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Economics Colleges in USA

Sonal Vaid Sonal Vaid
Study Abroad Expert

Economics is a social science subject that deals with not only money but also finance, policies and how money affects the lives of people. Studying abroad at top economics colleges in USA have courses that will give international students an idea about economic theory and principles, mathematics, economic models and methods of analysis. Students also learn about the practical tools and implementations of economics like tax structure, statistical analysis, etc.

Some of the key points why you should study economics at top universities in USA are:

  • USA is home to 7 out of the top 10 global universities according to QS Ranking 2020.
  • About 7.8% of international students study social sciences in the USA.
  • According to BLS, the salary for economists is expected to increase by around 8% by 2026.

Top Economics Colleges in USA

The USA is one of the most famous destinations for international students wanting to pursue an economics degree because most of the top universities for economics and finance courses are situated there. The Ivy League colleges attract students from around the globe. Here are some of the top economics colleges in the USA and their rankings according to QS World Rankings, 2020.

UniversityRankCourses offered
Harvard University12 Bachelor,1 doctorate course
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)22 bachelor, 1 master, 3 doctorate courses
Stanford University31 Bachelor, 3 Doctorate courses
University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley)4Ph.D. course
Princeton University5Bachelor and Doctorate Courses
University of Chicago7Bachelor, Master, 3 doctorate courses
Yale University83 Bachelor, 1 master course
Columbia University115 bachelor, 6 masters course

Economics Colleges in USA: Degree Type and Specialization

There are around 784 universities in the USA offering degrees in economics at various study levels. At the bachelor level, economics colleges offer a BA (Bachelor of Arts) or a BSc (Bachelor of Science) degree. A MA (Master of Arts) and MSc (Master of Science), MEd ( Master of Education) degree is offered at the graduate level. In the doctorate course, students get a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) degree.

Economics colleges in the USA offer a diverse range of course modules for students to choose from according to their liking and wishes. Here are some popular specializations:

  • Econometrics
  • Microeconomics
  • Macroeconomics
  • Financial Economics
  • International Economics
  • Business Economics
  • Economic policy

Economics Colleges in USA: Undergraduate Course

A bachelor in economics in USA is usually a 3-4 year degree program. A bachelor’s degree leads to various doors of employment, a master’s degree and research opportunities. It is an intersection of social science and mathematics. Hence, students with outstanding skills in mathematics shine high in the field of economics. Some of the top economics universities in USA offering a bachelor degree are tabulated below:

UniversityCourse offeredDuration (in years)Annual Fees in USD
Harvard UniversityBA in Economics347,730
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)BSc in Economics453,450
BSc in Mathematical Economics453,450
Stanford UniversityBA in Economics452,848
Princeton UniversityBA in Economics446,758
University of ChicagoBA in Economics456,034
Colorado State UniversityBA in Economics430,876
Southern Oregon UniversityBA in economics45,040
California State UniversityBA in Economics42,878
BA in Mathematical Economics and Economic Theory42,878
BA in Business Economics42,878

Bachelor in Economics: Eligibility Criteria

  • An international student should have completed his school secondary exam with a minimum of 70% in the science stream or commerce stream. Some universities want subjects like maths, english, statistics and economics as mandatory.
  • Students should be at least 18 years of age before applying for the course.
  • SAT score of 1350 should be enough to apply for the top universities in the USA
  • Language tests like IELTS or TOEFL. Minimum overall band for IELTS is 6.5. The minimum score for TOEFL is 80-90.

Documents Required

  • Official Transcripts
  • SAT, IELTS, TOEFL scores
  • Statement of Purpose (SOP)
  • Resume

Bachelor in Economics: Fees & Fundings

The fees for a bachelor’s degree in economics colleges in the USA range from as low as 3,000 USD per year to as high as around 60,000 USD per year at the top universities. Apart from the tuition fees, international students are required to cover the living expenses in USA.

To support their studies, international students can apply for various undergraduate scholarships in the USA awarded by respective universities or even private agencies and organizations. 

Economics Colleges in USA: Masters Course

A masters in economics in USA is usually of 1-2 year duration. It can be considered as a terminal degree as around 65% of graduates get employment after degree. A master’s degree can also be taken as a stepping way for further doctoral studies in economics. Master degree courses are often offered in research-based modules for students wanting to pursue study in the subject. Here are some universities offering master degree programs in economics in the USA:

UniversityCourse OfferedDuration in yearsAnnual Fees in USD
Stanford UniversityMA in Economics234,986
University of ChicagoMBA in Economics272,000
Yale UniversityMA in International and Development Economics243,300
Columbia UniversityMA in Economics271,108
MSc in Financial Economics60,912
MA in Economics and Education49,050
MEd in Economics and Education49,050
California State UniversityMA in Economics18 months3,281
Johns Hopkins UniversityMSc in Applied Economics14,510

Masters in Economics: Eligibility Criteria

  • To pursue a masters in economics, international students need to complete a bachelor’s degree in economics or some related field with econometrics, macroeconomics, microeconomics as subjects in the bachelor course. Most universities want a minimum of 65% of bachelor’s degrees.
  • International students also need to give GRE test with an average minimum of 154 to apply for a masters program in economics
  • Students from non-EU countries need to give language proficiency tests like IELTS and TOEFL. The minimum requirement for IELTS is a minimum overall band of 6.5 ( top universities demand 7). For TOEFL, the minimum requirement is 95.
  • Some universities demand a thesis paper done during the bachelor’s to be submitted for research-based courses.

Documents Required

  • Official Transcripts of all previous degree examinations
  • Test scores – GRE, IELTS, TOEFL
  • 2-3 Letter of Recommendation (LOR)
  • Thesis paper
  • Statement of Purpose (SOP)
  • Writing samples
  • Resume

Master in Economics: Fees & Funding

The average fees for masters in economics colleges in the USA range from 3,000 USD to 77,000 USD. The fees vary according to the course structure and the university. Graduate schools in USA demand higher fees due to the popularity and value of the courses.

To fund their studies, international students can apply for various scholarships to study in USA. Other options such as education loans, student employment, etc. are also available.

Economics Colleges in the USA: Doctorate Courses

America’s rigorous approach to graduate study delivers a standard of training and professional development that often surpasses the minimum requirement for a more ‘traditional’ research-focused doctorates in other countries. Hence, there are around 984,898 international students pursuing a Ph.D. in around 1500 colleges in the USA. Ph.D. in economics is a 4-6 year course with students spending 1-4 years on their coursework and 2-4 years working on their dissertation. Here are some of the top universities offering PhD in economics in USA

UniversityCourse OfferedDurationAnnual Fees in USD
Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyPh.D. in Economics4 years17,800
PhD in Economic Sociology3 yearsNA
Harvard UniversityPh.D. in Business Economics5 years24,004
Ph.D. in Political Economy and Government3 years51,432
Stanford UniversityPh.D. in Economics4 years52,479
Ph.D. in Economic Analysis and Policy5 yearsNA
Ph.D. in Political Economics5 yearsNA
University of CaliforniaPh.D. in Economics5 years32,374

Ph.D. in Economics: Eligibility Criteria

  • Economics colleges in the USA offer Ph.D. courses to students who have completed a master’s degree in economics or any related subject branch with a minimum of 60% in their masters.
  • Scores of standardized exams to study in USA such as GRE test scores with a minimum of 160.
  • Language test scores like IELTS, TOEFL. The minimum requirement for IELTS is an overall score of 6 and TOEFL is 90.

Documents Required

  • Official Transcripts
  • GRE and language test scores
  • Personal Statement
  • Letter of Recommendation (LOR)
  • Research Proposal
  • Writing samples
  • Resume

Ph.D. in Economics: Fees & Funding

The average fee for pursuing a Ph.D. in economics in the USA is 18,000- 60,000 USD per year. International students are eligible for various assistantships and fellowships to finance their studies in USA.

Scholarships at Economics Colleges in USA

According to QS Rankings, USA is the most expensive country for international students to study. But there are various scholarships for international students in USA to fund their studies. There are also Post Doctoral Fellowships provided to students pursuing a Ph.D. in an American university. The scholarships are mostly offered by colleges, the government of the country and by private funding organizations. Here is a list of some popular scholarships you can apply for during your studies at economics colleges in the USA:

ScholarshipsAwarding CommitteeAward in USD
Hsiao Memorial Economics ScholarshipAsian Pacific Fund1,000
Hubert Humphrey FellowshipsUS GovernmentFull tuition waiver, Accommodation waiver, one side airfare.
Mercatus MA FellowshipGeorge Mason University80,000
American University Emerging Global Leader ScholarshipUS Government6000-25,000
Postdoctoral FellowshipPrinceton University88,800 annually
Obama Foundation Scholars’ ProgramUS GovernmentFull tuition fee waiver
Cornell University Tata ScholarshipTata TrustPartial tuition waiver
Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai FellowshipStanford University92,638
Need-Based FellowshipsHarvard University37,000
UC Global ScholarshipUniversity of Cincinnati12,000

Jobs after a Degree from Economics Colleges in USA

After completing a degree from economics colleges in the USA, the top recruiting sectors where most students get recruited are in Universities, Research firms, Banking or Finance industry, Private companies and Think tanks or pressure groups.The US Government also employs economics students at high paying salaries for various administrative and policy making roles. Here are some of the jobs in USA which international students studying various courses in Economics can apply for:

Job TitleAverage annual salary in USD
Economist73,709- 204,859
Financial Analyst35,100- 118,972
Market Research Analyst28,275- 102,000
Professor51,400- 105,939
Budget Analyst39,400- 119,627
Economic Consultant36,231- 80,451
Operations Research Analyst60,319- 152,352
Compensation and Benefits Manager57,500- 125,000
Credit Analyst30,000- 82,889
Management Consultant42,500- 189,295
Auditor33,491- 157,463
Financial Manager72,500- 181,900
Investor Relations Associate17,355- 120,169
Research associate33,150- 136,000
Financial Risk Analyst54,503- 157,250
Accountant34,187- 97,497
Actuary65,552 - 225,000
Investment Analyst31,200- 118,890
  • The top recruiting companies for economics graduates in the USA are Inc, The World Bank Group, Bureau of Labor Statistics, ICF International, etc.
  • BLS projects that the employment of economists will grow 8 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations. Job prospects should be best for those with a master’s degree or Ph.D. with strong analytical skills, and experience using statistical analysis software.
  • Financial analysts’ jobs will grow by around 11% by 2026.
  • According to Forbes, the highest paying states are New York, Virginia, Ohio, California, Massachusetts.
  • According to the American Economic Association, an economics professional with a master’s degree earns 31% more than a professional with a bachelor’s degree. A professional with a doctorate degree earn around 18% more than one with a master’s degree.
  • Around 65% of economics graduates get employed within six months of completion of degree and around 15% go for further studies.

The economics courses in the USA are a good investment for the future of international students as USA has a high growth market for graduates. A degree from the USA will also open windows for job prospects in other major countries like the UK, Canada, Australia.

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