By OADP Staff
March 2017 (updated)
Are you curious about how the world works? Then pursuing a degree in economics could be the right choice for you. Studying online gives you the flexibility to pursue your educational goals from anywhere you can get an Internet connection. All of the schools on our list offer a rigorous curriculum taught by experienced instructors.
Methodology for Ranking the Top 10 Online Economics Degree Programs 2017
What distinguishes the best online bachelor’s degrees in economics? Because there aren’t an abundance of such programs, we focused primarily on the content of the curriculum. There are plenty of online business degrees out there, but which schools make that extra effort to put a strong focus on economics? Our top 10 choices are below.
Using College Navigator, we searched for online degrees in Applied Economics, Business/Managerial Economics, International Economics, and of course General Economics. We then individually assessed the degree requirements for each program and asked ourselves two questions:
- How many of the required classes are in economics (or accounting or finance) as opposed to general business, management, etc.?
- How many additional classes is it possible for a student to take in economics? This included approved electives within the major as well as relevant online minors that could help fulfill a student’s general elective requirement.
Beyond this, we vetted the programs for accessibility (almost all are available 100% online) and overall affordability. As a result, more than half of these top economics degrees online cost less than $500 a credit!
The University of West Georgia describes its BBA in Economics as a program “that provides strong analytical and communication skills” and is directed toward “students interested in careers in business or government.” In other words, graduates of this top online bachelor’s degree in economics might not be ready to go earn a PhD, but they will have the competence and versatility to succeed in multiple industries. It’s also worth noting that this program may be best for students who have already completed some college; online learners who sign up for UWG’s program with no transfer credits may need to attend some face-to-face classes on the Carrollton campus.
Tuition: $264.20 per credit
Although it ranks 9th on our online economics degrees ranking, West Texas A&M University might be one of the better options for students who want an interdisciplinary education. That’s because WTAMU’s online program integrates three subjects – business, economics, and law – into one balanced curriculum. Organized as a Bachelor of Business Administration with a focus area in Law and Economics, the degree includes 39-40 credits of core BBA classes plus a 24 credit sequence of law and econ coursework. The department then further breaks down the specialization sequence into three components: nine credits of economics, nine credits of business, and another six credits of advanced electives in either area.
Tuition: $283.35 per credit (Resident) / $333.62 per credit (Non-Resident)
Much like 10th-ranked WTAMU, Fort Hays State University hosts an economics degree online that combines multiple topics in one. The BBA curriculum takes international business, finance and economics and meets them in the middle, providing students with an education that will make them uniquely knowledgeable about how financial issues play out on a global scale. In addition to a 27-credit hour business core, majors must also complete a set of four required classes in international finance, economics, business, and marketing. Program members can pick and choose their remaining nine classes from a list of approved electives, as long as at least four of those classes (12 credits) are in econ- or finance-related topics.
Tuition: $207.24 per credit
Franklin University straddles the boundary between a traditional management or BBA degree and a pure economics degree with its Business Economics program. The curriculum (which has separate pathways for first-time college goers and returning students) puts nearly equal emphasis on both disciplines. A 28-credit business core sequence provides balance for the 24 credits (six classes) of required econ courses like “Sustainable Economic Growth” and “Forecasting.” To make its economics degree online curriculum even more relevant, Franklin devotes half of its business core classes to accounting and finance subjects. These primarily lower-level classes include fundamentals like “Principles of Finance” and “Managerial Accounting.”
Tuition: $494.00 per credit
Undergrads who care less about interdisciplinary study and more about honing their area of interest might prefer a degree like the one available at Colorado State. The university’s online bachelor’s degree in economics forgoes any sort of core business curriculum altogether; instead, majors take a combined 30 credits worth of required courses and “restricted electives” – ALL in economics. By trading breadth for depth, CSU econ students can explore more advanced topics like “History of Economic Institutions and Thought,” “Economic Development,” and “Economics of Public Finance.” However, the program also requires majors to choose a minor in a complementary area, thus adding an element of breadth back into the curriculum.
Tuition: $444.00 per credit
Although Robert Morris University’s affordable online economics degree actually leads to a Bachelor of Business Administration, this doesn’t mean the curriculum skimps on finance and econ coursework. In fact, the program appears to be designed in a way that makes sure each student learns as much as possible about business, economics, finance, and accounting. For example, RMU devotes a portion of its core business classes to money-management topics like “Introduction to Financial Accounting.” But that’s just the beginning; to fulfill their major concentration requirement, program members complete an additional 24 credits in economics coursework. Rounding out the curriculum are two electives sequences, one in business classes and another in non-business subjects.
Tuition: $725.00 per credit
Ottawa University believes that college education should be “life-friendly.” This belief is at the heart of many of their distance education programs, including their affordable economics degree online. The distance format offers convenience in the way of personal success coaches, 24/7 access to assignments, and flexible scheduling for full-time working adults. But that doesn’t mean students get off easy; the curriculum is surprisingly robust and requires a total of 124 credit hours to graduate. Students can also choose a concentration within the Business Economics major, such as Finance, Entrepreneurship, or International Business.
Tuition: $1,091.00 per credit
Anyone who wants a program that will cut to the chase will appreciate the straightforward nature of Penn State’s econ degree. The 55 credits required for the major focus heavily (and directly) on economics instead of business or finance. In-depth classes like “Environmental Economics,” “Advanced International Trade Theory and Policy,” and “Economics of Public Expenditures” – which might be interesting elective possibilities at other schools – are mandatory for all online econ majors at PSU World. And if that’s not enough to make this one of the best online economics degree programs, it might help to know that undergrads can expand their knowledge even further by adding a minor in finance – also available online!
Tuition: $542.00 per credit (Resident) / $548.00 per credit (Non-resident)
It’s not hard to make the case for Oregon State University as home to one of the best online bachelor’s degrees in economics. The curriculum is second to none – and quite challenging – at 180 total credits. Students take a deep dive into the major with 51 credits of required econ courses, and that’s just to get them started. More in-depth study comes through one of three concentrations: General Modern Economics; Managerial Economics; or Law, Economics, and Policy. Even after all this, most students will still need to complete a significant number of electives in order to meet their total credit requirements – fortunately, OSU also offers more than two-dozen online minors.
Tuition: $280.00 per credit
When it comes to the best online economics degrees, Utah State University takes the top prize. Its intensive focus on all things econ is enough to satisfy even the most fiscally-minded students. The on-campus version of the degree organizes its curriculum into four emphases: Theory, Managerial, Pre-Law, and International/Trade. Fortunately, an emphasis is not required, so undergrads who can’t make it to campus can still earn their degree. Sans emphasis, majors can fulfill their credit requirements by stocking up on econ electives. And with so many classes available each semester – like “Intro to Global Economics,” “International Trade Theory,” and “Comparative Economic Systems,” online learners may even be able to form an unofficial emphasis of their own!
Tuition: $3,432.79 per semester (Resident) / $9,886.09 per semester (Non-resident)
This concludes our ranking of the best online degrees in economics.
- Top 10 Best Online Accounting Degree Programs 2016
- Top 10 Best Online Economics Degree Programs 2016
- Top 10 Online Operations Management and Supply Chain Management Degree Programs 2016
- Top 20 Best Affordable Online Accounting Degree Programs (Bachelor’s) 2016
- Top 30 Online Master’s in Accounting Degree Programs 2016
- Top 50 Best Online Accounting Degree Programs 2015