U.S. News released its college rankings on Monday, a much-anticipated annual ritual that sees it ranking undergraduate educational institutions throughout the U.S., as well as 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 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, Princeton University (which came out atop the U.S. News heap overall), 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 organization’s methodology for its rankings takes into account factors including graduation rates, first-year retention rates, the income of recent graduates compared with recent high-school diploma recipients, standardized-test scores and student-to-faculty ratio, among other measures.
As for other finance-related courses of study, the report highlights undergraduate business programs and finance programs. And you’ll see plenty of overlap among these top picks and the schools with the most lauded economics programs, even as some highly regarded institutions, such as the University of Chicago, eschew those more vocationally oriented undergraduate majors.
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 business include Donald Trump, the former president, who went to the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School; Apple
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 recent years. Some institutions, including Columbia University, have stopped sharing data with U.S. News.
Any school that says it won’t participate in the rankings does not necessarily disqualify itself from future U.S. News rankings, however. Columbia was 12th in the overall college rankings this year, for example, despite not sharing its data.
And dozens of medical and law schools pulled out of the rankings in recent years, including those at Yale and Harvard.
In response to criticism over its rankings, U.S. News updated its methodology this year to include items such as first-generation graduation rates. The rankings dropped admissions offices’ acceptance rates as a metric a few years ago.
U.S. News did not 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 multiyear pause. Borrowers with federally managed student loans will likely have bills due in October — interest has again been accruing since Sept. 1.