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2020 Best Colleges for Economics

Approximately 47,528 economics degrees were granted to students last year in the United States. With so many options it can be difficult finding the best choice. This year's Best Colleges for Economics ranking analyzed 418 colleges and universities that offer a bachelor's degree in economics. We look at over 20 factors to determine the top 25 colleges for Economics students.

Choosing a Great Economics School

Best Colleges for Economics Your choice of economics school matters. This section explores some of the factors we include in our ranking and how much they vary depending on the school you select. Below we explain some of the most important factors to consider before making your choice:

Quality Overall is Important

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.

Over 80% of the schools in this list are in the top 4% of our overall quality ranking while the lowest ranked school on the list is still in the top 7%.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 52 to 1 )
Lowest Ranked Overall
Top Ranked Overall

Graduates Earn More After College

Economics graduates from schools on this list tend to earn more after college than those from other schools. While the average economics bachelors degree from U.S. colleges results in an average starting salary of $46,795, graduates of colleges on this list average $67,683.

Starting Salary  ( 57064 to 79135 )
$0
$89,800

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 Economics students vs. other majors.
  • Major Popularity - How many other economics students choose this school.
  • Accreditation - Whether a school is regionally accredited and/or a recognized economics related accrediting body.

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

Best Schools to Study Economics in United States

Explore the top ranked colleges and universities for economics majors. 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 418 schools analyzed, only 25 earned the distinction of being on this list.

Top 25 Best Economics Colleges

#1

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA

Harvard University is among your top options if you want to study economics. Located in the midsize city Cambridge, Harvard is a private not-for-profit college 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.

A preferred choice for economics undergraduates, there are about 401 individuals studying this program at Harvard. Economics majors from Harvard University receive an earnings boost of around $11,117 above the typical earnings of economics majors.

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#2

Duke University

Durham, NC

Duke University is a wonderful choice for individuals pursuing a Economics degree. Located in the large city Durham, Duke is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 1 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Duke is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Duke also offers 2 different higher degree levels in economics, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Duke University economics graduates make $22,117 more than the typical economics graduate.

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Columbia University in the City of New York is among your top options if you're planning on studying economics. Columbia is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the city of New York. This college ranks 26th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

For those interested in something more advanced, Columbia also offers 3 different higher degree levels in economics, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Columbia University in the City of New York economics majors earn $7,617 more than the average economics grad.

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#4

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL

University of Chicago is one of the best schools in the country for economics. UChicago is a large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Chicago. A Best Colleges rank of 8 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means UChicago is a great school overall.

University of Chicago is one of the most popular school to study economics in United States exceeding 421 graduates last year. Economics majors from University of Chicago get a earnings boost of approximately $15,317 over the typical earnings of economics graduates.

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#5

Georgetown University

Washington, DC

Georgetown is a large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Washington. This school ranks 42nd out of 1,727 colleges 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 economics, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. After graduation, economics students generally make around $68,700 at the beginning of their careers.

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#6

Princeton University

Princeton, NJ

Located in the suburb Princeton, Princeton is a private not-for-profit college with a medium-sized student population. This school ranks 20th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of New Jersey.

There are approximately 166 economics undergraduates studying this degree at Princeton.

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#7

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

Northwestern U is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Evanston. A Best Colleges rank of 10 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Northwestern U is a great school overall.

There are roughly 429 economics undergraduates studying this degree at Northwestern U. Grads of the economics program report average early career wages of $69,200.

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#8

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

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

Cornell University is one of the most popular school to study economics in United States with over 240 graduations last year. Students who graduate from this program state that they receive average early career income of $67,500.

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#9

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

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

There are approximately 244 economics undergrads studying this degree at UPenn. Students from the economics program at University of Pennsylvania earn $7,017 above the standard college graduate in this field shortly after graduation.

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#10

Yale University

New Haven, CT

Yale is a large private not-for-profit school located in the city of New Haven. A Best Colleges rank of 4 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means Yale is a great college overall.

There are roughly 260 economics undergraduates studying this degree at Yale. Economics graduates from Yale University get a earnings boost of around $13,717 above the typical earnings of economics graduates.

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#11

Stanford University

Stanford, CA

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

Stanford University is a fairly popular college to study economics in United States exceeding 115 graduates last year. Graduates from the economics program at Stanford University earn $13,217 above the standard college grad with the same degree shortly after graduation.

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#12

Rice University

Houston, TX

Rice is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit school located in the city of Houston. A Best Colleges rank of 15 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Rice is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Rice also offers 2 different higher degree levels in economics, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Rice University economics majors receive $5,417 more than the typical economics graduate.

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#13

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD

Located in the large city Baltimore, Johns Hopkins is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 16 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means Johns Hopkins is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Johns Hopkins also offers 3 different higher degree levels in economics, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Economics graduates from Johns Hopkins University get a earnings boost of approximately $3,117 over the average income of economics majors.

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Located in the city Los Angeles, USC is a private not-for-profit college with a very large student population. This school ranks 40th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

University of Southern California is a fairly popular college to study economics in United States exceeding 287 graduations last year. Students who complete this program report average early career wages of $47,300.

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#15

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN

Located in the city Nashville, Vanderbilt is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population. This college ranks 18th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Tennessee.

There are approximately 331 economics undergraduates enrolled in this program at Vanderbilt. Students who graduate from the economics program make around $68,100 for their early career.

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#16

Brandeis University

Waltham, MA

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

With 352 undergrads, Brandeis University is one of most popular schools to study economics in United States. Soon after graduation, economics students usually make about $59,100 in the first five years of their career.

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Located in the midsize suburb Santa Barbara, UCSB is a public school with a very large student population. This school ranks 125th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

A favorite major for economics undergrads, there are roughly 586 individuals studying this degree at UCSB. Soon after graduation, economics students typically earn about $59,200 in their early careers.

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#18

New York University

New York, NY

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

There are about 576 economics undergrads enrolled in this degree at NYU. Students who graduate from the economics program earn about $56,900 in their early career salary.

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#19

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. This school ranks 33rd out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of Virginia.

For those interested in something more advanced, University of Virginia also offers 2 different higher degree levels in economics, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Students who graduate from the economics program make around $59,700 in their early career salary.

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MIT is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Cambridge. A Best Colleges rank of 2 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means MIT is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, MIT also offers 2 different higher degree levels in economics, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship).

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#21

Boston College

Chestnut Hill, MA

Located in the city Chestnut Hill, Boston College is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population. This college ranks 58th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

There are about 455 economics undergraduates enrolled in this program at Boston College. Students who graduate from the economics program make around $65,800 in their early career salary.

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

For those interested in something more advanced, UCLA also offers 2 different higher degree levels in economics, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Graduates of the economics program make about $48,800 for their early career.

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#23

Brown University

Providence, RI

Located in the medium-sized city Providence, Brown is a private not-for-profit school with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 11 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means Brown is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Brown also offers 2 different higher degree levels in economics, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. After graduation, economics students generally make an average of $58,400 in the first five years of their career.

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Located in the medium-sized city Ann Arbor, U of Michigan is a public college with a very large student population. This school ranks 35th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of Michigan.

For those interested in something more advanced, U of Michigan also offers 2 different higher degree levels in economics, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Students who graduate from the economics program make an average of $57,200 in the first couple years of their career.

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

University of California - Berkeley is one of the most popular school to study economics in United States with over 676 graduates last year. Graduates of the economics program make about $63,000 in the first couple years of their career.

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Rest of the Top Best Colleges for Economics

#26

Dartmouth College

Hanover, NH
#27

Williams College

Williamstown, MA
#29

Middlebury College

Middlebury, VT
#30

College of the Holy Cross

Worcester, MA
#32

Tufts University

Medford, MA
#37

Boston University

Boston, MA
#38

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN
#39

Binghamton University

Vestal, NY
#40

Wellesley College

Wellesley, MA
#42

George Washington University

Washington, DC
#44

University of Delaware

Newark, DE
#45

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA
#47

Colgate University

Hamilton, NY
#48

Hamilton College

Clinton, NY
#49

Bucknell University

Lewisburg, PA

Remaining Award Winners

This list represents the remainder of the schools awarded a Best Colleges for Economics badge. Showing in this list means the school was ranked in the top 15% of the 418 different United States economics schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 Trinity College Hartford, CT
52 Rutgers University - New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ
53 Pomona College Claremont, CA
54 Wake Forest University Winston-Salem, NC
55 Tulane University of Louisiana New Orleans, LA
56 University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA
57 George Mason University Fairfax, VA
58 Southern Methodist University Dallas, TX
59 Grinnell College Grinnell, IA
60 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
61 DePauw University Greencastle, IN
62 University of Washington - Seattle Campus Seattle, WA

Additional Noteworthy Schools

Here are some additional great schools for Economics students that almost earned our Best Colleges for Economics award.

Rank College Location
63 Colby College Waterville, ME
64 Northeastern University Boston, MA
65 Washington University in St Louis Saint Louis, MO
66 American University Washington, DC
67 Bates College Lewiston, ME
68 Fordham University Bronx, NY
69 Pennsylvania State University - University Park University Park, PA
70 Lafayette College Easton, PA
71 Syracuse University Syracuse, NY
72 Davidson College Davidson, NC
73 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
74 Franklin and Marshall College Lancaster, PA
75 Colorado College Colorado Springs, CO
76 Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY
77 Emory University Atlanta, GA
78 Swarthmore College Swarthmore, PA
79 College of William and Mary Williamsburg, VA
80 University of Rochester Rochester, NY
81 Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN
82 Virginia Military Institute Lexington, VA
83 Ohio State University - Main Campus Columbus, OH

Economics by Region

View the Best Colleges for Economics for a specific region near you.

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

One of 13 majors within the Social Sciences area of study, Economics has other similar majors worth exploring.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Political Science & Government 44,651
Sociology 37,615
General Social Sciences 19,123
International Relations & National Security 14,908
Anthropology 12,008

View All Economics 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 pixabay.

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