The Best Online MBA in Economics Programs

If you want a degree that can boost your economics expertise and business management skills on a flexible schedule, an online MBA in economics may be right for you. Find this year’s top programs and more in this guide.

Are you looking for a grad degree that focuses on the role economics plays in organizations? Do you want to go to back to school without quitting your day job? If so, an online MBA in economics allows you to do both. This MBA sharpens business skills and increases economics knowledge, all with the convenience and flexibility of online learning.

To answer your questions and help you make the best decision for you, this guide showcases this year’s best online MBA in economics programs along with possible career options available after graduation. It also provides information on cost, admissions requirements, and potential timelines for completion. Keep reading to start your path towards earning your MBA in economics online.

B-School Spotlights: Best Online MBAs in Economics for 2021

Many schools offer online MBA economics programs, but achieving your goals means choosing the one with the content and structure that meets your unique needs. To help you find the perfect program, we ranked the best online MBA economics programs for 2021 based on the factors that matter most—curriculum, cost, and convenience. Three of the top schools are highlighted below to give you an idea of what to expect. Be sure to check back later this year for our complete listing.

Liberty University

The 45-credit online MBA economics program at Liberty University takes about two years and gives students expertise in economics on both national and international levels to help them know how to make sound business decisions based on economic data. The curriculum covers econometrics, capital markets, microeconomic theory, managerial finance, and macroeconomic theory.

Prospective students need a 3.0 GPA in previous coursework. Admissions requirements also include submission of official college transcripts from a bachelor’s degree and proof of proficiency in English.

Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business has a long-standing distinction of innovation in economics thanks to its Nobel Prize-winning research that advanced knowledge about public policy and markets and transformed the way companies do business. Students in this innovative MBA in economics program get the opportunity to learn cutting-edge theories on global competition, incentives, microeconomics, risk management, and macroeconomics from some of the leaders in the field. By program completion, students have a deep knowledge of economic theory and its application to the real world, which they can use to make better business decisions throughout their careers.

When applying to the program, a current resume, an essay, one professional reference, and transcripts from a bachelor’s degree program awarded by an accredited school are all required. Students should also submit their scores from the GMAT, GRE, or EA test.

Southern Illinois University

Southern Illinois University’s online MBA program offers a concentration focused on agribusiness economics that allows students to study environmental economics, agribusiness management and finance, farm production management, international trade and agricultural policy, and economic and rural development. This program, which has 30 credits, requires a practicum that gives hands-on experience at a private company or public agency. Students also complete original research and present it in either a thesis or oral examination.

Southern Illinois University’s students can take advantage of the economics department’s numerous resources to enhance their academic knowledge as they gain invaluable practical experience. These resources include daily newsletters with up-to-the-minute information on environmental issues, a library system with an extensive catalog of 16,000 periodicals and 2.2 million books, and commodity market information systems.

What to Expect from An Online MBA in Economics Program

When students enroll in online MBA economics concentration programs, they take a combination of core business courses and economic concentration classes. Students also may have the opportunity to further specialize their studies by taking coursework on applying economics in specific fields like healthcare or agriculture. This curriculum gives students strong business skills in verbal communication, writing, and leadership along with a robust understanding of economic principles that guide organizational decision-making.

In addition to classwork, students may be required to complete a thesis, comprehensive examination, or capstone course to demonstrate their understanding of the curriculum. Depending on the school, experiential learning opportunities may be offered to give students a look at how the economic principles they learned are applied to daily business problems.

These convenient online programs are delivered via videos of lectures, which students access as their schedules allow. They may also participate in live class meetings on platforms like Zoom. Also, you may get to network with other students on message boards and communicate with professors on video or text platforms.

Common Online Economics MBA Courses

  • Econometrics

    Students in this class learn how statistical methods are used to explain economic relationships. To help them make these connections, the course teaches different types of statistical analyses like forecasting, regression analysis, and basic data analysis that may be applied to economics. Students may also review specific examples of how econometrics is applied in real-world situations.

  • Managerial Economics

    Managerial economics classes cover how economic models are used in everyday decision-making in organizations. Students may learn about pricing strategies, governmental regulations, market structures, production costs, and elasticity. Students may also read case studies to illustrate how these principles are applied in practice when solving specific economic problems.

  • Global Economics

    As part of a global economy, those working in economics need to understand the similarities and differences of how economies are designed around the world. This course provides that understanding by looking at the performance of economies in different countries, economic policies, and the factors that contribute to the growth or decline of an economy.

  • Microeconomic Theory

    Students learn the principles of microeconomics in this course along with ways these doctrines are applied to economic problems. Specific topics covered may include market structure, efficiency, and equilibrium, as well as consumer behavior and issues related to product production.

  • Money and Capital Markets

    This course looks at the financial system in the United States and at what affects its markets. Students learn about the Federal Reserve System and its function, how management decisions are made based on money and capital markets, and how risk impacts asset prices and interest rates.

What You Can Do with an MBA in Economics

When students graduate from an online MBA in economics concentration program, they continue their careers with new skills, or more finely tuned existing ones, in mathematics, communication, and management. These skills qualify you for numerous careers across the field, including those detailed below.

Actuaries

Actuaries are responsible for determining financial costs and uncertainty to help businesses make decisions based on the risk associated with specific events like death, sickness, and natural disaster. This work entails compiling and analyzing statistical data, creating documents that explain their analyses, and creating proposals for insurance policies, pensions, and investments.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$64,860 $108,350 $193,600

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

Financial Analysts

When businesses need to make financial decisions to ensure the health of their organization, they rely on financial analysts to guide them. These professionals also advise individuals needing help with their finances for retirement. This work entails giving clients information on how different types of investments are performing, making recommendations about investments based on their knowledge of the market, and keeping abreast of business and economic trends to provide sound financial advice.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$52,540 $85,660 $167,420

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Econometricians

Econometricians combine their understanding of economics with statistical analyses to make predictions about different theories related to business and employment. This happens by collecting economic data, building econometric models and analyzing how well they are performing, and making presentations about their findings.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$51,000 $80,000 $133,000

Source: PayScale, 2019

Pricing Analysts

Pricing analysts use their expertise to aid companies in setting competitive prices that help them meet their financial goals and increase their share of the market. To do this, pricing analysts research and analyze pricing data to find out what other companies are doing, create models to predict the outcome of different pricing strategies, and develop tools that companies can use to increase sales.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$44,000 $58,000 $78,000

Source: PayScale, 2019

Statisticians

Statisticians solve real-world problems through statistical and mathematical means. This involves determining the type of data needed for solving a specific problem, collecting and analyzing that data to see how to apply it, and making conclusions to help solve the business problem.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$52,690 $91,160 $146,770

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Costs and Financial Aid for Online MBA Degrees in Economics

A graduate degree helps advance your career, but it is also a huge financial responsibility. So, finding the best online MBA economics program involves knowing how much programs cost. To give you an idea of how much you might pay for an online MBA in economics, the table below highlights three degree programs and their cost. To find out ways you can help pay for your education—such as through grants, loans, scholarships, and assistantships—review our financial aid page for details.

How Affordable Your Online MBA in Economics Could Be

School Name No. of Credits Cost/Credit Est. Total Tuition Cost

Liberty University

45

$565/Credit

$25,425

Ball State University

33

$1,256

$14,817

Murray State University

30

$533/Credit

$15,990

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Economics MBA Programs

What are the typical admissions requirements for an online MBA in economics?

When looking at online MBA economics programs, keep in mind that different schools have different standards and expectations. However, there are some common admissions requirements generally found in most programs. Those include:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college
  • A certain amount of professional experience
  • High GMAT or GRE scores
  • Professional and academic references
  • A personal essay explaining your interest in the program

Are there online economics MBA programs that don’t require the GMAT?

Scoring well on the GMAT exam has traditionally been expected for admission into MBA programs; however, many schools are dropping this requirement. As a result, you can find quality online economics MBA programs that do not require a GMAT score for admission. Instead, schools consider other factors like an applicant’s job history, performance in their bachelor’s degree program, relevant experiential learning as an undergraduate, and any research they have been involved in.

How long will it take to finish my MBA in economics online?

You can usually finish an MBA in economics in about two years with full-time study. If you enroll as a part-time student, depending on how many courses you choose to take each semester, the program could take up to four years to complete.

Can I earn my MBA in economics 100% online or do I need to go to campus?

You can earn an MBA in economics 100% online. However, while some programs allow students to take the entire curriculum online, others are conducted in a hybrid format and have both online and on–campus requirements. Similarly, some programs allow students to take most of their courses online but have one or two classes, like a capstone course, that require a trip to campus.

What’s the difference between an MBA in economics and a master’s in economics?

Both degrees provide an education in economics but differ in terms of the depth of the knowledge delivered. An online MBA with an economics concentration considers economics as part of a broader business education that also includes marketing, leadership, human resource management, and accounting. This degree is generally for people in any field who want to move up the corporate ladder and achieve success in a managerial position.

An online master’s in economics, on the other hand, is generally for anyone wanting a deep knowledge of the discipline since these programs focus solely on economics. Those earning an MA in economics can work in research or public policy or even earn a doctoral degree in economics and become professors.