COVID-19: The Economics Undergraduate Advising Office is currently closed due to COVID-19. Please email us or attend drop-in advising hours (listed below).

Prospective Students

Welcome! We're delighted that you're considering pursuing a major in the Economics Department. The Department of Economics offers two majors: Economics (BA) and Economics & Accounting (BA). The standard time to complete a major is four years, although some students are able to complete it in three years. Students who wish to complete the major in four years are advised to look at the Suggested Plans of Study, which are located in the sidebar. Students who wish to complete the major in three years can visit the College of Letters and Science website for more information.

Declaring the Major

Students who are interested in the Economics or Economics & Accounting majors should register for pre-major classes through the University's GOLD System.

In order to declare a pre-major, students should visit the Economics Undergraduate Advising Office in North Hall 2121. An Advisor will assist in completing a Change of Major Petition, which can be downloaded from the sidebar.

Transfers from a California community college enter UCSB as a pre-major. If you are a transfer student or considering to transfer, please refer to www.assist.org and the Economics/Economics & Accounting pre-major sheet to determine what courses you have already taken that are credited within our Department.

Students will declare the Economics/Economics & Accounting major after completing all pre-major courses and fufilling the pre-major GPA requirement. More information about these policies are listed in the accordions below.

Typically, transfer students will only need to take two pre-major courses before declaring the major: ECON 10A and PSTAT 109. These courses must be taken at UCSB.

Completing Pre-Major Courses

The Economics/Economics and Accounting Major Requirements Sheet pdfs in the sidebar give comprehensive guidance on how to qualify for admission into our majors. In summary:

Economics Major Requirements:

  • Complete ECON 1, ECON 2, and ECON 10A with a GPA of 2.85 or above. Only courses that have been taken at a UC campus will factor towards the GPA requirement. (For more information, please see the Pre-Major GPA Policy accordion below).
  • Complete PSTAT 109 or 120A; MATH 2A-B or MATH 3A-B or MATH 34A-B; WRIT 105AA-ZZ or WRIT 107AA-ZZ or WRIT 109AA-ZZ with a C or higher. The grades in these courses will not factor towards the 2.85 GPA requirement, but will apply to the student's overall major GPA.
  • No grade lower than a C will be accepted in any pre-major course.

Economics & Accounting Major Requirements:

  • Complete ECON 1, ECON 2, ECON 3A-B, and ECON 10A with a GPA of 2.85 or above. Only courses that have been taken at a UC campus will factor towards the GPA requirement. (For more information, please see the Pre-Major GPA Policy accordion below).
  • Complete PSTAT 109 or 120A; MATH 2A-B or MATH 3A-B or MATH 34A-B; WRIT 105AA-ZZ or WRIT 107AA-ZZ or WRIT 109AA-ZZ with a C or higher. The grades in these courses will not factor towards the 2.85 GPA requirement, but will apply to the student's overall major GPA.
  • No grade lower than a C will be accepted in any pre-major course.
Satisfying the Pre-Major GPA Policy

To be admitted to the Economics or the Economics & Accounting major, students must attain a minimum 2.85 pre-major GPA. The pre-major GPA will be measured by the following courses:

  • Economics: ECON 1, ECON 2, ECON 10A
  • Economics & Accounting: ECON 1, ECON 2, ECON 3A-B, ECON 10A

Although MATH, WRIT, and PSTAT courses are required pre-major courses, the grades in these calsses do not factor into the 2.85 GPA requirement.

Only courses that have been taken at a UC campus will count towards the 2.85 GPA requirement. If a student completes the equivalent of ECON 1 and ECON 2 at a non-UC university, they will receive credit for the course, but must still earn a 2.85 GPA with the remaining courses that are listed above.

All students must complete ECON 10A at UCSB. This means that students who complete all other pre-major courses at a non-UC university must meet the 2.85 GPA requirement by earning a B or better in ECON 10A.

For students who do not meet the pre-major GPA requirement, the Department offers a ECON 10A retake exam as another avenue for admittance to the major. See the Economics10A Retake Exam Information below for more information.

Economics 10A Retake Exam Information

The ECON 10A retake exam gives students an additional opportunity to get into the major if they do not meet the 2.85 pre-major GPA requirement.

In order to qualify for this exam, students must have:

  1. Received a C or better in ECON 10A in their first attempt. A Passing grade does not substitute.
  2. Completed ECON 10A only once before. Students cannot have taken the course at any other time, even if a P/NP was received in the first attempt.

Those who meet these criteria will have two opportunities to retake the exam. They may take one or both of the following opportunities:

  1. At the beginning of the following quarter. A student who intitially takes ECON 10A in the Fall may choose to do a retake exam at the beginning of Winter Quarter.
  2. At the final of the following quarter. A student who initially takes ECON 10A in the Fall may choose to take the ECON 10A final for Winter quarter.

 Please Note:

  • Students must take the exam immediately following the quarter they initially completed ECON 10A. If they pass on these opportunities, no future options or exams will be offered.
  • The retake exam will only be used to give students an additional opportunity to get into the Economics or Economics & Accounting major. The grade earned on the retake exam will replace the ECON 10A grade when calculating the 2.85 GPA requirement, but it will not change the original letter grade earned in ECON 10A that appears on GOLD.
  • Students should NOT change any pre-major courses to the P/NP grading option. Students are only eligible for the retake exam if they have only taken ECON 10A once before, even if the grade was P/NP. Changing your grading option to P/NP will not change your exam eligibility, and it is not permitted for any major course. (Please see the Pass/No Pass Policy accordion for more information.)

Here are two scenarios of how the retake exam works:

Scenario 1: A student intends on declaring the Economics major and receives a B in ECON 1 and 2. They receive a C in ECON 10A. The student’s GPA in the three pre-major courses is 2.61, which is not high enough to be admitted to the major. Because the student has received a C or higher in ECON 10A (the first time), he or she can take the retake exam(s) in ECON 10A in the following quarter. In the first exam, the student receives a C+. The student’s pre-major GPA is now 2.73, still not high enough for admittance into the major. In the second exam, the student receives a B-, raising their GPA to a 2.88. The student is now admitted to the major, but the student’s grade for ECON 10A is still a C on GOLD.

Scenario 2: A student receives a B- in ECON 1 and 2. When taking ECON 10A the first time, the student goes against the advice of the Department and changes their grading option to P/NP and earns a grade of NP. The student then retakes ECON 10A and earns a C+. The student’s GPA in the three pre-major courses for the Economics major is 2.54, which is not high enough to be admitted to the major. However, because the student has taken ECON 10A twice, they are not eligible to take the exam. They will need to find a different major.

Please contact the Economics Undergraduate Office with any questions on this policy.

Pass/No Pass Policy

The P/NP grading option is not allowed for any major course. This includes all pre-major, preparation for the major, and upper-division major courses, as well as any courses you might take outside of the Department that apply to your major.

Students will not be allowed to take an Economics course as P/NP even if they have completed all major requirements and are taking excess upper-division courses. All courses taken in the Economics Department will be counted towards your major GPA.

If you feel you are not doing well in a pre-major class, do not change your grading option to P/NP. If you end up passing the class with a C or higher, you will be unable to repeat it for a letter grade. All courses in the pre-major and major must be taken for a letter grade.

If you did take a pre-major course and received a P grade before you knew you would be pursuing a major in Economics, please contact the Economics Undergraduate Office as soon as possible.

Obtaining Full-Major Status

Once the major prerequisites have been completed, as long as students have filed a Change of Major Petition with the Economics Undergraduate Advising Office, all students must do is wait for the release of final grades.

The Advising Office will verify that students have met all requirements, then clear students for upper-division courses and submit their paperwork to the Registrar.

Typically, Economics majors will be cleared for ECON 100B, ECON 101 and ECON 140A. Economics & Accounting majors will be cleared for ECON 100B, ECON 136A, and ECON 137A. Students will be notified what courses they are cleared for. Courses are subject to change based on availability.

All students must obtain full-major status prior to enrolling in any upper-division Economics courses. Economics course prerequisites are enforced and no exceptions will be granted.

Information for Transfer Students

Clearing Course Prerequisites

The Admissions office prepares a New Student Profile for every incoming transfer student. This document allows the Department to clear prerequisites for Economics and Economics & Accounting courses.

Please check GOLD to determine if your New Student Profile is ready. It may take several months, so please be patient. If it is not ready prior to enrolling in Fall Quarter classes, you may send in an unofficial transcript to the Economics Undergraduate Office (ugrad@econ.ucsb.edu) to get your prerequisites cleared. Our Department will clear you for Microeconomics and Macroeconomics; the Math Department will clear you for Calculus. Please include your UCSB Perm Number and your name in the email.

Unofficial transcripts must have the name of the school you attended and your full name.

We must be able to see your final grades to clear your prerequisites. If you are currently taking one or more the prerequisite classes, you will need to wait for your grades to post before sending in your unofficial transcript. Letters from instructors, screenshots of midterm grades, or any other unofficial updates will not suffice.

Taking Pre-Major Courses Over the Summer

We encourage transfer students to take PSTAT 109 or ECON 10A the Summer before their first Fall Quarter. (However, we recommend that students taking these courses during the Summer do NOT take them in the same Summer Session.)

Students must satisfy the Calculus pre-major requirement prior to enrolling in PSTAT 109. Students must satisfy the Calculus, Microeconomics, and Macroeconomics requirement prior to enrolling in ECON 10A.

The Admission office will not have transcripts processed in time to sign up for summer classes. Transfer students who are interested in enrolling in the Summer Session must send their unofficial transcripts to the Economics Undergraduate Office (ugrad@econ.ucsb.edu) to get their prerequisites cleared. Our Department will clear you for Microeconomics and Macroeconomics; the Math Department will clear you for Calculus. Please include your UCSB Perm Number and your name in the email.

Unofficial transcripts must have the name of the school you attended and your full name.

We must be able to see your final grades to clear your prerequisites. If you are currently taking one or more the prerequisite classes, you will need to wait for your grades to post before sending in your unofficial transcript. Letters from instructors, screenshots of midterm grades, or any other unofficial update will not suffice.

If a course is full, you can always place your name on the waiting list.

Transferring Courses From Another University

Transfer students who wish to substitute courses from another college for their major requirements should email a copy of their unofficial transcript to the Economics Undergraduate Office. The transcript needs to have the student's name and the name of the school attended.

Students should also send a copy of their official transcript to the UCSB Registrar's Office.

I was not admitted as a pre-Economics or pre-Economics & Accounting major. Can I still pursue these programs of study?

If you are a new transfer student who was not admitted as pre-Economics or pre-Economics & Accounting, it is still possible to pursue either program during your time at UCSB. We recommend doing the following:

  • Check www.assist.org for courses you have already taken that will be credited within our Department. If you have not yet taken Calculus, ECON 1, and ECON 2, consider taking some of these courses during the summer.
  • Review our major requirements (summarized above) to understand the classes and GPA needed for the Economics or Economics & Accounting major. Enroll in ECON 10A and PSTAT 109 as soon as possible.
  • Come into the Economics Undergraduate Office (North Hall 2121) for assistance with academic planning.