6 Most Popular Colleges for Economics Majors

Where to find the top economics departments and how much they cost.

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Economics is an important part of everyone’s education. Whether you’re a high school senior taking their first economics course, or someone who likes to keep up with the global market, the field of economics shapes our world.

Undergraduates who major in economics gain preparation that’s beneficial in many fields. It’s not just for students who plan to own their own business – the field applies to nearly every career. Here, we’ve listed the six most popular undergraduate economics programs, along with their tuition rates.

6. University of Wisconsin, Madison: $5,192 (residents), $13,317 (non-residents)

Economics is one of the fastest-growing departments at the University of Wisconsin. It’s currently the top program in both teaching and researching, so undergraduate students will learn from a dedicated faculty and gain experience in the field. The economics department teaches majors how to understand the decisions consumers and businesses make, and introduces them to the causes of current economic issues.

The economics program at the University of Wisconsin is designed to help students progress over the course of four years. Majors begin their freshman year with a broad introduction to the subject. Over the next three years, students develop theoretical knowledge and are introduced to modern economic thought through advanced courses in specific fields. Undergraduates also take intensive study courses in subfields that interest them. And if you’re looking for a way to pay for your tuition, the university offers four distinguished scholarships for economics majors.

5. Ohio State University: $10,037 (residents), $25,445 (non-residents)

The undergraduate economics program at Ohio State University is pretty impressive. Not only is it ranked tenth out of the nation’s public universities, but it’s also number 26 overall. Majors can earn either a BA or BS in economics; no matter which they choose, students study the wide range of economic thought. Specialization, as at many other colleges, is an option for economics majors at Ohio State. However, few undergraduate departments offer fun classes like the Economics of Sports.

Ohio State emphasizes the flexibility of their economics program. The school prepares students for any and every field, even if they’re not sure of their post-graduation plans. For majors who want a challenge, the department offers advanced versions of most classes alongside the “normal” curriculum. An economics honors program is also available, and caters to students who achieve higher than a 3.5 GPA.

4. Purdue University: $9,900 (residents), $28,702 (non-residents)

Purdue University’s economics department is located within the Krannert School of Management. Future CEOs and entrepreneurs find their calling at Krannert, which features a joint program in economics and management. Undergraduates, however, may also choose to enter the economics program available through the College of Liberal Arts. This department is broader, where Krannert’s is focused on business and ownership skills.

The economics program at Purdue has a lot to offer students who strive for high grades. Undergraduate students can apply for the teaching assistantship program, which hires students to help faculty members in the classroom – but only if they’re already received an A in the class they wish to TA for. Majors who show particular excellence are invited into the economics honors program. Restricted to only ten students, the honors program allows students to study one issue in depth for an entire year.

3. The University of Chicago: $44,574

The University of Chicago is one of the country’s top schools, ranking ninth out of all other private universities. When it comes to economics, the department is just as impressive: it’s considered as good as the economics programs at Harvard and Princeton. Here, majoring in economics means drawing connections between the theoretical and reality. Undergraduates study economic models and attempt to predict real world outcomes as issues unfold.

Undergraduate students become well versed in subjects outside of economics as well. The economics program combines scientific, mathematical, and statistical approaches with social issues to develop students’ thinking. Students earning their BA at the University of Chicago can choose to join an honors workshop, which allows for focused research. A senior thesis is also optional. If you’re interested in research, the department offers assistantships and full-time, off-campus jobs with local firms and businesses.

2. University of Pennsylvania: $39,088

Economics is typically seen through two perspectives: macroeconomics and microeconomics. If studying the world economy and watching international markets spark your interest, the University of Pennsylvania might be the perfect school for you. With a focus on macroeconomics, the department studies worldwide economics trends and effects.

The U Penn economics program is one of the top ten in the U.S., and stands out as one of the most competitive majors on campus. Before prospective students can even be admitted, they must demonstrate skill in advanced calculus. The department publishes one of the top economic research journals, the International Economic Review. Established in 1960, it’s known for publishing cutting edge papers on all kinds of economic topics. Undergraduate students get the chance to see the journal in action, and learn from faculty who choose what gets published.

1. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities: $6,030 (residents), $8,655 (non-residents)

The University of Minnesota might be known for its size, but it’s not only the more than 33,000 students that make the school stand out. The Department of Economics consistently falls in the top ten economics programs, both in the U.S. and abroad. With a faculty that’s both award-winning and international, the department helps mold students into excellent social scientists.

Recently, the University of Minnesota has seen an increase in undergraduate economics applicants. Three different undergraduate degrees are offered the University of Minnesota. Students can earn a BA, BS, or a BA with quantitative emphasis. The latter degree requires a more difficult curriculum, with extra courses in calculus, algebra, and econometrics. Seven specialized minors are also available.

Quick Facts

  • Undergraduate degrees in economics don’t require a lot of math. However, if you’re interested in pursuing a master’s degree, be aware that math classes encompass nearly 50 percent of an MS in economics.
  • Economics is considered one of the most in-demand college majors by sources such as CNN and CNBC.
  • Students with an economics background are highly valuable. Many companies hire recent graduates who are well versed in a number of fields, so having an understanding of economics will increase job prospects.

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