and Financial Reporting, Econometrics, and Business Leadership & Human Values. Graduating from Johns Hopkins comes with the benefit of being a network of over 215,000 alumni.
Net Price: $29,066

 

#4 THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN

MASTER OF ARTS IN ECONOMICS
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Score: 91.65

The University of Texas at Austin provides a 30-credit Master of Arts in Economics. This is a ten-month program that starts in July and ends the following May. Two classes are taken in the summer, four in the fall, and four the next spring. There are also opportunities for this degree to be completed in eighteen or twenty-four months. The rigor of this course of study is helpful preparation for students wishing to advance into a Ph.D. program. Students may also do an optional internship as part of the program. Students also take classes like Real Analysis for Economists, Economics of Auction, and Markets for Electricity.
Net Price: $14,356

 

#3 NEW YORK UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF ARTS IN ECONOMICS
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Score: 92.12

As one of the most rigorous degrees in economics, students can grow their experience with economics through the Master of Arts in Economics at New York University. Students who have completed this program have gone earn to earn their doctorates from institutions like the University of Chicago, Georgetown University, and the University of Oxford.

Additionally, alumni work at companies such as Bloomberg Communications, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and Moody's Economy.com. To earn this degree, students must finish 32 points of study and a special project report. Students can also take part in the NYU Economics Alumni Club.
Net Price: $36,256

 

#2 DUKE UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF ARTS IN ECONOMICS
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Score: 97.93

Duke University offers a 30-credit Master of Arts in Economics that gives students a comprehensive overview of the field of economics. Students are proficient in applied research and economic analysis. Many students go on to Ph.D. programs in economics. Courses include Game Theory with Applications of Economics and Other Social Sciences, Economic Growth, and International Monetary Economics. It is a STEM-designated program. Students can also benefit from the Economics Center for Teaching, which provides advisement, career, and research resources as well as from the Duke alumni network.
Net Price: $22,011

 

#1 STANFORD UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF ARTS IN ECONOMICS
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Score: 100.00

At the top of Best College Review's list is the No. 1 Best Master's Degree in Economics from Stanford University, in California. Stanford's Master of Arts in Economics is geared toward students who wish to continue into the Ph.D. It requires 45 units of coursework. Additionally, they can choose from a variety of fields within the field. The options are Economic Development, Economic History/Institutions; Monetary Theory and Advanced Macroeconomics; Public Finance, Economics of Labor, Economics of Industry, International Economics, Econometrics, Microeconomic Theory, Environmental Economics, and Political Economy. Fellowships and assistantships are also available for students, and these can include both a stipend and tuition.
Net Price: $16,562