world map

Bachelor of Arts inEconomics

Program summary

Gain insight into markets and economies by understanding how incentives affect human behavior. This online degree program focuses on social behavior and international relations and is designed to give students the skills to succeed in the growing fields of economics and finance.

100% Online

Complete your Penn State course work at your own pace and 100% online.

Application deadline

Apply by June 30 to start August 26

Credits and costs

120 Credits$626/$671 per credit

Nationally Recognized

US News and World Report Bachelor's badge
Our bachelor's degrees are highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

Gain Economics Skills to Work in Diverse Professional Settings

  • Examine trends — such as turnover rates, product cycles, or immigration — to help make predictions about the future.

  • Carry out quantitative analysis through surveys and data collection to understand and explain human behavior.

  • Advise the strategic leadership of any organization to maximize the payoff for all stakeholders.

  • Design policies or make recommendations to optimize the use of resources in any project or plan.

  • Think critically in your work for complex national and international organizations.

  • Manage change and social challenges effectively.

Online Economics Courses

The curriculum of this online degree program is designed to give you the tools to understand how incentives affect human behavior, markets, and economies so you can model real-life situations, effectively allocate resources, and map out the best outcomes.

The Bachelor of Arts in Economics requires you to complete a minimum of 120 credits. 

If you are a transfer student, the number of credits you must take will vary according to the courses that transfer into the economics program. Once you are admitted to the program, your assigned academic adviser can help you select the remaining required courses.

A student enrolled in this major must receive a grade of C or better in all courses required for the major.

Entrance-to-Major Requirements

To change your major to economics as your major, you must complete the following courses with a grade of C or better:

  • ECON 102
  • ECON 104

Prescribed Courses (18 credits)

  • 3

    Methods of economic analysis and their use; price determination; theory of the firm; distribution.

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 3

    National income measurement; aggregate economic models; money and income; policy problems.

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 3

    Basic statistical concepts used in economics. Topics include probability distributions, expectations, estimation, hypothesis testing, correlation, and simple regression. Students who have completed ECON 306 may not schedule this course.

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 3

    Allocation of resources and distribution of income within various market structures, with emphasis on analytical tools.

    • Prerequisite

      ECON 102

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 3

    Analysis of forces that determine the level of aggregate economic activity.

    • Prerequisite

      ECON 104

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 3

    The implementation of statistical techniques to analyze data and address economic questions. Econometric results are produced and assessed.

    • Prerequisite

      ECON 106

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

Supporting Courses and Related Areas (select 18 credits)

For Supporting Courses, select 18 credits in economics 300- or 400-level with department approval, including at least 9 credits at the 400 level.

Additional 400-level courses are being developed. Please check with your adviser about their availability.

  • 3

    Economic analysis of employment, earnings, and the labor market; labor relations; related government policies.

    • Prerequisite

      ECON 102

  • 3

    Why nations trade, barriers to trade, balance of payments adjustment and exchange rate determination, eurocurrency markets, and trade-related institutions.

    • Prerequisite

      ECON 102, ECON 104 or ECON 014

  • 3

    Money, credit, commercial and central banking, financial intermediaries, treasury operations, monetary theory and policy, and foreign exchange. Students who have already taken ECON 451 may not schedule this course.

    • Prerequisite

      ECON 102 or ECON 104

  • 3

    Development and application of the tools for decision making under uncertainty and for game theoretic analysis of economic problems.

    • Prerequisite

      ECON 302 and ECON 106 or SCM 200 or STAT 200

  • 3

    Analytic and policy aspects of public expenditure decisions; applications from areas of contemporary public interest.

    • Prerequisite

      ECON 302 or ECON 323

  • 3

    Environmental pollution, the market economy, and optimal resource allocation; alternative control procedures; levels of environmental protection and public policy.

    • Prerequisite

      ECON 302 or ECON 323

  • 3

    Causes/consequences of trade; effects of tariffs and quotas; strategic trade policy; political economy of trade restrictions and other topics.

    • Prerequisite

      ECON 302 or ECON 333

  • 3

    Trade balance movements, exchange rate determination; monetary and fiscal policies in open economies; international policy coordination; the world monetary system.

    • Prerequisite

      ECON 304 or ECON 333

  • 3

    Problems of capital formation, institutional considerations, theories of economic growth.

    • Prerequisite

      ECON 302 or ECON 304 or ECON 372

Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements

Some Bachelor of Arts requirements may be satisfied by courses required for the major, General Education courses, or electives. Students should work with an adviser to select courses.

  • Foreign Language: 0–12 credits
    Students must attain 12th credit level of proficiency in one foreign language.
  • B.A. Fields: 9 credits
    Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arts, Foreign Languages, Natural Sciences, Quantification (cannot be taken in the area of the student's primary major; foreign language credits in this category must be in a second foreign language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the first language)
  • Other Cultures: 0–3 credits
    Select 3 credits from approved list. Students may count courses in this category in order to meet other major, minor, elective, or General Education requirements, except for the General Education US/IL requirement.​

General Education Requirements

Some General Education requirements may be satisfied by courses required for the major. Students should work with an adviser to select courses.

  • Foundations: 15 credits  
    All courses require a grade of C or better. Inter-Domain courses may not be used for foundations requirements. 
    • Writing/Speaking: 9 credits 
    • Quantification: 6 credits 
      3-6 credits are selected from mathematics, applied mathematics, and statistics; 3 credits may be selected from computer science or symbolic logic. 
  • Knowledge Domains: 15 credits  
    Inter-Domain courses may not be used for knowledge domain requirements.
    • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits 
    • Natural Sciences (GN): 3 credits 
    • Arts (GA): 3 credits 
    • Humanities (GH): 3 credits 
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 3 credits  
  • Integrative Studies: 6 credits
    • Inter-Domain course work: 6 credits  
  • Exploration: 9 credits 
    • Natural Sciences (GN) (may be Inter-Domain): 3 credits
    • GA, GH, GN, GS, and Inter-Domain courses: 6 credits  
      May include 3 credits of World Language course work beyond the requirements of the student’s degree program or at the 12th credit level, whichever is higher.

These General Education Requirements are for students who started in summer 2023 or later. Students who started earlier can review the prior version of the general education requirements

Course Availability

If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.

Start or Advance Your Career

Hiring manager reviewing a resume or CV with a job candidate

You can use the knowledge gained from this program and the support of Penn State career resources to pursue careers in a variety of fields, depending on your goals.

Job Titles Related to This Degree

The following roles are often held by people with this type of degree:

  • Economic Analyst
  • Market Analyst
  • Research Analyst

Employment Outlook for Occupational Fields Related to This Degree

Estimates of employment growth and total employment are provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and are subject to change. While these occupations are often pursued by graduates with this degree, individual outcomes may vary depending on a variety of factors. Penn State World Campus cannot guarantee employment in a given occupation.

Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists

employment growth (10 years)
total employment


employment growth (10 years)
total employment

Career Services to Set You Up for Success

Student having a virtual meeting on a laptop with a career counselor

From the day you're accepted as a student, you can access resources and tools provided by Penn State World Campus Career Services to further your career. These resources are beneficial whether you're searching for a job or advancing in an established career.

  • Opportunities to connect with employers
  • Career counselor/coach support
  • Occupation and salary information
  • Internships
  • Graduate school resources 

Ready to Learn More?

Get the resources you need to make informed decisions about your education. Request information on this program and other programs of interest by completing this form.

* required1/3

I agree to be contacted via phone, email, and text by Penn State World Campus and affiliates. I understand my information may also be shared with select providers to offer ads that may be of interest to me.Privacy Policy. reCAPTCHA protected. Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Learn more about this program

Download Program Brochure All my programs

Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State bachelor's degree?

Apply by June 30 to start August 26. How to Apply 

Costs and Financial Aid

Learn about this program's tuition, fees, scholarship opportunities, grants, payment options, and military benefits.

Costs and Financial Aid

Undergraduate Tuition

Undergraduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register and the number of total credits you have accrued at or transferred to Penn State.

Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.

2023–24 Academic Year Rates

Tuition rates for the fall 2023, spring 2024, and summer 2024 semesters.

How many credits do you plan to take per semester?If you have 59 or fewer creditsIf you have 60 or more credits
11 or fewer$626 per credit$671 per credit
12–19$7,602 per semester$8,206 per semester

Undergraduate students taking more than 19 credits will be charged the flat tuition rate plus the regular per credit hour rate for each credit above 19. 

2024–25 Academic Year Rates

Tuition rates for the fall 2024, spring 2025, and summer 2025 semesters.

How many credits do you plan to take per semester?If you have 59 or fewer creditsIf you have 60 or more credits
11 or fewer$632 per credit$678 per credit
12–19$7,678 per semester$8,288 per semester

Undergraduate students taking more than 19 credits will be charged the flat tuition rate plus the regular per credit hour rate for each credit above 19. 

Financial Aid and Military Benefits

Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.

To view the detailed list of cost of attendance elements, select “World Campus” as the location on the tuition site.

A Degree to Meet Your Needs: B.S. or B.A. 

We offer both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Economics. Both degrees have the same required core curriculum focused on helping you understand complex economic systems and make informed decisions about real-world challenges.

Choose the one that best fits your career goals by deciding if you want to focus on additional mathematical theory or foreign languages and international relations. 

  • The Bachelor of Arts in Economics program requires additional courses in a foreign language, which will prepare you to create an economic focus aimed at social behavior, culture, and international relations in preparation for work with national or global organizations. 
  • The Bachelor of Science in Economics program requires additional math and computer science courses to help you develop a deeper focus on mathematical models, allowing you to develop solid analytical skills, especially in mathematics theory, statistics, research, and computer programming. 

Who Should Apply?

An economics degree may be most suitable for you if you wish to work in consulting or if you want to advance your career in the following fields:

  • government 
  • health and environmental policy 
  • public policy 
  • small, medium, or large businesses 
  • nonprofit organizations (national and international)

A Degree for a Changing World

An increasing world population, the scarcity of resources, and the growing need for social responsibility are very prominent issues that we currently face in society. The importance of these areas has created a need for individuals who can understand the actions of society and create incentives that lead to welfare and sustainability.

Economics is a social science that aims to understand and predict human behavior by combining a strong education in liberal arts with a thorough understanding of mathematics and computer science. The Bachelor of Arts in Economics program can offer you an excellent stepping stone to graduate or specialized studies, especially in economics or law school.

Set Your Own Pace

Adult student doing course work online while a child plays nearby

Whether you are looking to finish your program as quickly as possible or balance your studies with your busy life, Penn State World Campus can help you achieve your education goals. Many students take one or two courses per semester.

Our online courses typically follow a 12- to 15-week semester cycle, and there are three semesters per year (spring, summer, and fall). If you plan to take a heavy course load, you should expect your course work to be your primary focus and discuss your schedule with your academic adviser. 

To Finish Your Degree in Two to Three Years

  • Take 6 courses each semester

To Finish Your Degree in Three to Four Years

  • Take 4–5 courses each semester 

To Finish Your Degree in Five or More Years

  • Take 2–3 courses each semester

Convenient Online Format

This program's convenient online format gives you the flexibility you need to study around your busy schedule. You can skip the lengthy commute without sacrificing the quality of your education and prepare yourself for more rewarding career opportunities without leaving your home.

A Trusted Leader in Online Education

Penn State students wearing caps and gowns at their commencement ceremony

Penn State has a history of more than 100 years of distance education, and World Campus has been a leader in online learning for more than two decades. Our online learning environment offers the same quality education that our students experience on campus.

How to Apply to Penn State

A new student holding a sign that reads, We Are Penn State and #PennStateBound

Apply by June 30 to start August 26

Application Instructions

Deadlines and Important Dates

Complete your application and submit all required materials by the appropriate deadline. Your deadline will depend on the semester you plan to start your courses.

  • Fall Deadline

    Apply by June 30 to start August 26
  • Spring Deadline

    Apply by October 31 to start January 13
  • Summer Deadline

    Apply by March 15, 2025, to start May 19, 2025

New students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA by March 1. Please visit the Office of Student Aid website for more information about applying for financial aid and recommended deadlines.

Steps to Apply

  1. To apply for this program, you must be a high school graduate, or have completed your GED.

    This degree program includes Entrance-to-Major requirements (ETMs). After you are admitted to Penn State, you’ll complete them during your first few semesters to officially become a Bachelor of Arts in Economics major. If you satisfy these requirements with transfer credits, you’ll be admitted directly into the major.

  2. You will need the following items to complete your application:

    High school transcripts or GED transcript — First-year applicants are required to submit Self-Reported Academic Records (SRAR) when applying. Official high school transcripts for first-year applicants will only be required at the time a student accepts an offer of admission to Penn State.

    Transfer international students will need to submit their high school transcript before their application can be reviewed.

    Official college or university transcripts and/or official military transcripts (if applicable) — All college or university transcripts are required regardless of the length of time that has passed, the grades earned, or the accreditation of the institutions attended. Acceptance of transfer credit toward your degree is subject to final approval by the academic department. For detailed information, see the Transfer Students page.

    Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation.

    English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Language Proficiency section on the Undergraduate Admissions International Requirements page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.

  3. To begin the online application, you will need a Penn State account.

    Create a New Penn State Account

    If you have any problems during this process, contact an admissions counselor at [email protected].

    Please note: Former Penn State students may not need to complete the admissions application or create a new Penn State account. Please visit our Returning Students page for instructions.

  4. Accessing MyPennState

    The MyPennState Portal provides access to our online admissions services. Before accessing MyPennState, you must have a Penn State account that will be used to access all Penn State systems. After creating an account, you will receive a unique Penn State User ID. You will need to enter your User ID followed by when signing in to MyPennState and other Penn State sites. For example, you should be entering something like '[email protected]' in the Sign In field.

    The application consists of six sections:

    1. Application Setup
    2. Program of Study
    3. Citizenship and Residency
    4. Academics and Experience
    5. Miscellaneous
    6. Review and Submit
    Application Setup
    • Be sure to select "Online" for the "How would you like to complete your degree" question if you plan to attend Penn State World Campus.

    • The rest of this section will ask some basic questions about your education experience and military affiliation.

    Program of Study
    • You will choose the degree type and then the starting semester.

    • Your starting campus will be selected as Penn State World Campus by default as long as you picked "Online" in your Application Setup. Click Continue.

    • On the Choose a Program page, select your intended major from the list.

    • Review your selection on the summary screen and click Continue to move on to the Citizenship and Residency section.

    Citizenship and Residency
    • Complete the series of questions about your citizenship status, demographic information, Pennsylvania residency status, and family history.

    Academics and Experience
    • You will need to enter academic experience information about your high school and any attempted courses at a college or university after high school.

    • The Education Gap Statement offers a place to explain any time that has elapsed between your high school graduation and your anticipated enrollment at Penn State. Please provide a summary of why that gap occurred. Some examples that would explain a gap in your education include work, family, attending another college or university, etc.

    • In the Miscellaneous section, you will provide any program-specific requirements (e.g., a personal statement), information about activities, and financial aid information.

    Review and Submit

    Review your information, digitally sign your application, and provide payment for the application fee ($65 domestic or $75 international).

    High School Transcripts and Academic Record
    • After your application is completed, you will also need to self-report your high school course work before the application deadline. You will be directed to fill out the Self-Reported Academic Record (SRAR). It is helpful to have a high school transcript available when completing this section. In the third section, you'll select your program of study and campus.

    • Official high school transcripts or GED transcript, along with records from high school, are required, regardless of the length of time that has passed.

    • Include any college/university transcripts (required), military transcripts, and Proof of English Language proficiency (if applicable). SAT/ACT scores are not required if you are identified as an adult learner or transfer student.

    All official documents should be sent to: 

    Undergraduate Admissions Office
    The Pennsylvania State University
    201 Shields Building
    University Park, PA 16802

    You can also have your transcripts sent electronically through Parchment, eScript-Safe, or the National Clearinghouse directly to Penn State from the college/university where course work was attempted.


    After receiving your application, application fee, and all required materials, your application will be evaluated for admission. You can check your application status online. This will provide the most up‐to‐date information about the status of your application and is updated once daily, before 8:00 a.m. (ET). Once a decision has been made regarding your application, it will be available to you through the MyPennState portal.

    For information on when you can expect an admissions decision, visit the Dates and Deadlines page of the Undergraduate Admissions website. Make sure you click the "+" sign to see these dates for World Campus Applicants (First-Year and Transfer).

  5. 5. Complete the application.

Admissions Help

If you have questions about the admissions process, contact an admissions counselor at [email protected].

Contact Us

Customer service representative wearing a headset

Have questions or want more information? We're happy to talk.

To learn more about the Bachelor of Arts in Economics, please contact:

World Campus Admissions Counselors
Phone: 814-863-5386
Email: [email protected]

Learn from the Best

This program will give you the opportunity to study with highly regarded faculty from Penn State's College of the Liberal Arts, one of the premier liberal arts institutions in the world.


  • Austin Boyle

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Economics, Florida State University
    • Degree
      B.A., Florida Atlantic University

    Dr. Austin Boyle is an assistant teaching professor of economics whose areas of interest and research include teaching and learning, housing markets, and walkability.

  • David Brown

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Economics, Kansas State University
    • Degree
      B.A., Economics; B.A., Computer Science, Hastings College

    Dr. David Brown serves as the director of the Undergraduate Studies program in the Department of Economics.

  • Jaime Brown

    • Degree
      M.A., Economics, Kansas State University
    • Degree
      B.A., Economics, Hastings College

    Jaime Brown has taught Introductory Microeconomics, Introductory Macroeconomics, Labor Economics, and International Economics. She is especially interested in helping students see how economics connects to current events and other "hot topic" issues (immigration, gender wage gap, etc.).

  • Katherine S. Coll

    • Degree
      M.A., Economics, University of Delaware
    • Degree
      B.A., Economics and Mathematics, Salisbury University

    Katherine S. Coll is an assistant teaching professor of economics. She teaches a variety of economics courses, including principles and intermediate microeconomics, macroeconomics, international trade, development, and labor economics. Her research interests focus on health care economics, with a special interest in the pharmaceutical industry. In 2017, she received the Filippelli Institute Award for Excellence in Online Teaching.

  • William Goffe

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Economics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    • Degree
      B.A., Math and Economics, University of Virginia

    Dr. William Goffe is an associate teaching professor of economics whose interests include pedagogy and computational economics.

  • Paul Kagundu

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Economics, Georgia State University
    • Degree
      M.S., Economics, University of North Texas
    • Degree
      B.S., Economics, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda

    Dr. Paul Kagundu is associate director of the Undergraduate Studies program in the Department of Economics and a teaching professor of economics. His interests include development economics, public finance, and economics pedagogy.

  • Pitchayaporn "Peach" Tantihkarnchana

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Economics, Washington State University
    • Degree
      M.S., Economics, Washington State University
    • Degree
      B.A., Economics, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

    Dr. Pitchayaporn "Peach" Tantihkarnchana is an assistant teaching professor of economics. Her areas of interest and research include environmental law, environmental and natural resources, and land development.


Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State bachelor's degree?

Apply by June 30 to start August 26. How to Apply