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Greetings from the Chair


Our mission is twofold. First, to educate undergraduate and graduate students in the understanding of how the economy of the world works. Secondly, to advance knowledge in the field of economics and related fields and understand how this knowledge impacts the world. 

Over the years, the faculty has been committed to a rigorous analytical approach to both teaching and research. Both the undergraduate and graduate programs were initially designed to provide students with a strong foundation in economic theory and econometrics. This was based on the belief that even students with interests in applied fields or policy areas would benefit from having a deep understanding of the principles and methods that are the basis of modern economic analysis. While this commitment continues, the Department has a growing emphasis on maximizing its real-world impact.

We have a large and vibrant undergraduate program that attracts students both from within California and around the world. Each quarter, over 5,000 students enroll in our courses. In fall 2022, more than 10% of all undergraduate students at UC San Diego chose to major in one of our four undergraduate majors. The newly created business economics major has been especially popular. And, while the management science major is sunsetting, we are planning to introduce a new major with an emphasis on data analytics and econometrics. Graduates from our undergraduate program go on to work in business or go on to further their education often at some of the best schools in the world. Our newly created industry engagement staff position – funded by donors – is designed to increase access to internships and create closer ties with those who seek to hire our students.

In our doctoral program, we have around 120 graduate students pushing forward knowledge in a diverse array of economics related fields. The Department's graduate program is strictly a doctoral program. Approximately 20 graduate students matriculate each fall, and then typically take 5-6 years to complete the PhD degree. Past students from our program can be found as professors in top academic departments across the world, as well as making impacts in both government and industry.

Since its inception in 1964, the faculty and programs of the Department of Economics have grown in number and stature. Within four decades, two long-time faculty won Nobel Prizes in 2003. Numerous others have been elected or selected to be members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Guggenheim Fellows, and Econometric Society Fellows. As of 2022, the Department of Economics has 45 faculty, most of who are affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The Economics Department established its reputation based on world-renowned faculty in econometrics and microeconomic theory. During the last two decades, the Department has developed leading groups in many other areas. According to the most recent (2023) U.S. News & World Report rankings of graduate programs, the UC San Diego Department of Economics is ranked as the 14th best PhD program. Further, the Department places within the top 18 or higher for nearly all subfields that are ranked, including development economics, econometrics, labor economics, macroeconomics, microeconomics, and public finance. In addition to our many research groups, we have established the Center for Environmental Economics and San Diego Education Research Alliance.

The Economics community at UC San Diego spans the Department, the School of Global Policy and StrategyScripps Institution of Oceanography, the Department of Political Science, the Southwest Fisheries Science Center and the Rady School of Management. The faculties of these units, and others on-campus and off, collaborate vigorously on research and instructional programs. The Department has played a leadership role in UCSD’s Environmental Sustainability and Climate Institute and Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, among others. 

We encourage all, but especially our alumni, to be part of the vibrant and exciting world of UCSD Economics. Stay connected or become connected with UCSD economics.


Julie Cullen
Department Chair