Free Online Economics Courses

Economics is the study of currency and financial institutions as they relate to individual consumers, households and corporations, as well as individual cities, states and countries. Students who earn a college degree in this field may go on to pursue careers as accountants, financial managers and advisors, bankers, corporate executives and university-level educators. Prospective economists can learn more about the finer points of this profession by enrolling in open courses offered free-of-charge through accredited colleges and universities.

Most undergraduate economics programs highlight the fundamentals of individual and organizational finances, respectively known as the fields of micro- and macro-economics. Graduate-level economics majors often choose specializations that revolve around the role they wish to play in the financial market once they’ve graduated and entered the workforce. Some will find work with private or public sector organizations, and others will work at the forefront of the industry as independent economic theorists or academic researchers. A deep understanding of how and why money impacts society and its individual members is required for a successful career in economics.

Sample Courses

Typically, undergraduate-level economics programs will consist of full course sequences for both micro- and macro-economics. These sequences will begin with introductory courses, and then proceed to discuss Game Theory, industrial organization, supply chain management and other complex concepts that can be applied to virtually any firm or organization. Graduate-level economics majors will often review case studies, research different (and often contradictory) economic theories and explore economic activity in specific countries or regions of the world.

Possible Specializations

Specializations in economics vary between colleges and universities. At some schools, economics itself is considered a specialization of finance or business management, or may be chosen as a minor. Other schools will offer specializations in economics such as international trade and business, mathematics, accounting or statistical analysis. Students who are interested in pursuing a specialization in economics should carefully research their college options to ensure that at least one of the schools offers this type of concentration.

Degree Types

In addition to the specialization, prospective economists must decide which degree(s) to earn in order to effectively compete for jobs. Here is a breakdown of the four most common degrees awarded in the field of economics:

Associate

An associate degree may consist of one or two lower-level economics courses, but this credential emphasizes general education over specialized study. This degree track will introduce key economic concepts and enable students to determine if this field is the right fit for them, but a higher degree will be required for most professional positions.

Bachelor’s

Bachelor’s degree programs in economics highlight the fundamentals of the field without awarding a specialization. Although a bachelor’s degree will be sufficient for some entry-level finance or accounting positions (particularly with the U.S. government), most students use their undergraduate credential as a springboard for attaining a master’s and/or doctoral degree in economics.

Master’s

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a master’s degree or Ph.D. is required for the majority of economics positions. A master’s program will delve into the broad concepts first introduced during undergraduate studies, and allow students to apply what they have learned to real-world markets and organizations.

Ph.D.

This credential will generally be required for anyone who wishes to teach economics at the college or university level, as well as those who want to pursue careers in advanced economic theory. Ph.D. programs usually entail an extensive research project, and many will require the student to complete an internship at a local business, nonprofit organization or financial institution.

In addition to the degrees listed above, certain professionals will be required to complete additional coursework in order to be considered for employment. Accountants, for instance, must pass the CPA Exam in order to earn state certification.

Ideal Candidates for Economics

Economics is a field heavily saturated with numbers and statistics; those who wish to earn a degree and pursue a career in this field should be comfortable working with different data sets and have a solid grasp on different mathematical disciplines. Since economics is difficult for many people to understand, professional economists should also be equipped with presentation skills and the ability to explain complex ideas and theories in a straightforward manner.

Career Pathways

The BLS notes that the field of economics is expected to grow 14% between 2012 and 2022, which is on par with the average rate of growth for all occupations. There are currently about 16,900 economists employed in the U.S. today. Individuals who earn a Master’s Degree in Economics earned a median annual salary of $91,860 in 2012.

The BLS points out that employment rates for economists will vary by the sector they choose. Many private firms and organizations have begun to hire more economists to help analyze monetary trends and improve financial performance ― but competition for top-tier positions remains high. The federal government, on the other hand, has consistently been the largest employer of professional economists ― but the number of hirees expected to land jobs with the government will likely decline in the years to come.

Students who are interested in economics should explore student associations and clubs at their higher-learning institution dedicated to finance, business management, and other related fields. Through these groups, students can network with fellow economists, attend conferences and receive information about employment opportunities. Professional organizations and economics-oriented magazines (such as Forbes and Fortune) are also great resources for aspiring economists.

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featured article

Manipulation in the Metals Market?

2013-08-17

THE deepening relationship between America’s judicial system and its biggest banks has reached the world of metals. The Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has reportedly issued subpoenas to Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and others as it investigates complaints that banks and other owners of metals warehouses have been hoarding metals and driving up prices. Private class-action suits filed in federal courts spanning New York, Michigan, Louisiana and Florida have made similar price-fixing allegations, which the banks vigorously deny.

    Read More

Economics in the News

Source: The Economist

Our Favorite Economics Blogs

  • Economics in General

    • Café Hayek

      A leading economics blog  by Don Boudreaux and Russ Roberts of George Mason University.

    • Ed Dolan's Econ Blog

      A blog witten by Ed Dolan that strives to promote economic literacy.

    • Freakonomics

      The official blog of best-selling authors, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, this blog dares to ask the tough questions.

    • Planet Money

      From National Public Radio, "the economy explained". Home of corresponding podcast.

  • Analysis

    • Calculated Risk Blog

      Named one of Time.com's 25 Best Financial Blogs in March 2011, this blog is a great place for analysis of U.S. economic developments.

    • Economist's View

      Written by Mark Thoma, a professor of economics at the University of Oregon, this blog explores relevant topics in economics.

    • EconoMonitor

      This community of economic, financial, and geopolitical thinkers, strives to surface new ideas and push forward the economic and geopolitical debate.

    • Evolving Economics

      Australian economist, Jason Collins, takes an analytical look at economics from an evolutionary perspective.

    • New Economic Perspectives

      A blog offering policy advice and economic analysis from a group of professional economists, legal scholars, and financial market practitioners .

    • Real Time Economics

      The Wall Street Journal's blog for economic insight and analysis.

  • For Students

    • Aplia Econ Blog

      News for economics students published by Aplia, an online study resrouce for college students in various fields.

    • Greg Manikiw's Blog

      Professor Manikiw publishes "random observations for students of economics."

  • News and Politics

    • Angry Bear

      A left-of center discussion on news, politics, and the economy from six professionals in related fields.

    • Economix

      This New York Times blog explains "the science of everyday life."

    • Grasping Reality with Both Invisible Hands

      Written by econ professor at Berkeley and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the United States Department of the Treasury. Covers economic and political issues.

    • The Conscience of a Liberal

      Nobel Prize winning economist, Paul Krugman, offers his take on the U.S. and world economies through this most volatile of times.

    • The Economist

      Selected news analysis from the current edition of The Economist.

Economics Journals & Trade Magazines

  • Journals

    • AEJ Microeconomics

      Publishing new research and position papers from economists the world over, this journal focuses on the microeconomics of international trade, political economy and finance.

    • Annals of Economics and Finance

      Find original theoretical and applied papers in all fields of economics, finance, and management.

    • Canadian Journal of Economics

      This journal publishes in both English and French and focuses especially on theoretical and empirical trade articles across economic fields.

    • Economics and Finance Research

      Economics & Finance Research is a fully open access journal offering rapid publication and wide dissemination of new research to a global audience.

    • International Journal of Economics & Management Sciences

      This journal includes studies, reviews, surveys, articles, and more that contribute to the disciplines economics and management sciences.

    • International Journal of Economics and Finance

      IJEF is dedicated to promoting scholarly exchange among teachers and researchers across the fields of economics, financial economics and finance.

    • Modern Economy

      Providing a forum for economists and academicians worldwide to discuss developments in the areas of modern economy.

    • Open Economics Journal

      This open access journal contains research articles, reviews, letters, and guest edited single topic issues in all areas on the science of economics and its applications.

    • Quantitative Economics

      Promotes studies aimed at the unification of the theoretical-quantitative and the empirical-quantitative approach to economic problems.

    • Research in Applied Economics

      Contains articles in broadly defined applied economics that enhance the study of economic issues.  

    • Research in Business and Economics Journal

      Find original studies in international business, management, and related subjects in the Research in Business and Economics Journal.

    • Research in World Economy

      Research in World Economy publishes theoretical studies and empirical articles from various economic areas of study.

    • Review of Economics & Finance

      Focusing on general fields in economics and finance, REF is a peer-reviewed, open access journal, sponsored by Academic Research Centre of Canada.

    • The American Economic Review

      A "general-interested economics journal" and one of the country's oldest publications, this journal includes scholarly papers across all areas of economics.

    • The Economic Journal

      Published by the Royal Economic Society, this journal provides policy papers and research on economics issues affecting the worlds of business, education and government.

    • The Journal of Economic Perspectives

      This journal attempts to fill a gap between general interest press and academic economics journals by publishing articles that offer both clear analysis and interdisciplinary ideas.

    • The Visible Hand

      Started at Cornell University, this is a peer-reviewed, academic journal for undergraduate students of economics.

    • Theoretical Economics

      Published three times a year, this journal showcases leading research in economic theory.

    • Theoretical Economics Letters

      This journal publishes short papers in all topics in economic theory and mathematical economics.

    • Undergraduate Economic Review

      Published by Wesleyan University, the UER is a peer-reviewed journal promoting high-quality economic research by undergraduates.

    • World Economic Review

      This is the official journal of the World Economic Association. It is a peer-reviewed, open access journal that requires no subscription for its current and recent editions.

  • Trade Magazines

    • Barron's

      This finance magazine touches on many worldwide economics issues, giving readers analyses of financial trends as well as investing tips.

    • Challenge Magazine

      This magazine aims to provide economic information readers can't get in other publications, and it provides clear analysis of current economic issues and ...

    • Forbes

      Forbes is a leading, reliable source for business, financial, economic, and political news.

    • Forbes

      Publishing a mix of business and economics articles, Forbes is one of the most widely read magazines amongst economists and the public.

    • Fortune

      Publisher of the Fortune 500, readers will find business and economic news with analysis of global business drivers

    • Kiplinger

      This magazine focuses on personal economics and finance, providing both in-depth analysis of economic issues as well as tips for individual consumers.

    • Medical Economics

      This magazine is for both economists and healthcare professionals interested in the intersection between the two fields.

    • The Economist

      This online publication includes all articles from print editions and online-exclusive, multimedia content that includes audio/video programs.

    • The Economist

      One of the most widely read magazines from any industry, The Economist provides articles for general consumption as well as high-level analyses of economic ...

Economics Grants & Scholarships

  • Grants

    • EERC Research Grant Competition

      Deadline: April 12

      Award Amount: Maximum $12,000

      This grant from the Economics Education and Research Consortium is meant to support "policy-relevant research projects" that fall into one of five economics categories.

    • National Science Foundation Economics Grants

      Deadline: August 18, January 18

      Award Amount: Varies

      The NSF requests grant proposals from researchers who want to improve "the understanding of the processes and institutions of the U.S. economy and of the world system of which it is a part."

    • Partnership for Economic Policy Funding

      Deadline: March 10

      Award Amount: Varies

      PEP is awarding grants to research teams in developing countries who want to research one of their "priority issues" in economics, which cover inclusive growth and employment.

    • Russell Sage Foundation Project Awards

      Deadline: Rolling

      Award Amount: Typically $35,000-$200,000

      This foundation supports research in behavioral economics, cultural contact, future of work, immigration, and social inequality and welcomes grant proposals from post-doctoral researchers.

    • The Association for Social Economics: William R. Waters Research Grant

      Deadline: November 1

      Award Amount: $5,000

      For graduate students in Ph.D. programs who have not yet completed their dissertation.

    • Upjohn Dissertation Award

      Deadline: July 7

      Award Amount: $1,000-$2,500

      This grant/award is given to a dissertation relating to unemployment, employment, or social insurance programs, and the funds awarded are meant to help the winner continue his or her research.

  • Scholarships

Economics Internships

Economics Student & Professional Organizations

  • Student Organizations

    • National Association for Business Economics Student Chapter

      Students interested in pursuing a career in business economics are invited to join NABE or an existing student chapter.

    • Omicron Detla Epsilon

      Economics honor society, Omicron Delta Epsilon honors outstanding achievements in economics and fosters discussion of economic issues.

    • The Carroll Round

      An annual, international economics conference at Georgetown University, brining together the world's top economics undergraduates for research and discusssion.

  • Professional Organizations

    • American Economic Association

      The AEA was founded to encourage economic research, publish developments in economics, maintain

    • American Economic Association

      The AEA encourages economic research, statistical study of industrial life conditions, publication of economics papers, and freedom of discussion.

    • American Enterprise Institute

      Founded in 1938, AEI is a private, nonpartisan, not-for-profit institution dedicated to research and education on issues of government, politics, economics and social welfare.

    • Brookings Institution

      The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, DC established to conduct high-quality, independent research.

    • Canadian Economics Association

      The CEA tracks economic progress in Canada as well as advancing economic knowledge worldwide through research and publication.

    • Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

      The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities works at the federal and state levels on fiscal policy and public programs that affect low- and moderate-income families and individuals.

    • Economic Policy Institute

      Aiming to broaden awareness of the economic needs of low- and middle-income workers, the EPI focuses on changing policies to include them.

    • European Economic Association

      The highly respected EEA is an international scientific community for scholars of economics, trade and social policy.

    • International Monetary Fund

      The IMF and its 188 member countries work to enhance global levels of financial security, trade collaboration and economic development in an effort to reduce poverty and promote equality worldwide.

    • Milken Institute

      The Milken Institute strives to provide workers and researchers with information necessary to solving problems and improving lives.

    • National Association for Business Economics

      Established in 1959, the NABE, is a professional association for business economists and others who use economics in the workplace.

    • National Economic Association

      The NEA was originally the Caucus of Black Economists; today it continues the mission of advocating for economic equality as well as exploring issues of interest to U.S. minorities.

    • Omicron Delta Epsilon

      As the International Honor Society for Economics, this Greek organization has member chapters on campuses across the world and recognizes and promotes scholastic achievement among its members.

    • Royal Economic Society

      Founded over a century ago, the RES has the simple aim of promoting global study of economic science and boasts 3,000 members from around the world.

    • Society for the Advancement of Behavioral Economics

      SABE is an association of scholars who are committed to the rigorous economic analysis of the world we live in.

    • The Brookings Institution

      Brookings conducts independent research to make policy recommendations to Washington. It is one of the most highly regarded economic think tanks in the country.

    • Urban Institute

      Focusing on the nation’s economic challenges, the UI strives to make Americans aware of issues “to foster sound public policy and effective government.”

    • Urban Institute

      This institute makes a mission of collecting data, conducting research, evaluating programs, offering technical assistance, and educating Americans on social and economic issues.

    • World Economics Association

      A new professional organization, this group aims to be "truly international and pluralist" and prides itself in valuing the opinions of its growing global membership, regardless of any individual's ...