How to Apply

Program Preparation

Prospective students are expected to have a bachelor’s degree and have taken specific Economic Theory courses, such as Microeconomics and Macroeconomics. Most successful candidates have also taken Econometrics courses, and it is recommended that candidates have also taken as many courses in advanced Mathematics and Statistics as possible, such as Calculus, Mathematical Statistics, Matrix and Linear Algebra. It is highly recommended to take one proof-based course, ideally in Real Analysis.

Online Application Materials

Prospective students must apply for the PhD program electronically at the UC Santa Barbara Graduate Division website. Important information regarding graduate applications can be downloaded in the sidebar.

In the online application, students are required to supply the following:

1. Statement of Purpose Essay

Give a brief statement outlining your reasons for undertaking a graduate program, your particular area of specialization within the major field, your past academic work, and your plans for future occupation or profession. Also include any additional information that may assist the selection committee in evaluating your preparation and aptitude for graduate study at UC Santa Barbara.

Applicants must not combine the "Statement of Purpose" essay with the “Personal Achievements/Contributions” essay. It is suggested that each essay be no more than two pages long, single-spaced. Label each essay with the applicant’s name (Last, First) and the title of the essay in the top right-hand corner.

2. Personal Achievements/Contributions Essay

UC Santa Barbara is interested in a diverse and inclusive graduate student population. Please describe any aspects of your personal background, accomplishments, or achievements that you feel are important in evaluating your application for graduate study. For example, please describe if you have experienced economic challenges in achieving higher education, such as being financially responsible for family members or dependents, having to work significant hours during undergraduate schooling or coming from a family background of limited income.

Please describe if you have any unusual or varied life experiences that might contribute to the diversity of the graduate group, such as fluency in other languages, experience living in bicultural communities, academic research interests focusing on cultural, societal, or educational problems as they affect underserved segments of society, or evidence of an intention to use the graduate degree toward serving disadvantaged individuals or populations.

Applicants must not combine the "Statement of Purpose" essay with the “Personal Achievements/Contributions” essay. It is suggested that each essay be no more than two pages long, single-spaced. Label each essay with the applicant’s name (Last, First) and the title of the essay in the top right-hand corner.

3. Resume or CV

Along with your education, list positions of employment and/or volunteer work since high school. Include dates, descriptions, and the number of hours per week worked at each commitment.

4. Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are required. No more than four letters can be submitted per applicant. Students are advised that it is most effective to obtain letters from Economics Faculty.

Applicants must provide the following information for each recommender:

  • Name
  • Email Address
  • Current Institution

Your recommenders will receive an email with instructions on how to upload their letters. Recommenders will only be able to upload files in PDF format.

5. Official Transcripts

Applicants must upload official transcripts from all post-secondary educational institutions attended, including community colleges, summer sessions, and extension programs.

Transcripts must be official versions of school records. Unofficial versions are not acceptable and will not be used to evaluate an applicant for admission consideration. Applicants cannot take a photo of the transcript and upload it into the online application. Students must upload a neatly scanned version of the transcript, or send an electronic version if their university/college makes one available.

International applicants must upload 2 versions of their official academic transcripts: one that is in the original native language, and one that has been translated into English by the school or an official agency. The translation must be authorized, complete, and contain the exact, literal English translation. Unofficial translations made by the applicant or by UC faculty and staff are unacceptable.

International applicants should also upload a document showing the detail of their academic background, especially in the areas of Mathematics and Economic Theory.

Official transcripts for Fall term grades are required to be uploaded into the "Statement & Supplemental Documents" section of the online application as soon as they are available, but no later than January 5.

Please refer to the pdf in the sidebar for important information on uploading transcripts.

6. Exam Scores

Exam scores will be sent directly to the UCSB Graduate Division. The Department will only use the most recent and complete set of test scores reported. Scores must be forwarded directly from the testing institution.

 GRE test scores are NOT required nor accepted for Fall 2021 applications

 International applicants must take the TOEFL/IELTS as early as possible to ensure scores arrive on or before the application deadline.

Official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam scores are required for applicants whose native language is not English. Requests for exemptions to this requirement will be considered for students who have completed an undergraduate or graduate education at an institution whose verified sole official language of instruction is English.

  • Minimum TOEFL score is 600 (paper-based test) or 100 (internet-based test). Successful applicants typically score 106 or higher (internet-based test)
  • Minimum IELTS overall band score is 7 or higher
  • TOEFL and IELTS scores must be no more than two years old at the time of application
  • ETS institution code: 4835
  • Economics code for TOEFL or IELTS: 84
7. Non-refundable Application Fee

Application fees are payable by credit card (fastest payment method), check, money order, bank draft, or an international money order payable through a U.S. Bank. Payments must be made to “UC Regents.” No application will be processed or released to the Department of Economics until payment has been received.

Domestic application fee: $120.00

International application fee: $140.00

Submitting the Application

The completed and paid online application and all supporting application materials for admissions consideration is required to be submitted by the application deadline.

 Please note:

Postmarks and late submission of application materials will not be accepted. Students are expected to begin the PhD program in Fall Quarter. First-year PhD courses are sequential; students must begin the program in the Fall Quarter

On the online application, the PhD and the PhD/MA options refer to the same doctoral program. If a student applies for the PhD/MA program, this allows the Department to administratively award the student an MA degree in Economics based on the successful completion of first-year doctoral program requirements, without any additional administrative steps. We highly recommend applying to the PhD/MA option.

Accepted International Students

All incoming graduate students who are non-native English speakers are required to take the English Language Placement Examination (ELPE) at the beginning of their first quarter of enrollment here at UC Santa Barbara.

The ELPE includes both a written and an oral examination. After the written exam, students make individual appointments through the English for Multilingual Students (EMS) program to take the oral exam at a later time. Non-native English speakers whose undergraduate degree is from a recognized English-medium institution may be exempt from the ELPE requirement. More information can be found online at:

 NOTE: For the Fall 2021 application cycle, the GRE will not be required

 PhD Application Deadlines

  • Priority Financial Support: December 4, 2020
  • Final Deadline: January 4, 2021

 Graduate Advisor

Graduate Advisor


Office Hours

Monday to Friday:
8:00am-12:00pm and 1:00pm-5:00pm

 Important Documents