U.S. News released its “Best Colleges” report on Monday, a much-anticipated annual list that ranks undergraduate colleges in the U.S., as well as some specific programs, such as business and finance studies.
And, for the first time, the list for 2024 also ranks undergraduate economics degree programs. So which school has the best undergrad programs for budding economists? There’s actually a seven-way tie for the top spot.
These are the top undergraduate economics programs in the country, according to the U.S. News “Best College” rankings:
|School||Economics program rank||Tuition|
|Harvard University||1 (tie)||$59,076|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology||1 (tie)||$60,156|
|Princeton University||1 (tie)||$59,710|
|Stanford University||1 (tie)||$62,484|
|University of California, Berkeley||1 (tie)||$48,465|
|University of Chicago||1 (tie)||$65,619|
|Yale University||1 (tie)||$64,700|
|Columbia University||8 (tie)||$65,524|
|University of Pennsylvania||8 (tie)||$66,104|
Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Princeton University, Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Chicago and Yale University all tied for the top spot. And half of the universities in the top 10 are Ivy League institutions.
The news organizations’s methodology for its rankings takes into account factors including graduation rates, first-year retention rates, the income of recent graduates compared to a recent high school grad, standardized test scores and faculty ratio, among many other measures. U.S. News says it uses data that is oftentimes reported directly from colleges to calculate its rankings.
As for other finance-related courses of study, the report also highlights undergraduate business programs and finance programs. And you’ll see plenty of overlap between these top picks, and the schools with the most lauded economics programs.
Here are the top undergraduate business programs, according to the U.S. News rankings:
|School||Business program rank||Tuition|
|University of Pennsylvania||1||$66,104|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology||2||$60,156|
|University of California, Berkeley||3||$48,465|
|University of Michigan||4||$57,273|
|New York University||5||$60,438|
|University of Texas at Austin||6||$41,070|
|Carnegie Mellon University||7||$63,829|
|University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill||10||$39,338|
What’s more, many of these top undergraduate business programs were also featured high on the overall college ranking list, including MIT (No. 2), the University of Pennsylvania (No. 6) and Cornell (tied for 12th place).
Some notable undergraduate alumni from these colleges who have made waves in the business industry include: former President Donald Trump, who went to the University of Pennsylvania; Apple
co-founder Steve Wozniak, who went to UC Berkeley; and Google
co-founder Larry Page, who attended the University of Michigan.
U.S. News also showcased schools that have the best finance programs at the undergraduate level. They are:
|School||Finance program rank||Tuition|
|University of Pennsylvania||1||$66,104|
|New York University||2||$60,438|
|University of Michigan||3||$57,273|
|University of Texas at Austin||4||$41,070|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology||5||$60,156|
|University of California, Berkeley||6||$48,465|
|University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill||8||$39,338|
|Carnegie Mellon University||9||$63,829|
To be sure, college rankings from U.S. News have become a hot-button topic in the education industry in recent years. Some schools, including Columbia University, stopped sharing undergraduate data with U.S. News.
Any school that says it won’t participate in the rankings does not necessarily remove it from future U.S. News rankings, however. Columbia University was 12th in the overall college rankings this year, for example, while not sharing its data.
And dozens of medical and law schools pulled out of the rankings in recent years, including Yale and Harvard.
In response to some criticism over its rankings, U.S. News updated its methodology this year to include items such as first generation graduation rates and first generation graduation rate performance. The rankings dropped acceptance rate as a metric a few years ago.
U.S. News did not immediately respond to MarketWatch’s request for comment.
The college rankings come as millions of U.S. student loan borrowers are preparing to resume payments after a multi-year pause. Borrowers with federally managed student loans will likely have bills due sometime in October — interest already began accruing on Sept. 1.