Becoming an economist may not sound appealing to everyone – there are currently about 14,600 people working in economics jobs today – but to those with an interest in numbers, causation, correlation, and bettering society through data-driven research, economics may be just the right field. A Master in Economics is the second step, after earning an undergraduate degree, into a professional career as an economist or a professor on the subject. By no means is teaching the only end result of post-graduate economic studies, economists are hired to work in the public, private, and non-profit sectors and they enjoy heady salaries in these positions as well. The average income for an economist is $99,350 and many of these professionals write books and articles on the side, boosting their income up to about $150,000/year or more. Becoming an economist will take education and work experience, but once a young professional has “proven” him or herself in the field, economics can be a very rewarding career. Here’s what to look for in a Master in Economics program.
The basis of economics is research – lots and lots of research. Therefore, the top ranked Master in Economic programs often have a very heavily weighted research component. Graduate students will have the opportunity to assist PhD students and faculty in their research. This hands-on study teachers graduate students how to find data, conduct surveys, compile statistics into usable chunks, and draw conclusions from the research – and then check to see that their conclusions can be replicated. Prospective students should consider what types of research interests them most – Cultural? Government? Fiscal policy? – and then seek out a program that is already trenched in this work.
The top ranked master’s programs recruit the best faculty with the most impressive careers. Students could potentially find themselves taking classes from the chairman of the Federal Reserve or someone who has served as economic advisor to the president. This kind of work experience can bring a new level of significance to lectures and theory.
Master in Economic students will have many courses to choose from and it’s important the program they attend offers the specializations that interest them and match their career prospects the best. Different specializations include public finance, econometrics, financial economics, organizational economics, political economics, and much more.
The Best Graduate Economics Degree Programs for 2013-2014 School Year:
Below is a list of the Master in Economic programs in the country. The methodology used to determine this list was wide and varied. Surveys were conducted with students, alumni, deans, and experts in the field to determine program satisfaction and reputation. Additionally, emphasis was placed on the research and field work offered by programs.
University of Florida, ranked in the top 20 of public universities, offers a Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degree in Economics. Students are taught economic principles and theories, and have opportunities to specialize in international economics, consumer economics and statistical analysis.
University of Wisconsin offers a Master’s and Doctoral degree in Economics. The department is one of the fastest-growing on campus due to its subject matter and award-winning faculty. What makes this program unique is its emphasis on econometrics, which has long been a strength of the department. It is the skill most needed by students pursuing Doctoral degrees or entering the job market.
University of Akron offers a Master of Arts degree in Economics. The school’s program is known for its rigorous demands, yet is also known for graduating the country’s best and brightest economic minds. Graduates have gone on to pursue Doctoral degrees at other major universities or begin careers in law, government, banking and finance.
Virginia Commonwealth University offers a Master of Arts degree in Economics. Students can choose to earn a general degree in Economics or specialize in Financial Economics. Those who choose to specialize conduct in-depth studies of financial markets and how econometrics and quantitative analysis are used to determine market trends and other important factors. Students need between 30-33 credit hours to graduate with this degree.
University of Maryland offers a Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degree in Economics. The program is considered one of the best at the university, with many students who receive a Master’s degree deciding to stay and pursue a Ph.D. as well. The degree is very strong in econometrics and statistical analysis theory and application, and many graduates are able to find employment in our nation’s capitol working for government agencies and think tanks.
Auburn University, one of the best schools in the Southeastern United States, offers a Master of Science degree in Economics. Allowing students to specialize in Microeconomics, Macroeconomics or Econometrics, the program is viewed as one of the strongest on campus. Many students have gone on to interesting careers in such fields as health care, industrial organization, international trade and finance and labor law.
University of Detroit Mercy boasts a long list of successful alumni, from judges serving on the state Supreme Court to nurses and dentists scoring high on professional examinations and more. Offering graduate degrees in Economics, the school is noted for its flexibility in letting students design their own concentrations. Students have specialized in such areas as international economics, macroeconomics and health care economics. Students in the program are also given opportunities to study abroad in China and other nations.
University of South Florida is known for being a very globally competitive university with its variety of programs. Offering students a Master of Arts and Doctoral degree in Economics, the university strives to be the best in this field of study. Students can complete the Master’s program with only one year of full-time study, and are given numerous opportunities to participate in research projects with faculty and other students.
Texas A&M University, year in and year out a top 10 school in the number of National Merit winners, offers students graduate level degrees in Economics. Long known as a top research institution, the school provides students with opportunities to participate in economic research topics involving international economics, health care economics and economic development.
University of Alabama offers students both Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Economics. Those in the Master’s program can choose from three tracks of study including Ph.D. Preparation, Policy Economics and Applied Economics. The school’s faculty are well-respected for their experience in economic analysis and forecasting industry and government trends.
Florida State University is considered one of the elite research universities in the United States. Offering students graduate degrees in Economics, admission to the program is highly competitive, with only about 20 graduate students admitted yearly. The program has some of the best job placement rates of any department on campus, and graduates with Master’s degrees regularly receive jobs with starting salaries approaching $60,000 per year.
Claremont Graduate University offers graduate degrees in Economics, letting students choose specializations in such areas as International Political Economy, Global Commerce and Finance and Political and Business Economics. Many students choose to receive dual degrees, combining Economics with Political Science or Business Administration.
Washington University in Saint Louis is one of the best private research universities in the country, offering students numerous opportunities to conduct both individual and group projects. Students can receive either a Master of Arts degree or pursue Doctoral level work, the goal of the school is to help students obtain the best possible job upon graduation. To accomplish this, students are assigned a faculty member to act as a Placement Officer in assisting them with their job search.
University of New Mexico is the flagship school of the state, offering a variety of degrees from which students can choose. Providing students the chance to earn a Master’s degree in Economics, the school is one of the best in the Western United States in terms of its Economics program. Students have opportunities to conduct internships with leading companies within the state as well as in other areas of the country, exposing them to various real-world situations and putting their skills to the test.
California Lutheran University offers a Master of Science degree in Economics through its School of Management. With small classes averaging fewer than 20 students, there is much opportunity for individualized attention and interaction with faculty and students. Most classes are held in the evenings to fit in with the schedules of working professionals, but full-time national and international students can complete the program within one year.
Old Dominion University offers Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Economics to its students. Many of the classes are delivered online, making the program very convenient for those working professionals seeking to balance career and family responsibilities. Graduates of the program have very good success in the job market, landing management positions with such agencies as the United States Department of Labor and private companies like Federal Express.
Kansas State University is one of the most recognized universities in the Midwest, with award-winning faculty and programs that are consistently ranked high by leading publications. Offering a Master of Arts degree in Economics, the school provides a solid foundation for further study or entry into the job market. Students must complete 30 credit hours of study to graduate, and the program can be completed in no more than two years.
University of Tennessee, ranked among the leading public universities in the country, offers students many wonderful opportunities in graduate studies. Offering graduate degrees on Master’s and Doctoral levels, the university is known for fostering an atmosphere of hard work and community involvement among its students. Students within the Economics department regularly attend the Knoxville Economics Forum, presenting ideas that will hopefully lead to continued economic prosperity within the state.
University of Kansas, with almost 50 of its graduate programs highly ranked and its Honors Program considered the best in the nation, offers students the chance for a quality education. With its graduate degrees in Economics, students are given chances to conduct research projects with other students and faculty in numerous areas. Many students opt to pursue a dual degree in law and economics, opening the door to many lucrative career opportunities upon graduation.
University of Nevada offers students Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Economics. The school’s program is known for its emphasis on technical, analytical and quantitative skills, preparing students to focus their studies on policy formation and analysis. Economic forecasting and market analysis are also emphasized, letting students gain the needed skills for public and private sector jobs in various agencies and companies.
Colorado State University offers students graduate degrees in Economics for both Master’s and Ph.D. levels. Students in the program can choose from several specializations including Regional Economics, Environmental Economics, Public Economics and others. Faculty are noted for their work with the United Nations, helping developing nations with economic issues vital to economic development success.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers students graduate degrees in Economics that are ranked number one in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. With distinguished faculty and award-winning research, the school is leading the way in economic teaching and research. Unique to MIT are weekly research workshops and faculty-student lunches, allowing for discussion of research ideas and job market possibilities.
University of Arkansas is known for its award-winning faculty and graduate students in a variety of areas, including Economics. The Walton College of Business offers students the opportunity to earn graduate degrees on Master’s and Doctoral levels, helping them begin the journey to career satisfaction. Students pursue a rigorous yet fulfilling path of studying economic theory and econometrics for positions within the public and private sector.
Arizona State University offers graduate degrees in Economics that emphasize team-building, management and an international perspective on economic development. Students are heavily involved in teaching, research and seminar activities, and those students pursuing Ph.D. studies are eligible for teaching and research assistantships of five-year terms with stipends that are among the highest in the United States.
New York University is a leading global research institution, and with over 17,000 graduate students in its programs the school is one of the leading graduate schools in the nation. Providing graduate degrees in Economics, the university lets students choose from an Economics degree or a dual degree of Economics and Law. With faculty including Nobel Prize winners and members of the National Academy of Sciences, the university is poised to offer students the best possible education.
University of Georgia is one of the leaders in obtaining research funding from the United States government and other sources, letting it lead the way in many areas of economic and business research. Offering graduate degrees in Economics, the school provides placement services for students in a variety of areas. Students have found employment opportunities with JP Morgan and Ernst & Young, while Ph.D. students have found opportunities for advanced study at Harvard, Northwestern and Stanford.
Georgia State University offers graduate degrees through its Andrew Young School of Business. Students have opportunities to specialize in national and international economics, with opportunities available for study abroad in South Africa, China, Switzerland and Italy.
North Carolina State University at Raleigh offers graduate degrees in Economics that are some of the best in the Mid-Atlantic region. The school combines research and learning opportunities with the Colleges of Agriculture and Management to let students specialize in these areas of interest within the school’s region.
Northeastern University offers graduate degrees in Economics for both Master’s and Doctoral students. Competition for spots in the programs are very competitive, with only twenty students admitted each year. Students pursuing the Ph.D. in Economics can choose from concentrations in Industrial Organization and Labor Economics.
Stony Brook University offers a Ph.D. in Economics that is considered one of the best by many college ranking services. The program emphasizes independent research and analysis, with faculty always willing to mentor students to help them achieve their best results. Students with undergraduate degrees in engineering and physics are always encouraged to apply to the program.
University of Toledo offers students a graduate school that prides itself on seeing its students become leaders in their fields. Offering graduate degrees in Economics, the school has award-winning faculty who are recipients of the Master Teacher Award and Toledo’s Outstanding Teacher Award. Students also regularly apply for and receive funding for their own research projects, and study abroad in China and many other nations.
Johns Hopkins University, ranked as one of the best universities in the world, is known for its high academic standards and faculty who are dedicated to providing the best possible education to their students. Offering a Master of Science degree in Economics, the school allows students to complete this degree entirely online by completing 10 courses on a full or part-time basis.
Clark Atlanta University offers a Master of Arts degree in Economics. Students have an opportunity to study a wide array of topics including industrial organization, labor economics and quantitative analysis. Internships and research projects are a big part of the program, allowing students to gain practical experience.
University of Minnesota offers graduate degrees in Applied Economics. Students need to complete 30 credit hours for graduation, and the program offers flexibility in designing a curriculum based upon the student’s interests and research projects.
University of Nebraska offers graduate degrees in Economics for both Master’s and Doctoral degree students. The programs emphasize economic research done individually and as groups. Students can choose from a variety of concentrations including International Trade and Development, Feminist Economics and Economic Education.
University of Kentucky offers a Ph.D. in Economics that’s one of the best in the Southeastern United States. Students can concentrate in a variety of areas including Environmental Economics, Health Economics and Industrial Organization. Research projects are encouraged, and faculty are always at the ready to assist motivated students in their quest for knowledge.
Wright State University offers a Master of Science in Social and Applied Economics. The goal of the program is to graduate economists who are able to solve contemporary economic problems using a skill set combining economic, social, psychological and historical ideas.
University of Wyoming offers Master of Science degrees in Economics, Economics and Finance and Economics and Water Resources. Students can be very flexible when choosing which classes to take, in part because the department encourages students to gain a broad contemporary picture of economic thought and theory.
Southern Illinois University offers graduate level degrees in Economics. Students in the program can choose to concentrate in Economic Development, International Economics and Monetary Economics. Graduates of the program teach in universities worldwide, and many others hold positions in banking, finance and government.
Temple University is one of the most diverse and comprehensive research institutions in the United States. Offering graduate degrees in Economics, the school encourages students and faculty to work together on research projects focusing on economic development and international economics.
Fordham University offers graduate degrees in Economics that encourage students to aim high and expect much of themselves. Students use a combination of economics, philosophy, history and political science to find solutions to today’s economic problems. Graduates of the program find employment in consulting firms, financial and retail corporations.
University of Mississippi offers Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Economics. The school offers students MERL, the Mississippi Experimental Research Laboratory. This facility lets faculty and students conduct a variety of economics research on such topics as econometrics and microeconomics.
University of San Francisco provides small classes, exceptional faculty and modern facilities for its students. Offering graduate degrees in Economics, the school encourages students to be very active in research projects focusing on economic issues within California.
Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College offers Master’s and Ph.D. programs in Economics for students. The university puts a strong emphasis on economic development research, encouraging students to work with faculty to develop and implement solutions to local economic development problems.
Southern Methodist University offers graduate level degrees in Applied Economics. The department is ranked high by the National Research Council regarding faculty publications, coming in at sixth as recently as 2010. Graduates have gone on to teach at major universities and work at the World Bank.
Clemson University is one of the premier schools in the Southeast. Offering graduate degrees in Economics, it encourages students to be involved with internships and research projects that benefit the local area and South Carolina. Faculty are noted for winning many excellence in teaching awards and publishing numerous papers.