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When choosing the best economics program, a person has to consider how well rounded the curriculum is. The program should have a solid math foundation. Additionally, when a person chooses from the top undergraduate economics programs, it’s important to review all the classes a person has to take. The best economics undergraduate programs provide students with an education that covers the social issues associated with economics along with finance.

As a person searches for the best economics program, a person will see that he or she can choose to earn a bachelor of arts in economics or a bachelor of arts in business administration with a concentration on economics. Both offer top undergraduate economics programs, but a person needs to recognize his or her career goals prior to making a decision. For example, the best economics undergraduate for someone who wants to go on to work with the government or in law is a bachelors in economics.

Methodology: Ranking the Best Economics Degrees

Searching out the best economics bachelor’s degree programs is no small task; there are so many programs, including Ivy League, top-tier private research institutions, and the most respected public universities. But Bachelor’s Degree Center editors are focused on programs that will have a real impact on students’ careers, so our ranking is based on practical factors that translate to job market success – Cost, Reputation, and Salary Potential. Data was gathered from College Scorecard, IPEDS, and Niche. Only accredited, reputable institutions are considered.

1. Stanford University

Stanford University’s School of Humanities & Sciences offers a BA in Economics that is recognized among the best degree in economics programs in the nation. Stanford’s best economics degrees offer students several academic tracks – Finance, Policy, Research & Strategy, Behavioral & Experimental, and International Policy. Stanford University’s BA in Economics degree program requires the completion of 80 credit units in economics, of the total credits needed to earn the undergraduate degree. Transfer credit requests

Stanford University was established in 1891. Stanford is a private institution of higher education that consistently ranks among the top universities across the globe. Stanford’s 8,000+ acres is located near Silicon Valley and is home to more than 17,000 students studying from the school’s three colleges/schools and 40+ academic divisions.

Highlight: The founders of Stanford University modeled the school after the great institutions of higher learning on the East Coast, like Cornell.

Degree: BA in Economics

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers the best degree in economics program that is taught by the highly qualified staff at MIT. Students enrolled in MIT’s undergraduate economics degree program study economics from both theoretical and applied perspectives. Coursework for one of the best economics degrees available includes Macroeconomics, Statistics, Econometrics, and Microeconomics, among others. Degree candidates find rewarding work in the fields of business, consulting, the government, academia, and public policy. Many undergraduate degree graduates choose to earn their graduate degree after a few years of experience.

MIT was founded in 1861. MIT is recognized as a sea-grant, space-grant, and land grant institution of higher education. MIT’s urban campus shares Cambridge, Massachusetts, with Harvard University as its main campus.

Highlight: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is recognized for its tremendous academic contributions to the areas of engineering, science, mathematics, and technology.

Degree: Economics

3. Duke University

Duke University’s Economics Department offers two of the best economics degrees in the country. Students can select from a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree program or a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree program. The BA degree is designed for economic historians or academic economists, whereas the BS degree offers a more practical quantitative approach that prepares degree graduates for rewarding careers in business or finance. Duke’s BS best degree in economics program can be completed with a concentration in finance.

Duke University was established in 1838 as the Brown School. Duke University’s Durham campus covers more than 8,500 acres (across three interconnected campuses) and serves nearly 16,000 students. Duke University also operates a 15-acre marine lab on the Atlantic Coast and 50+ acres of gardens that were established after the Great Depression.

Highlight: Duke University is consistently recognized as one of the globe’s most elite institutions of higher learning.

Degree: BA or BS in Economics

4. University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania offers two of the best economics degrees in the nation. Students interested in economics can opt for UPenn’s Bachelor of Science (BS) degree program or a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree program in Economics. UPenn’s best degree in economics degrees include coursework Micro and Macroeconomics, Statistics for Economists, Strategic Reasoning, Medical Economics, and Econometrics, to name a few. Students may request transfer credits, which require prior approval from the economics department staff.

Benjamin Franklin established UPenn – the University of Pennsylvania – in 1740. UPenn’s alumni reads like a list of whos-who; 60+ billionaires, 40+ governors, and 8 Declaration of Independence signers. UPenn’s campuses are home to nearly 22,000 students studying for degrees offered by the undergraduate and graduate colleges/schools within the university.

Highlight: The University of Pennsylvania holds the distinction of being one of the US’s nine colonial colleges, those established before the American Revolution.

Degree: BA or BS in Economics

5. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina offers two of the best degree in economics programs. Students attending UNC Chapel Hill can choose a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science in Economics degree program. Economics majors at UNC Chapel Hill spend the first two years studying at UNC Chapel Hill’s general school and must pass a calculus course before embarking on their major. Coursework for these best economics degrees includes Econometrics, and Economic Theory, to name a few.

UNC – The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, was established in 1789. UNC Chapel Hill is the flagship school of the University of North Carolina system. The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill’s 700+ acre campus is home to nearly 30,000 students and nearly 3,700 academic staff members.

Highlight: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is one of three institutions of higher education that stake claim to being the oldest public school in the nation.

Degree: BA or BS in Economics

6. Georgetown University

Georgetown University’s Department of Economics offers a BS in Economics degree program that is recognized among the best economics degrees available. Georgetown’s best degree in economics program includes coursework as follows – Macro and Microeconomics, Economic Statistics, and Principles of Economics, to name a few. Degree candidates must complete ten economics courses, plus calculus, to earn the economics major degree. Economics majors find rewarding work as an Investment Banker, a Financial Analyst, a Statistician, a Professor, or a Consultant, among other jobs. Many Georgetown graduates choose to earn their graduate degree or Ph.D.

Georgetown University was established in 1789. Georgetown University’s urban campus covers more than 100 acres and services more than 19,000 students studying for degrees in one of nearly 50 disciplines. Georgetown students operate the largest student-run financial company.

Highlight: Georgetown University is recognized as being the school that produces more United States Diplomats than any other school.

Degree: BS in Economics

7. Columbia University

Columbia University offers six of the best degree in economics programs. Available economic concentrations from Columbia University includes Financial Economics, Economics – Mathematics, Economics – Philosophy, Economics – Political Science, Economics, and Economics – Statistics. Degree candidates in any economic major must complete two semesters of Calculus or the honors math sequence. Core economic courses take a scientific approach and include Macro and Microeconomics, Econometrics, and the Political Economy. Transfer credits are permitted with prior approval of Columbia’s economics department for Columbia University’s best economics degrees.

Columbia University was established in 1754. Columbia University is consistently ranked among the top ten schools across the globe. Columbia’s urban campus is nearly 300 acres and home to more than 33,000 students.

Highlight: Columbia University is recognized as one of the nine colonial colleges an ivy league school and the oldest institution of higher learning in the Empire State of New York.

Degree: Economics – 6 concentrations

8. University of Virginia

The University of Virginia offers one of the best economics degrees across the country. UVA’s Department of Economics offers interested students several economic major concentrations – Financial Economics, Industrial Organization, International Economics, and Public Policy UVA’s best degree in economics includes coursework of Game Theory, Economics of Sports, Economics of Health, and Antitrust Policy to name a few. Credit for transfer credits must receive prior approval from the Department of Economics. UVA offers degree candidates the opportunity to study abroad for courses that apply to the economics degree.

Thomas Jefferson founded UVA – the University of Virginia – in 1819. The University of Virginia is the flagship institution of higher education within the University of Virginia system. The school’s small city campus is home to more than 24,000 students.

Highlight: UVA is credited with two of the top scientific breakthroughs in 2015 alone.

Degree: Economics Major

9. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois offers a best degree in economics through its Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree program in Economics or its Bachelor of Science (BS) degree program in Economics. UI Urbana-Champaign’s best economics degrees include coursework of statistics, economics, and calculus, to name a few. Degree candidates graduate from UI’s economics degree program prepared to apply their specialized knowledge across diverse economic issues using quantitative reasoning and sound problem-solving skills. Undergraduate economics majors are encouraged to join with faculty members to conduct research on an independent study.

The University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign was established in 1867 under the Morrill Land Grant Act. The school is also recognized as a flagship campus, sea-grant, land-grant and space-grant university. More than 51,000 students attend classes at UI Urbana-Champaign.

Highlight: The University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign’s library system is the 2nd largest in the country, second only to Harvard University.

Degree: BA or BS in Economics

10. University of California, Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley’s Department of Economics offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree program in Economics that is recognized among the best economics degree in the nation. Economics majors in the honors program studying at UC Berkeley have the option to participate in research that concludes with a senior thesis. Coursework for UC Berkeley’s best degree in economics includes Macro and Microeconomics, real Estate & Urban Land Economics, Econometrics, and History of Economic Thought, to name a few. UC Berkeley also provides study abroad opportunities for its economic degree candidates.

The University of California–Berkeley was established in 1868. UC Berkeley is the flagship (and oldest) campus of the University of California system. The school’s 1,000+acres serves more than 43,000 students studying from the school’s fourteen colleges/schools.

Highlight: The University of California–Berkeley is regularly recognized among the top public institutions of higher learning in the United States and the world.

Degree: BA in Economics

11. Texas A&M University

Texas A&M University’s (Texas A&M College Station) College of Liberal Arts offers two of the best economics degrees available in the country. Texas A&M University provides a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BS) degree program in Economics. The BA best degree in economics develops critical and analytic thinking through the study and research of economic principles & theory. The BS economics degree program prepares students to apply critical thinking skills to better understand the behavior of individuals. Both the BS and the BA economics degrees from Texas A&M can be combined to earn dual degrees.

Texas A&M University–College Station was established in 1871. The school is the flagship campus of the system and a sea-grant, space-grant, land-grant, and senior military college. Texas A&M’s college town campus covers more than 5,000 acres and serves nearly 70,000 students.

Highlight: Texas A&M University–College Station is recognized as one of the founding schools of the Texas A&M university system.

Degree: BA or BS in Economics

12. University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin’s Department of Economics offers one of the best economics degrees in the country. UT Austin’s Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Economics requires a student to complete 120 credit hours to graduates. Coursework for the best degree in economics includes in residence programs (at UT Austin) of Macro and Microeconomics, Economic Statistics, and Econometrics for a total of 18 credit hours taken in-residence. Economics majors find rewarding work in business, law, international relations medicine, and government agencies.

The University of Texas at Austin was established in 1883 as a public institution of higher education dedicated to research. UT Austin is home to the LBJ library & museum and the Blanton Art Museum. The student enrollment at UT Austin exceeds 51,000.

Highlight: The University of Texas at Austin is recognized among education experts as a public ivy league university.

Degree: BA in Economics

13. University of Notre Dame

The University of Notre Dame offers one of the best economics degrees available in the United States. Coursework for Notre Dame’s best degree in economics includes Macroeconomics and Microeconomics, Economic Growth, Economics of the Family, Statistics, Game Theory, and monetary policy, to name a few. Degree candidates can opt to a concentration in Financial Economics and Econometrics. Degree graduates enter the workforce in the field of management, banking, consulting, business, the government, and marketing.

The University of Notre Dame was founded in 1842. The school is affiliated with the Catholic Church – the Congregation of Holy Cross. Notre Dame’s main campus exceeds 1,200 acres and is home to more than 12,000 students.

Highlight: The University of Notre Dame has a student to faculty ratio of 10 to 1.

Degree: Economics

14. Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business/Dietrich College of Humanities & Social Sciences offers five of the best economics degrees available in the country. The best degree in economics programs includes a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Economics, a BS in Economics & Politics, a BS in Economics & Mathematical Sciences, or a BS in Economics & Statistics degree program. US News recognizes CMU’s undergraduate business program fifth in the country. Students enrolled in CMU’s have the opportunity to study abroad during their academic career at Carnegie Mellon University.

Andrew Carnegie established Carnegie Mellon University in 1900. CMU merged with the Mellon Institute in the late 1960s. The downtown Pittsburgh campus covers more than 125 acres and serves nearly 15,000 students. Carnegie Mellon University is organized into seven schools/colleges.

Highlight: Carnegie Mellon University operates more than ten international locations on six continents.

Degree: Economics – 5 majors

15. University of Georgia

The University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business offers two of the best degree in economics programs in the United States. UGA’s undergraduate economics programs include a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Economics or a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Economics. Students enrolled in UGA’s best economics degrees take classes in Labor Economics, Sports Economics, Urban Economics, Economic Analytics of Law, and Game Theory, to name a few. Graduates find rewarding work as Underwriters, Auditors, Actuaries, or Financial Analysts, among others.

The University of Georgia was established in 1785. The University of Georgia is recognized as one of the oldest public institutions of higher education in the country. The school’s university-town campus is home to more than 38,000 students and a list of alumni that reads like a whos who.

Highlight: UGA is only one of four schools in the United States to be a land-grant, space-grant, sea-grant, and sun-grant university.

Degree: BA or BBA in Economics

16. University of Minnesota Twin Cities

The University of Minnesota offers two economics degrees considered to be among the best economics degrees available across the country. U of M offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree and a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree program in economics, plus a BA in Economics with a concentration in quantitative analysis. U of M’s best degree in economics programs includes coursework like Micro and Macroeconomics, Calculus I & II, Econometrics, plus a senior seminar/project. All BA economics majors are required to complete a capstone project.

The University of Minnesota was established in 1851 under the Morrill Land Grant Act. In addition, U of M is the flagship campus of the University of Minnesota system and space-grant university. The school’s urban campuses are home to nearly 48,000 students.

Highlight: Academic Ranking of World Universities recognizes U of M among the top 50 schools worldwide.

Degree: BA or BS in Economics

17. Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University’s Department of Economics offers several degree programs that allow students to choose a major or minor in Economics. Coursework for Vanderbilt’s best degree in economics program includes Macro and Microeconomics, Econometrics, and Statistics, among others. Students enrolled in Vanderbilt University’s best economics degrees can also dual major in History & Economics by completing an Interdisciplinary major declaration. Vanderbilt University offers a study abroad program for economics majors, and the option to transfer credits from other accredited institutions of higher learning.

Vanderbilt University was established in 1873. The school was founded by the rail magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt. The school’s urban campus more than 300 acres and serves more than 13,000 students.

Highlight: Vanderbilt University’s campus, despite its urban environment, is a recognized national arboretum.

Degree: Economics

18. Rice University

Rice University’s Department of Economics offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree program in Economics that is ranked among the best economics degrees in the nation. The school also provides the economics major of Mathematical Economic Analysis. Graduates from Rice University’s best degree in economics programs enter the workforce as Management Consultants, Research Analysts, Health Care, Journalism, Government, and Education, among others. Degree Candidates complete coursework in Applied Econometrics, Game Theory, Principles of Economics, and Micro- & Macroeconomics.

Rice University was established as a private institution of higher learning in 1912. The school’s urban acreage is home to more than 7,100 students and more than 650 academic staff members. Forbes Magazine ranks Rice about 21st for liberal arts schools. The Princeton Review recognizes Rice’s students as the happiest.

Highlight: Rice University boasts a student faculty ratio of 6 to 1.

Degree: BA in Economics

19. University of Maryland

The University of Maryland’s Department of Economics offers two of the most sought-after and best economics degrees in the country. Students can opt for the University of Maryland’s Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree program or the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree program in Economics. UMD’s best degree in economics programs differs as follows – the BA program covers the concept of economics comprehensively while the BS in economics program prepares students to implement techniques to analyze economic data. Core coursework for both economics degrees includes Micro- and Macroeconomics, Economic Statistics, and Econometrics, to name a few.

The University of Maryland was established in Maryland Agricultural College in 1856. UMD is the flagship campus of the University of Maryland system and a space-grant, sea-grant, and land-grant institution of higher learning.

Highlight: The University of Maryland holds the distinction of having the most significant student enrollments in the State of Maryland and the greater DC area.

Degree: BA or BS in Economics

20. Boston College

Boston College offers a BS in Economics that is recognized among the best economics degrees available throughout the country. Boston College’s best degree in economics program includes coursework of Statistics, Econometric Methods, and Macro- and Microeconomics. Economic students are encouraged to study abroad by attending classes in London, Dublin, Spain, Italy, and Australia. Students graduate prepared to enter their careers in business, medicine, finance, law, and environmental science, to name a few. BC offers excelling students the option of completing an honors’ thesis.

Boston College was established in 1863. The school was founded and remains affiliated with the Roman Catholic (Jesuit) Church. Boston College is organized into nine colleges/schools which serve nearly 15,000 students. BC’s men’s ice hockey program has taken home five national championship trophies.

Highlight: Boston College operates campuses in Chestnut Hill, Brighton, and Newton Mass.

Degree: BS in Economics

21. Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University offers a BS in Economics that is ranked consistently among the best degree in economics program available today. Students enrolled in Johns Hopkins’ best economics degrees study and master economic, theoretical models that help understand how markets, consumers, and economies operate. An economics degree from Johns Hopkins prepares degree graduates for rewarding careers in law, banking, medicine, public service, or the government. Coursework includes Financial Writing, Economics of Discrimination, Corporate Finance, and Monetary Analysis, to name a few.

Johns Hopkins University is a private university established in 1876. Johns Hopkins University operates several campuses in Maryland, DC, China, and Italy. The school’s student enrollment exceeds 26,000 students, of which more than 20,000 are graduate students.

Highlight: Johns Hopkins University’s men’s lacrosse team has won more than 40 national titles.

Degree: BS in Economics

22. Binghamton University (SUNY)

Part of the State University of New York system, Binghamton University offers two of the best economics degrees available on the market today. Students attending SUNY Binghamton may opt to complete a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree program in Economics offered by SUNY Binghamton. Binghamton’s best degree in economics BA program prepares students with a comprehensive curriculum in the principles of economics, whereas the BS program prepares students to analyze economic policies using economic tools of discovery. Students can opt to earn a master’s degree in public administration or economics with one additional year of study.

Binghamton University was established as Triple Cities College in 1950. Bingham University is a member school of the State of New York University system. The school’s 900+ acre campus serves nearly 18,000 students studying for degrees offered by the school’s nine colleges/schools.

Highlight: Binghamton University has been recognized among the country’s public ivy league schools.

Degree: BA or BS in Economics

23. Washington University in St. Louis

Washington University in St. Louis offers a BS in Economics ranked among the best degree in economics degree programs available. WashU’s best economics degrees require degree candidates to complete classes in Business Finance, International Trade, Managerial Accounting, Economics Techniques, and Macro/Microeconomics, to name just a few. Students must apply for WashU’s economics program already possessing six credit units of college-level courses that are transferrable or taken at University College. International students must also submit an IELTS or TOEFL score on application.

Washington University in St. Louis was established in 1853. The school’s urban campus covers more than 325 acres and serves more than 15,000 students. WashU is recognized among the top 20 national schools by US News and World Report.

Highlight: Washington University in St. Louis has been selected more than any other location to host a vice-presidential or presidential debate, hosting the Trump/Clinton debate in 2016.

Degree: BS in Economics

24. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Rutgers University offers a BA in Economics that is considered among the best economics degrees in the country. Students looking to earn their BA in Economics from Rutgers must complete 25 credits of core economic class, plus other relevant and related electives that include Derivatives, Finance, Investments, and Corporate Finance. Core courses for Rutgers’ best degree in economics include Applied Economics, Calculus, Statistics, Economics of Labor and Economics of Health, to name a few.

Rutgers University was established as Queen’s College in 1766. Rutgers operates several campuses through New Jersey and serves a student population that nears 69,000 students. Rutgers’ campus is about 45 minutes from Philadelphia and about an hour from downtown New York City.

Highlight: Rutgers University holds the distinction of being one of only nine colonial schools (schools founded before the American Revolution) in the United States.

Degree: BA in Economics

25. Michigan State University

Michigan State University’s College of Social Sciences and Department of Economics offers two economic degree programs recognized among the best economics degrees across the country. Michigan State University offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree and a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Economics that prepare students for rewarding careers in banking, insurance, consultants, education, public policy, management, the government, or law, among others. The best degree in economics programs offered by MSU includes coursework that covers both international and domestic economic policies.

Michigan State University (MSU) was established in 1855 as a result of the Morrill Land Grant Act. The school is also a sea-grant institution of higher learning. The school’s suburban campus covers more than 10,000 acres and serves a student enrollment that exceeds 50,000.

Highlight: US News recognizes MSU among the top 35 best public schools in the country.

Degree: BA or BS in Economics

What Makes a Good School of Economics?

When choosing the best school of economics, it’s essential to look into schools that offer the type of program that a person wants, whether that’s online or on campus. The next step to selecting the best undergraduate economics school is to compare what the school has to offer. For instance, the best economics undergraduate schools provide a student with access to connections to employment opportunities. The best schools for economics undergrad are well respected and have a history of adequately preparing students for a career in economics.

Another aspect that the top undergraduate economics schools have is the opportunity for mentorship. The reason why this is so important in terms of the best school of economics is because a mentor can guide a student. The best undergraduate economics schools have mentors because these individuals provide insight that can only be provided by someone who has experience in the field.

Current research is important when choosing from the best economics undergraduate schools. The reason why the best schools for economics undergrad have a strong research base is because economics is a real-world study, and the field is ever-changing. Therefore, the top undergraduate economics schools need to take this into account.

The top schools for economics undergraduate have a well-rounded program. Plus, the top schools for economics undergraduate have a strong math base.

Is Economics a Good Career Choice?

When a person sets out to earn a degree, he or she must look toward the future and take into account several factors. For one, a person needs to evaluate the careers for econ majors. Some examples of careers with a major in economics include a market research analyst, economic consultant, actuary, financial analyst, or a policy analyst. Other examples for econ majors include a compensation and benefits analyst, management consultant, or a business reporter.

The options for econ majors careers expand if a person decides to earn a master’s degree after his or her bachelor’s. For instance, careers for economics majors who possess a master’s in economics include an economist, policy analyst, and even a professor. With a master’s, a person can earn a teaching certificate and educate future students about economics in a two-year college.

Besides understanding the careers with a major in economics, a person should also know about the salary of econ majors careers. As a market research analyst, one of the careers for economics majors who possess a bachelor’s, a person can earn an average of $63,120 per year, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). As one of the best careers for economics majors, a person who’s a management consultant earns an average of $83,610 per year and only needs to possess a bachelor’s degree in economics.

As mentioned above, a person can choose to further his or her education after earning a bachelor’s. A master’s in economics increases a person’s marketability when looking for a job. A person can take for a position as an economist if he or she has a master’s. This is one of the best careers for economics majors because a person can earn over $100,000 per year. According to the BLS, an economist earns a median salary of $104,340 per year as an economist. This is the same as $50.16 hourly.

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