2022 Economics Degree Guide

Economics is the study of production, distribution, and consumption of goods. This is a vast and interesting subject that affects every person in society. Your classes will examine how a society chooses to spend their time and money, including how money is spent in government as well as household finances. Other subjects involve methods of buying and selling, inflation, and interest rates. Mathematics and statistics are important areas in this major.

Courses you can expect to see in Economics are statistics, accounting, calculus, business economics, developmental economics, economic theory, microeconomics, macroeconomics, money and banking, economic history in the United States, and international trade.

You may be able to choose a concentration in this major. Examples of some of the specializations available are Applied Economics; Econometrics and Quantitative Economics; Development Economics and International Development; and International Economics.

Economics Degrees On The Rise

#18 Most Popular Major
48.7k Degrees Awarded
1.0% Increase in Graduates

Economics was the 18th most popular major in the 2019-2020 school year. Colleges in the United States reported awarding 48,706 degrees in this year alone. This represents a 1.0% increase in economics degrees awarded over the prior year's total of 48,199.

There are 923 schools offering degrees in economics in the United States. Our 2022 Best Economics Schools ranking analyzes 627 of these schools to determine the best overall colleges for economics students. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of economics programs later in this article.

What Are The Requirements For a Degree in Economics

Students should have an interest in business and economics and not be afraid of a math-heavy course load. You will use critical thinking skills to study the allocation and distribution of scarce resources, as well as logic and reasoning to solve complex problems, analyze data and observe patterns. Mathematical formulas and statistics will help you research data and come up with predictions of future trends.

In addition to sharp mathematical abilities, students will also need good communication skills in order to clearly explain your work in presentations and reports. Your findings should be presented in a way that makes it easy for those outside the subject to understand. Collaboration with peers will help you gain different approaches of solving a problem.

Getting Accepted Into an Economics Program

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most economics degree programs and many students will need a minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score depending on the school. Specific economics careers may require a certain level of degree attainment or additional certifications beyond that.

Economics Degree Types

There are many different economics degree levels. You can get anything from a in economics to the highest economics degree, a . Economics programs can take anywhere between one to four or more years for a full-time student to complete.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to economics, with approximately 40.0% of workers getting one. People currently working in careers related to economics tend obtained the following education levels.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 35.0%
Master’s Degree 23.3%
Doctoral Degree 22.0%
Post-Master’s Certificate 3.0%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 2.6%

Most workers in economics have at least a master's degree. See the chart below for the most common degree level workers in economics have received.


This of course varies depending on which economics career you choose.

Career Opportunities for A Degree In Economics Graduate

Above Average Number of Jobs
$47.3k Average Starting Salary
14% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

Graduates with a degree in Economics are prepared to work as economists in a variety of positions researching and providing data for government organizations or private companies. Obtaining a Master's degree or Ph.D. may make you more competitive in the field; however it is not required for many positions.

Solid Growth Projected for Economics Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your economics degree? Economics careers are expected to grow 13.5% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to economics.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Managers 1,071,700 8.0%
Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists 733,700 23.2%
Economists 22,600 6.1%
Economics Professors 18,300 10.9%
Survey Researchers 14,900 2.1%

Economics Degree Salary Potential

Recently graduated economics students earned an average of $47,289 in 2017-2018. Earnings can range from as low as $20,000 to as high as $89,800. As you might expect, salaries for economics graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


High Paying Careers for Economics Majors

Salaries for economics graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top highest paying careers economics grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Economics Professors $117,180
Economists $116,020
Managers $115,590
Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists $70,960
Survey Researchers $63,240

Getting Your Economics Degree

With over 2,206 different economics degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased economics school rankings to help you with this.

Study Areas in Economics

One of 12 majors within the Social Sciences area of study, Economics has other similar majors worth exploring.

Economics Focus Areas

Major Annual Graduates
General Economics 31,116
Econometrics & Quantitative Economics 15,617
Applied Economics 637
Development Economics & International Development 586
Other Economics 422

View All Economics Concentrations >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Political Science & Government 48,196
Sociology 37,693
General Social Sciences 19,565
International Relations & National Security 14,240
Anthropology 11,887

View All Economics Related Majors >


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