Performing a cost/benefit analysis is a fundamental process in decision-making and problem-solving. It stands to reason that such an analysis is prudent when considering a degree in applied economics.  

No one advanced degree program is suitable for everyone. Weighing up the costs and benefits helps working professionals determine the best options for advancing their careers. The exercise also enables reflection on how to best focus their talents and efforts on meaningful work through applied economics. 

Let’s examine what applied economics is and explore the benefits and costs for motivated professionals earning a master’s degree in applied economics.  

Applied Economics in the Real World

Approaching the complex challenges of the 21st century requires a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach. Economic viability underlies sustainable solutions. 

If sociology explores the causes and consequences of social behavior, economics is the engine driving that behavior, the framework of all social interaction. 

Applied economics takes economic theory to the street. With econometrics, hypotheses are tested using complex scenario modeling, answering questions, and solving problems in the real world. Applied economics tools and methods require critical thinking, mastery of data analytics, an understanding of social and industrial trends, and complex policy analysis.

Win-Win: Landing a Job vs. Meaningful Work

Opportunity is one of the principal benefits of any college education. An MS in Applied Economics provides opportunities that lead to lucrative careers in business, government, and non-profit organizations.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a 2020 median salary for “economists” of $108,350. However, the range of available salaries reflects the diversity of career paths afforded by earning an MSAE degree. From urban planning to international aid, many careers benefit from the education, practical skills, mentoring, and lifeline partnerships found in the best MS in applied economics programs. 

There is, however, more to a useful professional life than landing a good job. With education and motivation, a good job becomes meaningful work. Everyone within that person’s work sphere benefits, from colleagues and lunch counter workers to strangers halfway around the world. 

But what of the costs? Earning a master’s degree costs time and money, to be sure. Innovative, cutting-edge online graduate degree programs mitigate both. Online programs reduce tuition and ancillary costs and introduce flexibility geared for busy working professionals. 

For people motivated to advance their careers and passionate about finding solutions in a challenging world, the benefits of an online MS in Applied Economics far outweigh the costs.     

Earn a Master of Science in Applied Economics at Boston College 

The online Master of Science in Applied Economics degree program at Boston College’s Woods College of Advancing Studies is founded on the belief that what benefits the students benefits society. 

“We launched the program with a singular vision,” says program director Dr. Aleksandar (Sasha) Tomic. “Our mission is providing an engaged, top-quality, student-focused program grounded in the real world,” says Tomic. 

Graduates of the program echo this sentiment.

“What I like about the program is exactly the applicability of it,” says graduate Daniella Bolanos Misas, currently working in debt statistics at The World Bank. “You don’t earn a second master to learn all the theory again; you earn a second masters with the mindset of what you need for your career and why you need it.”

Unorthodox by Design

Dr. Tomic and his team built the MSAE program from the ground up with its own set of costs and benefits. “There were challenges and opportunities,” says Tomic, “but mainly opportunities. Our program is quite unorthodox.” 

The program’s unconventional approach centers on collaboration, mentorship, and extraordinary student support. Adjunct professor Dr. Rob Bradley speaks of “intentional career support” as a driving principle of the program. “We are the antithesis of the all-to-common ‘go to class, let us know if you need anything’ approach,” he says. 

To this point, Bradley relates how Dr. Tomic gets to know every student, learns their interests and goals, and offers guidance for achieving those goals. “I don’t know any other program where the program director actually knows the students that well,” says Bradley. “Some students, sure, but (Sasha) seems to know everybody.” 

The curriculum is aligned with input from a council of professional experts. This unique collaboration ensures students are steeped in the multi-sectorial demands of government and industry.

In 2021 the program launched a first-of-its-kind Graduate Showcase and Career Event. This event turned the typical job fair on its head, allowing students an opportunity to showcase their work to prospective employers. 

An Expansive Curriculum in Applied Economics

Completing the MSAE program entails five cores and five elective courses. 

The core curriculum includes:

  • Applied Microeconomic Theory
  • Applied Macroeconomic Theory
  • Econometrics
  • Data Analysis
  • Ethics, Economics and Public Policy

Students have 26 elective courses from which to choose. A sampling of these electives gives a glimpse into the depth and breadth of the program:

  • Advanced Urban and Regional Economics
  • Environmental and Natural Resource Economics
  • Empirical Health Economics
  • Development Economics
  • Predictive Analytics / Forecasting
  • Law and Economics
  • Empirical Sports Economics
  • Empirical Behavioral Economics
  • Economics of Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Communication and Leadership in Applied Economics
  • Management of Projects in Applied Economics

As we said initially, no single program is right for everybody. Doing a cost/benefit analysis must first take into account the talents, motivations, and goals of the student. 

Earning a Master of Science in Applied Economics is for working professionals ready to reach the full extent of their abilities, passionate problem-solving, and tackling tough challenges. If that describes you, then the world needs the benefits of your best efforts. The online MSAE program at Boston College is ready to help.