2020 Best Colleges Badge

25 Best Colleges for Economics 2020

By the GradReports team | Updated 2/21/2020

These are the best 25 colleges that offer a Bachelor's Degree in Economics, based on median salary one year after graduation. The top ranked school is Duke University, with a median salary of $89,800. Wellesley College has the lowest median student debt on the list, at $9,025. Starting median salaries for graduates from the top 25 schools range from $65,600-$89,800.

Tuition, median salaries, and median debt were reported by the U.S. Department of Education in November 2019. View our methodology for more details about these rankings or read more about the top-ranked schools.

Start Your Online College Search:
Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Rank School Location Annual Tuition Median Debt Median Salary
#1 #1 Durham (NC) Durham (NC) $62,688 $10,500 $89,800
#2 #2 Hanover (NH) Hanover (NH) $62,658 $16,830 $84,200
#3 #3 Chicago (IL) Chicago (IL) $64,260 $17,980 $83,000
#4 #4 Claremont (CA) Claremont (CA) $60,715 $15,636 $82,400
#5 #5 New Haven (CT) New Haven (CT) $62,250 $14,000 $81,400
#6 #6 Stanford (CA) Stanford (CA) $58,416 Not Reported $80,900
#7 #7 Claremont (CA) Claremont (CA) $59,238 Not Reported $80,800
#8 #8 Cambridge (MA) Cambridge (MA) $57,261 Not Reported $78,800
#9 #9 Middlebury (VT) Middlebury (VT) $62,460 $19,082 $75,400
#10 #10 New York (NY) New York (NY) $66,139 $25,000 $75,300
#11 #11 Philadelphia (PA) Philadelphia (PA) $63,452 $18,625 $74,700
#12 #12 Swarthmore (PA) Swarthmore (PA) $59,328 $21,500 $74,500
#13 #13 Williamstown (MA) Williamstown (MA) $61,770 $12,000 $73,500
#14 #14 Houston (TX) Houston (TX) $54,960 $11,724 $73,100
#15 #15 Baltimore (MD) Baltimore (MD) $60,480 $18,684 $70,800
#16 #16 Amherst (MA) Amherst (MA) $64,100 $19,500 $69,800
#17 #17 Evanston (IL) Evanston (IL) $63,468 $14,300 $69,200
#18 #18 Washington D.C. Washington D.C. $62,052 $15,500 $68,700
#19 #19 Nashville (TN) Nashville (TN) $60,348 $15,000 $68,100
#20 #20 New York (NY) New York (NY) $62,525 $16,250 $68,100
#21 #21 Wellesley (MA) Wellesley (MA) $61,920 $9,025 $67,800
#22 #22 Ithaca (NY) Ithaca (NY) $63,200 $13,250 $67,500
#23 #23 Hamilton (NY) Hamilton (NY) $64,290 $17,187 $66,400
#24 #24 Chestnut Hill (MA) Chestnut Hill (MA) $64,176 $15,500 $65,800
#25 #25 Santa Clara (CA) Santa Clara (CA) $57,534 $19,000 $65,600

2020 Best Colleges Highlights

Learn more about the top colleges for a Bachelor's in Economics degree. You can also read student reviews of each school by clicking on the stars. Although student reviews were not used as a ranking factor in this list, we provide ratings and reviews so students can consider the experience of alumni in their decision-making process.

Durham (NC)
Median Salary $89,800
Median Debt $10,500
Annual Tuition $62,688
Graduation Rate 97%

Duke University’s Department of Economics offers three on-campus bachelor’s degrees in economics. The three degrees are the Bachelor of Science in Economics, the BS in Economics with a concentration in Economics and Finance, and the Bachelor of Arts in Economics.

The faculty strongly recommends the BS rather than the BA because of its quantitative orientation. The BA is designed for students whose interests are in economic history, and who do not plan to become economists. The Economics and Finance concentration is the same curriculum as the basic BS, with the addition of a range of business courses. The degrees have a strong liberal arts element. Overall, the programs emphasize a well-rounded education in the field. Students will learn differing theories and economic modeling and will study their application. Students will also learn rigorous quantitative analysis. One unusual feature is the option of an academic year at the London School of Economics.

Duke graduates in economics have a remarkable record of success. Over a five year period, an average of 80.8% had job offers by the time they graduated, according to the university. Nearly half plan to obtain an MBA and many also continue on to doctoral study. Among the courses students will take are Economic Principles, Introduction to Econometrics, Probability and Statistical Inference, and Political Philosophy of Globalization.

Duke is located in Durham, in north-central North Carolina.

Visit Duke University’s website.

Hanover (NH)
Median Salary $84,200
Median Debt $16,830
Annual Tuition $62,658
Graduation Rate 95%

The Department of Economics at Dartmouth College offers two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Economics. The BA in Economics is the basic degree, with a Modified Major program available. The basic BA emphasizes micro and macroeconomics, as well as econometrics. The Modified Major option is for students with interests in topics that are rooted in economics but extend to other fields.

The Economics Department strongly emphasizes using the tools and techniques of data analysis and economics to understand current social issues. The program stresses analytical thinking within the context of a liberal arts education. Students will learn the methodologies and tools used in economic analysis, both on an individual and macro level. Majors will become proficient in at least two fields of concentration, a several-course sequence in such areas as industrial organization, labor, money, and banking.

Courses offered in Dartmouth’s degrees include Developmental Economics. International Economics, Labor Economics, and Money, Banking and Finance.

Dartmouth was founded in 1769 and is a member of the Ivy League. The school is located in Hanover, New Hampshire.

Visit Dartmouth College's website.

Chicago (IL)
Median Salary $83,000
Median Debt $17,980
Annual Tuition $64,260
Graduation Rate 95%

The University of Chicago features two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Economics. Offered through the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, the degrees are the BA in Economics with Specialization in Business Economics and the BA in Economics with Specialization in Data Science.

The Business Economics program is in partnership with UChicago's Booth School of Business, combining economic theory with business applications. A two or three quarter sequence in empirical methods is required. Students often go on to an MBA or other professional training. The Data Science specialization exposes students to more data analysis and computation science and is appropriate preparation for students interested in becoming economists.

The Economics program exposes students to the various economic theories and models used in analyzing problems. Students will learn to analyze society's resource allocation and will be prepared for further academic study and career paths in both public and private sectors.

Courses offered in the program include Elementary Functions and Calculus, The Elements of Economic Analysis, and Introduction to Advanced Macroeconomic Analysis. Graduates have an outstanding record in employment and admission to professional study.

Visit University of Chicago’s website.

Claremont (CA)
Median Salary $82,400
Median Debt $15,636
Annual Tuition $60,715
Graduation Rate 91%

Claremont McKenna College features two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Economics. Offered through McKenna’s Robert Day School of Economics and Finance, the degrees are the BA in Economics and the BA in Economics/ Accounting.

These programs are taught in the context of the college’s strong liberal arts orientation. The Economics major emphasizes an understanding of economic models and their use in explaining economic behavior. Students will learn economic theory and analytical skills. The Economics/Accounting degree has the same content, with the additional goal of preparing students for the CPA exam. Students in economics are encouraged to consider double majors. Requirements are very flexible, allowing majors to better fit students' individual interests. An accelerated BA/MA degree is available through Claremont Graduate University.

Courses in the degree programs include Strategic Cost Management, Principles of Economic Analysis, Econometrics, and Accounting for Decision Making.

Claremont McKenna is one of seven colleges in the Claremont consortium, which is based on the Oxford model. The colleges are located in Claremont, east of Los Angeles.

Visit Claremont McKenna College’s website.

New Haven (CT)
Median Salary $81,400
Median Debt $14,000
Annual Tuition $62,250
Graduation Rate 98%

Yale University offers two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Economics. One is the BA in Economics, and the other is a BA in Economics and Math. Economics at Yale is taught in the liberal arts tradition. The overall focus is the study of theories and models of decision-making processes throughout society. Students will learn economic theory, modeling, and application.

The BA in Economics covers traditional economics but has considerable general education content. A third of students complete a double major. The BA in Economics and Math covers more mathematics content and is particularly appropriate for students who intend to pursue a graduate degree in economics.

Among the courses in the program are Introduction to Probability and Statistics, Introduction to Data Analysis, and Introduction to Microeconomics. A substantial senior thesis is required. Graduates have an outstanding record of employment and admission into graduate programs.

Yale also offers a related BA program in Ethics, Politics and Economics.

Founded in 1701, Yale is one of the nation’s oldest and most respected universities. The Ivy League school is located in New Haven, Connecticut.

Visit Yale University’s website.