Best Universities for Economics Majors with Program Overviews

Read about some of the best schools in the nation to offer economics programs for undergrads. Discover school ranking and program information to make an informed decision about your education.

Many top institutions across the country offer bachelor's degree programs in economics. Explore a few of these top schools and various distinctions in their programs.

School Overviews

Economics is a social science that deals with the production, allocation, and utilization of goods and services. There are many universities and colleges that have highly-regarded economics departments in the United States, including Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Columbia University. All of these schools are highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report and offer special areas of study in the economics field that can prepare graduates for a variety of careers.

Harvard University in Cambridge, MA

School Highlight: Harvard University is ranked #2 on the U.S. News and World Report 2017 list of top national universities.

Along with MIT, Harvard tied for first-place ranking among schools offering economics programs, according to U.S. News & World Report in 2013 (the most recent year this data was compiled).

Harvard's economics program is designed to make students analyze the world as economists, which is accomplished by teaching students to think in terms of transactions and incentives. Students initially spend their first year in the economics program learning various aspects of microeconomics and macroeconomics, such as social analysis, theories and statistics. Upper-level coursework includes international, environmental and labor economics. After graduating, the majority of Harvard economics alumnus find employment in business, politics, teaching, and social service.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, MA

School Highlight: MIT faculty conduct research programs for the National Bureau of Economic Research and other organizations.

Ranked as the seventh-best national university in the country in 2017 by U.S. News and World Report, Massachusetts Institute of Technology's economics department has been training economists, educators and business leaders for over a hundred years.

The school's undergraduate program in economics begins with two semesters of introductory courses that focus on microeconomics and macroeconomics. In their second year, students can take classes in a variety of economic subjects such as public economics, health economics, international economics, economic theory and economic development. MIT's economics department also features the Undergraduate Economics Association, which serves as a forum for students to come together and discuss various issues with professors.

Columbia University in New York, NY

School Highlight: Columbia ranked #5 among all national universities, according to U.S. News & World Report in 2017.

Columbia University ranked #10 in 2013 for schools offering economics programs, according to U.S. News & World Report. The economics faculty is known for research in a wide variety of fields as well as for receiving major distinctions in the field.

The undergraduate program in economics offers the traditional major in economics as well as majors in financial economics and economics paired with mathematics, philosophy, political science or statistics. The traditional economics major requires core courses in micro and macroeconomics as well as statistics and calculus courses.

Top Economics Schools

Here we will discuss some additional top schools with economics majors.

  • Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, allows economics students access to six centers and institutes, including the Center for Analytic Economics and the Labor Dynamic Institute.
  • New York University in New York City has economics faculty members that include a Nobel Prize winner and twelve fellows for the Econometric Society.
  • Northwestern University is located in Evanston, IL. In 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked Northwestern #7 in the nation among schools offering economics programs.
  • Stanford University in Stanford, CA, ranked #4 on U.S. News & World Report's 2015 list of best value schools.
  • The University of California in Los Angeles has an economics department that boasts strong alumni interaction, and offer interactive lab courses, conferences, internships and mentorships with the alumni.
  • The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor gives undergraduate economics students the chance to win many scholarships and prizes, such as the Sims Honor Scholarship in Economics.
  • The University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia earned the #9 spot on U.S. News & World Report's 2013 list of best schools for economics.

Students interested in pursuing a bachelor's degree in economics can choose from many top universities throughout the country, including Harvard and MIT. Each top school offers a unique economics program that sets it apart from other institutions.

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