UC Santa Barbara General CatalogUniversity of California, Santa Barbara


Division of Social Sciences
North Hall 2127
Telephone: (805) 893-7309

Undergraduate Office: (805) 893-2981
Graduate Office: (805) 893-2205
Undergraduate e-mail: ugrad@econ.ucsb.edu
Graduate e-mail:  grad@econ.ucsb.edu
Website: www.econ.ucsb.edu
Department Chair: Kelly Bedard

Graduate Program

Applicants must fulfill University requirements for admission to graduate status described in the section “Graduate Education at UCSB” in addition to the departmental requirements for admission detailed below.

Doctor of Philosophy—Economics (Requirements - PDF)
Master of Arts—Economics (Requirements - PDF) (Based on successful completion of first year Ph.D. program requirements)

Admission Information

Admissions decisions are made by the departmental Graduate Faculty Admissions Committee, which is chaired by the Director of Graduate Studies. Admission to the program is based on academic achievement, intellectual potential and scholarly promise, programmatic fit and available space. A bachelor's degree is required, though not necessarily with a major in economics. The department expects that specific courses, particularly economic theory (Microeconomics and Macroeconomics), be passed with distinction. Most successful candidates also have course in Econometrics.

Prospective students are advised to take as much statistics and mathematics courses as possible. We expect applicants to have taken advanced courses in calculus, mathematical statistics, matrix and linear algebra, and highly recommend a proof-based course, usually in real analysis.

Admission and Diversity

Admission to the PhD program in Economics focuses on identifying students of outstanding promise. There is no single criterion for admission, but we emphasize previous academic success as indicated by coursework in economics and mathematics, excellent grades, strong scores on the GRE general exam (especially the quantitative section), and three letters of recommendation. Effective letters of recommendation are written by mentors who can speak directly to the candidate’s ability to excel in graduate school and to conduct independent research.

The UC Santa Barbara Department of Economics actively seeks to recruit a diverse set of graduate students. Our program is made up domestic and international students with a wide range of perspectives and experiences. We welcome students from colleges and universities in the United States and abroad. We strongly encourage applications from students who have excelled academically despite economic or social disadvantages.

While admission is competitive and based on merit alone, the University may provide extra fellowships to candidates who increase diversity. Criteria for diversity are varied, and applicants should read the information provided on the UC Santa Barbara Graduate Division website and include relevant elements in the personal statement.

Although the minimum undergraduate grade point average requirement for admission to graduate school at UC Santa Barbara is 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, the average for those admitted and starting the program is normally much higher. Meeting the minimum requirement does not guarantee admission.

The average undergraduate GPA for all applicants who were admitted for the last four years is noted in the table below, although GPA and GRE scores are only two elements considered in the admission decision. All applicants are required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), and the GMAT is never accepted. Average GRE Verbal, Quantitative, and GRE Analytical Writing scores are noted below.

Additional information such as the size of the applicant pool, how many were admitted and how many started the program are listed in the table below. *

Year Applied (Admitted) Started Program GPA (based on of 4.0 U.S. scale) GRE Verbal GRE Quantitative GRE Analytical Writing
Fall 2017 219(46) 12 3.78 / 4.0 159 / 82% 167 / 93% 4 / 59%
Fall 2016 221(72) 14 3.78 / 4.0 158/ 79% 166/ 92% 4 / 56%
Fall 2015 187(56) 13 3.75 / 4.0 160 / 84% 167 / 96% 4 / 56%
Fall 2014 183(57) 15 3.75 / 4.0 160 / 84% 167 / 96% 4 / 54%

*Please note that meeting or exceeding the above listed number does not guarantee an applicant admission to our program.

Optional Interdisciplinary Emphases

Students pursuing a doctoral degree in Economics may petition to add the following Optional Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Emphases: Climate Sciences and Climate Change, Demography, Economics and Environmental Science (EES). Requirement sheets for each emphasis may be found on this page.