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Top Universities for Economics in 2016

By Sabrina Collier

Updated March 25, 2020 Updated March 25, 2020

The QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016 provides a ranking of the world’s 300 top universities for economics and econometrics – expanded from the 200 institutions featured last year. The ranking is based on a methodology which assesses academic reputation, employer reputation and research impact.

Below you’ll find this year’s top 10 universities for economics, followed by a closer look at the best economics schools in each world region. To see the full interactive table, click here.

Top 10 Universities for Economics Worldwide

Based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016


Name of Institution



Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

United States


Harvard University

United States


Stanford University

United States


Princeton University

United States


University of California, Berkeley (UCB)

United States


University of Chicago

United States


London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

United Kingdom


University of Oxford

United Kingdom


Yale University

United States


University of Cambridge

United Kingdom

See the full ranking of top economics schools >


Top universities for economics in the US & Canada 
Columbia University

Including the seven US institutions featured in the top 10 (above), the US claims 69 of the world’s best universities for economics in this year’s ranking. Also in the top 25 are Columbia University (11th), the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA, joint 12th), the University of Pennsylvania (joint 12th), New York University (14th), Northwestern University (15th), the University of Michigan (19th), Duke University (joint 21st), University of California, San Diego (joint 21st), and Cornell University (24th).

Canada boasts 14 top economics schools, including the University of Toronto and the University of British Colombia at 23rd and 28th respectively, while McGill University is also ranked within the top 100.

Top universities for economics in Europe

The UK is home to 34 of the world’s top 300 universities for economics, including nine entries within the top 100. In addition to the three UK entries in the top 10, the top 50 also features UCL (University College London, 16th) the University of Warwick (26th) and London Business School (27th).

After the UK, Italy is the European country with the next largest number of representatives in the ranking, making 16 appearances. Its leading economics school is claimed by the specialized institution Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi (17th).  

Germany offers 15 top economics schools, led by Universität Mannheim (joint 50th). A further nine of the world’s best economics schools are located in the Netherlands, including Erasmus University Rotterdam, the University of Amsterdam and Tilburg University, all within the world’s top 50. 

Also with nine entrants is Spain, including two within the top 50: Universitat Pompeu Fabra (20th) and Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (joint 50th). Meanwhile France has eight representatives, including Ecole Polytechnique ParisTech in the 51-100 range. 

Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Sweden and Switzerland each have six representatives. The Stockholm School of Economics (34th) is Sweden’s leader in the field, while Switzerland’s ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich are both also in the top 50.

Meanwhile Belgium makes five appearances in the economics ranking, including Katholieke Universiteit Leuven at 51-100. Denmark claims four entries, including Aarhus University and the University of Copenhagen in the top 100.

Austria, Russia and Finland each lay claim to three of the world’s best economics schools, with Austria’s University of Vienna and Russia’s Lomonosov Moscow State University both ranking at 101-150, while Finland’s highest-ranked economics school is Aalto University at 151-200.

The Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland and Norway all feature twice in the economics ranking, with the Irish Trinity College Dublin and the Norwegian University of Oslo both ranking 101-150. Hungary’s Central European University is ranked 151-200 while the Czech Republic’s Charles University is in the 201-300 range.

Finally, Greece and Portugal each have one entrant, with the Greek Athens University of Economics and Business ranking 151-200.

Top universities for economics in Australia & New Zealand 
University of Melbourne

Australia is home to 17 of the world’s best universities for economics, including seven in the world’s top 100. In the top 50 are Australian National University, the University of Melbourne, the University of New South Wales and Monash University.

Six of the world’s best economics schools can also be found in New Zealand. Of these, the University of Auckland is the highest ranked at 51-100, while the University of Canterbury, the University of Otago and the University of Waikato all rank 151-200.

Top universities for economics in Asia

Asia claims 47 of the world’s best universities for economics, led by China with 11 entrants, including Peking University and Tsinghua University at 33rd and 44th respectively. Japan is close behind with 10 entrants, including the University of Tokyo (31st), while also in the top 100 are Hitotsubashi University and Kyoto University.

Meanwhile Hong Kong has six representatives in the economics ranking, of which three are among the world’s top 50: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST, 25th), the University of Hong Kong (37th) and the Chinese University of Hong Kong (46th).  

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Of South Korea’s five entries, three are within the top 100, and Seoul National University comes within the top 50. Singapore’s three offerings are all within the top 100, led by the National University of Singapore (18th).

Other Asian countries featured include Taiwain (with five entries), Malaysia (four), and Thailand (one).

Top universities for economics in Africa & the Middle East

New to the economics ranking this year, South Africa’s University of Cape Town places 201-300. Heading into the Middle East, Israel offers two of the world’s best economics schools, with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University both ranking 101-150.

Top universities for economics in Latin America 
Universidade de São Paulo (USP)

Five countries in Latin America appear in the economics ranking, with four ranked schools in Brazil, three each in Mexico and Argentina, two in Colombia and one in Chile. 

Of these, the highest ranked are Chile’s Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and Brazil’s Universidade de São Paulo (USP), both at 51-100. The next two highest ranked economics schools are Brazil’s Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV) and Colombia’s Universidad de Los Andes Colombia, both at 101-150.

Also ranked among the top 200 best universities for economics are two Mexican entrants: Instituto Tecnológico Autonomo de México (ITAM) and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). Meanwhile, Argentina’s three entries are all ranked 201-300.

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This article was originally published in March 2016 . It was last updated in March 2020

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Written by

The former Assistant Editor of, Sabrina wrote and edited articles to guide students from around the world on a wide range of topics. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and grew up in Staffordshire, UK. 

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