4 Universities
Master Degree in Economics
Are you interested in earning a master's degree in economics in the USA? Talk to a Shorelight advisor about top-ranked universities & economics programs for international students.
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What is Economics?

Pursue a master’s in economics in the USA and become an expert in financial markets and resource allocation on a global scale. Enhance your skills in critical thinking, analysis, mathematics, foreign affairs, and risk management. Explore macro and microeconomic theory, international trade, spatial economics, financial economics, data analytics, and more. 

median salary for economists (May 2018)
of economists work in government & research sectors
projected job growth by 2028

Master Degree in Economics FAQs

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    Which US schools can I attend to earn my economics master’s degree?

    Economics is a highly quantitative field with a strong focus on calculations, analysis, and data comparison. Understanding how to process and analyze data is a core skill required to study economics. 

    To earn your master’s in economics in the USA, you need to combine numeric skills with core economic theory to develop an ongoing understanding of how economies around the world function and interpret valuable data from your research. 

    Some examples of the best universities for a master’s in economics in the USA are: 

    • American University—Ranked #77 among the top 100 universities in the US, the American University master’s in economics program is tailored specifically for international students. Choose from four tracks: general, development economics, gender analysis in economics, or financial economic policy. The program has a global focus on economic issues and faculty who have experience teaching international students.

    • University of Illinois Chicago—The UIC Applied Economics program is ranked #68 among the top graduate economic programs in the US, and focuses on a combination of statistical analysis and economic theory. The program is structured to be accessible to students with less experience in mathematics and lets you take courses in other disciplines.

    • University of South CarolinaUofSC’s master of arts in economics program is ranked #83 among the top economics graduate programs in the country and focuses on practical economics. Choose your specialization from three tracks: economics, financial economics, or thesis. Each track helps you further your understanding of macro and microeconomics, econometrics, and statistics with the choice of selected electives to help you work towards your desired specialization.

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    What are some benefits of having a master’s degree in economics, instead of just a bachelor’s degree?

    A MS in economics USA explores economic theory and calculations in greater depth compared to a bachelor’s degree. By choosing an economics major for your master’s degree, you can access unique advantages and career opportunities exclusively available to graduate students. 

    With a master’s degree in economics, you can:

    • Learn advanced concepts—A MS in economics USA helps you explore how global economies are connected and how they function both independently and collectively. You will explore in-depth topics, such as macroeconomic theory and international trade policy, to learn more about how different economies interact with each other.

    • Specialize in your area of interest—Graduate programs in economics help you discover the field you want to specialize in for your career. Choose from specific concentrations, such as data analytics, public policy, international economics, financial economics, and more. This helps you work towards your long-term career objectives.

    • Stand out to top employers—Completing your MS in economics USA gives you an advantage when it comes to job hunting. Jobs related to economics are highly competitive, and having the additional qualification of a master’s degree means you are eligible to apply for a greater variety of job opportunities after graduation.

    • Access unique careers—Having a master’s in business economics USA helps you qualify for more specialized careers which require advanced knowledge, such as public economic analysis at government or state institutions. If you aim to work as a private sector economist, having a master’s degree in economics can also improve your chances of finding a higher-paying role.

    • Further your research—If your interest is in researching economics, a master’s degree will connect you with experts in the field, professors, and fellow students who can become collaborators. A master’s in economics also prepares you for a PhD in economics, which may be a requirement if you hope to become a professor or instructor in the subject.

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    Do you need to major in economics as an undergrad in order to earn a master’s in economics?

    Most master’s in economics at US universities do not require you to have majored in economics during your undergraduate degree — though these requirements may be different for each university. Many of these programs allow you to enroll with a bachelor’s from any discipline. 

    Some graduate programs may require you to have completed coursework in calculus, statistics, fundamental economics, and other related subjects, depending on the program. If you have not completed the required coursework before applying for a master’s in economics program, you may be given the opportunity to complete each required course individually. This would mean it may take longer to begin your master’s in economics, but completing these courses would make you eligible to start your program.

    As economics combines calculations and analysis with theory, you may find it easier to understand the content from graduate program courses if you have previously studied economics. This helps streamline your progress through your degree and gives you the foundation you to pick up new concepts faster, compared to starting a MS in economics USA with a bachelors in another discipline. Additionally, economics majors in the US equip you with the prerequisite coursework you need to begin your master’s earlier.

    Shorelight is committed to your success. Our advisors help you explore your options for undergraduate degrees in economics or help you learn more about prerequisites to help you find the best economics master’s programs in USA. 

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    How many years does it take to earn an economics master’s degree in the US?

    Completing a full-time MS in economics USA typically takes two years. This duration may be shortened if the university you are applying to offers accelerator programs, allowing you to finish your master’s in economics in one year or less. If you plan to do your master’s in economics online, these types of remote learning programs may be shorter than two years. (This is especially helpful if you had to complete prerequisite coursework to become eligible for your program.)

    The time to complete your program may change depending on the number of semesters you have planned to enroll, your academic performance, participation in an internship, and the number of courses you have selected. If you need to complete prerequisite courses to begin your program, this will increase your time to complete your master’s degree.

    Your master’s may take longer to complete if it is combined with studying for a master’s from another discipline as part of a dual degree. Additionally, depending on the number of courses you enroll in, if you plan to pursue your degree on a part-time basis it may take up to five years to complete your master’s. 

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    What are some common careers you can go into with a master’s in economics?

    As economists are highly valued for their analytical skills and ability to forecast important financial information, a master’s in business economics USA can lead to job opportunities in both the private and public sectors. 

    Some common careers for international students with an economics degree include:

    • Actuary

    • Compensation and benefits manager

    • Credit analyst

    • Data analyst

    • Economic researcher

    • Economist

    • Financial consultant

    • Financial manager

    • Financial planner

    • Financial risk analyst

    • Investment analyst

    • Market research analyst

    • Policy analyst

    • Pricing analyst

    • Statistician

    If you are more interested in academia, a MS in economics USA can also provide opportunities for careers as researchers or instructors at educational institutions. As many aspects of economics overlap with other fields, especially finance-related fields, combining your master’s in economics with a degree from another discipline can help you access a wide variety of careers.

    To help you work towards your dream career in economics, Shorelight advisors provide a wide range of international student support services, including career development, student visa assistance, help with college applications, English language assistance, and more.