Are you interested in learning about the dynamics of the free market and how public policies can affect the value of money? If so, an economics degree programs may be right for you. Students majoring in economics learn the big picture view of money and how it works in the world. They also take a closer look at how broad policy decisions can impact the finances of individual households.
With this knowledge, graduates may find work in several occupations devoted to analyzing economic data and making recommendations. Professionals in the field may be involved in influencing both business and government decisions.
Ready to get started? A bachelor's degree is a common choice for those seeking entry-level positions. If time or distance is a factor, you can earn an online economics degree from a number of schools. Keep reading to learn more about the top schools for economics, where to find financial aid and more.
Best Colleges for Economics Degree Programs 2018-19
There's no need to spend a lot of money on an elite private school to major in economics. We found some of the best colleges for economics degree programs are public institutions. The following schools rose to the top according to our methodology that considered student success outcomes, program prominence and more.
Utah State University tops the list for both on-campus and online economics degrees. Founded in 1888, the university's Huntsman School of Business is the oldest continuously operating business college in the West.
The business school houses USU's undergraduate economics degree programs which are available in four emphases: international economics and trade, economic theory, managerial economics and prelaw economics. Those seeking online degrees for economics can earn an undergraduate degree without an emphasis from USU. There are also four graduate degree options.
In these rankings, Utah State University is notable for the number of degrees it offers. It also ranks 11th overall for its admissions rate and has the second most affordable tuition and fees among the schools listed here.
With a history dating back to 1791, The University of Vermont ranks second among the best colleges for economics degree programs. Known as UVM -- representing the Latin words for University of the Green Mountains - the school is a Public Ivy institution and attracts more than 10,500 undergraduate students each year.
Its economics program offers both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in economics. Classes are taught primarily by faculty, not graduate assistants. Students start their tenure at UVM with introductory seminars to lay the foundation for their education and end with senior seminars that serve as a research capstone to their studies.
The University of Vermont ranks seventh among the schools on this list for its graduation rate.
The University of Utah is an education destination for students who reside both in and out of the state. It is known simply as the U to many of the more than 32,000 undergraduate and graduate students who enroll annually
As a part of the College of Social & Behavioral Science, the Department of Economics offers a number of degree options. There are two bachelor's degrees in economics as well as a minor available to undergraduates. Meanwhile, graduate students can select from a Master of Economics, Master of Statistics in econometrics and a Ph.D.
Among the best colleges for economics degree programs, The University of Utah ranks high for the academic support it provides students. It also has an affordable tuition rate and offers flexible scheduling options.
As the first of two University of California schools on the list, the University of California, Santa Cruz describes itself as bold, progressive and fearless. It opened in 1965 and has grown to enroll more than 18,000 students annually.
The Economics Department is one of the largest at UC Santa Cruz. What's more, it's known for producing a significant amount of research in the field. Overall, more than 10,000 students take economics classes each year, and there are approximately 1,000 declared majors at any given time. Both undergraduate and graduate degrees are available through the department.
The University California, Santa Cruz provides its students with ample support resources. That may be partly why it has the fifth best graduation rate among the schools on this list.
UCLA, as the University of California - Los Angeles is usually known, is the largest and most prominent school in these rankings. It can boast of 13 Nobel Laureates, 12 MacArthur Fellows and 113 NCAA titles.
Among UCLA's more than 100 academic departments, economics is among its largest. Approximately 3,300 students major in the field. At the undergraduate level, there are degrees in both economics and business economics. Graduate students can pursue a Master of Applied Economics or earn their Ph.D. from the University of California - Los Angeles.
Among the best colleges for economics degree programs, UCLA has the best graduation rate and the fourth most prominent program. The school is also notable for the number of student support services and career development opportunities it provides.
On the east side of the country, Binghamton University is a top school for economics. The institution was founded in 1946 and is part of the State University of New York system.
Binghamton's Department of Economics offers two bachelor's degree, a master's degree and a Ph.D. in the field. There is also an accelerated master's degree option. This allows undergraduate students to add one more year to their studies to earn both their bachelor's and master's degrees. Undergraduate specializations include financial economics, economics analysis and economics policy analysis.
In these rankings, Binghamton University has the fourth most affordable tuition and fees of the schools listed here. It also has the third best graduation rate and the third most prominent program among the top colleges for economics.
St. Mary's College of Maryland is another top school for economics students in the east. Named for St. Mary's City, the institution is Maryland's public honors college. It is one of only two institutions nationwide to carry a Public Honors College designation.
The Department of Economics offers both a major and a minor in the field. The curriculum for each is focused on theory and research methods that can be used for economic analysis. Students have the opportunity to enroll in experimental courses or study across disciplinary fields.
When it comes to program prominence, St. Mary's College of Maryland ranks first among the best colleges for economics degree programs. It is also notable for its affordable tuition and graduation rate.
With a campus in Lookout Mountain, Georgia, Covenant College provides a liberal arts education through a Christian lens. As the official college of the Presbyterian Church in America, it stresses the preeminence of Jesus Christ in all things.
That worldview extends to the Department of Economics and Community Development where there is a focus on being stewards of creation. Covenant College offers both a major and minor in economics. What's more, students have access to research internships through The Chalmers Center for Economic Development.
Covenant College earned its spot among the best economics colleges for having the second most prominent program and the second best admissions rate among the schools on this list. It is also notable for its student support services, including academic counseling and career placement assistance.
In the Midwest, the University of Wisconsin - Madison is a top pick for economics students. The institution is considered the flagship school for the University of Wisconsin system and was founded in 1848.
Economics students will be in good company at UW-Madison. The Department of Economics has 1,200 undergraduate majors and 300 graduate students. As one of the largest majors in the university's College of Letters and Science, the undergraduate program allows students to earn either a general economics degree or one with a mathematical emphasis. Its master's program is appropriate for those without a formal undergraduate education in the field. A doctoral degree is also available.
The University of Wisconsin - Madison has the second best graduation rate among the schools ranked here.
Florida State University rounds out the top colleges for economics degree programs. With a campus in Tallahassee, Florida State is home to the oldest continuous site of higher education in the state. It enrolls nearly 42,000 students representing every county in Florida and 140 countries.
Within the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy, economics is served by the largest department. At the undergraduate level, students can pursue specialized studies in advanced economic analysis, markets and institutions, applied economics and political economy. The master's program at Florida State focuses on applied economics. Graduate students can earn a Ph.D. in economics as well.
In addition to providing a supportive learning environment for students, FSU ranks high for having the lowest tuition and fees of the top schools for economics.
Economics Degree Programs and Common Career Paths
Students may expect to become economists after graduation, but they could be just as likely to fill positions with titles such as analyst or actuary. Companies across a variety of industries use workers with an economics background to make business decisions. What's more, governments employ economists to analyze and direct public policy. Whether you want to pursue private or public employment, you'll likely need at least a bachelor's degree for most entry level positions.
Career Outlook for Economics Majors
Those with knowledge of economics help a business's bottom line and will likely always be needed. However, actual career growth can vary by occupation. Here's a closer look at how the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics expects different jobs in the field to fare in the years to come.
PROJECTED JOB GROWTH(%)
|Economics Teachers, Postsecondary||$117,180||12,750||10.6%|
|Home Economics Teachers, Postsecondary||$77,170||2,080||7.8%|
Financial Aid and Scholarships in Economics
In addition to government loans and grants, scholarships are available for both on-campus and online degrees for economics. Some of these scholarships are available through non-profit organizations. For instance, the Daughters of the American Revolution offers the Enid Hall Griswold Memorial Scholarship for those studying economics while the non-profit IASA offers an award for those planning a career as an actuary. Beyond these programs, many colleges and universities offer their own scholarships as well.
- Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
- Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2016-17, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
- Why Study Economics as an Undergraduate? The University of Illinois at Chicago, Accessed February 2018, https://econ.uic.edu/economics/why-study-economics
- Degree Finder, Utah State University, Accessed February 2018, https://www.usu.edu/degrees/index.cfm?az=E
- Majors, Minors and Graduate Degree Programs, The University of Vermont, Accessed February 2018, https://www.uvm.edu/academics/majors_minors_and_graduate_programs
- Student Advising, The University of Utah, Accessed February 2018, https://econ.utah.edu/advising.php
- About the Department, University of California, Santa Cruz, Accessed February 2018, https://economics.ucsc.edu/about/index.html
- Economics, UCLA, Accessed February 2018, http://economics.ucla.edu/
- The Department of Economics at Binghamton University, Binghamton University, Accessed February 2018, https://www.binghamton.edu/economics/
- Department of Economics, St. Mary's College of Maryland, Accessed February 2018, http://www.smcm.edu/economics/
- Economics and Community Development, Covenant College, Accessed February 2018, http://www.covenant.edu/academics/undergrad/ecd
- Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Accessed February 2018, https://econ.wisc.edu/
- Department of Economics, Florida State University, Accessed February 2018, https://coss.fsu.edu/economics/node/1
- Career Advice for Economics Majors, Bill Conerly, Forbes, April 29, 2015, https://www.forbes.com/sites/billconerly/2015/04/29/career-advice-for-economics-majors/#7233f4b9a99e
- Learning Goals and Outcomes, The University of New Mexico, Accessed February 2018, https://econ.unm.edu/undergraduate/outcomes.html
- Scholarship Program, IASA, Accessed February 2018, https://www.iasa.org/scholarship
- Scholarships, Daughters of the American Revolution, Accessed February 2018, https://www.dar.org/national-society/scholarships/history-etc
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Accessed February 2018, https://www.bls.gov/ooh
- Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. Copyright © 2017-18 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.