According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most lucrative jobs in the field of economics require an advanced degree, so working professionals may find the prospect of pursuing an online master’s in economics particularly appealing. For these individuals, it’s important to spend some time researching the options available, since not all online economics master’s degrees carry the same weight. In this ranking, we examine the top value colleges for a master’s in economics online for 2016.

Best Value Colleges for an Online Master’s in Economics
To develop this list of the top 8 value schools for an online master’s in economics, our editors used data from PayScale.com to evaluate the 20-Year ROI for all schools offering an online economics master’s degree. Having done so, they then visited the websites of each program to analyze its unique offerings. In applying the rating and ranking methodology found at the end of this article, there were instances in which two or more schools received the same number of points. In this case, annual graduate tuition (out-of-state where applicable) from College Navigator was considered, and the most affordable program received the higher ranking.

#8 – Southern New Hampshire University

Online Master of Science in Applied Economics

Manchester, New Hampshire

Southern New Hampshire University online master's economics

Southern New Hampshire University’s online master’s in economics classes are taught by an expert faculty.

Website

Points: 4

The online master’s in economics offered by Southern New Hampshire University is broad and prepares students for a wide variety of career paths. Classes are delivered in an asynchronous format, so materials can be accessed whenever it is most convenient for the student. The online master’s economics degree can also be completed at the student’s own pace. This flexibility does not come at the cost of quality, however; faculty are made up of corporate leaders, small business advisors, and other experts with experience in the topics they teach.

Tuition: $18,810

#7 – American University

Online Master of Arts in Economics

Washington, D.C.

American University master's in economics online

American University’s online economics master’s degree emphasizes economic policy.

Website

Points: 5

American University offers its online master’s in economics, applied economics specialization as a completely online program. This program can be completed in as little as 20 months, but students can take longer to complete the degree if needed. The program is also designed to be accessible to students who did not major in economics as an undergraduate. Because the program is based in Washington D.C., its focus is on economic policy. However, students who complete this particular online economics master’s degree program are still prepared for careers outside of government.

Tuition: $27,468

#6 – University of Detroit–Mercy

Online Master of Arts in Economics

Detroit, Michigan

The University of Detroit-Mercy’s online master’s in economics features both a theoretical and an applied concentration.

Website

Points: 5

The University of Detroit–Mercy’s online master’s in economics is designed to prepare students for leadership positions in the field. One of the main focuses of the program is international economics, but the program still strives to be flexible. For example, it is broad enough to be applied to areas other than international economics, such as US economics. It also includes a theoretical concentration and an applied concentration, which can be blended to meet the individual needs of each online master’s economics student.

Tuition: $26,802

#5 – Purdue University

Online Master’s in Economics

West Lafayette, Indiana

Purdue University's master's in economics online can be completed entirely online or via a hybrid format.

Purdue University’s master’s in economics online can be completed entirely online or via a hybrid format.

Website

Points: 6

Purdue University’s online master’s in economics is designed to be rigorous without sacrificing flexibility. The program typically takes two academic years to complete, but it can be extended to three years. It is also available in both completely online and hybrid formats. Regardless of the format chosen, the program includes two concentrations: Applied Economics/Business and Advanced Economic Theory. These concentrations allow online master’s economics students to prepare specifically for their desired career path.

Tuition: $28,010

#4 – Georgia Southern University

Online Master of Science in Applied Economics

Statesboro, Georgia

Georgia Southern University master's in economics online

Georgia Southern University’s online economics master’s degree manages to be interactive, despite its virtual format.

Website

Points: 6

Georgia Southern University’s online master’s in economics program is designed to equip individuals who are already working in the field with the skills and knowledge they need to advance their careers. The program is completely online and flexible in regard to schedule, so students can continue to work full time while getting their education. Despite the program’s online nature, students still have opportunities to interact with peers. Classes are kept small, and online master’s economics students regularly engage in discussions, presentations, and simulations.

Tuition: $26,518  

#3 – West Texas A&M University

Online Master of Science in Finance and Economics

Canyon, Texas

West Texas A&M online master's in economics

West Texas A&M University’s online economics master’s degree can be completed in as little as one year.

Website

Points: 6

West Texas A&M University’s online master’s in economics can be completed entirely online or through a combination of online and on-campus instruction, depending on the student’s needs. There is no difference in the content of online and on-campus courses, as both formats are taught by the same professors. This master’s in economics online program is designed for individuals already working in the field and is typically completed in two years. However, it is possible for students to earn their degree in as little as one year.

Tuition: $4,852

#2 – University of North Dakota

Online Master’s in Applied Economics

Grand Forks, North Dakota

University of North Dakota online master's in economics

UND’s online master’s in applied economics is highly adaptable to your busy schedule.

Website

Points: 7

The University of North Dakota’s online master’s in economics program results in an MS in Applied Economics degree. The program is completely online and takes roughly two years to complete. Classes are offered in both synchronous and asynchronous formats. The synchronous classes are scheduled so that they are streamed at convenient times, but students who are unable to attend these classes can access course material at any time. Faculty are as committed to their online students as they are to their on-campus students, and online economics master’s degree students are offered the same support services as on-campus students.

Tuition: $18,807

#1 – Johns Hopkins University

Online Master of Science in Applied Economics

Washington, D.C.

Johns Hopkins University online maaster's economics

The online master’s in economics program from Johns Hopkins University is one of the most flexible options for distance learning students.

Website

Points: 8

The online master’s in economics programs offered by Johns Hopkins University is flexible both in terms of academics and in terms of scheduling. Students can enter the program during the summer, fall, or spring, and they can complete the degree at either a full-time or part-time pace. Students can also choose from multiple areas to focus in. A couple of these areas, such as public policy, are on-site only, but most of the areas of emphasis are available to both online master’s economics students and on-campus students. One area, spatial economics, is offered exclusively online.

Tuition: $48,710

 

Rating and Ranking Methodology

Awards and Recognition (Related to Economics)

  • National Level – 2 points
  • Regional Level – 1 point

20-Year Net ROI

  • Above 500,000 – 4 points
  • Above 400,000 – 3 points
  • Above 300,000 –2 points
  • Above 200,000 – 1 point

Economics Research Opportunities – 1 point

Innovative Programs and/or Teaching Methods in Economics – 1 point

Economics Internship Opportunities – 1 point

Economics Scholarship Opportunities – 1 point

Related Student Organizations and Societies – 1 point

Wow Factor: awarded for each unique feature or program that “wowed” us – 1 point

Related articles:

This concludes our ranking of the best value schools for an online master’s in economics for 2016.

By CVO Staff
September 2016