Education and Skills

Europe's 16 best economics degrees

Image: The rooftops of the university city of Oxford are seen from the south west. REUTERS/Peter Macdiarmid

Will Martin
Markets Reporter, Business Insider UK
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Economics as a university subject has boomed in popularity since the financial crisis, and so has competition for the best students.

All of this makes the question of which European institutions are best for studying the subject a big one.

Every year QS produces a comprehensive ranking of the world's best universities, broken down by both region and subject.

QS' latest ranking was released in March and includes data about which universities provide the best education in the discipline of economics and econometrics.

The university ranking is based on the institution's reputation with academics and employers, and the number of research citations the school gets per paper published in a specific discipline — in this case, economics and econometrics. It then gives each course a score out of 100.

Many of the best universities for the study of economics are in the USA, but Business Insider decided to pull out the best performing institutions in Europe. You can check them out below (overall rankings are in brackets).

= 16 (50). Universitat Mannheim: 73.8

Germany's best economics degrees come from the University of Mannheim, according to QS. The university's economics department alumni list reads like a who's who of German economic talent. Nobel Prize winner Edmund Phelps, former federal minister of economics Werner Muller, and current Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann all studied at the university.

= 16 (50). Universidad Carlos III de Madrid: 73.8

Also known as UC3M, the university is Spain's best when it comes to the study of economics and econometrics. UC3M scored well across the board, but did particularly well in the citations per paper category, scoring 82.1. Famous alumni include Pablo Iglesias Turrion, the founder of left-wing political party, Podemos.

14 (48). University of Zurich: 74.0

Zurich is one of Europe's key financial centres, and that reflects in the quality of teaching in economics at the university. Despite relatively low scores for academic and employer reputations, according to QS, Zurich gets a bump from a citations per person score of 88. Famously bearish investor Marc Faber studied at the university.

13 (47). Tilburg University: 74.2

The university, based in the southern Dutch town of Tilburg, isn't as widely known as many other universities on this list, but that doesn't mean that its no good. However, the university does seem to be on something of a slide. It falls three places from 2015's European ranking, and ten places overall.

12 (41). University of Amsterdam: 75.3

Amsterdam's economics and econometrics degrees are the second best in the Netherlands, according to QS. The first ever president of the European Central Bank, Wim Duisenberg, taught economics at Amsterdam in the 1970s.

11 (40). Erasmus University Rotterdam: 75.7

Erasmus is the best-ranked university for economics in the Netherlands. It's home of the Tinbergen Institute, named for 1969 Nobel laureate Jan Tinbergen, who worked at the school. It has climbed one place in the European rankings this year.

10 (36). ETH Zurich: 76.2

Switzerland's highest entry in the top 16 is best known for producing theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, who later taught at the school. ETH has jumped four places in terms of European schools this year.

9 (34). Stockholm School of Economics: 76.7

Sweden's Stockholm School of Economics produced an influential group known as the Stockholm School in the 1930s, centred around professors Gunnar Myrdal and Bertil Ohlin. The school ranked 9th in Europe in 2015, and keeps that place this year.

8 (27). London Business School: 78.7

A postgraduate-only institution, unlike most of the other schools listed, LBS concentrates on business and management degrees, where it's ranked as the second best in the world, losing out to Harvard University. Despite that focus, its economics degrees still rank as some of the best in Europe, and in the top 30 worldwide.

7 (26). University of Warwick: 78.8

Warwick may not be a world famous university, but when it comes to economics, the university is certainly world class. The current chief economist of the Bank of England, Andy Haldane, has a masters in economics from the university.

6 (20). Universitat Pompeu Fabra: 80.1

The university, in Barcelona, tops the list for Spain, and is second for southern Europe overall. Andreu Mas-Colell, who teaches at the university, wrote the world's most widely read microeconomics textbook,"Microeconomic Theory." Pictured is Nobel Prize winning economist Thomas Piketty (who didn't attend UPF), speaking at the university in 2014.

5 (17). Universita Commerciale Luigi Bocconi: 81.8

Bocconi is the highest ranked European university for economics outside of the UK, according to QS. Economist Mario Monti, who was drafted in as Italy's prime minister during the euro crisis, went to the school.

4 (16). University College London: 82.2

Ranking 16th overall in QS' ranking, UCL's economics department scored particularly well in the citations per paper category, where it scored 90.1. 19th century political economist and philosopher John Stuart Mill is one of the university's most prominent alumni.

3 (10). University of Cambridge: 88.5

Cambridge ranks as Europe's third best university for economics and econometrics, thanks largely to an incredible employer reputation score of 99.7. Famous Cambridge economists include Joseph Stiglitz, Milton Friedman, and John Maynard Keynes.

2 (8). University of Oxford: 89.6

Oxford excels in every subject it teaches, and economics is no exception. It keeps its place from the 2015 QS ranking as Europe's second best university for economics. Four Oxford graduates and five academic staff have received Nobel prizes in economics alone.

1 (7). London School of Economics and Political Science: 90.2

Given its name, its not surprising that the LSE excels when it comes to teaching economics. Famous LSE alumni include 12 winners of the Nobel prize for economic sciences. The school keeps its place as the top European university for economics and econometrics from QS' 2015 ranking.

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