Best Ivy League Schools for Finance

Ivy League finance graduate wearing grey trousers and red socks sitting down and reading the Business section of a newspaper.
August 28, 2023


Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 4/22/22

Studying finance at an Ivy League school can jumpstart your career and open doors to amazing opportunities. Whether you’re looking for Ivy League accounting programs, study abroad opportunities, and more, we’ll help you find the best Ivy League school for finance. 

Finance is a challenging and rewarding field. People who study finance at the undergraduate level can go on to work in banking, accounting, real estate, or other professional fields. Some people even go on to law school or Ph.D. programs. 

Top schools for finance majors include Ivy League schools. If you’re wondering which school to choose, look no further. This guide will show you the best Ivy League school for finance, explain the merits of each Ivy League school, and answer your burning questions. 

Which Ivy Is Best for Finance? 

According to our metrics, the best Ivy League school for finance is the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Read on for information about the Wharton School of Business.

Wharton Program Information

Wharton should make your list if you’re searching for colleges with the best finance programs. Ranked the #1 finance school by U.S. News, the Wharton School of Business attracts the best of the best. 

Overall, UPenn is ranked #8 in the Best National Universities. While this is lower than some Ivy League schools, UPenn’s finance program is top tier. 

Once enrolled in Wharton, all undergraduates pursue a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Economics. This degree has many concentrations, including a finance concentration. The concentrations consist of four upper-level courses to help you specialize in a particular field. Some concentrations include:

  • Accounting
  • Entrepreneurship & Innovation
  • Legal Studies & Business Ethics
  • Marketing
  • Real Estate

This is just a sample of the myriad pathways a student can take within the economics degree. Wharton comes out on top when evaluating the best business and finance schools in the Ivy League.


Wharton’s curriculum offers diverse courses to ensure students get a well-rounded education. First-years take one course in each of the following fields: 

  • Economics
  • Math
  • Writing

Beyond the first year, students take courses in various fields. 


Category Number of Required Courses
Leadership Journey 3 + 1 Capstone Project
Business Fundamentals 11
Global Economy, Business & Society 1
Technology, Innovation & Analytics 1
Business Breadth 3
Concentration (Business Depth) 4

Liberal Arts & Sciences: 

Category Number of Required Courses
Cross-Cultural Perspectives 3
General Education Distribution
Natural Science, Math & Engineering
Social Science
At Least 1
At Least 1
At Least 1

Liberal Arts and Sciences students must also complete an additional foreign language requirement. The remaining credits are unrestricted. You’ll be left with five electives, which can be in any subject. 

Study Abroad

Beyond the core curriculum, Wharton offers students many opportunities to further enrich their education. It has various study abroad programs, including:

  • Semester or Year Abroad: Many schools across the globe are approved to satisfy certain degree requirements. 
  • Penn Summer Abroad: UPenn professors run week-long to six-week courses worldwide. Summer 2023 locations include the Alps, Spain, France, and more.
  • Penn Global Seminars: These semester-long courses include short-term international travel relevant to the course material. 
  • Wharton Global Modular Courses: These intensive three to seven-day business courses run during school breaks and engage with local communities. 
  • Wharton International Program: These seven to nine-day courses include lectures, networking opportunities with alumni and businesses, and cultural engagement. 

The Wharton School of Business also offers an Industry Exploration Program, allowing students to engage in the business industry in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, D.C. 

With all that UPenn has to offer, we can safely call Wharton the best school for finance in the Ivy League. 

Are the Other Ivy League Schools Good for Finance Majors? 

Top ivy league schools for finance

Every Ivy League finance school has something to offer. Read on for a breakdown of the highlights of each school. 

Princeton University

Princeton University is at the top of U.S. News’ list, holding the #1 spot on Best National Universities. Its student-faculty ratio is 5:1, and its yearly tuition is $57,410.

Princeton offers a major in economics and a finance certificate that can go with any degree. This is a good option if you want to pair an education in finance with primary study in another field. Approximately one-third of students who pursue the finance certificate come from a department other than economics. 

Under the finance certificate, students can pursue one of seven tracks:

  • Mathematical Finance
  • Corporate Finance
  • Derivative Pricing and Risk Management
  • Investment Management
  • Information Technologies for Finance
  • Behavioral Finance
  • Finance and Public Policy

The Department of Economics offers a program in political economy. Princeton also offers study-abroad opportunities.

Princeton prepares its students for graduate study with a course intended to give them a taste of graduate-level coursework. This is a good option if you know you’ll want to pursue further education in economics, as it shows admissions committees that you have proven success at that level. 

Harvard University 

Ranked #2 in Best National Universities by U.S. News, Harvard is always an excellent school choice. It has small class sizes, with a student-faculty ratio of 7:1. Tuition at Harvard is $57,261.

Harvard’s economics concentration (major) has two honors tracks. You can pursue a thesis track to earn the highest or high honors or the Advance Course Track to earn honors. The concentration consists of many math and economics courses, as well as space for electives. 

As one of the best finance schools in the Ivy League, it’s no surprise that Harvard offers numerous study-abroad opportunities, research opportunities, and internships. 

The Harvard Undergraduate Economics Association is a student-run forum for students concentrating or interested in economics. It runs an essay contest, hosts a speaker series, and organizes an international competition for high school students. 

The Harvard Economics Review is run by undergraduate students in the economics program. It publishes cutting-edge research by industry professionals, politicians, faculty, and students. 

Columbia University 

Columbia University holds the #18 slot in Best National Universities by U.S. News. Its student-faculty ratio is 6:1, which means the class sizes are generally small. Tuition at Columbia is $65,524.

At Columbia, you can major in economics or financial economics, or you can join an economics degree with: 

  • Math
  • Political science
  • Philosophy
  • Statistics

Columbia offers research assistantships and teaching assistantships. It also has a job board where graduates can find full-time research opportunities and career opportunities. 

Every year, Columbia offers two prizes for the best senior thesis. There are several other honors and prizes that foster healthy competition in students, who push each other to perform at their highest level. 

The Columbia Economics Society connects students to industry professionals in various fields. It hosts many events with leading firms such as Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Bloomberg, and more. 

Yale University

Yale University is ranked #3 by U.S. News for Best National Universities. Its student-faculty ratio is 6:1, and its tuition is $62,250.

Yale offers an economics or interdepartmental major that pairs economics with math or computer science. Yale’s peer mentorship program is a great way for students to connect and collaborate. 

The Yale Women in Economics organization supports underrepresented gender minorities in economics. The school is committed to fighting gender imbalance and pushes to attract more women to its economics department, making it one of the top finance schools for women in the Ivy League. To learn tips from our experts on every step of the Yale admissions process, read our complete Yale guide.

Dartmouth College 

Dartmouth College is ranked #12 on Best National Universities by U.S. News. The student-faculty ratio is 7:1, and tuition is $62,430.

The economics major is the most popular degree stream at Dartmouth. Class sizes are capped at 15 students, so despite a robust program, students benefit from a more intimate learning experience. 

Dartmouth offers many opportunities to get involved in the economics community. The Fed Challenge is an academic competition that Dartmouth participates in. Teams travel to Boston to compete to become knowledgeable about the Federal Reserve. 

The Dartmouth Economics Research Scholars program provides additional mentoring to promising students to prepare them for graduate programs. The mentoring can include: 

  • Dinners
  • Workshops
  • Peer exchanges
  • Research collaborations with faculty

Like many Ivy League finance schools, Dartmouth offers study-abroad opportunities. It participates in exchange programs in Milan and Oxford. Dartmouth’s job board allows students to access information about research assistantships, fellowships, and internships. 

If you’re thinking of applying to Dartmouth, take a look at our Dartmouth college guide with everything you need to know about the school.

Brown University

Brown University holds the #13 spots in the U.S. News’ list of Best National Universities. The student-faculty ratio is 6:1, and tuition is $65,146.

Brown’s economics department offers a concentration (major) in economics and concentrations that pair applied math & economics, math & economics, or computer science & economics. 

Brown offers first-generation, low-income advising to students in need. Student employment can take the form of: 

  • Tutoring
  • Research assistantships
  • Teaching assistantships
  • Peer advising
  • Internships. 

Brown encourages its students to complete a senior capstone project. This can take the form of an: 

  • Honors thesis
  • Research assistantship
  • Teaching assistantship
  • Internship

Brown is ranked #5 in Senior Capstone by U.S. News.

Cornell University 

Cornell University is ranked #17 on Best National Universities by U.S. News. Its student-faculty ratio is 9:1, and tuition is $63,200.

Cornell offers an economics major with opportunities for honors study, independent study, and undergraduate research. The Economics Tutoring Center offers peer tutoring in specific areas of the economics degree stream. This is also an employment opportunity for students, as it’s staffed by undergraduate students. 

The Hatfield Undergraduate Research Program offers projects for students to get involved in, which give hands-on experience with applied economics. Cornell offers opportunities to intern in the capital through its Cornell in Washington program. It offers eight to ten courses every semester. 

To learn how to get into Cornell, take a look at our Cornell college guide.

Studying Finance at an Ivy League School: What to Expect 

Wherever you go, good schools for finance have robust curriculums incorporating economics and math courses. While some schools have a wider curriculum that includes liberal arts and science classes, others remain focused on economics for a concentrated education. 

You’ll set yourself up for success if you attend an Ivy League school. The Ivies are well-respected, with top-tier faculty and resources. They also have vast alumni networks that can help you reach your long-term career goals. However, some schools are better than others regarding particular programs. 

FAQs: Best Ivy League Schools for Finance 

Still have lingering questions about the best schools for finance in the Ivy League? Read on for answers to frequently asked questions about the best Ivy League Schools for finance. 

1. Which Concentration Should I Choose at UPenn? 

The Wharton School of Business at UPenn offers many concentrations for the economics major. You can choose whatever you feel will best serve your goals and ambitions. The full list is as follows:

  • Accounting
  • Behavioral Economics
  • Business Analytics
  • Business Economics and Public Policy
  • Business, Energy, Environment, and Sustainability
  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Finance
  • Health Care Management and Policy
  • Individualized
  • Legal Studies & Business Ethics
  • Management
  • Marketing & Communication
  • Marketing & Operations Management
  • Marketing
  • Operations, Information & Decisions
  • Real Estate
  • Retailing
  • Social Impact & Responsibility
  • Statistics

2. Do Ivy League Finance Schools Offer Study Abroad Opportunities? 

UPenn, Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, and Dartmouth all advertise their study abroad opportunities as part of their economics programs. 

3. What Ivy League Finance School Has the Smallest Class Sizes? 

The best school for small classes is Dartmouth, where economics classes are capped at 15 students. Princeton also has small class sizes across all programs of study, with a student to faculty ratio of 5:1.

4. What is the Best Ivy League School for Women in Finance? 

With its Women in Economics Organization, Yale is a great option for women looking to connect during their time studying economics. 

5. Which Top Finance Schools Offer Independent Study? 

UPenn and Cornell advertise their independent study opportunities as selling points for their programs. 

6. Which Ivy League is Best For Business and Economics? 

U.S. News ranks Wharton as the best Ivy League school for business. The best Ivy for economics is Harvard University. Other best Ivies for economics include Princeton and Yale. 

7. What Is the Best Ivy League School for an Accounting Program? 

Out of all Ivy League accounting programs/concentrations, Wharton claims the top spot yet again. In U.S. News’ Best Undergraduate Accounting Programs, UPenn claims the #6 spot. 

8. Which Ivy League School Should I Choose for Finance?

If you're uncertain about which Ivy League school is best for your finance studies, you could consider taking our "Which Ivy League College is Right for Me?" quiz. This quiz takes many factors into account, such as your intended major, to provide you with a personalized recommendation of the best Ivy League school for you based on your specific needs and preferences.

Final Thoughts

Every Ivy League finance school has its merits, and their respective resources make them some of the nation’s best finance schools. The best business and finance school in the Ivy League is UPenn because it offers students the most opportunities for a well-rounded education with many concentrations and study abroad programs. 

The other Ivy Leagues schools mentioned in this list are all great too. No matter where you go for your education in finance, you’ll be setting yourself up for success at an Ivy League school. With all this information to make your decision, the next step is to apply! Good luck!

Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Thanks ! You're now subscribed!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get A Free Consultation

Speak to a college admissions expert about how we can help you get into your dream school
Schedule a Call

You May Also Like

Before you go, here are a few facts about us!
The Quad Factor: Working with us can increase your chances of admission by 11x!

The Best of the Best: Our team comprises of only 99th percentile tutors and admissions counselors from top-ranking universities, meaning you work with only the most experienced, talented experts.

The Free Consultation: Our experts would love to get to know you, your background, goals, and needs. From there, they match you with a best-fit consultant who will create a detailed project plan and application strategy focused on your success.