By BVS Staff
If you're interested in topics like finance, business, and international trade, you might think about pursuing an online economics degree. There are a number of benefits to getting a degree in economics online, including the ability to maintain a flexible schedule so you can keep your job and/or take care of a family.
The knowledge you'll gain will also be highly valuable to you in the job market, as you'll be qualified for a wide variety of jobs in business and the government. And if you're interested in research or analysis, many programs will prepare you for graduate school, too.
The 15 Best Online Economics Programs Ranking Methodology
For this ranking, we focused on public and private (non-profit) colleges and universities that offer bachelor's degrees in economics online. Because the focus of this list is on affordability, we only considered programs with average* tuition rates of $25,000/year or less.
*For public schools, we calculated the average value of their in-state and out-of-state rates.
Unfortunately, there are a limited number of economics degrees available online. Therefore, we could not compile a pool of options large enough to justify a multifactorial ranking system in which we'd score colleges and universities based on a list of specific considerations.
So instead, we ranked the programs solely according to their affordability. See below for the best cheap online economics programs, ranked from most to least expensive.
Cheap Online Economics Degree Programs Ranked
15. University of Massachusetts-Lowell
Online Bachelor of Liberal Arts – Economics Concentration
The University of Massachusetts at Lowell offers a program unlike any other on this online economics degrees ranking. A Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree, UML's program lets students combine two areas of study from the humanities and social sciences. Each concentration consists of six classes. For example, if you pick the economics focus area you'll get to pick from classes like "Labor Economics," "Microeconomic Theory," and "Investments: Instruments and Strategies." As for your second focus, this program offers options in history, political science, and legal studies – all of which would pair well with the study of economics.
Average Tuition & Fees: $23,332/yr
14. Liberty University
Online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration-Economics
If you want to study economics as part of a business administration program, head on over to Liberty University. At Liberty, you can earn a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a focus in economics. This means your core coursework will consist of a wide variety of business-oriented classes, from corporate finance and accounting to marketing and strategic planning. Rounding out this affordable online business economics degree is a four-course economics "cognate," which covers crucial topics like economic forecasting, trade, and the financial system. You'll also get to pick up to nine elective classes, and you can earn as many as six credits by completing an internship.
Average Tuition & Fees: $21,310/yr
13. Oregon State University
Online BS or BA in Economics
Oregon State University has designed an economics program that can help students achieve a variety of career goals. If you want to work in business, the program's Managerial Economics concentration is ideal. It includes advanced coursework in accounting, financial management, international economics, and banking. And for students more interested in a career in politics or research, OSU's accredited online economics program offers a concentration in Law, Economics, and Policy. Majors on this track pick from specialized electives like "Behavioral Economics," "Labor Economics and Social Policy," and "Deductive Logic." Of course, participants in both tracks benefit from OSU's robust e-campus resources, including online tutoring and success counseling.
Average Tuition & Fees: $20,212/yr
12. Colorado State University-Fort Collins
Online BA in Economics
At Colorado State University, the study of economics is key to understanding the world – and the governments, business, and consumers who run it. And by offering an affordable bachelor's degree in economics online, CSU makes this knowledge accessible to all. This philosophy also plays a central role in the curriculum, which focuses less on practical business topics than on social science concepts that show the role economics plays in our everyday lives. For example, you'll take "History of Economic Institutions and Thought" and "Intro to Econometrics," before picking from electives like "Gender and the Economy" and "Issues in Environmental Economics."
Average Tuition & Fees: $20,149/yr
11. Arizona State University
Online Bachelor of Science in Economics
Interestingly, Arizona State University offers its affordable online economics program not through the business school, but through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Although the core courses are the same as those offered by the business school version of the major (available only on campus), this liberal arts version gives students more flexibility to pick electives in outside areas of study. In fact, the curriculum strongly encourages you to pick upper division electives from social science fields like psychology and philosophy. As such, the degree is ideal for professionals who are interested in non-corporate work, such as public policy, non-profit research, or urban planning.
Average Tuition & Fees: $19,082/yr
10. Washington State University
Online Bachelor of Science in Economic Sciences—Business Economics
Washington State University offers a particularly robust economics curriculum that focuses both on business and technical skill development. As an accredited online business economics degree, the program features a strong contingent of coursework in banking, labor economics, industrial organization, and other similar topics. But WSU couples these topics with a separate set of foundational econ courses as well as skills-based classes like "Technical and Professional Writing" and "Statistical Methods." Finally, the program throws in some targeted career training by letting you choose between two nine-credit concentrations: Management or Commodity Marketing.
Average Tuition & Fees: $18,604/yr
9. University of Utah
Online BS or BA in Economics
If you want to use economics to get ahead in business, the University of Utah is probably not the place for you. But if you are interested in economics for its political, societal, and historical implications, you've come to one of the best options on our online economics programs ranking. The program offers focus areas in Economic History, History of Economic Thought, and Econometrics, and all students must take classes in at least two of the three categories. These unusual concentrations make for some unique course options, such as "Marxian Economics," "Middle East Economic History," and "Manias, Panics, and Crashes."
Average Tuition & Fees: $18,505/yr
8. East Tennessee State University
Online BA in Economics
The sky is the limit at East Tennessee State University. That's because the university offers not one, not two, but four cheap bachelor's degrees in economics online. In addition to the standard BA, ETSU also offers a BBA in Economics with concentrations in General Business, Business Economics, and Financial Economics. The BA is best suited for non-business professionals and covers topics like economic history, econometrics, and public policy. Of course, the BBA degrees put a much greater emphasis on business and management. Of the three, General Business provides the broadest selection of courses, while Financial Economics is the most focused (classes emphasize Wall Street staples like "Principles of Investment" and "Banking and Financial Intermediation").
Average Tuition & Fees: $17,571/yr
7. Regent University
Online B.S. in Business – Economics
If you are at least as interested in business as economics (if not more so), you might consider Regent's B.S. in Business degree. The curriculum principally focuses on managerial concepts like accounting, marketing, law, and finance. Compared to other schools on this bachelor's degrees in economics online ranking, this leaves Regent with relatively little room for economics-related courses. However, you will get a compact sequence of econ lessons (six classes, to be exact) to complement your business studies. Examples include "Political Economy," "History of Economic Thought," and "Entrepreneurship, Market Processes, and Economic Growth."
Average Tuition & Fees: $17,288/yr
6. Utah State University
Online BS or BA in Economics
One of two Utah-based universities on our ranking of cheap online economics programs, USU delivers an affordable and impressively versatile option. Rather than picking between a business- or social science-oriented approach, Utah State lets their students decide for themselves. You'll do this by picking between four targeted concentrations: Pre-Law, Economics Theory, International Economics and Trade, and Managerial Economics. To make sure you have plenty of room to explore your area of interest, the curriculum only includes eight core classes. You'll complete the rest of your major – anywhere from 14 to 20 courses, depending on concentration – in your chosen focus area.
Average Tuition & Fees: $14,695/yr
5. Eastern Oregon University
Online Bachelor's Degree in Economics
Eastern Oregon University recognizes that economics majors typically end up in a wide array of careers, from finance to law to education. So rather than try to narrow their majors' job options, EOU's econ program gives its students a wide berth to explore the topics that interest them. Aside from a handful of foundational economics, math, and statistics classes, this online economics program includes few core requirements. Indeed, the department allots about a third of the economics curriculum to electives – you can even take classes outside of the department as long as you get approval from your advisor.
Average Tuition & Fees: $14,022/yr
4. Pennsylvania State University-World Campus
Online Bachelor of Science in Economics
If you're looking for a task-oriented economics degree that focuses more on skill development than specific career training, step right up to Penn State. The school's mission is to prepare you for a range of jobs by giving you widely-applicable skills and strategies. For example, you'll learn how to collect and analyze data, determine pricing policies, evaluate economic impacts, and forecast market trends. Before graduating from this accredited bachelor's degree in economics online, you'll also pick up skills in calculus and computer programming. Lastly, you'll take 10 "supporting courses" in advanced topics that range from environmental economics to growth and development.
Average Tuition & Fees: $13,988/yr
3. Ottawa University-Online
Online BA in Business Economics
A school known for its strength in online learning, Ottawa University is a favorite of adult learners. Not only does the university boast a generous credit transfer policy, but it also prides itself on flexible, convenient course delivery. Ottawa's sensitivity to working professionals is also evident in its career-focused curricula, and the business econ program is no exception. The online economics degree addresses relevant topics in the field spanning from entrepreneurship to banking to the economics of decision-making – all of which will make you an asset on the job. And if you want to double-down on your fiscal learning, you can easily add a concentration in Finance.
Average Tuition & Fees: $11,976/yr
2. University of North Carolina-Pembroke
Online BS in Business Administration-Economics
Of all the business-focused degrees on our online economics programs ranking, UNC – Pembroke's is among the most versatile. Why? Because it lets students add multiple tracks with their BS in Business Administration. Of course, one of the tracks available is in economics. Requirements include "Managerial Economics" and "Intermediate Macroeconomics," plus two econ electives. However, you might consider also earning a second concentration, which is fairly easy to do from your open electives. For example, someone interested in banking might choose a secondary focus in finance, while an aspiring business owner can opt for a concentration in Entrepreneurship.
Average Tuition & Fees: $11,809/yr
1. West Texas A & M University
Online BBA in Law and Economics
West Texas A&M University is home to not only the most affordable program on our ranking but also one of the most unique. While many other schools offer BBA degrees, WTAMU is the only one to offer a joint focus in Law and Economics. Thanks to this tightly-tailored concentration, WTAMU's degree is ideal for students who are pursuing careers in corporate law or public policy. While enrolled in this online economics program, you'll study industrial organization, the economics of labor and healthcare, and even sports economics. Plus, you'll get to pick from niche electives like "Gift and Estate Planning" and "Emerging Media Law."
Average Tuition & Fees: $8,481/yr
Thanks for reading our ranking of the 15 top cheap online business economics degrees!