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Best Undergraduate Programs by Area of Study

Universities and colleges around the country offer undergraduate degree programs in hundreds of different fields. Read on to learn more about using program rankings in your college decision-making process, and get ranking details for programs in some popular degree fields.

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This article looks into college rankings for programs in architecture, business, engineering and economics. Each highlighted school provides students the opportunity to specialize in a particular area of the discipline or to receive training to enter a career or pursue advanced education after undergraduate study.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Agriculture
  • Architecture
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Business
  • Communications and Journalism
  • Computer Sciences
  • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Legal
  • Liberal Arts and Humanities
  • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
  • Medical and Health Professions
  • Physical Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Transportation and Distribution
  • Visual and Performing Arts

School Overviews

A high-ranking undergraduate architecture program can be found at Cornell University. Notre Dame's business program and Massachusetts Institute of Technology's engineering program are considered the best in the country. Dartmouth offers a strong undergraduate economics program.

Cornell University in Ithaca, NY

School Highlight: This Ivy League school was named the top-ranked B.Arch program in the U.S. by DesignIntelligence in 2016.

Most architects are required to complete a professional degree program before they can become licensed. In 2015, the architecture journal DesignIntelligence ranked Cornell University's 5-year undergraduate architecture program the best in the nation. The school's Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) professional degree program provides students with an understanding of architectural theory, history and design. Students participate in design studios to pick up basic conceptual skills and learn to create physical and computer-generated models. They are also allowed the opportunity to study architecture in New York City and Rome for one semester.

University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, IN

School Highlight: Notre Dame was ranked tied as the 9th best undergraduate business program in the U.S., according to U.S. News & World Report in 2017.

According to U.S. News & World Report, Notre Dame offered an undergraduate business program tied for 9th in the nation in 2017. Undergraduate students enrolled in Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business can select their own major from the following categories: finance, marketing, accountancy, management (consulting management), entrepreneurship and information technology management. Students may participate in international study programs. A solid undergraduate degree program in business can provide students with a thorough understanding of business, finance and accounting theory and principles, as well as management, financial and accounting skills. Graduates are typically prepared to enter a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA

School Highlight: MIT was ranked first in the U.S. for undergraduate engineering education by U.S. News & World Report for 2017.

U.S. News & World Report ranks undergraduate engineering programs within schools that also offer a doctorate in the field. It chose Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge as having the best undergraduate engineering program in 2017. MIT offers undergraduate engineering degrees in eight areas, including chemical engineering, biological engineering, civil and environmental engineering and mechanical engineering. It also offers a flexible degree program option that allows students to complete the technical, core requirements of an engineering program while also incorporating multidisciplinary elements from fields like transportation, robotics or energy.

Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH

School Highlight: 17% of the class of 2015 majored in economics.

The most popular major at Dartmouth is economics, based on statistics for the class of 2015. The school takes a unique approach to economics education, with small class sizes that emphasize discussions with professors and other students. Students gain familiarity with the three core areas of economics: microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics. In the final year, they take a senior seminar course in which they engage with primary literature and write an empirical paper based on supervised research with faculty members in their field of interest. For 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked Dartmouth #11 among national universities.

Top Undergraduate Programs

Here is another school with excellent educational offerings in multiple fields.

  • U.S. News & World Report ranked Princeton University in Princeton, NJ, the top school among national universities for 2017. The most popular major for 2015 graduates was public policy analysis.

Students who want to pursue an undergraduate major in a particular subject may want to enroll at one of the best schools in that field.

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