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2020 Best Colleges for Area Studies

Approximately 7,156 area studies degrees were granted to students last year in the United States. With so many choices it can be a daunting task finding the best choice. This year's Best Colleges for Area Studies ranking analyzed 170 colleges and universities that offer a bachelor's degree in area studies. We look at over 20 factors to determine the top 25 schools for Area Studies students.

Choosing a Great Area Studies School

Best Colleges for Area Studies Your choice of area studies school matters. Important measures of a quality area studies program can vary widely even among the top schools. When choosing a school we recommend considering some of the following factors:

A Great Overall School

A school that excels in educating for a particular major must be a great school overall as well. To make it into this list a school must rank well in our overall Best Colleges ranking. This ranking considered factors such as graduation rates, overall graduate earnings and other educational resources to identify great colleges and universities.

The lowest ranked school in our list is in the top 7% of our overall quality ranking while the vast majority are in at least the top 5%.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 77 to 6 )
Lowest Ranked Overall
Top Ranked Overall

Above Average Earnings After Graduation

Area Studies graduates from schools on this list tend to earn more after college than those from other schools. While the average area studies bachelors degree from U.S. colleges results in an average starting salary of $32,162, graduates of colleges on this list average $35,847.

Starting Salary  ( 30222 to 43777 )
$0
$52,000

Other Factors We Consider

In addition to the above, you should consider some of the following factors:

  • Major Focus - How much a school focuses on Area Studies students vs. other majors.
  • Major Popularity - How many other area studies students choose this school.
  • Accreditation - Whether a school is regionally accredited and/or a recognized area studies related accrediting body.

Our full ranking methodology documents in more detail how we consider these factors to identify the best schools for Area Studies students.

Best Schools to Study Area Studies in United States

Below you'll see a list of the best colleges and universities to study area studies. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list. Of the 170 schools analyzed, only 25 earned the distinction of being on this list.

Top 25 Best Area Studies Colleges

#1

Georgetown University

Washington, DC

Any student who is interested in area studies has to check out Georgetown University. Georgetown is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Washington. This school ranks 42nd out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of District of Columbia.

For those interested in something more advanced, Georgetown also offers 2 different higher degree levels in area studies, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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#2

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA

It is difficult to beat Harvard University if you wish to study area studies. Located in the midsize city Cambridge, Harvard is a private not-for-profit school with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 5 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Harvard is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Harvard also offers 2 different higher degree levels in area studies, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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#3

Yale University

New Haven, CT

Any student who is interested in area studies needs to check out Yale University. Yale is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of New Haven. A Best Colleges rank of 4 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Yale is a great college overall.

There are approximately 91 area studies undergrads studying this program at Yale. Area Studies graduates from Yale University earn a boost of about $3,353 over the average income of area studies majors.

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#4

Brown University

Providence, RI

Any student pursuing a degree in area studies needs to take a look at Brown University. Located in the medium-sized city Providence, Brown is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 11 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means Brown is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Brown also offers 2 different higher degree levels in area studies, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Graduates of the area studies program state that they receive average early career income of $37,000.

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#5

Brandeis University

Waltham, MA

Brandeis is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the city of Waltham. This college ranks 68th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

For those interested in something more advanced, Brandeis also offers 2 different higher degree levels in area studies, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Soon after getting their bachelor's degree, area studies students typically make about $37,300 in their early careers.

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#6

Stanford University

Stanford, CA

Located in the suburb Stanford, Stanford is a private not-for-profit college with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 7 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Stanford is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Stanford also offers 2 different higher degree levels in area studies, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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Located in the city Berkeley, UC Berkeley is a public school with a fairly large student population. This school ranks 65th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

For those interested in something more advanced, UC Berkeley also offers 2 different higher degree levels in area studies, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Grads of the area studies program state that they receive average early career earnings of $37,400.

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#8

Trinity College

Hartford, CT

Trinity Bantams is a small private not-for-profit school located in the city of Hartford. This school ranks 90th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Connecticut.

In addition to its bachelor's programs, Trinity Bantams offers a Master's Degree in area studies.

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Located in the city Los Angeles, UCLA is a public college with a fairly large student population. This college ranks 49th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, UCLA also offers a Master's Degree in area studies. Graduates of the area studies program earn about $28,900 for their early career.

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#10

College of William and Mary

Williamsburg, VA

Located in the small suburb Williamsburg, William & Mary is a public school with a moderately-sized student population. This school ranks 61st out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of Virginia.

There are about 53 area studies undergrads studying this program at William & Mary. Students who graduate from the area studies program make about $23,100 in the first couple years of working.

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#11

Princeton University

Princeton, NJ

Located in the suburb Princeton, Princeton is a private not-for-profit school with a medium-sized student population. A Best Colleges rank of 20 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means Princeton is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Princeton also offers 2 different higher degree levels in area studies, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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#12

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

Cornell is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the small city of Ithaca. A Best Colleges rank of 12 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means Cornell is a great school overall.

A popular choice for area studies undergrads, there are approximately 39 learners enrolled in this program at Cornell. Graduates from the area studies degree program at Cornell University make $4,953 more than the typical graduate in this field shortly after graduation.

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Located in the city Ann Arbor, U of Michigan is a public college with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 35 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means U of Michigan is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, U of Michigan also offers 4 different higher degree levels in area studies, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Graduates of the area studies program make around $32,900 in the first couple years of working.

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#14

New York University

New York, NY

Located in the city New York, NYU is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. This college ranks 129th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

For those interested in something more advanced, NYU also offers 4 different higher degree levels in area studies, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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#15

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

Located in the large city Philadelphia, UPenn is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 3 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means UPenn is a great school overall.

University of Pennsylvania is one of the most popular school to study area studies in United States with more than 11 graduations last year.

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Columbia is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of New York. A Best Colleges rank of 26 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Columbia is a great school overall.

There are about 115 area studies undergrads studying this program at Columbia. Columbia University in the City of New York area studies students make $5,453 more than the average area studies student.

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#17

Dickinson College

Carlisle, PA

Dickinson is a small private not-for-profit school located in the city of Carlisle. This school ranks 88th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of Pennsylvania.

There are about 42 area studies undergrads studying this program at Dickinson. Graduates of the area studies program make an average of $34,600 for their early career.

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UW Seattle is a very large public school located in the city of Seattle. This college ranks 84th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Washington.

For those interested in something more advanced, UW Seattle also offers 2 different higher degree levels in area studies, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Soon after graduating, area studies students usually make around $32,300 at the beginning of their careers.

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Located in the large city Austin, UT Austin is a public school with a fairly large student population. This college ranks 78th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Texas.

For those interested in something more advanced, UT Austin also offers 2 different higher degree levels in area studies, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. After getting their bachelor's degree, area studies students generally make an average of $29,500 in the first five years of their career.

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#20

Dartmouth College

Hanover, NH

Dartmouth is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the town of Hanover. A Best Colleges rank of 9 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Dartmouth is a great school overall.

There are roughly 35 area studies undergrads enrolled in this degree at Dartmouth. Area Studies students from Dartmouth College earn a boost of about $16,153 above the average earnings of area studies graduates.

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#21

Bowdoin College

Brunswick, ME

Located in the town Brunswick, Bowdoin is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. A Best Colleges rank of 25 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means Bowdoin is a great school overall.

There are about 55 area studies undergraduates studying this degree at Bowdoin.

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#22

Wesleyan University

Middletown, CT

Located in the city Middletown, Wesleyan U is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. This school ranks 54th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of Connecticut.

There are about 93 area studies undergraduates studying this program at Wesleyan U.

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#23

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Charlottesville, VA

Located in the suburb Charlottesville, University of Virginia is a public school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 33 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means University of Virginia is a great college overall.

In addition to its bachelor's programs, University of Virginia offers a Master's Degree in area studies. Graduates from the area studies program at University of Virginia - Main Campus make $4,153 above the average college grad in this field shortly after graduation.

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#24

Barnard College

New York, NY

Located in the large city New York, Barnard is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. This college ranks 104th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

With 40 students enrolled, Barnard College is one of most popular schools to study area studies in United States.

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Located in the small city Chapel Hill, UNC Chapel Hill is a public school with a fairly large student population. This school ranks 50th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of North Carolina.

For those interested in something more advanced, UNC Chapel Hill also offers 2 different higher degree levels in area studies, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship). Graduates of the area studies program report average early career income of $31,400.

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Rest of the Top Best Colleges for Area Studies

Additional Noteworthy Schools

These are some additional schools worth mentioning that are also great but just didn't quite make the cut to earn our top Best Colleges for Area Studies award.

Rank College Location
26 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
27 Washington University in St Louis Saint Louis, MO
28 Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN
29 Duke University Durham, NC
30 Colgate University Hamilton, NY
31 Tulane University of Louisiana New Orleans, LA
32 Williams College Williamstown, MA
33 University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign Champaign, IL
34 University of California - San Diego La Jolla, CA

Area Studies by Region

View the Best Colleges for Area Studies for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
The Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

Area Studies is one of 2 different types of Area, Ethnic, Culture, & Gender Studies programs to choose from.

Majors Similar to Area Studies

Related Major Annual Graduates
Ethnic Studies 7,727

View All Area Studies Related Majors >

Notes and References

  • The bars on the spread charts above show the distribution of the schools on this list +/- one standard deviation from the mean.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to Karl Udo Gerth.

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