person with phone looking at a chart for economics
Outlier Articles Home

College Success

12 Best Online Economics Degree Programs [2023]

08.25.2023 • 7 min read

Sarah Thomas

Subject Matter Expert

Here’s the most updated list of the top online economics programs, faqs, and more.

In This Article

  1. Why Choose To Study an Economics Degree?

  2. Best Online Schools for a Bachelor's Degree in Economics

  3. Types of Bachelor’s Degrees in Economics

  4. Skills You’ll Learn & Career Paths

  5. Frequently Asked Questions

Are you considering pursuing a degree in economics, but struggling to find the time to attend classes on campus? With the rise of online learning, getting an economics degree has never been easier or more convenient.

In this article, we’ll explain what you can gain from an undergraduate degree in economics. We’ll introduce you to some of the best online programs for getting your degree!

Why Choose To Study an Economics Degree?

Economics is the study of our material well-being. If you study economics, you’ll learn about:

  • Microeconomics - how individuals, households, businesses, and governments produce and distribute the goods and services we need and want.

  • Macroeconomics - the study of the economy as a whole. In macroeconomics, you’ll learn to analyze cyclical patterns in the economy, including economic booms, periods of high inflation, recessions, and financial crises.

Economics is a versatile degree that can set you up for success in various careers. Economics students often go into business, consulting, finance, and investment banking. Still, you can also work at a non-profit or enter the public sector with an economics degree. Or, you could pursue a Ph.D. or a Master’s degree to become an economist, data scientist, or research analyst.

Best Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Economics

Here are some of the best accredited schools for pursuing an online bachelor's degree in economics.

1. Arizona State University (Online BS in Economics)

ASU’s Bachelor of Science degree in economics is offered online or in person. With over 25,000 students and more than 95 degree programs, ASU offers a wide range of courses and allows students to tailor their degrees to their interests.

2. Penn State World Campus (Online B.A. or B.S.)

Pennsylvania State University offers both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in economics, and you can pursue either of these degrees fully online. The university has a long history of distance learning and frequently offers information sessions and virtual open houses for prospective students.

3. Colorado State University (Online B.A.)

CSU’s online Bachelor of Arts degree emphasizes data interpretation, economic policy, and research. In this program, you can easily customize your degree by adding a minor in fields like:

  • Anthropology

  • Business Administration

  • Media Studies

  • Sociology

You can apply to start your degree in the Spring, Summer, or Fall.

4. Washington State University (Online B.A.)

Washington State University offers an online Bachelor of Science in economics through its College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences at the WSU Global Campus.

As a student in this program, you can choose one of 4 specializations:

  • Agribusiness

  • Management

  • Marketing and Analytics

  • Supply Chain Management

5. Florida International University (Online B.A.)

FIU’s online Bachelor of Arts program was voted one of the best online economics programs by several publications in 2022. The program offers competitive rates for tuition, with in-state students paying roughly $230 per credit hour (inclusive of fees) and out-of-state students paying roughly $345 per credit hour. FIU offers three start dates for this program: fall, spring, and summer.

6. Ball State University (Online B.A. or B.S.)

Ball State offers both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in economics. Both of these degrees can be pursued entirely online or in a blended setting at their campus in Muncie, IN. This program is a good fit for adult learners who need a flexible schedule.

If you opt for the fully online version of the program, all your courses will be asynchronous, meaning you can listen to lectures at whatever time during the week that suits your schedule.

7. Oregon State University (Online B.A. or B.S.)

OSU’s Ecampus offers both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in economics. There are four start dates per year for these programs. OSU has consistently been ranked among the top ten online education providers by the U.S. News and World Report, and the University’s College of Liberal Arts has been ranked No. 1 in a ranking of the best online liberal arts colleges in the U.S.

8. The University of Utah (Online B.A. or B.S.)

The online Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees offered by the University of Utah’s UOnline program are taught by the same faculty who teach their in-person classes. Students can choose a fully online program or take some of their courses in person at the university’s campus in Salt Lake City. Start dates are in the spring, summer, and fall.

9. Utah State University (Online B.A. or B.S.)

USU Online is a fully online program where you can earn a Bachelor of Science or Arts in Economics. For online students residing in Utah, USU offers numerous services such as:

  • Local support

  • Study spaces

  • WiFi zones

  • Testing services

10. University of West Georgia (Online B.B.A)

The University of West Georgia offers a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Economics. The program is designed for students interested in a career in government or business and is offered in person or fully online.

11. Colorado Christian University (Online B.S.)

CCU offers a Bachelor of Science degree in economics. This program might be of interest to you if you are interested in public service. According to the school’s website, “the program is designed from a biblical perspective and emphasizes service to the least advantaged. You will be challenged to understand poverty and inequality in our world.

You will learn to apply critical thinking to the problems of poverty through the use of economic analysis.”

12. Grand Canyon University (Online B.S.)

Grand Canyon University offers an online Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Economics. This program is well suited for students interested in:

  • Finance

  • Banking

  • Investment banking

  • International trade

Types of Bachelor’s Degrees in Economics

Two types of undergraduate bachelor’s degrees exist in economics. The first is a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree, and the second is a Bachelor of Science degree (B.S.). These degrees tend to be similar in content, but a B.S. degree is typically offered by a university’s school of management or another technical college within the university.

The B.S. may also be more mathematically rigorous. A B.A. degree is typically offered by a university’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Skills You’ll Learn and Career Paths

The skills you will gain with an economics degree include:

  • Critical thinking

  • Informed decision-making

  • Quantitative problem solving

  • Market analysis

  • Data analysis

  • Communication

The main career paths of economics majors are in the following sectors:

  • Banking

  • Business Management

  • Consulting

  • Finance

  • Insurance

  • Accounting

  • Actuarial Science

  • Public Policy

  • Economic Research

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about earning a degree in economics.

Where can I start an economics course?

If you want to test the waters, you can take some introductory courses in economics without enrolling in a full degree program. Principles of Economics, Introductory Microeconomics, and Introductory Macroeconomics are great courses to get started in, and you can often receive transfer credits for them.

Which is better? A Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in economics?

Both a BA and a BS in economics will provide you with a solid foundation in economic theory and analysis. If you are interested in business economics, financial economics, or managerial economics, you might be better off pursuing a Bachelor of Science. The B.S. might also be better suited for students who are interested in taking more quantitative courses.

A Bachelor of Arts degree tends to have a bit more flexibility and lets you take a broader range of courses in related topics like the history of economic thought, political science, philosophy, and other social sciences.

How long does completing and earning a bachelor's in economics online take?

Most programs require 120 total credits for the online degree. If you enroll as a full-time student, you can complete an online bachelor’s degree in economics within four years.

What are the admissions requirements for an online economics bachelor’s degree?

Admissions requirements vary from program to program. To apply, you will need your GED or a high diploma. Most schools will have a minimum GPA requirement between a 2.0 and 3.0. You will also need to pass your initial first and second year courses to continue on to third and fourth year courses. We highly recommend looking at each schools admissions and program requirements before applying.

What type of courses will I take as an economics major?

Your coursework will be a mix of general education requirements and degree-specific courses. For your degree-specific courses, you are typically required to take introductory-level microeconomics and macroeconomics courses, intermediate microeconomics and macroeconomics courses, and 1 or 2 quantitative courses—like applied calculus, statistics, or econometrics.

In addition to these courses, you will be free to take a number of electives in topics like:

  • International economics

  • Finance

  • Economic development

  • Inequality

  • Behavioral economics

Do most online programs offer financial aid?

Yes, most programs do offer financial aid. Before you apply, we recommend reading about financial aid and scholarship opportunities at the schools you are applying to. It never hurts to reach out directly to somebody who works at the university’s financial aid office. To learn more about financial aid opportunities, check out our Ultimate Guide on Financial Aid for College.

Should I be a full-time or part-time student?

This depends entirely on your needs, schedule, and goals. It’s important to find the right program that fits into your schedule and to set a pace for yourself that you can commit to.

Do I need to be good at math to major in economics?

A degree in economics does involve some math, but that shouldn’t stop you from pursuing an economics degree. Most programs have ways of supporting you through the math courses. You can attend office hours, sign up for tutoring sessions and bootcamps to get through these courses.

If you’d like to get a bit more exposure to math before you start your economics degree, we recommend taking courses in algebra, calculus, and/or statistics.

Degrees+: Discover Online College Unlike Anything You’ve Experienced

Outlier (winner of TIME Best Inventions 2020) and Golden Gate University (#1 school for working professionals) have redesigned the experience of earning a college degree to minimize cost and maximize outcomes. Explore a revolutionary way to earn your college degree: