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2021 Best Colleges for Economics

Approximately 48,196 economics degrees were granted to students last year in the United States. With so many choices it can be difficult finding the best fit for you. This year's Best Colleges for Economics ranking analyzed 276 colleges and universities that offer a bachelor's degree in economics. We look at over 20 factors to determine the top 15% of schools 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 3% of our overall quality ranking while the lowest ranked school on the list is still in the top 4%.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 39 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 $72,848.

Starting Salary  ( 64891 to 82108 )
$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 colleges for Economics students.

Best Schools to Study Economics in the United States

Below you'll see a list of the best colleges and universities to study economics. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list.

Top 25 Best Economics Colleges

#1

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL

University of Chicago is among your top options if you're planning on studying economics. UChicago is a large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Chicago. This college ranks 19th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Illinois.

There are about 460 economics undergraduates studying this program at UChicago. University of Chicago economics students make $10,152 more than the average economics graduate.

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#2

Duke University

Durham, NC

Duke University is a wonderful option for individuals interested in a Economics major. Located in the city Durham, Duke is a private not-for-profit college with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 2 out of 1,715 schools 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. Graduates from the economics major at Duke University get $16,952 above the typical college graduate in this field when they enter the workforce.

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#3

Claremont McKenna College

Claremont, CA

It is difficult to beat Claremont McKenna College if you wish to study economics. Claremont McKenna is a small private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Claremont. This school ranks 23rd out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

Claremont McKenna College is a fairly popular school to study economics in United States exceeding 109 graduates last year. Graduates from the economics major at Claremont McKenna College get $9,552 above the standard college grad in this field shortly after graduation.

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#4

Yale University

New Haven, CT

Any student pursuing a degree in economics needs to look into Yale University. Yale is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the medium-sized city of New Haven. A Best Colleges rank of 10 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Yale is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Yale also offers 2 different higher degree levels in economics, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Graduates from the economics degree program at Yale University earn $8,552 more than the standard college graduate in this field shortly after graduation.

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#5

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA

Located in the midsize city Cambridge, Harvard is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 3 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Harvard is a great college overall.

With 382 students enrolled, Harvard University is one of most popular schools to study economics in United States. Economics majors from Harvard University get a earnings boost of about $5,952 above the average income of economics graduates.

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Columbia is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the city of New York. This school ranks 32nd out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of New York.

There are roughly 438 economics undergraduates enrolled in this degree at Columbia. Graduates from the economics program at Columbia University in the City of New York earn $2,452 above the typical graduate in this field shortly after graduation.

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#7

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

Northwestern U is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Evanston. A Best Colleges rank of 12 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Northwestern U is a great college overall.

Northwestern University is a fairly popular college to study economics in United States with over 424 graduates last year. Students who complete this program report average early career income of $69,200.

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#8

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

Located in the city Philadelphia, UPenn is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 9 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means UPenn is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, UPenn also offers 2 different higher degree levels in economics, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Graduates of the economics program state that they receive average early career income of $74,700.

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#9

Stanford University

Stanford, CA

Located in the large suburb Stanford, Stanford is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 6 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Stanford is a great school overall.

A popular choice for economics undergrads, there are roughly 125 learners enrolled in this degree at Stanford. Stanford University economics majors receive $8,052 more than the average economics student.

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#10

Boston College

Chestnut Hill, MA

Located in the small city Chestnut Hill, Boston College is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. This college ranks 61st out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

There are about 452 economics undergrads enrolled in this degree at Boston College. Students who graduate from the economics program earn an average of $65,800 in the first couple years of working.

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#11

Williams College

Williamstown, MA

Located in the fringe town Williamstown, Williams is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. A Best Colleges rank of 7 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Williams is a great school overall.

A favorite major for economics undergraduates, there are about 141 students enrolled in this degree at Williams. Students who graduate from the economics program earn an average of $73,500 for their early career.

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#12

Rice University

Houston, TX

Rice is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Houston. A Best Colleges rank of 11 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Rice is a great school overall.

A popular major for economics undergrads, there are approximately 125 students enrolled in this program at Rice. Graduates of the economics program state that they receive average early career wages of $73,100.

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#13

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN

Located in the city Nashville, Vanderbilt is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population. This school ranks 24th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Tennessee.

There are approximately 326 economics undergraduates enrolled in this degree at Vanderbilt. Graduates of the economics program earn an average of $68,100 in their early career salary.

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#14

Georgetown University

Washington, DC

Georgetown is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Washington. This school ranks 55th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of District of Columbia.

There are approximately 309 economics undergraduates studying this program at Georgetown. After getting their bachelor's degree, economics students typically earn about $68,700 in the first five years of their career.

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#15

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD

Located in the city Baltimore, Johns Hopkins is a private not-for-profit college with a very large student population. This school ranks 20th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Maryland.

There are about 363 economics undergrads studying this degree at Johns Hopkins. Students who complete this degree report average early career income of $70,800.

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#16

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 15 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Dartmouth is a great college overall.

There are approximately 172 economics undergraduates studying this degree at Dartmouth. Graduates from the economics program at Dartmouth College earn $11,352 above the standard graduate in this field shortly after graduation.

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#17

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Charlottesville, VA

Located in the suburb Charlottesville, University of Virginia is a public college with a very large student population. This college ranks 42nd out of 1,715 colleges 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 for their early career.

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#18

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

Cornell is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Ithaca. A Best Colleges rank of 17 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Cornell is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Cornell also offers 2 different higher degree levels in economics, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Students who graduate from this degree report average early career earnings of $67,500.

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#19

Pomona College

Claremont, CA

Located in the large suburb Claremont, Pomona is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. A Best Colleges rank of 8 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Pomona is a great school overall.

Pomona College is one of the most popular school to study economics in United States with over 49 graduates last year. Graduates from the economics program at Pomona College get $7,952 more than the standard college graduate in this field when they enter the workforce.

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#20

Brandeis University

Waltham, MA

Brandeis is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the small city of Waltham. This school ranks 75th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

For those interested in something more advanced, Brandeis also offers 2 different higher degree levels in economics, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Soon after graduating, economics students typically earn around $59,100 in the first five years of their career.

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Located in the medium-sized city Berkeley, UC Berkeley is a public college with a very large student population. This college ranks 69th out of 1,715 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 economics, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship). Students who graduate from the economics program make around $63,000 in their early career salary.

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#22

Swarthmore College

Swarthmore, PA

Swarthmore is a small private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Swarthmore. This school ranks 21st out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Pennsylvania.

A favorite choice for economics undergraduates, there are about 82 students enrolled in this program at Swarthmore. Students who graduate from the economics program make around $74,500 in the first couple years of working.

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Located in the midsize city Ann Arbor, U of Michigan is a public school with a fairly large student population. This school ranks 38th out of 1,715 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. Graduates of the economics program make around $57,200 in the first couple years of their career.

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#24

Middlebury College

Middlebury, VT

Located in the town Middlebury, Middlebury is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. This college ranks 35th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Vermont.

There are roughly 106 economics undergraduates studying this degree at Middlebury. Students from the economics degree program at Middlebury College make $2,552 above the average college grad with the same degree shortly after graduation.

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#25

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN

Notre Dame is a large private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Notre Dame. A Best Colleges rank of 14 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Notre Dame is a great college overall.

There are approximately 208 economics undergraduates enrolled in this degree at Notre Dame. Students who complete this program state that they receive average early career earnings of $64,300.

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Rest of the Top Best Colleges for Economics

#26

New York University

New York, NY
#27

Brown University

Providence, RI
#31

Trinity College

Hartford, CT
#32

College of the Holy Cross

Worcester, MA
#33

Colgate University

Hamilton, NY
#35

Tufts University

Medford, MA
#37

Amherst College

Amherst, MA
#38

Wellesley College

Wellesley, MA
#40

Boston University

Boston, MA
#41

Northeastern University

Boston, MA

Additional Noteworthy Schools

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

Rank College Location
42 University of Rochester Rochester, NY
43 Santa Clara University Santa Clara, CA
44 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
45 Bowdoin College Brunswick, ME
46 Hamilton College Clinton, NY
47 Barnard College New York, NY
48 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
49 George Washington University Washington, DC
50 University of Maryland - College Park College Park, MD
51 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
52 Lafayette College Easton, PA
53 Emory University Atlanta, GA
54 University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA
55 Bates College Lewiston, ME

Economics by Region

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

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
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 47,035
Sociology 37,611
General Social Sciences 19,694
International Relations & National Security 15,207
Anthropology 11,703

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. More about our data sources and methodologies.

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