What Is the Curriculum of an Online Master's Degree in Economics?

Online master's degree programs in economics are similar to their on-campus counterparts, including the same classes and graduation requirements. The difference is that online programs are typically designed for the working professional who can't always commit to regular daytime class schedules. Continue reading for information on what classes you may take and how this type of program works. Schools offering Economics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Curriculum of an Economics Master's Degree

Online master's degree in economics programs usually focus on applied economics as opposed to preparing students for purely research or academic employment. Graduates usually earn the Master of Science in Applied Economics (MSAE) degree. The curriculum for a master's degree program in economics is essentially composed of two parts, including class work and a dissertation or thesis.

Important Facts About Economics Master's Degree Programs

Prerequisites Bachelor's degree; GRE or GMAT scores
Concentrations Financial economics, environmental economics and more
Continuing Education Graduates of these programs may go on to pursue a doctoral degree in public policy
Common Careers Budget analyst, economist, leasing consultant, operations research, systems analyst, state policy analyst
Median Salary (2018) $104,340 (economists)*
Job Outlook (2016-26) 6% (economists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Coursework makes up a large portion of the program requirements. Some programs allow you to select a concentration, like public policy or health economics, which usually requires a few additional courses. Typical required courses include:

  • Microeconomics
  • Macroeconomics
  • Mathematical economics
  • Applied regression
  • International economics
  • Economic empirical methods
  • Econometrics
  • Applied economic analysis

You are also likely to have a wide range of elective options. Here is a list of classes you could take to customize your curriculum to meet your interests:

  • Economic growth
  • Economic forecasting
  • General equilibrium modeling
  • Environmental and resource economics
  • Health care economics


Most graduate-level degree programs require students to write a thesis or dissertation. Online master's in economics degree programs are no different. However, some schools have a non-thesis option. This option still requires a formal economic report, participation in an economics research internship or both.

How Online Programs Work

Economics master's degree programs may only be available partly online. You might be able to complete some or even all coursework through distance learning, although practical training components, like research and an internship, may require your presence on campus or at local sites. However, some fully online programs don't require campus visits.

Some programs host live classes that you can stream online at particular times, while other schools allow you to review lectures and multimedia presentations for classes at your convenience. You can also expect to participate in discussion boards. Deadlines for class projects and exam times are often the same as your school's on-campus program.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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