Economics, Applied

An education in applied economics can prepare you to drive the financial decisions of a business or to help set governmental policy. Find out what you'd study in a related degree program, in addition to employment outlook and salary information.

Is Applied Economics for Me?

Career Overview

Applied economics is the scientific study of the distribution of materials, land and labor by society for the production of commodities and services. Through statistical analysis, the economist predicts financial outcomes that help drive decisions in business, government, healthcare, law and many other fields. Economists help solve the world's most pressing social and business concerns.


Economics is a broad field of study, thus most economists choose a specialty, such as microeconomics, macroeconomics, international economics, financial economics and labor economics. Economics is utilized across these fields in the private and public sector making career opportunities abundant. With a degree in economics, you could be a loan officer, economics teacher, financial analyst, accountant or auditor.

Salaries and Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in May 2012 that economists had a median annual wage of $91,860 and university professors in economics had a median annual wage of $87,950 ( The BLS projected a 14% increase in job opportunities for economists during the 2012-2022 decade - growth attributed to more financial regulations and an increasing global economy.

How Can I Work in Applied Economics?

Education Requirements

Some entry-level positions, such as those of research assistants in marketing or sales, are available if you have a bachelor's degree in applied economics. However, many positions require a master's degree or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) for employment, and your job prospects will be better if you have an advanced degree.

Graduate Studies

A master's program in applied economics will provide you with the analytical training, theories and understanding of the practical applications necessary for a professional career. Master's programs typically cover mathematical methods, data analysis and econometrics, as well as forecasting and international finance.

If you're interested in research or teaching at the university level, a Ph.D. in Economics is a requirement. However, it is also a useful degree for finding high-ranking government positions in organizations such as the U.S. Treasury and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In pursuit of the Ph.D., you will generally have to first pass an exam in microeconomics. You'll take courses in mathematics, statistics, advanced economic theories and econometrics; you'll also need to write a doctoral dissertation.

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