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Greetings from the Chair


Our mission is twofold. First, we educate undergraduate and graduate students in the understanding of the economy of the world. Second, we advance knowledge in economics and related fields and foster the impact of this insight on the world. 

Over the years, our faculty has been committed to a rigorous analytical approach in both instruction and research. The undergraduate and graduate programs were initially designed to provide students with a strong foundation in economic theory and econometrics. This approach was grounded in the understanding that even students with interests in applied fields or policy areas benefit from a deep command of the principles and methods that underlie modern-day economic analysis. While this commitment to foundational insight and methods continues, the Department is placing a growing emphasis on intensifying 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, around 5,000 students enroll in our courses. In fall 2022, more than ten percent of all undergraduate students at UC San Diego chose to major in one of our four undergraduate degrees. The newly created business economics major has been especially popular. While the management science major is being phased out, we are planning new major concentrations in data analytics and econometrics, and we are perpetually modernizing our course offerings. Graduates from our undergraduate program go on to work in business or choose 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 employers who seek to hire our students.

In our doctoral program, around 120 graduate students advance knowledge in a diverse array of economic and related fields. Approximately 20 graduate students matriculate each fall, and then typically take five to six years to complete the PhD degree. Past students from our program are now professors in top academic departments across the world or make an impact in government and the private sector.

Since the Department's inception in 1964, the faculty and programs 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. Many department members are affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The Department of Economics established its reputation with world-renowned faculty in econometrics and microeconomic theory. Over the recent two decades, the Department has developed leading groups in multiple other areas. According to the U.S. News & World Report in 2023, the UC San Diego Department of Economics is ranked the 14th best PhD program, 4th best undergraduate program among public universities and 18th best undergraduate program overall. For the PhD program, the Department places within the top 18 and higher for nearly all subfields that are ranked, including development economics (11th rank), econometrics (7th rank), labor economics, macroeconomics, microeconomics, and public finance. In addition to our many research groups, we have established the Center for Environmental Economics and the San Diego Education Research Alliance. The Department is the youngest economics department that consistently places among the top 20 in the world, and the only one in that range founded after 1945. 

The broader economics community at UC San Diego spans the Department, the School of Global Policy and Strategy, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the Department of Political Science, the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, the Rady School of Management, and the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute. 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 UC San Diego's Environmental Sustainability and Climate Institute and the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, among others.

We encourage all, and especially our alumni, to be part of the vibrant and exciting world of UC San Diego Economics. Stay connected or become engaged.


--Marc Muendler
Department Chair