Cheapest Online Masters in Economics

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Updated: May 13, 2024, Reading time: 11 minutes

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With tuition, living, textbooks, and other miscellaneous costs, getting a master’s degree can get expensive. With advancement in technology and an increasing demand for flexibility, online programs – that are just as good as the traditional ones – are on the rise. If economics is your chosen field, here’s a list of the cheapest online masters in economics you can find out there!

College Cliffs is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Cheapest Online Masters in Economics

Before you review the options for your advanced study in economics, it’s important to understand the types of degrees available and what online learning entails. There are primarily two types of economics master’s programs you can consider:

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Top 6 Schools Offering the Cheapest Online Masters in Economics

When exploring economical options for advancing your education in economics, you must consider the cost of tuition, the duration of the program, any possible stipulations such as GRE/GMAT scores, and the school and program’s reputation. Here’s a list of schools where affordability meets quality for an online masters in economics. 

College Annual Tuition
Georgia Southern University$5,370
University of North Dakota$7,661
Idaho State University$9,126
West Illinois University$9,578
University of Missouri$12,438
Murray State University$9,143

Georgia Southern University

If you’re considering an affordable online master’s in economics, Georgia Southern University should be on your list. Their Master of Science in Applied Economics (MSAE) program is one of the most cost-effective options available online.

This program will equip you with comprehensive analytical skills in areas like economic development and financial economics. The program’s courses cover a range of economic theories and real-world applications, ensuring you’re well-prepared for the demands of the job market. 

The annual tuition for this program is around $5,370. 

University of North Dakota

If you’re considering an economical path to enhance your expertise in economics, the University of North Dakota offers an appealing option with its online Master of Science in Applied Economics and Predictive Analytics. The program is thoughtfully crafted for full-time students and working professionals, requiring 30 credit hours for completion.

Earning your degree online from UND aligns you with a consistently updated curriculum to reflect current economic contexts, ensuring your educational journey is as relevant as it is affordable. There is a strong emphasis on applying theoretical knowledge to practical challenges, ultimately making you a valuable addition to any analytical team.

The annual tuition for this program is around $7,661. 

Idaho State University

At Idaho State University, you can take advantage of a flexible and affordable online masters in economics. The program is designed for students who are interested in deepening their understanding of economic concepts and applying them to real-world situations.

The efficient structure of this online program allows you to complete your degree quickly. For full-time students, the program typically takes just one year to complete, which means you’ll be on your way to advancing your career without a lengthy time commitment.

The annual tuition for this program is around $9,126. 

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Western Illinois University

Western Illinois University offers an online Master of Science in Quantitative Economics designed to be completed in just one year of full-time study. However, if you need more flexibility, the program can also be customized to accommodate your schedule.

This masters program shapes your understanding of economic concepts and quantitative methods, emphasizing practical skills like econometrics and data analysis. Your core coursework will cover important topics like macroeconomic theory, price theory, and mathematical techniques.

The annual tuition for this program is around $9,578.

University of Missouri

The University of Missouri offers an affordable option to pursue an online master of arts in economics. With 100% online delivery, you can manage your schedule flexibly while working towards your degree. The program consists of 30 credit hours and is typically completed within two years if you take one to two courses per semester.

During your studies, you’ll dive into economic theory, data analytics, and more—equipping you with technical skills like econometrics and valuable soft skills, including critical thinking and problem-solving.

The annual tuition for this program is around $12,438.

Murray State University

At Murray State University, you can access an economical path toward earning your Master of Science in Economics through a fully online format. Not only is the tuition competitive, you can also complete your degree within a manageable time frame, often in just one year if enrolled full-time.

The program encompasses 30 to 36 credit hours and is designed so full-time students can graduate in about 12 months. This swift pace means you could apply new economic theories and data analysis skills to real-world issues sooner than expected.

The annual tuition for this program is around $9,143.

General Admission Requirements for a Masters in Economics

As you start planning for your online master’s in economics, it’s important to get familiarized with the specific admission requirements of your chosen program. Most online programs will expect you to have:

In addition to these basic requirements, you may be expected to submit official transcripts from postsecondary institutions you have attended. You should be prepared with 2-3 letters of recommendation, focusing primarily on those who can attest to your academic skills and potential for success in a graduate program. 

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You may also need to craft a statement of purpose detailing your academic interests, professional goals, and reasons for pursuing the degree. Remember, each program might have nuances to its requirements, so while this overview gives you a solid starting point, review the admissions page of your intended college and program for the most detailed guidance.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a School for Your Online Masters

When choosing a school for your online master’s in economics, evaluating various aspects that impact your education and future career is vital. Each factor works towards making sure your selected program aligns with your personal and professional objectives.


Online programs often attract students due to their flexibility. You should look for a curriculum structure that adapts to your lifestyle, perhaps offering asynchronous classes or multiple start dates throughout the year. This flexibility can be especially important if you have to balance work or family commitments with your studies.


The accreditation of a school is an assurance of quality. Accredited programs are recognized for meeting specific educational standards. Look for programs with regional or specialized accreditation, as this can affect your eligibility for financial aid and the transferability of your credits.


The faculty teaching your courses should have both academic credentials and practical experience in economics. Research their profiles to make sure they’re current and have a record of published research or involvement in relevant economic projects.


When assessing the cost of a program, consider the tuition and additional fees such as technology fees or materials. Look for schools that provide affordable online master’s programs without compromising on the quality of their education.

Student Support

Student support services are critical for online learning success. Services can range from technical support and career counseling to online libraries and resources. Knowing your support system is strong can ease the transition into online learning.

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Lastly, the reputation of a program can influence your employability. A program with a strong reputation, evidenced by rankings or alumni success, suggests a high-quality education that employers might value. Researching and comparing online master’s programs can help you find a well-regarded institution for your online education.

Career Paths with an Economics Degree

Your pursuit of an affordable online master’s in economics can lead to several career opportunities. With this advanced degree, you have the potential to explore various specialized fields that utilize the analytical skills and economic knowledge you’ve gained.

Career Path National Average Salary
Economic Consultant$92,387
Senior Financial Analyst$91,848
Credit Analyst$65,154
Loan Officer$178,323

Economic Consultant

After your online master’s in economics, becoming an economic consultant might pique your interest. Economic consultants apply analytical and technical expertise to guide corporations and businesses. They are vital in corporate finance and consulting, often functioning as specialized financial analysts. 

In this position, you’ll leverage your economic expertise to solve complex problems in the market, advising matters like pricing strategies, market research, and economic regulation. Your masters degree equips you with the quantitative skills to interpret financial data and predict economic trends.

The national average salary for an economic consultant is $92,387. 

Senior Financial Analyst

If you’re keen on climbing the financial career ladder with an online masters in economics, becoming a senior financial analyst could be an enticing option. In this position, your primary responsibility will include scrutinizing market trends, stocks, bonds, and other investment opportunities. 

You’ll harness your expertise to guide businesses and individuals toward well-informed financial choices. Your day-to-day tasks might include:

The national average salary for a senior financial analyst is $91,848. 

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Credit Analyst

Pursuing an online master’s degree in economics could open doors for you in various sectors, including the role of a credit analyst. In this role, you will be responsible for evaluating the creditworthiness of potential borrowers, assessing financial risks, and making recommendations to your employer regarding credit and loans. 

Your online master’s in economics will equip you with analytical skills to examine financial statements, market trends, and economic data vital for making informed decisions. Employment for credit analysts is diverse, ranging from consulting firms to corporate finance, reflecting the broad applicability of your expertise.

The national average salary for a credit analyst is $65,154.


When you choose to do a master’s degree in economics, you position yourself for a career where your understanding of financial trends can have a significant impact. As an economist, your work involves digging deep into data regarding stocks, bonds, consumer spending, exchange rates, inflation, and more.

Your analytical prowess equips you to forecast financial trends and provide valuable insights to various organizations. Economists find opportunities across diverse sectors, including:

The national average salary for an economist is $111,940.

Loan Officer

As a loan officer with an online masters in economics, you have the advantage of understanding complex financial concepts, which can significantly enhance your ability to assess loan applications. The blend of economics knowledge and financial expertise enables you to engage with diverse aspects of lending, from personal loans to mortgages.

Your role often requires collaboration with economists, as you’ll need to interpret economic trends and data when making lending decisions. Employment opportunities for loan officers with an economics background can range across various industries, including consulting, corporate finance, and even as a financial analyst.  

The national average salary for a loan officer is $178,323.

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Once you graduate and earn your master’s in economics degree, you could also consider a career as a statistician, who plays a pivotal role in interpreting economic data.

Statistician roles typically involve data analysis, statistical modeling, and complex algorithms to help businesses and government agencies forecast economic trends and make informed decisions.

 The national average salary for a statistician is $86,547.

How Much Does it Cost to Get a Masters in Economics?

You’ll find that tuition rates vary, typically falling between $100 and $400 per credit hour. Pursuing a master’s in economics online can be cost-effective for advancing your education. However, you shouldn’t have to break the bank to do it. So, review your finances and the tuition costs of various schools and choose one that aligns with your goals.  

Is a Masters in Economics Worth It?

Yes, a master’s in economics is worth it. When considering advancing your education, the value of a master’s in economics hinges on your career goals and academic interests. With this degree, you stand to gain a significant advantage in analytical and quantitative skills, which are highly valued in data-driven sectors like finance, government, and research.  

Is a Master of Economics Better than an MBA?

The better option depends on the career path you want to pursue. A master’s in economics will arm you with specialized analytical skills, focusing on economic theory and quantitative analysis, which will be beneficial for roles in economics research, policy, or advanced academic pursuits. An MBA leans toward broad business management, leadership skills, and practical applications in many business functions, making it suitable for executive roles or entrepreneurship.


An online master’s in economics can be a versatile and economical choice for advancing your education and career. By choosing the most suitable program and school, you’ll be positioned to excel in an economics-related field, equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills, while balancing cost, convenience, and a quality education.