Deciding on an area of career interest is difficult enough, so narrowing down a college major within the business field can be quite a task. The economics major is one of the most popular programs of study at many top U.S. higher education institutions. Since the beginning of the decade, the number of students majoring in economics has grown substantially.
Where economics used to be the liberal arts equivalent to a business school, this is no longer the case. A 2009 study revealed that only 36 percent of those majoring in economics planned to have careers in business. Economic provides a blend of innovative thinking, core skills, intellectual muscle stretching, and a big-picture understanding of the world.
Of the colleges and universities offering undergraduate economics programs, U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Harvard University number one. The major is one of the most popular programs of study offered at the school and may be selected as either a primary or secondary concentration. In addition, there are economics seminars, workshops, and study abroad opportunities that can be arranged.
Harvard was not alone at the top of the U.S News & World Report list; Princeton University tied it for number one. According to the school, 75 percent of graduates from the undergrad economics program go directly into consulting or banking. Others pursue graduate studies in business, medicine, economics, or law. Students in the undergraduate program must complete a junior year independent project and a senior thesis.
Other U.S. colleges and universities that have good economics undergraduate programs are: Ohio State University, University of Texas at Austin, University of Wisconsin, Purdue University, University of California, University of Georgia, University of Massachusetts, University of Pennsylvania, and Columbia University. Stanford University, University of Chicago, Duke University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale University, California Institute of Technology, Williams College, Amherst College, and Swarthmore College are also known for their high quality economics programs. These schools range in size from about 1,500 to over 53,000 students so there is a size and location to meet any preference.