Economics Colleges in USA: Courses, Admissions, Fees, Scholarships and Career Scope

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    Anam Shams

    Content Curator | Updated on - Jan 12, 2022

    More than 418 colleges in USA offer a degree in Economics, with the availability of so many options finding the best choice can be difficult. Studying abroad at top economics colleges in USA 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. If you are an international student, trying to narrow down economics colleges to study abroad in USA, here is the curated list for the same.

    • Average pay of an economics graduate in USA is $105,020 per year as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 
    • USA is home to 7 out of the top 10 global universities according to QS Ranking 2020 and About 7.8% of international students study social sciences in the USA.
    • Number of jobs produces in 2019 for people with the typical qualification of Masters's degree in economics in USA was 20,500. 
    • According to BLS, the salary for economists is expected to increase by around 8% by 2026 with the industry witnessing 14% growth from 2019-2029.

    Table of Contents

    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 in USA 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.

    University Rank Courses offered
    Harvard University 1 2 Bachelor,1 doctorate course
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 2 2 bachelor, 1 master, 3 doctorate courses
    Stanford University 3 1 Bachelor, 3 Doctorate courses
    University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) 4 Ph.D. course
    Princeton University 5 Bachelor and Doctorate Courses
    University of Chicago 7 Bachelor, Master, 3 doctorate courses
    Yale University 8 3 Bachelor, 1 master course
    Columbia University 11 5 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

    Best Value Economics Colleges in USA

    If a student major in economics, they can experience a big return on investments, provided they have chosen a college that pays them back well. Here are some best value economics colleges in USA that takes typical 4 year to graduate:

    University 20 Year Net ROI Total 4-year cost Average Scholarship amount
    Harvard University $1,510,000 $254,000 $27,400
    Stanford University $1,322,000 $255,000 $32,200
    Claremont McKenna College $1,322,000 $262,000 $23,900
    Brown University $1,193,000 $257,000 $28,700
    Bowdoin University $1,171,000 $251,000 $32,200
    Georgetown University $1,132,000 $263,000 $26,100
    Princeton University $1,052,000 $240,000 $18,100

    Economics Colleges in USA: Undergraduate Program

    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:

    University Course offered Duration (in years) Annual Fees in USD
    Harvard University BA in Economics 3 47,730
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) BSc in Economics 4 53,450
    BSc in Mathematical Economics 4 53,450
    Stanford University BA in Economics 4 52,848
    Princeton University BA in Economics 4 46,758
    University of Chicago BA in Economics 4 56,034
    Colorado State University BA in Economics 4 30,876
    Southern Oregon University BA in economics 4 5,040
    California State University BA in Economics 4 2,878
    BA in Mathematical Economics and Economic Theory 4 2,878
    BA in Business Economics 4 2,878

    Economics Colleges in USA: Eligibility for Bachelors

    • 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. The minimum overall band for IELTS is 6.5. The minimum score for TOEFL is 80-90.

    Economics Colleges in USA: Documents Required for Bachelors

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

    Economics Colleges in USA: Fees & Fundings for Bachelors

    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: Postgraduate Program

    Master 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:

    University Course Offered Duration in years Annual Fees in USD
    Stanford University MA in Economics 2 34,986
    University of Chicago MBA in Economics 2 72,000
    Yale University MA in International and Development Economics 2 43,300
    Columbia University MA in Economics 2 71,108
    MSc in Financial Economics 60,912
    MA in Economics and Education 49,050
    MEd in Economics and Education 49,050
    California State University MA in Economics 18 months 3,281
    Johns Hopkins University MSc in Applied Economics 1 4,510

    Economics Colleges in USA: Eligibility for Masters

    • 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.

    Economics Colleges in USA: Documents Required for Masters

    • 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

    Economics Colleges in USA: Fees & Funding for Masters

    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 Program

    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

    University Course Offered Duration Annual Fees in USD
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology Ph.D. in Economics 4 years 17,800
    PhD in Economic Sociology 3 years NA
    Harvard University Ph.D. in Business Economics 5 years 24,004
    Ph.D. in Political Economy and Government 3 years 51,432
    Stanford University Ph.D. in Economics 4 years 52,479
    Ph.D. in Economic Analysis and Policy 5 years NA
    Ph.D. in Political Economics 5 years NA
    University of California Ph.D. in Economics 5 years 32,374

    Economics Colleges in USA: Eligibility Criteria for Ph.D

    • 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 exams required 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.

    Economics Colleges in USA: Documents Required for Ph.D

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

    Economics Colleges in USA: Fees & Funding for Ph.D

    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.

    Economics Colleges in USA: Scholarships Offered

    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:

    Scholarships Awarding Committee Award in USD
    Hsiao Memorial Economics Scholarship Asian Pacific Fund 1,000
    Hubert Humphrey Fellowships US Government Full tuition waiver, Accommodation waiver, one side airfare.
    Mercatus MA Fellowship George Mason University 80,000
    American University Emerging Global Leader Scholarship US Government 6000-25,000
    Postdoctoral Fellowship Princeton University 88,800 annually
    Obama Foundation Scholars’ Program US Government Full tuition fee waiver
    Cornell University Tata Scholarship Tata Trust Partial tuition waiver
    Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship Stanford University 92,638
    Need-Based Fellowships Harvard University 37,000
    UC Global Scholarship University of Cincinnati 12,000

    Economics Colleges in USA: Career Scope

    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 Title Average annual salary in USD
    Economist 73,709- 204,859
    Financial Analyst 35,100- 118,972
    Market Research Analyst 28,275- 102,000
    Professor 51,400- 105,939
    Budget Analyst 39,400- 119,627
    Economic Consultant 36,231- 80,451
    Operations Research Analyst 60,319- 152,352
    Compensation and Benefits Manager 57,500- 125,000
    Credit Analyst 30,000- 82,889
    Management Consultant 42,500- 189,295
    Auditor 33,491- 157,463
    Financial Manager 72,500- 181,900
    Investor Relations Associate 17,355- 120,169
    Research associate 33,150- 136,000
    Financial Risk Analyst 54,503- 157,250
    Accountant 34,187- 97,497
    Actuary 65,552 - 225,000
    Investment Analyst 31,200- 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.


    2.7 /10
    8.5 /10

    It is one of the top-ranking universities to study business and finance and as I was applying for masters of France, I applied to MIT along with 4-5 other universities (just to be safe). Getting accepted in such a college was not easy, I worked very hard to get in! The selection process is extremely competitive. I applied to the university through the online application portal, the application fee paid by me was $250.

    Fees :

    The charges for the 12-month program is different from the 18-month program, as I was pursuing the 18 -months program my annual fee for the program was around $1,12,000. For books and supplies, I had to pay around $3,000 and the computer charges were $2000. It is very expensive! Although the university offers several financial aids like Jim and Sara Anderson Fellowship, Linda Archer Cornfield Fellowship, and many more, not all students can manage to secure one.

    10.0 /10

    I was an engineering graduate and founded a startup company with a couple of my friends before pursuing an MBA. However, that company collapsed after 2 years due to chaos and mismanagement in the operation department. So I decided to do an MBA in business operation. I searched online for a good college and then only I came to know about this college and its popularity. I applied through the university's website and paid a $75 application fee. I was also interviewed by video conference. After one month they mailed me that I was selected.

    Fees :

    I have paid nearly $42,700 for this year. Next year's total charge is the same. Total fees include fees for books and supplies, housing, computer and travel. I have to admit that MBA fees in my college are lower than most of the other private MBA programs. Merit-based financial aid, fellowships funded by our university are often endowed to international students. Not only that Scholarships from private organizations are other options for us.

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