Best Research Universities for Economics Degrees | Academic Influence (2023)

A bachelor’s degree in economics is an excellent starting point for a career in finance, policy development, marketing, and a host of other highly lucrative fields. As an economics major, you’ll study production, consumption, wealth transfer, and the way these activities relate to policy and governance. Your economics degree will also incorporate such core principles of monetary policy, budget planning, and cost analysis. The best schools for economics are those which are regionally accredited, which offer a full array of economics concentrations, and which give you the chance to work with the best and most influential professors and classmates.

Degree popularity: Economics bachelor’s degrees are the 35th most popular undergraduate degrees across all student demographics. It’s most popular among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders men and women, for whom it ranks as the 17th most desired degree according to the number of degree earners reported by the National Center for Educational Statistics

Frequently Asked Questions About Economics Bachelor’s Degrees

Earning a bachelor’s degree in economics can open numerous professional doors. You could work as an internal financial consultant for a big company, as a stock trade for a brokerage firm, or as an analyst for a government think tank. In fact, the skills and knowledge you’ll acquire in your degree program are highly transferable. This means that your understanding of concepts such as local market behavior, small business enterprising, and investment banking could land you a role in any sector that interests you. The best schools for economics will put you in a position to become a leader in an array of fast-paced and well-paying fields.

Today, top influencers in economics are illuminating topics such as new economic geography, information asymmetry theory, wealth and income inequality, and much more.

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Economics is an excellent major because it can provide a pathway into countless fields and career opportunities. If you’re looking for a well-paying and secure job, an economics degree is a great place to start. Students who major in economics gain skills that are in high demand across a wide range of professional sectors. Abilities such as budget analysis, cost estimation, and market analysis make economics majors highly employable. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of job opportunities for economists is expected to grow by a robust 14% by 2029.

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(Video) Do THIS To Stand Out as an Economics Student

Once you’ve declared your major in economics, you will likely be required to complete a set of core courses in a number of related subject areas. While your concentration will give you a chance to choose from a wide range of highly-specialized economics electives, there are a number of common courses that most economics majors will be required to take, including:

  • Principles of Economics
  • Money and Banking
  • Economics of Healthcare
  • Globalization
  • Econometrics
  • Labor Studies
  • Economics and the Developing Sphere
  • Gender and Economy
  • Financial Markets
  • Sustainability and Development
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Earning a degree in economics can qualify you for a number of well-paying jobs. Your specialized knowledge qualifies you to work in one of the better-paying professional fields. According to the BLS, financial analysts earned a median salary of $81,590 in 2019, while personal financial advisors earned $87,850, and economists pulled in $105,020.

(Video) Why Study Economics? The one reason you should and should NOT major in economics

With a degree in economics, you’ll have a chance to pursue an array of high-paying opportunities, including these top jobs:

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Frequently Asked Questions About Research Universities, Liberal Arts Colleges, Online Colleges

In pursuing a bachelor’s degree, you will need to choose between three kinds of schools: research universities, liberal arts colleges, and online colleges.

Research universities are colleges and universities whose faculty are active in research and publishing. Research universities offer a wide array of doctoral programs, especially in the sciences. They tend to be big, with tens of thousands of students.

Do you prefer a larger university setting, such as largest public university in your state? Research universities are typically big, offering degrees in many different disciplines. Is a big high-powered research environment the thing for you. If not, you should think about a liberal arts college. In deciding on an undergraduate institution, ask yourself what sort of environment will best help you to be happy and excel.

(Video) Top 7 Economics Schools in the US

  • Consider whether you are self motivated enough to be a face in the crowd for some classes and largely unknown on campus at a large university. Of course you can find clubs and friends at a large university, but often liberal arts colleges have a more personal quality to them. If you want the community feel, a research university may not fit you well.
  • Are you interested in STEM fields? Research universities have that name for a reason – real research is happening there. This can create an exciting atmosphere for students interested in STEM. Attending a research university can give you a better chance of getting into better programs for graduate degrees, although a lot of that depends on your performance.
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Learn more about research universities by reading about the best research universities in the US.

Often referred to as “teaching colleges” liberal arts colleges put a premium on undergraduate studies and offers a broad range of subjects for students to study. A college of liberal arts typically provides smaller class sizes, more direct engagement with professors, and, most importantly, the opportunity to sample a wide range of subject areas on the way to a bachelor’s degree.

  • Do you want your professors to know you? Liberal arts colleges strive to cultivate campus cultures that encourage tight bonds between professors and students. Professors at these schools will typically conduct original research. Yet the best of these schools offer their faculty reduced teaching loads so that they can both be productive researchers and still have plenty of time for students (both in and outside the classroom).
  • Do you want to feel like you know everybody? One of the most enticing features of a liberal arts college is that in very little time, you can feel like you know who’s who, which can create strong friendships, but also more pleasurable walks across campus. While your sports teams may never be on ESPN, it’s more likely that you’ll know the athletes as your peers. Beyond student and faculty relationships, it’s not unusual for the school president and other administrators to learn who you are. When faced with problems with your student account or the need to switch classes, this can be comforting during a stressful moment.
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Learn more about liberal arts colleges by reading about the best liberal arts colleges in the US.

Online colleges are typically the same colleges and universities you could attend in-person, but for certain degree programs the college or unviersity has made the degree programs available to be completed online. For over 5 million students, online degree programs allow students to earn their degrees in the most flexible format available. Online degrees are as respected as the on-campus degress you could earn from the same schools. There’s usually no disctinction between the two degrees, and your degree and transcript will not say that the degree was earned online. Online degree programs are offered by a vast majority of colleges and universities, and the number of offering continues to grow. Whehter you are searching for an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate, there’s a good chance you can earn your degree online from a respectable online college.

  • Are you a self-driven student? Perhaps the hardest aspect of obtaining an online degree is whether you will be disciplined enough to manage your time and course demands. Many online students report that online college made them more disciplined in all areas of their lives, but the flexible, self-paced learning that makes online colleges attractive can often be the same qualities that make it difficult. If you tend to be a procrastinator, you need to be honest with yourself. You can change your habits and propensities, or you can throw money down the drain.
  • Do you need the flexibility of an online degree program? Most online students study online because of time demands balancing work and life, or becuase the online colleges afford them the chance to attend a better school without moving. If you are serious about earning your degree for career advancement, online colleges make it possible. The most flexible options among online degrees are those that are aynchronous, meaning you don’t have scheduled times to meet with your class online. However, many students seek synchronous online degree programs so that they have some structure – set meeting times, scheduled exams, etc.
  • The good news is that attending an online college doesn’t mean you will miss out on getting to know your professors and classmates. In fact, many online students who have experienced both online and on-campus courses report having easier access to their professors. Since most communication with your professor is expected to be in text – via email or your class learning management system – it makes asking your questions easier. The same students also report that they got to better know the thoughts of their classmates. While in-person course conversations can be dominated by a few extroverts, online courses that require online discussions make it so that you see all of your classmates’ thoughts and questions.

If you’re interested in an online bachelor’s degree, check out what the best online colleges offer, or search our online degrees for the exact program that interests you. In either case, you will find well respected colleges and universities that offer online degrees.

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(Video) #Transizion Best Undergraduate Schools for Economics

How do we determine the best economics research universities?


The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why we rank the best colleges and universities based on what we call “Influence”.

The influence of a college or university is based on the schools’s top academic influencers related to the discipline in this ranking. We track the influence of faculty and alumni affiliate with these school counting not only the publications and citations of the school’s affiliated people, but we also consider the overall web presence of the faculty and alumni. The greater the citations, authority of web links, web searches, and page views, the greater the individuals’s influence. Those combined make up the departments’s influence in the field of study. We believe tracking the academic influence of the people affiliated with a school is the best indicator of academic excellence.

If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching, and whether their graduates themselves are advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence. Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and misused performance metrics. Influence, as measured by our InfluenceRanking engine, provides a ranking that is more insulated from manipulation, and more reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

(Video) Why You Shouldn't Go to Harvard | Malcolm Gladwell Highlights | Google Zeitgeist

Resources for College-Bound Students

Whether you’re just getting started on your college search, you’re looking for survival tips on your way to a bachelor’s degree, or you’re preparing for the transition into grad school, we’ve got guides, how to’s and tons of other valuable resources to keep you moving forward in your educational journey.


Which university has the best economics program in the world? ›

Here are the best global universities for economics and business
  • Harvard University.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Stanford University.
  • University of California Berkeley.
  • University of Chicago.
  • University of Pennsylvania.
  • London School Economics & Political Science.
  • Columbia University.

What is the #1 research university? ›

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Founded in 1861, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private research university located in Cambridge Massachusetts.

Which university produces the most research? ›

Harvard University (United States) University of Toronto (Canada) Johns Hopkins University (United States) University of Michigan (United States)
Top 25 Performing Universities in Research Publications.
IndicatorResearch publications (absolute numbers)
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Which degree is best for economics? ›

Bachelor of arts (BA) and bachelor of science (BS) degrees in economics both deliver a rigorous education in economic theory, forecasting, and economic policy. However, the degrees come with different general education and coursework requirements.

What country is #1 in economics? ›

1. United States. The United States' economy is the largest in the world as measured by nominal GDP. The biggest contributor to that GDP is the economy's service sector, which includes finance, real estate, insurance, professional and business services, and healthcare.

Who is the No 1 economist in the world? ›

The rankings
1Andrei Shleifer Department of Economics, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA) National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA)3.71
2James J. Heckman Department of Economics, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (USA)4
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Which university has best research? ›

Top 25 Research Universities
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Harvard University.
  • Johns Hopkins University.
  • University of California – Los Angeles.
  • Georgia Institute of Technology.
  • Princeton University.
  • Stanford University.
  • University of Wisconsin – Madison.
25 Aug 2022

Which university is best for research in world? ›

Here are the best global universities
  • Harvard University.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Stanford University.
  • University of California Berkeley.
  • University of Oxford.
  • University of Washington Seattle.
  • Columbia University.
  • University of Cambridge.

What is Ivy League research university? ›

The Ivy League is an American collegiate athletic conference comprising eight private research universities in the Northeastern United States.

What major is best for research? ›

To date, the most popular major for aspiring research scientists is chemistry. In a chemistry program, you take foundational courses in the field. Your courses include inorganic and organic chemistry.
Other Research Majors
  • Computer or information science.
  • Engineering.
  • Environmental science.
  • Materials science.
  • Physics.
12 Oct 2022

What is a high research university? ›

The Carnegie Classifications recognize R1 universities as the most research-intensive institutions. These institutions offer at least 20 research or scholarship-based doctoral degrees and spend at least $5 million on research each year. An R1 institution has very high research activity, according to the classification.

Which country is No 1 in research and development? ›

United States

Which field of economics pays the most? ›

The highest paid economist is a corporate economist.

Is Econ better than finance? ›

Course Scope

Economics offers a greater scope of studies, touching on both macro and micro economics, where finance is only one aspect. Conversely, a finance major has a narrower scope focusing mostly on how individuals and organizations use and account for monetary resources.

Is it worth getting a degree in economics? ›

With an estimated 13% employment growth rate for economists in the next decade, an economics degree is worth it to many. Entry-level jobs are available for graduates with a bachelor's degree in economics. But, to thrive in the field, many people do also go on to pursue a Master's degree or PhD in economics.

Which are the top 5 economies in the world? ›

US Dollar is one of the powerful currencies in the world. China is the second largest economy in the world, inching closer to US GDP. Its nominal GDP is $14.72 trillion. Japan is Asia's second and world's third largest economy in the world with the GDP size of $5.06 trillion.

Which is the fastest growing economy in the world 2022? ›

Guyana was named as the fastest-growing economy in both forecasts by the IMF. The sparsely populated country is growing thanks to new oil exploitation projects.

What is the 2nd largest economy in the world? ›

With a GDP of 23.0 trillion USD, the USA is by far the world's largest economy in this ranking for 2021. It is followed by China in second place with a GDP of 17.7 trillion USD. Canada is also quite far ahead in the international comparison and occupies the ninth place in this ranking.

Which economist has the most influence? ›

Top ten most influential economists
  • Adam Smith (1723–1790) You may recognise Adam Smith on the back of your £20 note. ...
  • Alfred Marshall (1842–1924) ...
  • Millicent Fawcett (1847–1929) ...
  • John Maynard Keynes (1883–1946) ...
  • Milton Friedman (1912–2006) ...
  • W. ...
  • Warren Buffett (1930–) ...
  • Elinor Ostrom (1933–2012)

Which country is father of economics? ›

Adam Smith was an 18th-century Scottish philosopher. He is considered the father of modern economics.

What do you call a person who studies economics? ›

An economist is someone who studies the reasoning behind decisions people make and is interested in using data to boost profits, create better public policy or conduct research.

Which country is the best at research? ›

United States

Are research universities better? ›

Research universities offer students unique academic and career opportunities. These institutions concentrate on facilitating research conducted by professors and graduate students, which makes them appropriate for learners who have already completed undergraduate programs or plan on higher academic pursuits.

Which university rankings are most accurate? ›

The three longest established and most influential global rankings are those produced by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), Times Higher Education (THE) and Shanghai Ranking Consultancy (the Academic Ranking of World Universities; ARWU).

Which university gets the most research funding? ›

Which schools get the most research money?
School Name2021 NIH research grants
Harvard University Boston, MA$1,911,393,279
University of Washington Seattle, WA$1,041,625,579
University of California--Los Angeles (Geffen) Los Angeles, CA$904,351,593
Cornell University (Weill) New York, NY$808,005,626
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Who is the No 2 university in world? ›

World University Rankings 2023
RankName Country/Region
1University of Oxford United Kingdom
2Harvard University United States
=3University of Cambridge United Kingdom
=3Stanford University United States
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What is the #1 best global university? ›

Best Universities According to Best Global Universities Rankings
Harvard UniversityCambridge, MA, United States1
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)Cambridge, MA, United States2
Stanford UniversityStanford, CA, United States3
University of California, BerkeleyBerkeley, CA, United States4
91 more rows

What is the easiest Ivy League to get into? ›

What's the easiest Ivy League school to get into? While all Ivy League schools are incredibly difficult to get into, Cornell University would likely be considered the easiest since it has the highest acceptance rate of all Ivies. As of fall 2021, Cornell's acceptance rate for first-year applicants was 9%.

Why is MIT not Ivy League? ›

The only reason Duke, MIT, and Stanford aren't Ivy League colleges is that they didn't excel at sports when the Ivy League was created. These 3 colleges easily rank among the top 15 best schools in the U.S., and offer similar career prospects and education standards to Ivy League schools.

Is Ivy League better than Stanford? ›

Referring to the aforementioned US NEWS 2021 rankings, Stanford ranks as the 6th best national school in the U.S. Cornell University, which is an IVY league school, ranks far worse at number 18. The same is true for Brown, Dartmouth and Upenn, which rank 14, 13 and 8, respectively.

What is the hardest degree to get? ›

What are the hardest degree subjects? The hardest degree subjects are Chemistry, Medicine, Architecture, Physics, Biomedical Science, Law, Neuroscience, Fine Arts, Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Economics, Education, Computer Science and Philosophy.

What degree is most in-demand? ›

The 10 Most In-Demand Majors of 2022
  • Engineering.
  • Business.
  • Nursing.
  • Hospitality.
  • Education.
  • Computer Science.
  • Architecture.
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences.

What is the hardest major to major in? ›

20 Hardest Majors: The Ultimate Guide
  1. Chemistry. At number one on the list is chemistry.
  2. Architecture. ...
  3. Chemical Engineering. ...
  4. Computer Science. ...
  5. Aerospace Engineering. ...
  6. Biomedical Engineering. ...
  7. Materials Engineering. ...
  8. Petroleum Engineering. ...

What is the difference between a normal university and a research university? ›

Research universities, like the UG, offer highly academic, research-oriented programmes focused on specific subjects. Universities of applied sciences, on the other hand, are more practical and profession-oriented, designed for those looking to enter a particular career type upon graduation.

What are the 3 universities in the Research Triangle? ›

The Research Triangle gets its name from Research Triangle Park and three Tier 1 research universities—Duke University, North Carolina State University and University of North Carolina Chapel Hill—located only minutes apart.

How do you know if a university is a research university? ›

You should start by looking at what academic degrees are offered in your discipline (bachelor's only, MS, or PhD) and look up the research activity of the faculty to see what they've been up to. It's common to find bottom-tier universities at which the teaching load is high but research is required for tenure.

Who leads the world in research? ›

United States

What are the top 3 developed countries? ›

Human Development Index (HDI)
2021 data (2022 report)​
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Which country has highest demand for economists? ›

The majority of economists go to work to the US, Germany and France (11% of the respondents respectively), followed by Switzerland (8%), Italy, Netherlands and the UK (6% respectively). These findings are based on the responses of 355 economists from 68 countries.

Which is better BS or BA in economics? ›

If you are more interested in the theory behind economics and its practical application, you should consider the B.A. degree since it offers more opportunities to take theory-based economic classes. If you are interested in the math behind economic decisions, the B.S. degree is a better choice for you.

What majors pair well with economics? ›

The most popular Weinberg College majors taken in conjunction with economics are Political Science, History, Mathematics, and Psychology.

Is Econ a tough major? ›

A college-level economics class can be challenging because you need to grasp new concepts like supply and demand, scarcity, diminishing returns, and opportunity costs. It requires you learn new vocabulary and to use critical thinking skills. But those theories, concepts, and terms build upon one another.

Why ECON is the best major? ›

Economics helps you to think strategically and make decisions to optimise the outcome. Especially in demand are people who have studied Economics and Finance as they are particularly well-prepared for jobs in banking and the financial sector, such as in accountancy firms.

Are econ majors happy? ›

How satisfied are economics students compared to other degrees? Overall, economics students rate their satisfaction with their degree a 3.3 out of 5. This is standard compared to other degrees which average a rating of 3.28 across all degrees.

Are economists in demand? ›

Yes, economists are in demand.

The employment of economists is projected to grow 13% from 2020 to 2030, which is faster than average for other occupations. This is because many roles utilize the kind of knowledge that economists have.

Are economists respected? ›

Economics stands alone among the social sciences in having a 150 year history as an established, respected, and influential discipline.

Is economics a good major 2022? ›

Both Finance and Economics jobs are here to stay! In fact, if we take the US as an example, the job outlook is looking great. Here's the data provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics: 14% increase in the demand for economists by 2029.

Which country is best for economics jobs? ›

These are the top countries viewed as having a good job market by global survey respondents.
  • Canada. #1 in A good job market. ...
  • Germany. #2 in A good job market. ...
  • United Kingdom. #3 in A good job market. ...
  • United States. ...
  • Australia. ...
  • Japan. ...
  • Switzerland. ...
  • Sweden.

What is the #1 business school in the world? ›

Asia-Pacific +
1Shanghai University of Finance and Economics72.7
2Hong Kong (HKUST)71.6
4National University of Singapore68.0
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What is the #1 university in the world? ›

Harvard University

What is the highest paid job in economics? ›


To become an Actuary, you need a bachelor's degree in a field such as mathematics, statistics, or actuarial science, as well as professional certification. The median annual pay for an Actuary is $98,927. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, actuaries have a very high job outlook.

Which job has highest salary in economics? ›

High Paying Economist Jobs
  • Senior Economist. Salary range: $102,500-$161,500 per year. ...
  • Labor Economist. Salary range: $44,500-$124,500 per year. ...
  • Project Economist. Salary range: $53,500-$108,500 per year. ...
  • Tax Economist. ...
  • Financial Economist. ...
  • Economic Analyst. ...
  • Economic Research Analyst. ...
  • Econometrician.

Which country pays highest salary to economists? ›

The United States Remains the Highest Paying Country for Working Economists.

Are economists on demand? ›

Yes, economists are in demand.

The employment of economists is projected to grow 13% from 2020 to 2030, which is faster than average for other occupations. This is because many roles utilize the kind of knowledge that economists have.

Is economist in high demand? ›

Jobs for economics majors aren't going away! Since there is a considerable demand for graduates with high levels of numeracy skills and the ability to analyze data, there are plenty of careers in the global labor market.

Where will I work if I study economics? ›

Possible employers include local and national government, public and private banks, insurance companies, think-tanks, large multinational companies, financial consultancies, accountancy firms and local authorities. A sound awareness of current affairs and economic contexts is essential in these roles.

What is the hardest business school to get into? ›

10 Business Schools With Lowest Acceptance Rates
School (name) (state)Full-time acceptancesFull-time acceptance rate
Stanford University (CA)6518.9%
Harvard University (MA)8599.2%
Columbia University (NY)88613.6%
Pennsylvania State University—University Park (Smeal)9820.1%
7 more rows
11 May 2021

Who is the richest MBA in the world? ›

The highest-ranking among them is Susanne Klatten, an IMD Business School MBA who is an investor as well as a pharmaceuticals heiress. No MBA degrees in the top 100 on Forbes' list were awarded by a Chinese university.

What is the hardest school to get into the world? ›

1. Harvard University — 3.19% With a record-low admission rate of just 3.19% for the class of 2026, Harvard currently ranks as the most difficult school to get into. This rate reflects admission into Harvard College, the Ivy League university's undergraduate school.

What is the smartest university in the world? ›

  • Harvard University. United States|Cambridge (U.S.) ...
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) United States|Cambridge (U.S.) ...
  • Stanford University. United States|Stanford. ...
  • University of California Berkeley. ...
  • University of Oxford. ...
  • University of Washington Seattle. ...
  • Columbia University. ...
  • University of Cambridge.

Is Oxford better than Harvard? ›

The QS World University Rankings for 2022 have Oxford at second, Cambridge in joint third place and Harvard coming in at fifth. By contrast, the Times Higher Education Rankings puts Oxford in the first position, with Harvard in joint second and Cambridge in joint fifth.

What is the smallest university in the world? ›

Deep Springs College
TypePrivate, two year
Total staff30 (approximate)
Students26 (approximate)
LocationDeep Springs, California, U.S.37.3739°N 117.98°W
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