Storke Panorama
Credit: Tony Mastres


The PhD Program at UC Santa Barbara is designed for students interested in pursuing advanced study and conducting original research in economics. The PhD is awarded in recognition of the recipient's qualifications as a general economist and of the ability to make scholarly contributions in one or more fields of specialization.

Completing the PhD program will take on average five to six years, although some students will be able to complete the program in less time.

Admissions Information

Admission decisions are made by the Department’s Graduate Faculty Admissions Committee, whose goal is identifying students of outstanding promise. The committee will make decisions based on academic achievement, intellectual potential and scholarly promise, programmatic fit, and available space

There is no single criterion for admission, but the most successful candidates will have the following qualities:

  • A history of academic success as indicated by coursework in economics and mathematics
  • Excellent grades
  • Strong scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), particularly in the quantitative section
  • Three high-quality letters of recommendation, which speak to the candidate’s ability to excel in academic work and conduct independent research. As a practical matter, this usually means Economics faculty or other economists active in research.
Admissions and Diversity

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.

UCSB is the first university in the prestigious AAU to be designated a Hispanic Serving Institution. The University has earned a four-and-a-half star rating for being LGBTQ friendly.

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.

Data from Previous Years

For more information on the competitiveness of the program, please refer to the table below. 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 or exceeding the listed information does not guarantee admission to our program.

 PhD Application Deadlines

  • Priority Financial Support: December 1, 2023
  • Final Deadline: January 2, 2024

Important Documents

Graduate Advisor

Graduate Advisor

Student Organizations

Year Applied Admitted Started Program GPA GRE Verbal GRE Quantitative GRE Analytical Writing
Fall 2023 308 94 16 3.83 / 4.0 160 168 4
Fall 2022 393 95 16 3.89 / 4.0 N/A N/A N/A
Fall 2021 409 56 16 3.82 / 4.0 N/A N/A N/A
Fall 2020 276 70 16 3.76 / 4.0 159 167 4
Fall 2019 252 62 18 3.71 / 4.0 159 167 4
Fall 2018 308 61 18 3.84 / 4.0 158 167 4
Fall 2017 219 46 12 3.78 / 4.0 159 167 4