Economics Schools: Bachelor or Masters (MA) Degrees

Economics university students who complete a general economics degree program can work in the field of economics, general business, statistics or business research. These programs are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and prepare students with the advanced skills and training to solve financial and economic problems in the field of business, technology, banking, social science and other fields. The study of economics is essentially a type of social science, and students who declare an economics major learn about the relationship between human behavior, consumption and general business operations.

Attending an Economics University

Economics university programs train students to work in the business or corporate field, as well as for independent research firms and policy analysis organizations. Individuals who successfully complete an economics bachelor degree or masters degree program can explore career opportunities with government agencies, corporations, colleges and universities, and research firms.

Students need to have strong math and communications skills, and may be required to take placement courses before enrolling in an undergraduate program.

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Types of Economics Degree Programs

Many universities and schools offer associate's degrees, bachelor's degrees and masters in economics degree programs. Some universities also offer a choice of a Bachelor of Arts in Economics or a Bachelor of Arts in Social Science and Economics. Students can choose to specialize in certain areas, such as business or organizational operations, crime prevention and law, the global economy and subjects related to online commerce.

Key Skills Needed to Study Economics

Students who want to study economics at the undergraduate, graduate or research level need to have strong problem-solving and observation skills. They will need to use logical analysis to understand different types of economic problems and use math and statistics to forecast events and formulate theories. Other important skills needed include:

  • Strong writing or communications skills
  • Research skills
  • Analytical thinking skills
  • Basic computer skills

Students who declare an economics major must also have advanced writing and research skills so that they can write thorough papers and develop their own theories, ideas and models.

Types of Economic Courses

Students completing an undergraduate economics degree typically take the following types of courses:

  • The Business and Politics of Health
  • International Trade Policy
  • Microeconomic Theory
  • Cultural Economics
  • Introduction to Econometrics
  • Media, Democracy and Economics
  • The U.S. and World Economy
  • Capital Markets
  • Religion and the Rise of Capitalism
  • Economic Theory
  • Introductory Probability and Statistics for Economists
  • International Finance
  • Industrial Organization

Students completing a masters in economics degree typically take the following types of courses:

  • Research in Economic Development
  • Research in Labor Economics
  • Environmental Economics and Policy Seminar
  • Monetary and Fiscal Policy
  • Law, Economics and Organizations

MA programs typically focus on research and advanced educational experiences that include workshops, seminars, and research projects. Students completing an MA in economics may be required to participate in debates, prove economic theories and prepare research papers as part of the curriculum requirements.

Attending Economics Universities

Many of the top economics universities can be found in Europe, but there are a number of highly competitive economics universities in the United States. Some colleges and universities have a School of Economics or Department of Economics and offer very specialized courses, forums for researchers, research workshops, economics libraries and online courses.

Students may have the option to complete a portion of their degree online, or take just one course through a distance learning program. Completing an economics education online gives students the flexibility and some freedom they may need to work part-time or take care of a family while they study.

Career Options after Economics University

Students who complete an economics degree can explore a number of rewarding career opportunities in the field. Some of the top career options include:

  • Macroeconomist
  • Microeconomist
  • Financial Economist
  • International Economist
  • Organizational or Industrial Economist
  • Demographic or Labor Economist
  • Public Finance Economist
  • Econometrician

Related occupations in the field include financial analysts, purchasing managers, operation research analysts, cost estimators, loan officers and personal finance advisors.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage and salary of economists were $83,590 in May 2008, and the employment of economists is expected to grow approximately 6 percent through 2018.