What Are the Best Schools Offering Economics Degrees?

Find tips for selecting a school to study economics. Learn about specialization areas and school rankings for three of the top schools with economics degree programs. Explore the core coursework you should expect to learn and review a list of ten additional top schools offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in economics. Schools offering Economics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are the Characteristics of the Best Schools Offering Economics Degrees?

Although most programs have some set course requirements, the best schools will give you opportunities to pursue your own interests in economic theory or application, whether you attend seminars, participate in workshops or take on independent study projects. You may also get to study abroad to experience another country's economy or take courses at an international university for transfer credit. Faculty members at a top school are known for their achievements and have specific teaching and research interests in a particular branch of economics, such as international trade, macroeconomics, finance or econometrics.

Major universities often have research centers and programs that specialize in economic research and may feature guest speakers from major organizations. It is a good idea to see if a school offers jobs placement options and career services to assist you when you graduate.

What Are Three Top Schools Offering Economics Degrees?

Harvard University in Cambridge, MA

Tied for first place for its graduate program in economics in 2017 and ranked the second-best national university in 2019, according to the most current rankings available from U.S. News & World Report, Harvard University is known for its economics department. Harvard features professors who have a wide range of economics research interests, such as international economics, economic history, econometrics and labor economics. The Quarterly Journal of Economics at Harvard is the oldest English economics journal in the U.S. Recent Harvard economics graduates have obtained jobs at a variety of recognized organizations, including Goldman Sachs, the World Bank and the RAND Corporation. Harvard offers degrees in:

  • Primary Concentration in Economics (undergraduate)
  • Secondary Field in Economics (undergraduate)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Economics

Stanford University in California

According to U.S. News & World Report, Stanford University was ranked #7 for national universities in 2019 and tied for the top economics school in 2017.

Stanford is home to the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), which aims to influence policymakers and create an economic policy that benefits people. SIEPR is comprised of multiple programs and research centers that each focus on a different area of economics. Stanford also offers additional job resources if you're pursuing a degree in the economics department, such as practice job talks and help with preparing letters of recommendation before you seek employment. The graduate economics program allows you to choose from a number of specializations, including economic history, labor economics and environmental economics. You can pursue the following degrees at Stanford:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Economics
  • Master of Arts in Economics
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Economics
  • J.D./M.A. or J.D./Ph.D in Economics
  • Ph.D./MPP in Economics and Public Policy

University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia

U.S. News & World Report listed the University of Pennsylvania (UP) as #8 in national universities in 2019 and #10 for its economics program in 2017. UP is home to the Penn Institute of for Economic Research, which gives you opportunities to attend lectures and conferences, explore economics papers and connect with other people in the economics community. The faculty members at UP have research interests in microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics. UP is also home to the International Economic Review, which has been around since 1960. UP offers these degrees:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Economics
  • Bachelor of Arts in Mathematical Economics
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Economics

Top Schools Offering Economics Degrees

College/University Institution TypeLocationEstimated Undergrad In-State Tuition*
Massachusetts Institute of Technology4-year, PrivateCambridge, MA$52,000
Princeton University4-year, PrivatePrinceton, NJ$50,000
University of Chicago4-year, PrivateChicago, IL$58,000
University of California-Berkeley4-year, PublicBerkeley, CA$14,000
Northwestern University4-year, PrivateEvanston, IL$54,500
Yale University4-year, Private New Haven, CT$53,000
Columbia University 4-year, Private New York, NY$59,000
New York University4-year, PrivateNew York, NY$52,000
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities4-year, PublicMinneapolis, MN$15,000
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor4-year, PublicAnn Arbor, MI$15,000

*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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