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Top Universities for Economics in 2014

Top Universities for Economics in 2014 main image

To view the latest version of this article based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019, click here, or, read on for the 2014 results.

While all of the 30 subject areas covered in the QS World University Rankings by Subject are dominated by US universities, the top of the economics table is even more US-based than usual. The US claims 8 of the top 10 spots, 12 of the top 20, and almost a quarter of the top 200.

However, the economics ranking is more internationally diverse than may appear at first glance. A total of 30 countries have at least one university ranked among the world’s 200 top universities for economics (or in fact 201, due to a tie in this instance). These institutions are scattered across all world regions, though countries with particularly impressive collections of leading economics schools include the UK (24 entries), Australia (12), Germany (11), Canada and Japan (10 each), the Netherlands (8) and Italy (7).

Read on for more details about the best economics schools in each world region.

Top universities for economics in the US

As is typical across all 30 of the subjects ranked by QS, US universities dominate the economics table, taking up almost a quarter of the top 200 places and 8 of the 10 top spots. Harvard retains first place, closely followed by its geographical neighbor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The US monopoly is briefly interrupted by the UK’s London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in third place, but quickly resumes.

Stanford University comes 4th, followed by University of California, Berkeley and the University of Chicago in joint 5th, Princeton University (7th), Yale University (8th) and the University of Pennsylvania (9th). A further 10 US universities rank among the world’s top 50 economics schools, with a total of 48 included among the global top 200.

See more of the top universities for economics in the US >

Top universities for economics in the UK

This is one of the subjects in which the UK’s social sciences specialist, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), comes into its own – retaining its place as the world’s third leading economics school. (It’s also ranked third in the world for politics, second for geography, second for communication & media studies, and third for accounting and finance).

The UK’s next highest ranking institution for economics is the University of Cambridge, in 10th place. Unusually, the University of Oxford is outside of the global top 10 in this subject area, albeit only by two places. Also within the global top 50 are UCL (17th), the University of Warwick (21st) and another specialized institution, London Business School (31st). A total of 24 UK universities are ranked within the 200 top universities for economics.

See more top economics schools in the UK >

Top universities for economics in Australia

After the US and UK, the country which boasts the next largest selection of the world’s best economics schools is Australia, with 12 entries among the global top 200. The country’s highest entrant here is also the highest Australian entry in the overall QS World University Rankings® – Australian National University, ranked 18th in the world for economics and 27th in the overall ranking. Other leading Australian universities also fare particularly well in the economics ranking, with the University of Melbourne and Monash University both within the top 25, and the University of Queensland, University of New South Wales and University of Sydney also all within the top 50.

See more of the top universities for economics in Australia >

Top universities for economics in Canada

Canada’s two highest ranked universities for economics are the University of Toronto (26=) and University of British Columbia (36th). McGill University, which is currently the second-ranked Canadian institution overall, also makes the top 100 for economics, with seven more of the country’s institutions also included within the top 200.

Many Canadian universities claim a stronger position for economics than in the overall QS World University Rankings; this applies to Queen's University, the University of Western Ontario (also known as Western University), the University of Calgary, Simon Fraser University and the Université du Québec.

See more of the best universities for economics in Canada >

Top universities for economics in Europe

As is typical, Germany boasts the lion’s share of leading institutions for this subject within mainland Europe, in part thanks to the relatively large size of its higher education system. A total of 11 German universities are ranked among the world’s top 200 economics schools. While none of these feature within the top 50, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn and Universität Mannheim are all within the leading 100.

While Germany has the most universities ranked for economics, Italy claims continental Europe’s highest entry in this subject: Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi in 20th place. Based in Milan, Bocconi specializes in economics and related subjects, also ranking among the world’s best places to study accounting and finance.

The next ranked European school is another specialist institute, Sweden’s Stockholm School of Economics, at 32nd. A further six mainland European universities are within the top 50 for economics: the Netherlands’ Erasmus University Rotterdam (38th), Spain’s Universitat Pompeu Fabra (40th), Switzerland’s ETH Zurich (41st), France’s Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (44th), Spain’s Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (46th) and the Netherlands’ Tilburg University (50th).

After Germany, the Netherlands has most entries in the top 200, with eight entries, followed by Italy (seven), Spain (six), Belgium and France (five each).

See more of the top economics schools in Europe >

Top universities for economics in Asia

Asia also boasts a strong selection of high-ranking economics departments; this is a particularly strong subject area for Japan, which claims 10 entries within the top 200. The highest placed of these is the University of Tokyo, ranked 19th in the world for economics, followed by Kyoto University (42nd). However, the highest Asian entry of all is National University of Singapore (16th) – a strong performer across most of the 30 subjects currently covered by QS. Two more Singaporean entries also appear in the economics ranking; Nanyang Technological University is within the top 100 and Singapore Management University in the top 150.

Fellow Asian city-state Hong Kong also has a strong offering of economics schools, with five of its universities ranked among the global top 150 in this subject. Three of these fare especially well: the University of Hong Kong (28th), Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (30th), and the Chinese University of Hong Kong (34th). Mainland China has six ranked universities, led by Peking University (33rd) and Tsinghua University (37th) – these are the country’s two best overall performers in the QS World University Rankings, and for both economics is a notably strong subject area.

Like China, South Korea also has two universities within the global top 50 for economics – Seoul National University (35th) and Korea University (49th) – with three more South Korean institutions in the top 200. Malaysia also merits a mention, with four Malaysian universities making the top 200, while Taiwan’s sole entry, National Taiwan University, has a respectable position in the top 100.

See more of the best economics schools in Asia >

More top universities for economics

Aside from the countries already mentioned above, other nations claiming at least one of the world’s best economics schools are Brazil (five entries in the top 200), New Zealand (four), Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Israel and Mexico (two each), and Chile, Colombia, Norway and Turkey (each with one entry).

Image credit: Nick-D/Wikimedia Commons (ANU)

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Written by Laura Bridgestock
The former editor of TopUniversities.com, Laura oversaw the site's editorial content and student forums. She also edited the QS Top Grad School Guide and contributed to market research reports, including 'How Do Students Use Rankings?'

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