University List

The List of Best Economics Schools

Shobha Kadur

The ever changing, expanding and dynamic field of economics requires expertise in order to make sense of the world's economy. And we all know how the economy of the world at this stage could make even weather forecasts look good.

In today’s feature, we help you choose a degree from the top-rated economics program worldwide that can lead to a high-level position with the government, a corporation or another important economic organization and also go ahead and save the world, figuratively.

The top schools for economics in the world

1. Harvard University, Massachusetts, USA

It is an Ivy League institution that lays emphasis on academic excellence and is choosy to ensure they pick the best applicants. Harvard Economics offers undergraduate and graduate programs. Getting admission to Harvard is tough. Out of over 600 applicants, the Harvard economics department admits 40-44 students.

With an acceptance rate of 5.3%, requirements include GRE scores ranged in the 97th percentile, an average GPA of 4.1 with A’s in all your classes to stand a chance to be accepted. And an AP or IB course too.

In the undergraduate program, students choose a principal concentration and a secondary domain.The graduate program aims to prepare students to become economic researchers so past experience in research is essential with a demonstration of expertise in math.

Harvard offers financial aid to students of all nationalities and the amount of aid is the same for all eligible students.

Noted alumni: Sylvia Plath, Nancy Reagan and Gloria Steinem 

For more information:

2. California Institute of Technology, USA.

The Institute is a private, world-ranked research university and the Economics programs are conducted at the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Your GPA should be 4.22 - which means you must be a class topper to be accepted. And with an acceptance rate of about 7%, getting into Caltech is no cakewalk.

Programs in economics range from undergraduate to Ph.D. levels. To be eligible to apply for the undergraduate program, applicants must complete 4 years of math, including calculus, 1 year of physics and chemistry, etc. in their secondary school.

Admission to the Ph.D. program is extremely competitive. Selection is based on a student’s substantiated commitment to research in social sciences and keenness to excel with hard work. Excellent GRE scores are essential. Caltech offers only need-based financial aid to undergraduates but you need to apply for it while seeking admission. Validated need for financial aid is usually met.

Ph.D. students can avail of stipends by way of fellowships and research and teaching assistantships for up to 5 years.

Noted alumni: Robert Barro, Gary W. Cox, and Arthur Lupia.
For more information:

3. Oxford University

The Economics Department at the Oxford University provides a focus for a very diverse and internationally renowned group of academic economists, many of whom have made major recent contributions to modern economic analysis. Without a doubt, the Department is committed to excellence in teaching at the undergraduate and graduate level. And haven’t we all dreamt of going to Oxford to study.

For more information:

4. University of Toronto  

Seems like Canada is actually good at something. The Department of Economics at the University of Toronto ranks among the top economics departments internationally. The teaching and research of its 65 faculty members span a wide range of fields and cover theory, applied data analysis, and econometric methodology and of course, great placements.

For more information:

5. London School Of Economics

The Department of Economics at the LSE is one of the largest economics departments in the world, with over 50 faculty and 1000 students (hence more are your chances of getting in!) The size of the Department ensures that all mainstream areas of economics are strongly represented in research and teaching.

For more information:

6. Stanford University, California, USA

Stanford is often mistaken for being an Ivy League College because of its excellent academic stature and also because they are very discerning with applicants.

Getting into Stanford is really challenging  - their acceptance rate is a low 3.9%. They are extremely selective in accepting applicants. To be accepted, your GPA has to be around 4.18 which means you must be a class topper.

Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences offers undergraduate and graduate programs in economics. The undergraduate program is devised to enable students to analyze current economic problems and be in a position to assess public policy with clarity. And the graduate program prepares students for an enriching career as research economists, university faculty and more. There are no merit-based scholarships available for undergraduates but financial assistance is available once it is validated.

Graduate students are given aid in the form of fellowships, research assistantships, and teaching assistantships to support them in their academic pursuits.

Noted alumni: Sandra Day O'Connor, John Elway, and Amitay Alter
For more information:

7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

The MIT Economics Department is dynamic with illustrious faculty – many of whom are Nobel Laureates. Naturally, it is extremely selective in taking students, in keeping with their reputation. The undergraduate program is very demanding and popular with 53 taking the course in 2016-17. Ph.D. students usually spend 5 years on campus – in graduate study and research.

The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program gives students an opportunity to contribute to ongoing research and work closely with graduates and faculty.
Around twenty-four students sign up for the Ph.D. program in microeconomic theory, macroeconomics, and econometrics. The acceptance rate is about 8%. To stand a good chance of acceptance, you must be a class topper and have a cumulative GPA of 4.16 and graduate applicants must have at least a four-year bachelor’s degree. But it’s so competitive, a good GPA is no guarantee of acceptance.

MIT offers financial aid to all qualified students. Fellowships, scholarships and financial assistance are available in the graduate program.

Noted alumni: Esther Duflo, Amartya Sen, and George P. Shultz.
For more information:

8. Princeton University, USA

Princeton is one of the eight Ivy League universities and students who pass out of the Department of Economics this reputed institution is highly regarded. The overall acceptance rate is about 7%. The average GRE verbal scores must be around 160. Considering the reputation of the institution, they are very selective and students must be exceptionally good.

To be eligible to apply for the undergraduate program, it’s imperative that students must have studied Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, and Statistics and Data Analysis for Economics or equivalent grades in AP or IB exams. All scores obviously need to be of a higher level. The graduate program comprises 20-25 students, selected from about 800 applicants. GRE scores are mandatory but a Master’s degree isn’t essential to apply for the Ph.D. program

Princeton offers need-based financial aid through grants which don’t need to be repaid. All Ph.D. students receive financial aid that covers tuition fees and an annual stipend for all five years of the program

Noted alumni: Gary Becker, Alan Blinder and David Card.
For more information:

9. Tilburg University

The Tilburg School of Economics andManagement is highly regarded for its economics program. School offers various English taught Bachelors’ and Master’s Programs which provide students with the skills society demands. Every year, the School welcomes 1.000 Bachelor students(Yay! More chances to get in).  The career perspectives for each of their Programs are known to be excellent.

For more information:

On a closing note, Economics is a great career to step into with endless possibilities and tremendous scope. Plus, looking at the times around us, we need you guys to pull up your socks. Let me end with this hilarious quote by an economist that pretty much defines our country’s state.

‘Inflation is when you pay fifteen dollars for the ten-dollar haircut that you used to get for five dollars when you had hair.‘



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