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California offers many excellent Economics programs. Why choose us?


  • Our  faculty are acknowledged experts in their fields. We’re ranked the 7 th best department by the most recent  US World and  News Report .
  • All faculty teach undergraduate courses. Many have won campuswide teaching awards. Professor Famulari has won three, and Professor Machina has won four!
  • Beyond required courses in micro, macro and econometrics, we offer over 50 different elective courses, most taught by world class researchers. Fields include behavioral economics, economic development, environmental economics, health economics, international economics, labor, law and economics, public economics, urban economics and more. If your passion turns out to be any of these (or is already), we have you covered.
  • Several faculty have literally (and literarily) written the textbook:  Kate Antonovics (with Robert Frank & former Fed chair Ben Bernanke) Principles of EconomicsJames Rauch (with Gerald Meier), Leading Issues in Economic DevelopmentRoss Starr, General Equilibrium Theory: An Introduction; and  Joel Watson, Strategy.


  • We offer a rich and diverse social experience by drawing outstanding students and faculty from all over the world. Students and faculty came from seventy nine countries last year. Economics is the most popular UCSD major among international students.
  • 40% of our students are women, who finish about half a quarter faster, on average.
  • Our students come with a strong background in math (or get it here), allowing us to teach a rigorous program of microeconomic theory and quantitative data analysis (econometrics).
  • Interested in seeing where the class of 2021 is now? View our Senior Exit Survey Results.


  • Your time is valuable. To minimize time to degree and accommodate students arriving with different preparation we offer required courses repeatedly, including during summers. The result is extremely quick completion rates, even for students who began in other majors. 77% of students entering as freshmen complete their degree in economics in four years (including 7% in terminal summer quarter), and 97% in five. 91% of international students arriving as freshmen finish in 4 years. If you work with us, we will help you finish on time.
  • We innovate in teaching. Check out our video handbook in microeconomics, which allows you to watch a video of material at home, then come to class with questions. It is being used across the UC and was funded by UC Office of the President. Students love it, so we are developing a video handbook for our econometrics sequence too. We run group office hours with graduate students, which is extremely popular, and are experimenting with peer tutors.
  • Our students work hard in rigorous courses, learning skills that can earn them good jobs (starting salaries in the high 50s for those we’ve tracked) and spots in top graduate programs.
  • We match our best undergraduates to our best grad students, to learn skills and gain research experience as research assistants.
  • International students: Our two BSc majors can currently qualify undergraduates for extended employment authorization to pursue work experience in their field of study.


Why I Chose UCSD Econ

Kaiyang (Christina) Qiu,  B.A. Economics and International Studies – Business ‘22:

"I wish someone could have told me that economics major was not homogeneous in both the different tracks and classes it offers and the people it attracts. Everyone’s experience in the Economics Department is very different partly due to the flexibility and diversity of the program. I was able to craft my economics major with what I was interested in – I took classes ranging from economic development to econ of ocean resources, observed and participated in Economics Lab, attended various career-related events and conferences hosted by the Staff, and befriended like-minded individuals from across the globe. Now working in the banking industry and looking back, I am grateful for all the hard-core and soft skills I’ve developed working in collaborative settings in class and giving presentations. It was truly a life-changing experience I’ve had here at the Economics Department @ UC San Diego." 

Jacqueline Vallon

Jacqueline Vallon, an undergrad double-majoring in Mathematics and Economics, and president of the Undergraduate Economics Society, shares her reasons for choosing UCSD:

"Three years ago, I was deciding between several colleges that I could potentially go to. Having been a prospective mathematics and economics major with a business minor, one of the most important factors I was considering was the opportunity to gain one-on-one contact with my professors throughout my college experience. This led me to choosing UCSD, and I was definitely not disappointed. Through coffee with professors, office hours, and many honors series offered to students interested in Economics, UCSD offers a wide array of opportunities to get to know one’s professors and gain mentorship and guidance from them. With the many business organizations offered here at UCSD, I quickly joined the Undergraduate Economics Society, of which I am now President of, as well Women in Business. These organizations have helped me pursue my passions for female empowerment and business simultaneously. Through resources and guidance of remarkable math and economic staff members here at UCSD, who I have worked closely with, I have landed amazing internship opportunities, including at the start-up Portfolium, Inc., Porsche Consulting Group in Germany, and Geico. Currently, I am in the process of applying to numerous PhD in Economics Programs, along with Master Programs in Applied Mathematics. My campus involvements along with the conversations I have held with my professors have been very valuable pieces to my experiences at UCSD and in determining what path I want to take in my life!"

Irvin Lan

Irvin Lan, B.S. Management Science '16, shares: "UC San Diego Economics has helped me grow in so many ways. It has taught me to approach problems analytically, and to take ownership of challenging tasks. The econometric research paper has prepared me well for my current demanding job. It was an opportunity to work with and analyze raw data as it would be presented in the real world. The experience and lessons learned were significantly insightful and will carry over to shape the rest of my career in finance and accounting."


Yolanda XueYolanda Xue , B.S. Joint Math and Economics '17, will be moving on to Cornell University's Economics Ph.D. program in the Fall. Reflecting on her time at UCSD, she summarizes that "at the Department of Economics, we can always get help as long as we ask. I am glad that I have reached out for opportunities and challenges that help me build my pathway as well as myself. I gained more whenever I stepped out of my comfort zone. Do not be shy and take advantage of the resources."


Jenny Wu

Jenny Wu , submitted her SIR to join our undergrad program in Fall 2017 after meeting Chair Eli Berman at Triton Day. She says she "chose UCSD econ because it's renowned econometrical approach will truly allow me bring the theories of economics to life." 





Valerie Ramey

Why Choose a Top Research Institution as an Undergrad?

Often our admitted students have a tough choice between a smaller university with teaching faculty and a large university like ours, with world class researchers. Valerie Ramey , a leading researcher in macroeconomics, Chair of the Department (2011-13), and winner of the Chancellors' Associates Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching explains the argument for choosing a research university:

"I teach introductory macroeconomics. One of the skills I teach is how to evaluate the current data to see how the economy is doing and where it is expected to go. I am able to do this because of years of research using macroeconomic data. Also, since it usually takes years for the latest research findings to make their way to undergraduate textbooks, I keep students up-to-date on the latest research findings. I also give them insight into why policy-makers are pursuing particular policies. For example, I have known the former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke since I was a graduate student and am well-acquainted with his research. Thus, I can explain to students why the Fed responds so vigorously to credit problems. In a nutshell, the advantage of having active researchers teach undergraduates is that they can take the students far 'beyond the textbook'."

Questions? Check out our FAQ page, or our Virtual Advising Center (for currently registered students), or email (prospective students).

Questions about the student experience? Connect with a current student in our Undergraduate Economic Society (UES) by email, at, or on Facebook.

Why Choose a Top Research Institution as an Undergrad?

Often our admitted students have a tough choice between a smaller university with teaching faculty and a large university like ours, with world class researchers. Valerie Ramey, a leading researcher in macroeconomics, Chair of the Department (2011-13), and winner of the Chancellors' Associates Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching explains the argument for choosing a research university.