The Best Undergraduate Economics Degrees of 2022

Published August 25, 2022 | OnlineMBA.com Staff

The Best Undergraduate Economics Degrees of 2022

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The study of economics allows society to understand the economy's moving parts and how finances adapt to change. Industry professionals analyze current economic trends to predict future outcomes that influence how individuals, businesses, and governments use money.

Pursuing an undergraduate degree in economics introduces students to risk management, public administration, foreign affairs, and other key economic concepts. A bachelor's in economics degree prepares learners for finance-focused careers in private and public sectors, including market research analyst, financial analyst, and financial manager.

According to March 2022 Payscale data, bachelor's in economics graduates earn an average of $75,000 per year, higher than the national average salary. Entry-level economics professionals can also pursue further education like a master's degree, which can lead to more advanced roles and even higher salaries.

This guide outlines what to expect from top undergraduate economics degrees, including program curricula, career options, and outcomes.

Why Enroll in an Undergrad Economics Program?

Graduating with an economics degree can propel you into a fast-paced, expanding industry. Economics professionals analyze trends in the economy and use that data to predict future economic growth.

An economics degree develops the skills future economists need. These programs cover topics such as statistics, microeconomics, macroeconomics, and corporate finance. Students also learn data science, supply chain management, and global economics.

Consider the following benefits of an undergrad economics program.

  • Career Outlook: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects economist jobs will grow 13% from 2020 to 2030. According to BLS data, 18,600 economists were employed across the United States as of 2020.
  • Diverse Job Opportunities: A bachelor's degree in economics can lead to several careers, including economic consultant, financial analyst, and auditor.
  • Salary Potential: Because of the field's higher-than-average salaries, Payscale's 2021 College Salary Report ranks applied economics and management bachelor's degrees highly on their list of degrees that offer a quick return on investment.

Continue reading to learn more about this degree's curriculum, graduate pathways, and career opportunities. We also explore top undergraduate economics degrees.

Why You Should Get Your Economics Degree Online

Some of the best undergrad economics degrees run online, ideal for learners with demanding full-time work schedules or students who don't live within a reasonable commuting distance. Enrollees complete the same economics curriculum online as their in-person counterparts.

Online programs have several formats: Synchronous online classes require learners to meet virtually with instructors at specific times through web conferencing. Asynchronous courses, on the other hand, do not require designated meeting times and often allow learners more flexibility with assignment deadlines. Hybrid programs may combine online coursework with in-person requirements, like orientations or monthly on-campus residencies.

Curriculum

Economics bachelor's degrees teach concepts like microeconomics, macroeconomics, and statistics. These programs are math-based, so a solid mathematical background can assist learners with their studies.

Expect to see variations of the following courses in an undergraduate economics program:

  • Microeconomics: Microeconomics analyzes the relationship between individuals and businesses to determine how consumer decisions affect the economy. Students learn about monopolistic competition, supply and demand, and consumer behavior. Economics programs typically schedule this course simultaneously with macroeconomics, as many of their concepts overlap.
  • Macroeconomics:Macroeconomics examines the effects of governmental decisions and large-scale behaviors on the economy. In this course, enrollees learn about taxation, the production of goods and services, infrastructure, and inflation. Some macroeconomics courses also cover data tracking and analysis, banking systems, and the stock market.
  • Econometrics: Econometrics combines microeconomics and macroeconomics with statistical data analysis. Learners discover how economists use mathematical models to predict the economy's future. Economics undergraduate programs generally require basic econometrics as a core class, but some schools also offer advanced econometrics electives.
  • Statistics: Economics majors learn to collect and organize economic data. They analyze this information to predict supply, demand, and other economic variables. Top undergrad econ degrees often begin with an introductory statistics course and require a sequence of more advanced courses — such as statistical theory and big data management — later in the program.
  • Supply Chain Analysis: This course teaches students every step of the supply chain process, including planning, sourcing, and delivery. Degree-seekers learn about managing supply and demand, coordinating supply chain activities, and making sourcing decisions. Learners may also explore regulatory compliance procedures.

What to Expect From Online Undergrad Economics Programs

Online and in-person undergraduate economics programs offer students the same curricula and learning opportunities. Learners also study for the same length of time and can expect similar outcomes from their degrees.

However, prospective enrollees should consider key differences. For instance, an online economics degree's heavy math-based curriculum could prove challenging for students who thrive in classroom-based environments. Online degrees require self-sufficiency and time management skills.

Some jobs for economics graduates require or prefer master's degrees, such as a master's of business administration (MBA) in economics, which teach advanced skills and topics. For example, graduate-level courses may explore public policy and international finance in depth.

In most cases, an undergraduate degree is the necessary first step to a career in economics. Expect to spend four years of full-time study completing 120 credits for a bachelor's degree. Potential entry-level economics positions include financial advisor, economist, and investment advisor.

A bachelor's degree in economics typically requires a capstone project to test your knowledge and prepare you for your future career or graduate studies. Economics capstone projects usually incorporate research, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.

Explore key differences between a bachelor of science in economics and an MBA in economics in the table below.

Comparing Economics BS and MBA Degrees
BS MBA

Admission Requirements

High school transcripts, essay, standardized test scores

College transcripts, personal statement, references, work experience

Average Tuition Cost, 2019-20

$13,360/year

$19,792/year

Length of Study

Four years

1-2 years

Average Credit Load

120 credits

30-60 credits

Career Outcomes

Business consultant, financial analyst, loan officer

Economist, professor, financial researcher

Source: BLS, National Center for Education Statistics

Should I Get an MBA in Economics?

According to the BLS, many economics jobs, including those in global organizations and research, require graduate degrees. However, entry-level positions are available, including statisticians, data analysts, and survey researchers.

An MBA in economics combines business topics, such as financial management and business operations, with economic studies. Learners with an economics MBA may become research associates, economic consultants, or investment analysts for organizations.

As an MBA graduate, you might also earn a higher salary. March 2022 Payscale data notes an average base salary of $75,000 per year for economics bachelor's degree graduates. The number rises to $103,000 a year for economics MBA graduates.

Career Opportunities After Graduation

An economics major can prepare graduates for several careers, including financial and market analysts. Many potential jobs offer average salaries of $80,000 or more — higher than the national average salary — with faster-than-average growth projections.

Earning a certification or advanced degree in economics may broaden career and salary opportunities. However, some jobs requiring only a bachelor's degree also pay higher-than-average salaries. For example, actuaries earn a median salary of $111,030, according to the BLS.

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts work with businesses to increase their profits. They analyze operational costs, revenue trends, and company strengths and weaknesses to offer suggestions for improvement. They also meet regularly with decision-makers and financial teams to improve organizations' overall financial health.

Required Education: Bachelor's degree

Job Outlook (2020-30): +6%

Median Annual Salary: $83,660

Actuary

An actuary's job requires a thorough understanding of math, statistics, and data analysis. These professionals work primarily in the insurance industry to predict and mitigate risk. Positions typically require certification or fellowship training to ensure that candidates have the necessary skills to meet industry standards.

Required Education: Bachelor's degree

Job Outlook (2020-30): +24%

Median Annual Salary: $111,030

Market Research Analyst

Market research analysts use economic data to determine consumer trends and maximize profits. These professionals work in almost every industry. Employers may prefer candidates with a master's degree for leadership positions. Certifications can also make prospective market research analysts stand out.

Required Education: Bachelor's degree

Job Outlook (2020-30): +22%

Median Annual Salary: $65,810

Economist

Economists stay abreast of economic trends and make projections for organizations, the media, or the government. Although entry-level economists can begin with a bachelor's degree, many employers require a master's degree in economics to prove a candidate's advanced education and work experience.

Required Education: Master's degree

Job Outlook (2020-30): +13%

Median Annual Salary: $108,350

Statistician

Statisticians use mathematical and statistical models to organize and analyze data they collect from polls, surveys, and other methods. These professionals work for private and public sector organizations, including healthcare companies and public school systems.

Required Education: Master's degree

Job Outlook (2020-30): +33%

Median Annual Salary: $93,290

Common Questions About Economics Programs


Is economics a good career choice?

An economics degree can lead to multiple in-demand careers, including market research analysts and financial analysts. The BLS projects economist roles will experience a faster-than-average 13% growth from 2020 to 2030.

What is the highest-paying job in economics?

According to Indeed, quantitative analysts and senior market analysts are among the highest-paying economics careers. Actuaries, compensation managers, and economists earn average salaries above $100,000 per year.

Where do economists work?

Economists work in almost every industry across public and private sectors. These professionals assist banks, educational institutions, corporations, and government agencies. Depending on their specific role, they can work primarily alone or within departments alongside other financial professionals.

Why is it important to study economics?

Economics offers insight into the impact of finance on society and vice versa. By examining current trends, economic analysts can predict how the economy might shift in the future, allowing for more efficient planning and preparation.

2022’s Best Undergraduate Economics Programs

The following ranking includes five of the top undergrad econ degrees in 2022 to help you begin your search for the right program. Explore our methodology page to learn how we rank schools.

Start your career with one of 2022's best bachelor's in economics programs. These five programs include comprehensive curricula and internship opportunities to prepare graduates for public- and private-sector jobs.

Explore the link below to learn more about how we rank the best economics programs.

Florida International University


Florida International University (FIU) began at an abandoned Miami airport in 1965. Since its founding, FIU has become a renowned research university with over 58,000 students.

Bachelor of Arts in Economics

FIU's BA in Economics helps prepare students to work in government institutions and the private sector. The curriculum combines social sciences with humanities topics.

Enrollees receive a well-rounded education, attracting many recruiters to campus. Graduates have received job offers from employers like General Electric Company, Nations Bank, Target, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The program begins with preparation courses in calculus, statistics, microeconomics, and macroeconomics. Students then complete 18 economics core credits. They explore econometrics, economics theory, and economic activity analysis. The next classes include elective topics like public finance and women's economic development.

Students can complete the BA in economics online or on campus. Although the curricula establish similar credit requirements, the online program permits more electives. FIU offers some courses exclusively online.

Applying to FIU

Applicants must submit high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores. Students pay a $30 application fee.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC, AACSB
  • Tuition: $147/credit (in state); $264/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 120
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous) or on campus

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University


A top historically Black university, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (N.C. A&T) boasts a rich history. Prominent alumni include Supreme Court justices, congresspeople, and civil rights advocates.

Bachelor of Science in Economics

N.C. A&T's Willie A. Deese College of Business and Economics fosters a student-focused environment. Through programs like the BS in economics, students learn critical thinking and leadership skills. The curriculum prepares enrollees to pursue careers in fields like banking, business reporting, and entrepreneurship.

Students choose electives in areas like global awareness, humanities, fine arts, and African American culture and history. The general economics program also includes nine free electives, allowing enrollees to personalize their degrees.

Three core economics classes cover business communications, information systems management, and business environments. Students then take 12 more economics courses, including two electives.

N.C. A&T offers two economics concentrations: law and business. Each path adds mandatory courses, but students can still choose two free electives. All economics students complete a final capstone seminar.

Applying to N.C. A&T

Students must complete an online application, pay a $60 application fee, and submit official transcripts. N.C. A&T does not need SAT or ACT scores for 2022. Recent graduates under 21 must fulfill high school course requirements.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC, AACSB
  • Tuition: $120/credit (in state); $576/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 120
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous) or on campus

Fort Hays State University


Fort Hays State University (FHSU) opened at a deserted Kansas army post in 1902. The university now includes a 200-acre campus and 3,825-acre farm for hands-on learning. Over 10,000 students form the FHSU tiger nation.

Bachelor of Business Administration Degree with a Major in International Business and Economics

FHSU offers its BBA in international business and economics online and on campus. Learners study global economics, finance, and marketing. The program also covers how international customs and policies affect global business markets.

Degree-seekers start with nine business core classes. These foundational courses cover accounting, marketing, business law, and managerial finance. The economics core includes mandatory classes in international economics, finance, business, and marketing. Enrollees select eight electives to complete major requirements. Elective topics include quantitative methods, cultural geography, bank management, and international relations.

FHSU's Department of Economics, Finance, and Accounting provides opportunities for students to gain work experience while earning credits. Students can apply for internships through the school's Robbins Banking Institute.

Applying to FHSU

Recent high school graduates must meet one of the following requirements: 2.5 high school GPA, 21 on the ACT, or 1080 on the SAT. GED-holders under age 21 must fulfill the ACT/SAT requirements and score at least 145 on each GED exam category.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • Tuition: $181/credit (in state and regional); $251/credit (MSEP); $530/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 120
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous) or on campus

University of Hawai'i at Mānoa


In 1907, the University of Hawai'i (UH) emerged as a land-grant institution on O'ahu. UH Mānoa became the first of ten UH campuses, all respected research and sustainability institutions. Covering 320 acres, UH Mānoa serves almost 20,000 students from 128 regions and countries.

BA in Economics

UH Mānoa's BA in economics provides a global perspective on finance, trade, and business. The curriculum emphasizes Asia-Pacific and U.S. economics. Course topics include the Japanese economy, Asian economic development, and international macroeconomics. Enrollees can also apply for UH Mānoa's international exchange program that partners with universities in Japan and Thailand.

Before starting the core economics curriculum, students complete four introductory courses that explore economics principles. The core section covers intermediate micro- and macroeconomics, plus statistics. Students then choose electives to complete their degrees. Elective subjects include sustainable development, energy economics, and economic forecasting. Enrollees can complete internships, co-ops, and research for credit.

Economics students interested in advanced study can pursue the on-campus bridge program. This five-year curriculum applies undergraduate economics courses toward a graduate degree. Students graduate with both a bachelor's and master's in economics.

Applying to UH Mānoa

UH Mānoa expects applicants to rank within the top 40% at their high school and complete various course requirements. Students must submit an online application, official transcripts, and a $70 fee. Optional documents include SAT and ACT scores, a personal statement, and recommendation letters.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: WSCUC
  • Tuition: $11,304/year (in state); $16,956/year (WUE); $33,336/year (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 120
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous or synchronous) or on campus

Eastern Washington University


Benjamin Pierce Cheney founded Eastern Washington University (EWU) in 1882. Over the past 140 years, EWU has become a respected institution, recognized for its entrepreneurial and cybersecurity programs. The EWU creed promotes four traits: grace, greatness, gratitude, and grit.

Bachelor of Science in Economics

EWU's bachelor of science in economics cultivates innovators and global thinkers. The program core includes courses in statistics, micro- and macroeconomics, and econometrics.

Students fulfill further degree requirements and personalize the curriculum by choosing five electives. Three must relate to economics or finance. Elective topics include sustainability, international, and behavioral economics. The final two electives cover mathematics or computer topics.

An economics senior capstone completes the program. Enrollees prepare portfolios, explore wage and employment theories, and complete an economics project. Students can join the EWU Economics Society or take their research to the National Conference on Undergraduate Research.

EWU also offers a bachelor of arts in economics. This program mirrors the BS option but removes the required mathematics and computing electives. Instead, students choose three more economics electives.

Applying to EWU

EWU does not require SAT or ACT scores. Students must submit transcripts showing required courses and a 2.0 GPA or above. Applicants with a 3.0 GPA or higher receive automatic admission. All applicants must complete an online application and pay a $60 fee.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: NWCCU
  • Tuition: $6,713/year (in state); $9,694/year (WUE); $24,685/year (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 180
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Delivery Format: On campus

Featured Image: Wiphop Sathawirawong / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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