Best universities for business degrees

Find the best universities for business degrees using Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings data

October 28 2020
Business chart


Choosing where to study business is an important decision for prospective students, so Times Higher Education has published a world ranking of business and economics degrees.

The subject ranking for business includes more than 700 universities in 62 countries.

Best universities for business by country

Best universities for business degrees in Australia
Best universities for business degrees in the UK
Best universities for business degrees in Canada
Best universities for business degrees in the United States

The majority of the top 20 universities in the business ranking are US colleges, with Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the top.

Although the US dominates the ranking, universities in the UK and across Asia also do particularly well.

The UK has four universities in the top 20, which also features three institutions from two Asian territories.

Canadian, Dutch and Australian schools also perform well for business and economics degrees.

The ranking uses the same methodology as the World University Rankings, but with slightly more weight given to teaching and research metrics and slightly less to citations. The complete methodology can be found here.

Scroll down for a full list of degrees covered by the ranking and the career paths that they open up.

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Top 5 universities for business and economics degrees

1. Stanford University

Stanford’s graduate business school admits students for MBA, PhD, master’s and executive degrees.

The school’s dean is Jonathan Levin, a renowned expert in industrial organisation.

In 2006, the school received what was then the largest endowment ever given to a business school: $105 million from Phil Knight, an alumnus and the founder of Nike.

The business school at Stanford is known to be the most selective in the US, based on the competition for acceptance on to a course. Typically, less than 7 per cent of applicants secure a place.

Postgraduate students can take joint degrees at other schools, combining business with subjects such as earth sciences, education and law.

Although there is no specific business and management programme for undergraduates, students can choose to major in economics, international relations or management science and engineering.

Best universities worldwide

Best universities in the world
Best universities in the United States
Best universities in the UK
Best universities in Canada
Best universities in Australia
Best universities in Europe
Best universities in France
Best universities in the Netherlands
Best universities in Germany

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Sloan School of Management, also known as MIT Sloan, offers business programmes at the university.

In addition to MBA courses, executive training programmes and other postgraduate degrees, the school also teaches undergraduates through “Course 15”, which provides business skills to students with a technical and quantitative background.

The classes feature problem sets that make use of real-world business cases, tackling them with scientific approaches. The course also provides opportunities to do research and to take part in entrepreneurship competitions.

Business courses at MIT cover a variety of topics, including operations research, consulting, entrepreneurship, finance, information technology, product development and marketing.

There is an emphasis on innovation across all these topics. Many influential new ideas in business, including the field of system dynamics, were born out of work at the Sloan School.

MIT is one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, next door to Harvard University, it is a hub of innovation and entrepreneurship.

3. University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge is made up of 29 separate colleges.

The university is also home to more than 100 libraries, which hold a total of more than 15 million books.

Business and economics degrees are generally taught at the Cambridge Judge Business School. Courses include the MBA, master of finance, master of accounting and a number of MPhil programmes.

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4. University of Oxford

Undergraduate business students at the University of Oxford study economics and management within the traditional degree framework, and they are taught primarily in small group tutorials.

Oxford’s academic department for business is the Saïd Business School, which teaches business, management and finance.

The school is just over 20 years old – fairly new compared with other prestigious business schools around the world.

The current dean, Peter Tufano, was at Harvard Business School before joining Oxford.

The postgraduate programmes on offer include the popular MBA programme, an executive MBA programme, a PhD in management studies and master’s degrees in financial economics, law and finance and strategic management.

MBA students can also extend their one-year degree to combine the course with one of the specialised master’s programmes.

All business students are members of an Oxford college and participate in university life outside the business school. Although not all colleges accept business students, the majority do.

5. Harvard University

Harvard University’s Business School is one of the most prestigious postgraduate business schools in the world. 

The school offers a two-year MBA that promises a focus on real-world practice. There are also eight doctoral programmes leading to a PhD or DBA. 

At the moment Harvard does not offer an undergraduate business programme, but students are able to study economics at the undergraduate level.

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Top 200 universities for business and economics 2021

Click each institution to view its World University Rankings 2021 profile

 Business and economics rank 2021   Business and economics rank 2020  University Country/region
 1   2  Stanford University United States
 2   1  Massachusetts Institute of Technology United States
 3   4  University of Cambridge United Kingdom
 4   3  University of Oxford United Kingdom
 5   10  Harvard University United States
 6   8  The University of Chicago United States
 7   6  London School of Economics and Political Science United Kingdom
 8   11  Yale University United States
 9   5  University of California, Berkeley United States
 10   7  Duke University United States
 11   9  University of Pennsylvania United States
 12   =12  ETH Zurich Switzerland
 13   =12  Northwestern University United States
 14   14  National University of Singapore Singapore
 15   17  New York University United States
 16   16  University of Michigan-Ann Arbor United States
 17   19  Tsinghua University China
 18   15  Columbia University United States
 19   18  University of California, Los Angeles United States
 20   21  UCL United Kingdom
 21   20  Peking University China
 22   26  University of Warwick United Kingdom
 23   22  Cornell University United States
 24   27  University of Toronto Canada
 25   28  Erasmus University Rotterdam Netherlands
 26   29  Carnegie Mellon University United States
 27   25  University of California, San Diego United States
 28   24  University of British Columbia Canada
 =29   32  Copenhagen Business School Denmark
 =29   34  Hong Kong Polytechnic University Hong Kong
 =29   23  The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Hong Kong
 32   37  University of Manchester United Kingdom
 33   31  The University of Tokyo Japan
 34   45  Boston University United States
 35   35  University of Minnesota United States
 36   30  University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
 37   33  Tilburg University Netherlands
 38   36  University of Washington United States
 39   41  University of Mannheim Germany
 40   38  University of Melbourne Australia
 41   =55  The University of Queensland Australia
 42   43  University of Southern California United States
 43   =55  University of Edinburgh United Kingdom
 44   42  LMU Munich Germany
 =45   NR  University of California, Davis United States
 =45   =60  Indiana University United States
 47   =48  University of Wisconsin -Madison United States
 48   44  Dartmouth College United States
 49   =48  Arizona State University (Tempe) United States
 50   39  Michigan State University United States
 =51   40  University of Texas at Austin United States
 =51   51  University of Zurich Switzerland
 =53   54  Aalto University Finland
 =53   =46  Pompeu Fabra University Spain
 55   67  University of Bonn Germany
 56   =58  Ohio State University (Main campus) United States
 57   =63  UNSW Sydney Australia
 58   52  Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Singapore
 59   =60  Chinese University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
 60   =46  Penn State (Main campus) United States
 61   =83  University of Surrey United Kingdom
 62   73  Maastricht University Netherlands
 63   66  KU Leuven Belgium
 64   62  Technical University of Munich Germany
 65   =91  University of Leeds United Kingdom
 66   79  University of St Gallen Switzerland
 =67   =94  Fudan University China
 =67   101–125  Monash University Australia
 =69   =63  Australian National University Australia
 =69   57  Johns Hopkins University United States
 =69   75  Lund University Sweden
 72   =58  City University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
 =73   =80  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill United States
 =73   70  Shanghai Jiao Tong University China
 =75   =83  Kyoto University Japan
 =75   69  University of Virginia (Main campus) United States
 77   72  University of Sussex United Kingdom
 78   68  Boston College United States
 79   65  University of Maryland, College Park United States
 80   =76  University of Amsterdam Netherlands
 81   =80  University of Groningen Netherlands
 82   =96  McGill University Canada
 83   101–125  Lancaster University United Kingdom
 =84   =91  University of Florida United States
 =84   =98  National Taiwan University (NTU) Taiwan
 86   90  University of Sydney Australia
 87   =76  University of Vienna Austria
 88   =76  Washington University in St Louis United States
 89   86  Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies – Pisa Italy
 =90   93  University of Alberta Canada
 =90   =88  Federal University of Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées France
 =92   71  Georgia Institute of Technology United States
 =92   53  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign United States
 =92   101–125  Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey United States
 95   50  Zhejiang University China
 96   82  Texas A&M University United States
 97 =96 École Polytechnique France
 97   74  Seoul National University South Korea
 98   151–175  University of Montreal Canada
 =99   =98  Politecnico di Milano Italy
 =99   101–125  University of Twente Netherlands
 =99   101–125  Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Netherlands
 101–125   101–125  University of Arizona United States
 101–125   101–125  Aston University United Kingdom
 101–125   151–175  University of Auckland New Zealand
 101–125   176–200  University of Bath United Kingdom
 101–125   101–125  Cardiff University United Kingdom
 101–125   151–175  Chalmers University of Technology Sweden
 101–125   101–125  City, University of London United Kingdom
 101–125   176–200  George Washington University United States
 101–125   176–200  University of Glasgow United Kingdom
 101–125   101–125  Griffith University Australia
 101–125   126–150  King’s College London United Kingdom
 101–125   101–125  Korea University South Korea
 101–125   101–125  University of Lausanne Switzerland
 101–125   101–125  University of Massachusetts United States
 101–125   101–125  Nanjing University China
 101–125   101–125  University of Notre Dame United States
 101–125   101–125  University of Nottingham United Kingdom
 101–125   87  Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University Paris France
 101–125   85  Queensland University of Technology Australia
 101–125   151–175  University of Reading United Kingdom
 101–125   100  Sun Yat-sen University China
 101–125   101–125  Technical University of Berlin Germany
 101–125   101–125  University of Technology Sydney Australia
 101–125   101–125  York University Canada
 126–150   126–150  Aarhus University Denmark
 126–150   126–150  University of Antwerp Belgium
 126–150   101–125  Autonomous University of Barcelona Spain
 126–150   201–250  University of Bayreuth Germany
 126–150   201–250  Beijing Normal University China
 126–150   151–175  Central South University China
 126–150   126–150  Charles University in Prague Czech Republic
 126–150   201–250  Durham University United Kingdom
 126–150   101–125  University of Essex United Kingdom
 126–150   176–200  Ghent University Belgium
 126–150   =94  HSE University Russian Federation
 126–150   151–175  University of Malaya Malaysia
 126–150   151–175  Newcastle University United Kingdom
 126–150   101–125  Northeastern University United States
 126–150   126–150  Renmin University of China China
 126–150   101–125  Rice University United States
 126–150   151–175  Royal Holloway, University of London United Kingdom
 126–150   126–150  Sejong University South Korea
 126–150   126–150  University of Sheffield United Kingdom
 126–150   126–150  University of South Australia Australia
 126–150   126–150  Stockholm University Sweden
 126–150   201–250  University of Waikato New Zealand
 126–150   126–150  Western University Canada
 126–150   151–175  Yonsei University (Seoul campus) South Korea
 126–150   126–150  University of York United Kingdom
 151–175   201–250  University of Birmingham United Kingdom
 151–175   126–150  Free University of Berlin Germany
 151–175   NR  University of Geneva Switzerland
 151–175   126–150  Georgetown University United States
 151–175   126–150  Georgia State University United States
 151–175   176–200  University of Hamburg Germany
 151–175   101–125  Hebrew University of Jerusalem Israel
 151–175   176–200  King Abdulaziz University Saudi Arabia
 151–175   126–150  Lomonosov Moscow State University Russian Federation
 151–175   201–250  Loughborough University United Kingdom
 151–175   101–125  Université Catholique de Louvain Belgium
 151–175   151–175  Macquarie University Australia
 151–175   201–250  McMaster University Canada
 151–175   151–175  University of Navarra Spain
 151–175   151–175  University of Newcastle Australia
 151–175   151–175  NOVA University of Lisbon Portugal
 151–175   176–200  Radboud University Nijmegen Netherlands
 151–175   176–200  University of Rochester United States
 151–175   126–150  Simon Fraser University Canada
 151–175   151–175  University of Southampton United Kingdom
 151–175   101–125  University of St Andrews United Kingdom
 151–175   =88  Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) South Korea
 151–175   126–150  Temple University United States
 151–175   151–175  Tongji University China
 151–175   151–175  Trinity College Dublin Republic of Ireland
 151–175   151–175  The University of Western Australia Australia
 176–200   126–150  Aalborg University Denmark
 176–200   251–300  Beijing Institute of Technology China
 176–200   201–250  Bournemouth University United Kingdom
 176–200   151–175  Case Western Reserve University United States
 176–200   176–200  University of East Anglia United Kingdom
 176–200   151–175  Emory University United States
 176–200   176–200  University of Erlangen-Nuremberg Germany
 176–200   126–150  University of Exeter United Kingdom
 176–200   201–250  Hong Kong Baptist University Hong Kong
 176–200   201–250  University of Innsbruck Austria
 176–200   201–250  King Saud University Saudi Arabia
 176–200   151–175  Kyung Hee University South Korea
 176–200   176–200  Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology LUT Finland
 176–200   201–250  Université libre de Bruxelles Belgium
 176–200   251–300  Linköping University Sweden
 176–200   176–200  National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (Taiwan Tech) Taiwan
 176–200   201–250  Queen’s University Canada
 176–200   201–250  University of São Paulo Brazil
 176–200   151–175  University of Strathclyde United Kingdom
 176–200   126–150  University of Texas at Dallas United States
 176–200   201–250  University College Dublin Republic of Ireland
 176–200   176–200  Washington State University United States
 176–200   151–175  University of Waterloo Canada
 176–200   126–150  Worcester Polytechnic Institute United States

Click here to view the full ranking for business degrees

Editor's note: After the publication of the 2021 Subject Rankings, Ecole Polytechnique informed us that they had submitted and signed off incorrect academic staff numbers for Business and Economics – therefore excluding them from being ranked in the Business and Economics subject ranking, as per the inclusion criteria. This matter was reviewed under our corrections policy and we agreed, at our discretion, to calculate Ecole Polytechnique’s score in the Business and Economics ranking based on a corrected data submission. This table has been updated to reflect their ranked position due to the correction. 

Read more: Need help choosing a degree? Here is the most comprehensive to help you choose 

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