Best Economics Schools

Updated on January 4, 2024

Economics is a popular field of study for students interested in business, finance, public policy, international relations, and more. Getting a degree from one of the top economics schools can open up opportunities for high-paying jobs, admission to top graduate programs, and impactful career paths. Here are 10 of the best undergraduate economics programs in the United States based on factors like curriculum, facilities, career outcomes, and more.

Harvard University

Location: Cambridge, MA

Rating: 10/10

Acceptance Rate: 4.9%

Avg SAT Score: 1510

Tuition: $51,000 per year

Website: www.harvard.edu

Harvard University’s economics department is world-renowned for its rigorous academic programs and accomplished faculty. Students have access to ample research opportunities, small classes, and hands-on learning experiences. Graduates go on to top companies, finance careers, consulting firms, think tanks, government agencies, and elite graduate programs.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Location: Cambridge, MA

Rating: 10/10

Acceptance Rate: 6.7%

Avg SAT Score: 1530

Tuition: $53,450 per year

Website: www.mit.edu

MIT has an excellent economics department that emphasizes analytical thinking, research, and quantitative skills. Students take advanced econometrics, mathematics, and statistics coursework to prepare for data-driven careers. MIT econ graduates are highly sought after by Wall Street, Silicon Valley, management consulting firms, and Ph.D. programs.

Stanford University

Location: Stanford, CA

Rating: 10/10

Acceptance Rate: 4.3%

Avg SAT Score: 1495

Tuition: $57,699 per year

Website: www.stanford.edu

Stanford offers exceptional programming for economics majors, including honors thesis options, research assistant positions, and study abroad opportunities. Small classes allow for close engagement with distinguished faculty. Graduates pursue careers in economic consulting, policy analysis, entrepreneurship, asset management, and more.

University of Chicago

Location: Chicago, IL

Rating: 10/10

Acceptance Rate: 6.2%

Avg SAT Score: 1560

Tuition: $61,971 per year

Website: www.uchicago.edu

The University of Chicago’s economics program is recognized for its balanced emphasis on theories, quantitative analysis, and real-world applications. Undergraduate students produce innovative research and regularly co-author papers with leading professors. Alumni go on to highly influential roles in finance, public policy, technology, and academia.

Yale University

Location: New Haven, CT

Rating: 10/10

Acceptance Rate: 6.1%

Avg SAT Score: 1510

Tuition: $60,260 per year

Website: www.yale.edu

Yale offers one of the country’s most rigorous and competitive economics majors for undergraduates. There are ample opportunities for research with renowned faculty, advanced coursework in econometrics and mathematical economics, and real-world projects analyzing markets, trade, and fiscal policy. Graduates pursue impactful careers in banking, consulting, government, and development economics.

Princeton University

Location: Princeton, NJ

Rating: 10/10

Acceptance Rate: 5.8%

Avg SAT Score: 1510

Tuition: $57,690 per year

Website: www.princeton.edu

Princeton is revered for its economics programming emphasizing complex theory translated into solutions for real-world problems. Undergraduates produce pioneering research, benefit from small classes with devoted professors, and graduate prepared for leadership roles in finance, public policy, and global affairs.

University of Pennsylvania

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Rating: 9/10

Acceptance Rate: 7.7%

Avg SAT Score: 1520

Tuition: $63,073 per year

Website: www.upenn.edu

UPenn’s Wharton School of Business has one of the country’s highest-ranked undergraduate business and economics programs, emphasizing finance, data analysis, and practical applications. Students benefit from cross-disciplinary collaboration, experiential learning opportunities, and access to accomplished alumni networks in diverse industries.

Dartmouth College

Location: Hanover, NH

Rating: 9/10

Acceptance Rate: 8.8%

Avg SAT Score: 1500

Tuition: $60,027 per year

Website: www.dartmouth.edu

Dartmouth offers a flexible, interdisciplinary economics major focusing on public policy, financial markets, and analytical decision-making. The program provides a foundational understanding of economic theories combined with empirical research skills and real-world projects. Graduates pursue impactful careers in government, business, nonprofits, and more.

Duke University

Location: Durham, NC

Rating: 9/10

Acceptance Rate: 7.7%

Avg SAT Score: 1520

Tuition: $63,058 per year

Website: www.duke.edu

Duke’s economics program emphasizes analytical reasoning, research skills, and communicating complex ideas. Undergraduate students produce innovative scholarship alongside distinguished faculty and have access to experiential education opportunities. Graduates pursue careers as consultants, investment bankers, CEOs, government officials, and leading academics.

Brown University

Location: Providence, RI

Rating: 9/10

Acceptance Rate: 6.9%

Avg SAT Score: 1500

Tuition: $64,173 per year

Website: www.brown.edu

Brown has an interdisciplinary economics department encouraging creative thinking and real-world impact. Undergraduates can conduct original research, benefit from small seminars, pursue dual concentrations, and tailor their education across social sciences. Graduates apply economic theories to address complex societal problems as leaders in business, policy, journalism, and humanitarian fields.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What classes do economics majors take?

Common economics coursework includes microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, statistics, economic history, international trade, financial markets, public economics, monetary policy, economic development, game theory, labor economics, and mathematical economics. The curriculum emphasizes both practical skills and theoretical knowledge.

Do I need to be good at math to major in economics?

Strong quantitative and analytical abilities in areas like statistics, calculus, and linear algebra will help you succeed when studying complex economic theories and data trends. Top programs require proficiency in advanced math.

What jobs can I get with an economics degree?

An economics major provides foundational skills valued across business, government, nonprofits, and more. Common careers include financial analyst, data scientist, economic consultant, investment banker, hedge fund manager, commodities trader, policy advisor, humanitarian economist, journalist, and academic researcher.

Should I double major or minor in something?

Complementary disciplines like computer science, applied math, statistics, and public policy provide useful crossover skills for economics careers emphasizing data analysis and forecasting. Some students pursue dual concentrations or add minors in specialized interests like environmental studies.

Is going to graduate school necessary?

A master’s degree or Ph.D. can advance your expertise in niche specializations and open up roles in research, academia, and advanced economic analysis. However, a bachelor’s degree may suffice for those pursuing general corporate or government roles. Elite firms recruit talent directly from top undergraduate programs.

How can I get good research opportunities as an undergrad?

Apply for competitive research assistant roles, summer fellowship programs, and to co-author papers led by professors. Pursuing honors thesis projects, independent studies, and entering student research paper competitions also helps build your skills.

Should I study abroad as an econ major?

Studying international economics, development, and public policy courses abroad provides useful cultural immersion and global perspective. Short-term or semester programs offer credit-earning opportunities to study at foreign universities while expanding your worldviews.

Is graduate school necessary for economics jobs?

While some roles in economic research, forecasting, quant analysis, and academia expect or require advanced degrees, many entry and mid-level economics jobs are accessible to those with bachelor’s degrees from reputable undergraduate programs.

What classes help prepare me for economics?

Robust coursework in high school calculus, statistics, micro- and macroeconomics APs helps build a strong foundation for college economics. Complementary social sciences like history, political science, and psychology also help contextualize real-world issues.

Are there jobs in sports economics?

The multibillion dollar sports industry intersects business management principles with economic theories. Analyst roles with major leagues, teams, broadcasting networks, and more leverage data to project budgets, salaries, endorsements, viewership demand, marketing optimizations, and complex deal structures.

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Rohit Mittal

Rohit Mittal is the co-founder and CEO of Stilt. Rohit has extensive experience in credit risk analytics and data science. He spent years building credit risk and fraud models for top U.S. banks. In his current role, he defines the overall business strategy, leads debt and capital fundraising efforts, leads product development, and leads other customer-related aspects for the company. Stilt is backed by Y Combinator and has raised a total of $275M in debt and equity funding to date.