These Are The 10 Best Colleges For Economics Majors In North Carolina

Chris Kolmar
by Chris Kolmar
Rankings - 2 years ago
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You know there are a ton of great reasons to major in economics — the job prospects, the intellectual challenge, and the chance to follow in the footsteps of some of the greatest thinkers of all time.

But what program in North Carolina offers the most to would be economics majors?

We at Zippia decided to take a look at the data on the 201 institutions of higher learning in the Tar Heel State to determine which programs offer the best career opportunities for economics majors.

After the dust settled, we’re left with this set of the top colleges for economics majors in North Carolina:

  1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  2. Duke University
  3. Davidson College
  4. Wake Forest University
  5. University of North Carolina Wilmington
  6. Elon University
  7. East Carolina University
  8. University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  9. Appalachian State University
  10. University of North Carolina at Greensboro

If you go to one of these schools, chances are, you’re not surprised. After all, you know how great you have it. But for the rest of you—keep reading and we’ll get to just why these schools have some of the best economics programs the Tar Heel State has to offer.

How We Determined The Best Econ Schools In North Carolina

Economics is, at its core, the study of choice under constraints. When it comes to identifying the best economics schools we wanted to approach the ranking like economics major would, by looking at data on how schools perform and comparing them to one another.

What better way to optimize your choice?

So with that mind, we looked at the following data from the NCES (National Center For Education Statistics) and College Scorecard data from ED.gov to understnad what econonomics department offer the best career opportunities::

  • Career Results
    • Mean Earnings After 6 Years
    • Mean Earnings After 10 Years
    • Ratio of people working to not working after 10 years
  • Economics Emphasis
    • Percentage of Graduating Class That Are Economics Majors (Larger the better)
  • School Performance
    • Admissions Rate (More selective the better)
    • Graduation Rate
    • Average Cost Of Attendance (Lower is better)
    • Average amount of debt

It’s hard to argue with a selective school that features economics and produces strong earning potential for your career.

After we had this data, we looked at the 201 institutions of higher learning in North Carolina. Of which, only 24 offer an economics major.

We then ranked each of these schools from 1 to 24 each of the criteria above with 1 being the best in any given criteria.

Next, we averaged the ranks for each school to create an “Economics Quality Index”. The school with the best score on the “Economics Quality Index”, UNC-Chapel Hill, earned the distinction of being the ‘Best College For Economics’ in North Carolina.

1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Best Colleges For Economics Majors In North Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Location: Chapel Hill
Total Enrollment: 17,882

UNC took the top ranking in our analysis of the best economics programs in North Carolina. While it didn’t lead the pack in any one category, it scored in the top quartile for every criteria we looked out.

The school of over 17,000 students finished third overall in the state for earnings six years out of college and for its graduation rate. So you can be reasonably assured of not only graduating on time, but of having a successful career after.

2. Duke University

Best Colleges For Economics Majors In North Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Location: Durham
Total Enrollment: 6,501

Not only did Duke lose to UNC in basketball this season, but they end up a close second for having the best economics department — with a strong case that they should be number one overall.

Why is that? Because Duke finishes first in 5 of our 8 categories. Unfortunately, it’s the most expensive college in the mix by a long shot.

3. Davidson College (tie)

Best Colleges For Economics Majors In North Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Location: Davidson
Total Enrollment: 1,782

Stephen Curry will be happy to find Davidson at this favorite spot — 3.

OK, maybe I tried a bit hard for that pun, but Davidson is a great school for economics majors. It ranks as having the third-highest mean earnings for its graduates 10 years out, and fourth-best for graduates six years out.

3. Wake Forest University (tie)

Best Colleges For Economics Majors In North Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Location: Winston Salem
Total Enrollment: 4,812

Wake Forest is an econ nerd’s heaven — it boasts the largest econ department, on a percentage of students basis, of any school in North Carolina.

It also helps that graduates perform well in their careers, out-earning every school (save for Duke) at the 6 and 10 year mark.

5. University of North Carolina Wilmington

Best Colleges For Economics Majors In North Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Location: Wilmington
Total Enrollment: 12,178
UNC Wilmington ranks as the fifth best economics program in the state thanks to average or above rankings for all the criteria we examined. But overall, the program in the university’s Cameron School of Business is top notch.

One area of improvement would be to help new graduates out earlier in their career, as the sixth year mean earnings is only average.

6. Elon University

Best Colleges For Economics Majors In North Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Location: Elon
Total Enrollment: 5,599

Elon scored very well across the board, actually placing second for the size of its economic department and second for the percentage of graduates with great jobs 10 years out.

So why did it finish relatively low in the top 10? It’s pretty expensive, which gives its graduates a fair amount of debt to deal with.

7. East Carolina University

Best Colleges For Economics Majors In North Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Location: Greenville
Total Enrollment: 20,625

East Carolina ranks well because of its relative large economics department (so you can hang out with a bunch of other number geeks), and the proportion of its graduates that are still working 10 years out of college.

8. University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Best Colleges For Economics Majors In North Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Location: Charlotte
Total Enrollment: 21,400

UNC Charlotte excels when it comes to offering econ majors a promising career, as its graduates rank in the top third for earnings 6 and 10 years into their careers.

9. Appalachian State University

Best Colleges For Economics Majors In North Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Location: Boone
Total Enrollment: 15,840

Appalachian State broke into the top ten due to a low cost of attendance and a high graduation rate for its students. It also has an above-average size economics department for a school of its size.

10. University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Best Colleges For Economics Majors In North Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Location: Greensboro
Total Enrollment: 14,138

And rounding out the top ten is the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

UNC Greensboro ranks well due to its affordability — it has one of the lowest costs and debt burdens of all the schools we looked at in our analysis.

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