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When you’re considering a career in economics, the best school of economics to look at is one that is connected to well-regarded financial institutions, the federal government, major accounting firms and even insurance companies. The role of an economist covers many fields under the finance umbrella that includes actuarial, finance, government economists, consultants, tech finance and more. Entering into the field of economics means taking a big step, requires a lot of self-confidence, and attending the best school of economics that’s within your grasp. 

The best undergraduate economic schools help you with internships, making connections with people who can mentor you in the field and boost your career, and use the latest research and economic models for teaching students. Attending the best economic undergraduate schools helps you get started on your career and make big strides in the years following graduation. 

Methodology: Ranking the Best Economics Degree Programs 

To rank the best degree in economics, Great Business Schools editors considered traditional, on-campus programs from the most respected, accredited colleges and universities across the US. Programs are ranked according to their tuition, student satisfaction, and alumni salary. 

1. Yale University

yale u

Yale University’s Department of Economics offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Economics that is recognized among the country’s best economics degrees. About 30% of the students enrolled in Yale University’s best degree in economics double major in another subject. Degree candidates must complete a senior thesis project in an economics-related field of interest to the students. Coursework includes microeconomics, multivariate calculus, linear algebra, macroeconomics, econometrics, statistics, and economic theory, plus a senior essay.

Yale University is an ivy league institution of higher education that was established in 1701. The school’s college-town campus covers more than 1,000 acres and serves more than 5,900 students. Yale was chartered by the Connecticut Colony and among the country’s oldest institutions of higher education. 

Highlight: Yale is one of the nine colonial colleges that were founded prior to the American Revolution.

Degree: Economics, BA 

2. Georgia Institute of Technology

georgia tech logo

Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Economics offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics that prepares students for careers as a business consultant, a venture capital investor, or a market analyst, to name a few.  Georgia Institute of Technology’s best degree in economics program requires the completion of 122 semester credits. Classes for these best economics degrees from Georgia Institute of Technology include econometric analysis, statistics for economists, finite mathematics, integral calculus, and advanced micro/macroeconomics, to name a few.

Georgia Institute of Technology (Tech) was established in 1885. This technology school is a public higher learning institution that was an integral part of the south’s reconstruction after the civil war. The school’s campus in Atlanta serves more than 35,000 students and covers more than 350 acres. 

Highlight: Famous alumni of the Georgia Institute of Technology include the commander of Apollo 16, John Young, and legendary golfer  Bobby Jones.

Degree: Economics, BS

3. University of Pennsylvania

u pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania offers a BA in Economics that is recognized among the nation’s best economics degrees. Degree candidates enrolled in Penn’s best degree in economics program must complete 32 – 34 semester credits pulled directly from the major economics curriculum. Classes for Penn’s economics undergraduate degree include microeconomics, macroeconomics, business economics, probability, Calculus with matrices, and econometrics, to name a few.

The University of Pennsylvania was established in 1755. Penn is recognized among the country’s colonial colleges and offers students the opportunity to earn academic degrees from 16 undergraduate and graduate colleges/schools. The school’s student enrollment exceeds 22,100 students. 

Highlight: The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business holds the distinction of being the first collegiate business institution of higher education in the nation.

Degree: Economics, BA 

4. Columbia University

columbia university

Columbia University’s Economics Department offers a baccalaureate economics degree recognized among the best economics degrees in the United States. Columbia’s best degree in economics program offers students several dual major options with statistics, math, philosophy, and political science. Classes include financial economics, corporate finance, advanced econometrics, urban economics, sports economics, the economics of the arts, and economics, and the environment, to name a few. Seminars available at Columbia University  include microeconomics, macroeconomics, empirical macroeconomics, among others.

Columbia University was chartered as King’s College in 1754 by a charter from the British Royalty, George II. As an ivy league institution of higher education, Columbia University serves more than 33,300 students from its upper Manhattan campus locations. 

Highlight: US News recognizes Columbia University as the third finest university in the country, behind Harvard and Princeton.

Degree: Economics 

5. Duke University

duke u

Duke University offers a BA in Economics that is considered one of the country’s best economics degrees. The core curriculum for Duke’s best degree in economics program includes economic principles, microeconomics, econometrics, and intermediate macroeconomics, the economics of creative goods, history of modern economics, and the international economy, to name a few. Students may opt to specialize in finance, history, microeconomics, and macroeconomics. This undergraduate economics degree from Duke University is classified as a STEM academic degree.

Duke University was established in 1838. Duke University operates with several interconnected campuses in Durham and a marine facility in Beaufort, North Carolina, with a total of 8,500+ acres. The university’s student enrollment exceeds more than 15,500 students. 

Highlight: Duke University was named to honor the benefactor’s father, Washington Duke.

Degree: Economics, BA 

6. University of Michigan

u michigan

The University of Michigan offers a BA in Economics that is ranked among the nation’s best economics degrees. Degree candidates enrolled in UM’s best degree in economics program are required to complete 30 credit units from the economics curriculum. Students at UM may opt to study abroad through the university’s international study options. Students graduate and find rewarding careers in law, government, education, and business, among others.

The University of Michigan (UM) was established in 1817 before Michigan reached statehood. This research institution of higher learning is recognized as the state’s oldest. More than 45,800 students are studying for degrees offered by the university. 

Highlight: The University of Michigan was originally established in Detroit, but was moved to Ann Arbor twenty years later.

Degree: Economics, BA 

7. Carnegie Mellon University

carnegie mellon

Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business offers two of the best economics degrees in the nation. CMU offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree or Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Economics that provides six concentrations – Strategy & Markets, Global Change & Disruption, Advanced Quantitative Methods, Global Markets, Policy & Social Impact, and Market Design. Coursework for Carnegie Mellon University’s best degree in economics includes principles of macro and microeconomics, econometrics, data science, behavioral economics, money & finance, and economic forecasting, plus the opportunity to study abroad become an intern in Washington, DC.

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) was established in 1900 as a technical school. The university’s campus in Pittsburgh covers more than 100 urban acres, serves nearly 15,000 students, and is situated but a few miles from downtown Pittsburgh. 

Highlight: Carnegie Mellon University  was formed by a merger of the Carnegie Institute and the Mellon Institute.

Degree: Economics, BA/BS

8. University of Virginia

u virginia uva

The University of Virginia Department of Economics offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Economics that is ranked among the nation’s best economics degrees. The University of Virginia’s best degree in economics program includes micro and macroeconomics, money and banking, the economics of welfare reform, econometrics, game theory, immigration economics, and taxation, to name a few. Degree candidates can opt for a concentration in Financial Economics, Industrial Organization, International Economics, and Public Policy.

The University of Virginia (UVA) was chartered in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson. UVA is the flagship institution of higher learning for the commonwealth. The university’s campus in Charlottesville serves more than 16,700 students and covers more than 1,000 suburban acres. 

Highlight: The University of Virginia  is organized into seven colleges/schools that offer more than 100 academic degrees.

Degree: Economics, BA 

9. Dartmouth College

dartmouth college

Dartmouth College ‘s Department of Economics offers a (BA) degree program in Economics that is ranked among the country’s best economics degrees. Students enrolled in Dartmouth College’s best degree in economics program take classes in public economics, labor economics, competition & strategy, finance, development economics, macroeconomics, and advanced theory, among others. Dartmouth also offers a baccalaureate level honors program for economics majors as well as study abroad opportunities in China, Poland, and Italy.

Dartmouth College is an ivy league institution of higher learning that was established in 1759. The college’s college-town campus in rural Hanover is home to more than 6,500 students and is more than 30,000 acres in size. Dartmouth consistently ranks among the country’s top institutions of higher education. 

Highlight: Dartmouth College’s campus sits atop a hill that overlooks the Connecticut River.

Degree: Economics, BA 

10. University of Chicago 

u chicago

The University of Chicago’s Griffin Department of Economics offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Economics that is ranked as one of the nation’s best economics degrees. Chicago’s best degree in economics program includes two concentrations in Data Science or Business Economics. Coursework for this undergraduate economics degree includes a senior thesis and a curriculum covering the fundamentals of economics, empirical data analysis sequences, and economic policy courses. The University of Chicago offers students internship opportunities through their many partnerships in and around the Chicago metropolitan area.

The University of Chicago (Chicago) was founded in 1890. The university’s campus in Hyde Park, the University of Chicago , covers more than 200 urban acres and serves more than 16,500 students. The University of Chicago  has been recognized among the fifteen brands of universities in the world. 

Highlight: Chicago’s business school, is recognized as the best in the country by US News.

Degree: Economics, BA 

11. University of Texas at Austin

u texas austin

The University of Texas at Austin Department of Economics offers one of the best economics degrees in the country with its Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Economics program. The University of Texas, located in Austin’s best degree in economics program includes coursework in macroeconomic theory, economic statistics, ethics and leadership, an independent study, a calculus course sequence, and microeconomics, to name a few. Degree candidates studying economics at Texas are required to complete 120 semester credits to graduate.

The University of Texas was founded in 1890. The University is a part of the University of Texas system with more than 51,400 students – the US’s 8th largest one-campus school. 

Highlight: The University of Texas, located in Austin, is a recognized public ivy league school despite its status as a public university. 

Degree: Economics, BA 

12. Cornell University

cornell u

Cornell University’s Department of Economics offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Economics that is considered among the best economics degrees available in the marketplace. This undergraduate economics major requires the completion of twelve courses from the economics curriculum from Cornell University. Cornell University also offers through its best degree in economics program, an honors program for students who demonstrated mastery and academic excellence, plus an independent study option for students who wish to work closely alongside a faculty member while studying for their economics degree.

Cornell University is a recognized ivy league school that was founded in 1865. Cornell operates several campuses in New York -upstate and in NYC, plus a campus in Qatar. 

Highlight: Cornell University holds the distinction of having a land-grant status as one of only a few private institutions of higher education.

Degree: Economics, BA 

13. University of Wisconsin

u wisconsin madison

The University of Wisconsin offers a BA in Economics that is considered among the best economics degrees in the United States. This 120-semsester credit best degree in economics program includes classes in econometrics, statistical measurements in economics, principles of macro and principles of microeconomics, and quantitative reasoning, to name a few. Madison also offers its baccalaureate economics majors the option of completing an accelerated plan in three years. Students delve deeply into related topics like finance, banking, international economics, and labor markets, among others.

The University of Wisconsin was established as a land grant university in 1848. The university is also a sea-grant institution of higher education and the official state school. The school’s college-town campus serves more than 43,000 students and covers nearly 1,000 acres. 

Highlight: The University of Wisconsin at Madison is recognized among the nation’s public ivy league higher learning institutions.

Degree: Economics, BA 

14. Texas A&M University

texas am

The Department of Economics housed at Texas A&M University offers two of the best economics degrees in the country. A&M offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree or Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Economics plus another two five-year joint degree programs in partnership with A&M’s School of Public Service and Government. Coursework for A&M’s best degree in economics program includes principles of macro- and microeconomics, sports economics, money & banking, gender economics and race, poverty and inequality, and economic development, to name a few.

Texas A&M University (A&M) was founded in 1871 under the Morrill Land Grant Act. The university is also a senior military college, a space-grant, and sea-grant school with a student enrollment that nears 70,000 students. 

Highlight: Texas A&M University in College Station is recognized as the A&M university system’s flagship campus.

Degree: Economics, BA/BS

15. University of Minnesota

u minnesota

The University of Minnesota’s Department of Economics offers two of the best economics degrees in the country. The University of Minnesota offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree or Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Economics (with two concentrations). These best degrees in economics programs from the University of Minnesota (include classes in econometrics, microeconomics, macroeconomics, statistical analysis, regression analysis, linear algebra, and calculus, to name a few. Additionally, BA economics majors are required to complete a capstone project.

The University of Minnesota (UMN) was founded in 1851 under the Morrill Land Grant Act. UMN is also a space-grant and flagship institution of higher learning. The university’s urban campus in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota, covers more than 2,500 acres and serves nearly 50,000 students. 

Highlight: The University of Minnesota (was established before Minnesota was a state but is now considered a public ivy league school.

Degree: Economics, BA 

16. Johns Hopkins University

johns hopkins

The Arts and Letters School at Johns Hopkins University offers a BA in Economics that is considered among the best economics degrees in the United States. Classes for Hopkins best degree in economics program includes economic development, international trade, probability & statistics, calculus, financial literacy, monetary economics, corporate finance, financial writing, and topics in international trade, to name a few. Students may opt for independent studies and internships, although they cannot be counted as semester credits.

Johns Hopkins University was founded in 1876. This private higher learning institution was named to honor its benefactor Johns Hopkins. Johns Hopkins University’s campus in Baltimore is home to more than 25,600 students, studying for the university’s ten divisions’ academic degrees. 

Highlight: Johns Hopkins University undergraduate education is considered to be among the top ten in national universities. 

Degree: Economics, BA 

17. Brown University

brown university

Brown University offers a BA in Economics that is considered among the country’s best economics degrees. Brown University’s best degree in economics program offers degree candidates six concentrations from which to choose – Economics, Economics with a Business Track, Computer Science and Economics, Math & Economics, Applied Math & Economics with a finance or economics track. Brown considers requests for transfer credits on a case by case basis. Classes included in this baccalaureate degree in economics include macro and microeconomics, calculus, econometrics, managerial economics, international trade, industrial organization and economics, and the law, to name a few.

Brown University is an ivy league institution of higher education that was founded in 1764. Brown’s urban campus in Providence, Rhode Island, covers more than 100 acres and serves more than 10,100 students. Forbes recognizes Brown University as one of the nation’s top ten innovative universities. 

Highlight: Brown University has a most impressive alumni list, including Horace Mann, JFK, Jr., Janet Yellen, plus a list of Nobel laureates and Turing Winners.

Degree: Economics, BA 

18. The Ohio State University 

ohio state u

The Arts and Sciences College at the Ohio State University offers two of the best economics degrees available in the education marketplace. Ohio State University offers a BA – Bachelor of Arts degree or Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Economics prepares degree candidates for rewarding work in the insurance industry or as consultants or economic analysts or researchers. Students enrolled in Ohio State University ’s best degree in economics program have the opportunity to study abroad for three semesters in many parts of Latin America.

Ohio State University was founded in 1870 as the result of the Morrill Land Grant Act. Ohio State University  is also a member school of the University System of Ohio, a sea-grant and a space-grant school with a student enrollment on all campuses that exceeds 61,100 students. 

Highlight: the main campus in Columbus is now considered the third-largest campus in the nation.

Degree: Economics, BA/BS

19. University of Maryland – College Park

u maryland

The Economics Department at The University of Marland offers two of the best economics degrees available in the country. The University of Maryland offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree or Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Economics with each academic path offering a slightly different approach to economics. The best degree in economics program requires learning economic analysis techniques, whereas the BA degree explores the various topics within the economics field.

The University of Maryland – College Park was founded under the Morrill Land Grant Act in 1856. The University of Maryland is also a flagship, space-grant, and sea-grant institution of higher learning with a student enrollment that exceeds 10,100 students. 

Highlight: In 2017, the university received one of the largest gifts to a public university, a $220 million gift from the Clark Foundation.

Degree: Economics, BA/BS

20. University of Delaware

University of Delaware wordmark.svg

Lerner Business and Economics at the University of Delaware offers two of the best economics degrees in the nation. UD offers a BA or BS degree in Economics, with a slight difference in the curriculum between both. The University of Delaware’sbest degree in economics program with a BS degree is a more quantitative approach, whereas the BA degree candidates must complete an intermediate language skill requirement. Students graduate from the University of Delaware ’s baccalaureate economics degree program to find gainful employment with Citi, Deloitte, JPMorgan Chase, and Vanguard, to name a few.

The University of Delaware was founded as a land grant institution of higher education in 1933. The university’s suburban campus in Newark is close to Philadelphia and Wilmington, and home to more than 23,900 students. 

Highlight: The University of Delaware holds the distinction of being the largest higher learning institution in the state.

Degree: Economics, BA/BS

21. Michigan State University

michigan state

The College of Social Science, located within Michigan State University offers a BA in Economics that is considered among the best economics degrees available in the education marketplace. This 120-semester credit best degree in economics program from Michigan State University  includes classes in comparative economic systems, international trade, economic analysis, behavioral economics, labor markets, and economics of environmental policy, to name a few. Michigan State University  has a residency requirement of 30 credits. MSU’s economics baccalaureate degree program offers several concentrations in microeconomics, industrial organization, education economics, development, urban economics, and health and welfare, to name a few.

Michigan State University was founded under the Morrill Land Grant Act in 1855. The university is also a sea-grant and flagship higher learning institution with one of the nation’s largest student enrollments – that nears 50,000. 

Highlight: Michigan State University  is world-renowned for its pioneering efforts in hospitality, supply chain, and packaging.

Degree: Economics, BA 

22. New York University

new york university

The Department of Economics at New York University offers two of the country’s best economics degrees for undergraduates. NYU offers a BS degree or a BA degree in Economics that offers degree candidates several concentrations. These various academic tracks available through NYU’s best degree in economics program include policy, theory, or a joint major with a computer science dual degree or mathematics. Classes for these undergraduate degrees from New York University include micro and macroeconomics, statistics for economists, economic theories, and calculus, to name a few.

New York University was established as a private higher learning institute in 1831. This private school’s campus in iconic Greenwich Village serves more than 51,100 students. NYU is ranked among the top 20 finest universities in the world by several college ranking services. 

Highlight: New York University  is considered a top feeder school for jobs on Wall Street and investment banking. 

Degree: Economics, BA/BS

23. Saint Louis University

saint louis u

The Business School at Saint Louis University offers a BA in Economics that is recognized as one of the best economics degrees in the country. Coursework for Saint Louis University’s best degree in economics program includes business statistics, microeconomics, econometrics, macroeconomics, algebra, sports economics, health economics, public choice & political economy, and calculus, among others. Degree candidates must complete 121 semester credits to meet graduation requirements. Most of Saint Louis University’s internships for baccalaureate students are paid internships in the Saint Louis greater metropolitan area.

Saint Louis University was chartered in 1818. Saint Louis University is considered as the oldest institution of higher education that is situated to the west of the Mississippi River, with a student enrollment that exceeds 12,100 students attending. 

Highlight: Saint Louis University boasts an impressive faculty to student ratio of 1 to 9.

Degree: Economics, BA 

24. University of Arizona

u arizona

The Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona offers two of the country’s best economics degrees for undergraduates. U of A offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and a BSBA – a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an academic emphasis in business economics. These University of Arizona  best degree in economics programs include classes in microeconomic analysis, world economic history, basic economic issues, the ethics of economics of wealth, the economics of crime, and law & economics, to name a few.

The University of Arizona was founded as a land-grant school in 1885. U of A is also a flagship, and space grant higher learning institution with athletic teams named the Wildcats. More than 45,800 students attend classes offered by the University of Arizona studying for degrees offered by the university’s 19 colleges/schools. 

Highlight: The University of Arizona  is recognized among the country’s top 35 national universities.

Degree: Economics, BA 

25. Brandeis University

brandeis u

Brandeis University offers a BA in Economics that is recognized as one of the best economics degrees in the nation, and the most popular of all Brandeis University’s majors. Coursework for Brandeis University’s best degree in economics program includes a survey of economics, microeconomics, macroeconomics, the global economy, environmental economics, statistics, money and banking, econometrics, and the economics of the Middle East, to name a few. In addition, students enrolled in Brandeis university’s baccalaureate economics degree program must complete an economics-related practicum to meet program requirements. 

Brandeis University was established in 1948. The university’s campus in Waltham, Massachusetts, serves more than 5,700 students. Brandeis has an esteemed list of alumni that includes Eleanor Roosevelt and Noble laureate R Mackinnon. 

Highlight: The university is named to honor the first Jewish Justice on the supreme court, Louis Brandeis.

Degree: Economics, BA

What Makes a Good School of Economics?

The best economics undergraduate schools have fierce competition for enrollment because they’re the best schools for economics undergrad students. However, that shouldn’t dissuade you from applying as these schools can give you a career boost through their connections and mentorships. In the event you can’t gain admission, you’re not out of luck. Some of the best undergraduate economics schools have a low profile, yet have a broad reach into many prestigious employers and alumni that are ready and willing to help an undergrad get their start. Don’t dismiss a smaller school because of it’s size as it can be a gateway into a career you never thought possible. 

How Do I Choose an Economics Degree?

When you decide you want to purse a degree in economics, you have to decide if you want to get your bachelor of arts with a major in economics or a bachelor of science with a major in economics. The best economics program for you can be in the bachelor of arts, or it may be within the bachelor of science. Here’s a breakdown of the difference between the two.

Bachelor of Arts in Economics

The bachelor of arts degree program focuses more on the theoretical aspect of economics than it does the mathematical aspect. On the surface, it may sound like the bachelors degree version isn’t as valuable as the bachelors of science version. The truth is, many of the top undergraduate economics programs offer a bachelor of arts degree for aspiring economics majors. Economics is both theoretical and mathematical, but it’s possible for a student to engage in one or the other with little overlap. Sometimes a student isn’t strong in math, but has a mind built for analytical theory. The best economics program for this type of student is the bachelor of arts in economics. 

Bachelor of Science in Economics

A student who finds themselves excited by the science of math will find that the bachelor of science in economics is the best economics program for their innate skills. This version of the degree focuses primarily on statistics, theory, algebra and geometry. While the degree has theoretical aspects, it does seek to use mathematical models to determine outcomes. The coursework is heavy on mathematics, but it also teaches students that, even though math is at the core of the work, they shouldn’t expect people to behave according to the mathematical results. 

At the core of both degree types is the fact that economists focus on the production and consumption of goods along with their distribution and the circulation and use of money to purchase goods. There is also the fact that there are schools of thought and definitions that underpin different economic states that have been proven time and again. A student can choose to further their education and focus on a particular branch of economics by getting their masters degree.

Is Economics a Good Career Choice?

Economics is a very good career choice for someone who wants to understand human nature and how it applies to economic models. Careers for econ majors are plentiful and there’s always a demand for people who have expertise with complex financial transactions and can study financial trends to determine potential outcomes. It’s also a field where a majority of the available positions are well-compensated. It’s very hard to go wrong when finding the best careers for economic majors. Some of the most common careers for econ majors include:

  • Business analyst
  • Investment analyst
  • Accountant
  • Financial manager
  • Market research analyst

Other careers with a major in economics that don’t work directly with money analysis include:

  • Statistician
  • Actuary
  • Healthcare analytics
  • Supply chain auditor
  • Insurance underwriter

You may have noticed that many econ majors careers focus on analytics and the study of theory. This is due to the fact that the field of economics is one that requires the constant study of data in order to determine one or many potential outcomes to a given problem. However, careers for economics majors aren’t all alike. Instead, econ majors careers offer variety and potential when it comes to finding a suitable role. 

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