Your Guide To The Best Economics Schools

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September 13, 2022
Best Schools for Economics Best Economics Schools: FAQs

”Mary

Reviewed by:

Mary Banks

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 5/4/22

Interested in going to the best economics school? Below, we’ll be going over the best colleges for economics and what they can offer potential students.

Economics has become a very sought field of study for a long time. It can lead to a plethora of career opportunities in countless fields. This guide will help you find the best school to get your economics degree.

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Best Schools for Economics 

Below, you’ll find a list of the best schools for economics and what sets them apart from the rest.

Harvard University

Harvard University
Source: Britannica

Ranked #1 for best economic school in the US 

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Acceptance rate: 5%

Program duration: four years for an undergraduate degree, five years for a PhD

Tuition: $53,968

Harvard University offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in economics. The economics department at Harvard offers undergraduates opportunities to enhance their knowledge. 

Undergraduates have the opportunity to join a Semester Undergraduate Program for Economics Research (SUPER), where they get paired up with a faculty member for a semester-long research assistant program. There are also many other research assistant internships and funding opportunities available to students.

Harvard’s PhD program offers students fellowships, research assistantships, and teaching fellowships. These hands-on experiences will prepare students for their futures in the economic field.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT
Source: Britannica

Ranked #1 for best economic school in the US 

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Acceptance rate: 7%

Program duration:

Tuition: Undergraduate, Masters, and P.hD. degrees are #27,755/term.

The Economics Department of MIT offers three undergraduate majors: Economics, Mathematical Economics and Computer Science, and Data Science. MIT offers students research opportunities under MIT's Research Opportunities Program (UROP). UROP has students work closely with faculty members to hone their technical skills in modern economics.

MIT's Department of Economics has also introduced its first Master's program in Data, Economics, and Development Policy (DEDP). This Master's program combines both online and in-person classes. 

For higher education, MIT offers a doctoral program where students take microeconomic theory, macroeconomics, and econometrics classes. Students also collaborate with faculty members in various research in conjunction with their studies.

Stanford University 

Stanford University
Source: The Stanford Daily

Ranked #1 for best economic school in the US 

Location: Stanford, California

Acceptance rate: 5%

Program duration: four years for an undergraduate degree and five years for a PhD

Tuition: $57,693

Stanford University provides an undergraduate degree in economics. They offer many economic programs that can advance to a major or a minor in economics. Stanford's Department of Economics also offers students a chance to participate in research opportunities.

Stanford University does not offer a stand-alone Master's degree in economics. However, a master's option is available as an add-on degree for those currently enrolled in the Economics PhD program.

Stanford offers only a PhD minor to those pursuing a PhD in another field. There are joint degree programs available at Stanford, such as their JD/MA and JD/PhD programs. 

Princeton University

Princeton University building
Source: Princeton University

Ranked #4 for best economic school in the US 

Location: Princeton, New Jersey

Acceptance rate: 6%

Program duration: four years for an undergraduate degree and five years for a PhD

Tuition: $57,410 for undergraduate

Princeton University’s Department of Economics offers students pursuing both an honors undergraduate degree and a non-honors undergraduate degree a chance to participate in independent research. 

Students participate in two intensive year-long independent research projects: Junior Independent Work (JIW) and the Senior Thesis. 

JIW begins in the Fall semester and has students attending lectures, workshops, and advisor meetings. Students will then complete their Junior Paper in the Spring term.

To complete their undergraduate degree, students must write their Senior Thesis. 

University of California-Berkeley

UC Berkeley
Source: The Cultural Landscape Foundation

Ranked #4 for best economic school in the US 

Location: Berkeley, California

Acceptance rate: 17%

Program duration: four years for an undergraduate degree and five or six years for a PhD

Tuition: $14,252 for undergraduate, and $55,850 for PhD

The University of California Berkeley's Economics department offers undergraduate and PhD degrees to students.

Their undergraduate program offers students research opportunities to enhance their skills and knowledge. For instance, their Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP) has students working closely with faculty members on innovative research. 

Berkeley's PhD program for economics is designed for students who want to pursue economics in a more advanced and technical environment. The Economics Department also helps students who have received or will receive their PhD in Economics to find suitable placements. For more information on how to get into UC Berkeley, check out our college guides.

University of Chicago 

UChicago arial view
Source: University of Chicago

Ranked #4 for best economic school in the US 

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Acceptance rate: 7%

Program duration:

Tuition: $61,179 for undergraduate 

At the University of Chicago, students can obtain their undergraduate degree in economics by specializing in either Business Economics or Data Science. UChicago gives students the chance to partake in research opportunities.

The University of Chicago also offers a Master's program in the Social Sciences. However, students can concentrate on economics if they desire. Students would work with faculty members on their MA thesis. The program is one year long. 

If you want to apply to this excellent school, take a look at our UChicago college guide with all the info you’ll need to know.

Yale University

Yale University
Source: Yale University

Ranked #4 for best economic school in the US 

Location: New Haven, Connecticut

Acceptance rate: 7%

Program duration:

Tuition: $62,250 for undergraduate, $46,200 for Masters, and $46,900 for PhD 

Yale University's Department of Economics offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees to students interested in economics. Their undergraduate degree focuses on multiple areas with research opportunities offered to students. 

Yale University also has a one-year Master's program in economics. The Master's program is International and Development Economics (IDE) and only enrolls 30 students a year. 

Northwestern University 

Northwestern University
Source: Northwestern University

Ranked #8 for best economic school in the US 

Location: Evanston, Illinois

Acceptance rate: 9%

Program duration: four years for an undergraduate degree or four to six years for a PhD

Tuition: $62,391 for undergraduate, $18,869 for PhD

Northwestern University's Economics Department offers an undergraduate degree in economics where students can also participate in research opportunities. 

Northwestern University also allows students to enroll in a BA/MA program. However, the program is quite selective and competitive. In the program, economic majors can earn both a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts degree.

The PhD program takes around four to six years to complete and only admits 25 students yearly. The Department of Economics actively helps students find placements in positions at universities, government agencies, and private corporations. 

Columbia University 

Columbia University
Source: Columbia University

Ranked #9 for best economic school in the US 

Location: New York City, New York

Acceptance rate: 7%

Program duration:

Tuition: $31,285 for undergraduate, $39,748 for Masters, and $28,006 for PhD

Columbia University's Economics Department offers undergraduate, Masters, and PhD in economics to interested students. Their undergraduate degree offers students the chance to become research assistants. 

The Department of Economics also offers a one-year Master's program in Economics. The program admits only 75-85 students a year. Students have the credentials to apply to a PhD program in Economics upon completing the program.

Columbia University also has a PhD program in Economics. In the program, students will take classes in microeconomics and macroeconomics. Students will also write various papers throughout their time in the program. 

University of Pennsylvania 

UPenn
Source: University of Pennsylvania

Ranked #9 for best economic school in the US 

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

Acceptance rate: 9%

Program duration: four years for an undergraduate degree and five years for a PhD

Tuition: $56,212 for undergraduate and $39,838 for PhD

The University of Pennsylvania offers an undergraduate and PhD in economics to students interested. Their undergraduate program offers students research opportunities to have hands-on and technical skills upon graduation. However, there aren't a lot of research opportunities available to students.

The PhD program trains students to conduct research in economics. Students also gain a thorough knowledge of the field where they'll be able to succeed in future career endeavors. 

New York University

NYU Campus
Source: US News

Ranked #11 for best economic school in the US 

Location: New York City, New York

Acceptance rate: 21%

Program duration:

Tuition: $58,168 for undergraduate

New York University's Department of Economics offers an undergraduate, Masters, and PhD in economics. Their undergraduate program requires students to complete six full semesters to complete the major. The program helps students prepare for their future careers and educational endeavors. 

New York University's Master's program in economics requires students to complete a minimum of three semesters of full-time study. New York University has one of the country's most rigorous Master's programs in economics.

Their PhD program in economics offers students a chance to participate in fellowships to help pay for their education. Some fellowships and assistantships also help students pay off their tuition in full.

University of California-Los Angeles

University of California-Los Angeles
Source: UCLA

Ranked #12 for best economic school in the US 

Location: Los Angeles, California

Acceptance rate: 14%

Program duration:

Tuition: $13,804 for undergraduate, and $18,143 for Masters 

The University of California-Los Angeles offers an undergraduate, Masters, and PhD in economics. UCLA's Department of Economics offers undergraduate microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics courses.

UCLA also has a Master of Quantitative Economics program, which offers students flexibility in which they can complete their Master's. Students can complete this Master's degree in 9 to 18 months. Students are also well acquainted with this program's financial tools like R, Python, SQL, and Excel. 

The PhD in economics program at UCLA combines economic theory with real-world problems. The program prepares students to go out and work as economists in different institutions like businesses and government. 

For an inside look at the UCLA application process, take a look at our complete application guide.

University of Michigan Ann Arbor

University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Source: US News

Ranked #12 for best economic school in the US 

Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Acceptance rate: 26%

Program duration:

Tuition: $16,178 for undergraduate, $7,112 for Masters, and $12,691 for PhD

The University of Michigan Department of Economics offers students an undergraduate, Masters, and PhD in economics. Their undergraduate program helps students with their future careers in economics. They offer various awards and scholarships to help students pay for their tuition. The school also offers students the opportunity to meet with advisors to learn more about the Department of Economics. 

The Master of Applied Economics program teaches students modern economics professionally. The program's flexibility lets students choose a course of study that coincides with their interests. 

The PhD program in economics is designed for students who want to take their economics studies to the next level. The program offers students awards and fellowships to help students pay for tuition. The research fellowships allow students to have both the technical and hands-on skills a student needs. 

California Institute of Technology

California Institute of Technology
Source: US News

Ranked #14 for best economic school in the US 

Location: Pasadena, California

Acceptance rate: 7%

Program duration: four years for an undergraduate degree and five years for a PhD

Tuition: $58,479 for undergraduate

The undergraduate degree in economics at Caltech offers students the opportunity to learn and conduct research in economics. The program teaches courses in micro and macroeconomics.

The PhD program teaches students economic theory and looks at economics at a more behavioral level. The program dives into mathematical models that explain factors behind individual and group economic behaviors. To learn how to get into Caltech, take a look at our complete college guide.

Cornell University

Cornell
Source: Cornell University

Ranked #14 for best economic school in the US 

Location: Ithaca, New York

Acceptance rate: 11%

Program duration: four years for an undergraduate degree and five years for a PhD

Tuition: $62,456 for undergraduate, and $29,500 for PhD

Cornell University's Department of Economics offers an undergraduate degree in economics. The classes are relatively large, with around 400-450 students and discussion sections with around 25-30 students. The degree includes classes in microeconomics, macroeconomics, statistics, and econometrics.

The PhD program in economics lets students focus on various economics-related topics. The program also has students research the topics on which they will base their thesis.

Best Economics Schools: FAQs

If you still have questions about the best schools for economics, check out these frequently asked questions.

1. What College Has The Best Economics Program?

There are three colleges tied for having the best economics program in the US They’re Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Stanford University. 

2. What Are The Best Economics Schools In The World?

The top 10 best economics schools in the world are:

3. Which University Is Better For MA Economics?

Here is a list of universities that are the best for an MA in economics:

4. Is NYU A Good School For Economics?

Yes, NYU is considered an excellent school for economics. According to US News, New York University is ranked 11th best economics school in the country. They offer both undergraduate and master degrees in economics.

Final Thoughts

Looking for the best economics school can be challenging. With so many options out there, it’s paramount that you find the right one for you. Lucky for you, the U.S has many of the top colleges for economics for you to pick from. This detailed guide will help you make that tough decision and help you succeed in your future career path.

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