245 Sequoyah Hall




Economics is the study of how individuals, organizations, and societies deal with scarcity—the fact that resources are not sufficient to satisfy everyone’s wants. Because scarcity requires choice among alternative uses of resources, economists study both the technology by which resources are turned into the products people want and the preferences through which people choose among alternatives. Further, since society is composed of many individuals and groups, economists study markets, governments, and other institutions through which a society might gain the advantages of cooperation and resolve the conflicts due to competing goals. The economics curriculum develops tools and uses them to analyze a wide range of societal problems, and also to study the role of the government in solving these problems.

Economics is a different discipline from business administration. However, there are substantial overlaps. Both disciplines study the behavior of people and firms within the context of market, legal, and other institutions. In evaluating economic institutions, economists tend to emphasize the viewpoint of the larger society, and business scholars tend to emphasize the viewpoint of firms. A more complete discussion is available in the department Undergraduate Handbook, which contains a comparison between the economics major at UCSD and a business administration major at UC Berkeley.

The department Undergraduate Handbook is available on the Internet at the department Web site at The handbook contains answers to frequently asked questions, gives practical tips for avoiding problems, and provides a more detailed discussion of the department’s majors than is possible in the general catalog. It is important for students contemplating a major in the department to be familiar with the handbook and the prerequisite requirements listed therein. Time-sensitive information, job and internship announcements, and other important information are sent to all declared majors and minors through campus email.

Students interested in the Education Abroad Program (EAP) are encouraged to check out the brochure “Opportunities in Business and Economics” that is available at the EAP office.

The Undergraduate Program

Lower-Division Economic Courses

Microeconomics and macroeconomics—ECONOMICS 1-2-3

The department offers three lower-division economics classes, Economics 1-2-3. Economics 1 introduces microeconomics: supply and demand, markets, income distribution, perfect and imperfect competition, and the role of government. Modern economics is somewhat mathematical, and calculus is the standard working tool. Econo-mics 2, therefore, introduces basic mathematical concepts used in conjunction with basic micro and macro principles to expose students to standard tools of economic analysis: mathematical foundations of marginal analysis, basics of graphical, algebraic and statistical modeling, policy analysis, discounting, and strategic interaction. Economics 3 introduces macroeconomics: unemployment, inflation, business cycles, and monetary and fiscal policy.

The courses are to be taken in sequential order.

Accounting Course

The department offers an accounting course, Economics 4. Economics 4 is a lower-division requirement for the B.S. in management science and the management science minor. The course is a prerequisite for Economics 173, Corporate Finance. Economics 4 can be used as an optional part of an economics major or minor; and the course is open to students who take no other courses from the department.

Upper-Division Economics Courses

The upper-division economics core courses are offered according to the following academic schedule:

Fall—100A, 110A, 120A-B-C, 170A, 171, 172A, and 172C;

Winter—100A-B, 110A-B, 120A-B-C, 170A-B, and 172A-B;

Spring—100B, 110B, 120A-B-C, 170B, 171, and 172B-C.

The 100, 110, 120 and 170 core courses are sequential. That is, “A” must be taken before “B” before “C”. Economics 172A must be taken first, but 172B and 172C may be taken in either order or concurrently.

Entry to the Majors

Any student in good standing may declare a major in the department by filling out a form at the Office of the Registrar. The major codes are as follows: Economics, EN 25; Management Science, EN 26; and Joint Mathematics-Economics, EN 28.

The Economics Major (B.A.)

The economics B.A. program is designed to provide a broad understanding of resource- allocation and income-determination mechanisms. Both the development of the tools of economic analysis and their application to contemporary problems and public policy are stressed.

A student majoring in economics must meet the following requirements:

  1. Calculus. Mathematics 10A-B-C or Mathematics 20A-B and 20C/21C.
  2. Lower-division economics. Economics 1-2-3.
  3. Upper-division core. Economics 100A-B (microeconomics), Economics 110A-B (macroeconomics), and Economics 120A-B-C (econometrics).
  4. Upper-division electives. Five more economics courses at the upper-division level.

Majors are strongly encouraged to complete the lower-division requirements (1 and 2) before beginning the upper-division requirements (3 and 4). Further, majors are strongly encouraged to take Economics 100A-B and either 110A-B or 120A-B-C prior to the senior year, since numerous upper-division electives have core-course prerequisites.

The following schedule, though not the only possibility, is a well-constructed one for majoring in economics.

Economics 1-2-3
Mathematics 10A-B-C or
Mathematics 20A-B and 20C/21C

Economics 100A-B
Economics 120A-B-C

Economics 110A-B
Economics Electives

Remaining Economics Electives

A detailed description of the economics major is contained in the Undergraduate Handbook, available in the Undergraduate Program section of the department Web site.

The Management Science Major (B.Sc.)

Management science builds on a set of related quantitative methods commonly used to solve problems arising in the private (business and finance) and public (government) sectors. While students will gain some familiarity with the traditional functional fields of business management, this program is more tightly focused and more quantitative than a traditional business administration major. It is not, however, a program in applied mathematics or operational research, since the economic interpretation and application of the tools are continually stressed. Rather, it is a quantitative major in applied economics with a management focus. Before beginning upper- division work, a major must complete Economics 1-2-3, Mathematics 20A-B and 20C/21C, and Mathematics 20F. These courses provide both the understanding of basic principles and the mathematical maturity needed to understand the quantitative techniques of management science.

The management science major requires a total of 15 upper-division courses. Nine of these are specified: Economics 170A-B (Management Science Microeconomics), Economics 120A-B-C (Econometrics), Economics 171 (Decisions Under Uncertainty), and Economics 172A-B-C (Introduction to Operations Research). The 170 sequence concerns the nature and interdependence of managerial resource allocation decisions. Economics 120A-B-C teaches the theory and use of statistics and econometrics. The 172 sequence provides a general survey of optimization and problem-solving techniques employed by management scientists.

Of the six management science electives, three from the following “restricted” list must be taken: Economics 109 (Game Theory), Economics 121 (Applied Econometrics), Economics 125 (Economics of Population Growth), Economics 173 (Corporate Finance), Economics 174 (Insurance, Economics, and Finance), Economics 175 (Financial Investments), Economics 176 (Marketing), Economics 178 (Economic and Business Forecasting), or Economics 179 (Decisions in the Public Sector). At least one restricted elective must be either Economics 173 or 175. Each of these courses focuses on an important set of managerial problems. The remaining three electives may be chosen from among other upper-division economics courses.. Each of these courses focuses on an important set of managerial problems. The remaining three electives may be chosen from among other upper-division economics courses.

The following schedule, though not the only possibility, is a well-constructed one for a student majoring in Management Science.

Economics 1-2-3
Mathematics 20A-B and 20C/21C

Economics 120A-B-C
Economics 170A-B
Mathematics 20F

Economics 4 (taken in quarter prior to Econ 173)
Economics 171
Economics 172A-B-C
Economics Electives

Remaining Economics Electives

A detailed description of the management science major is contained in the Undergraduate Handbook, available on the department Web site.

Joint Major in Mathematics and Economics (B.A.)

Majors in mathematics and the natural sciences often feel the need for a more formal introduction to issues involving business applications of science and mathematics. Extending their studies into economics provides this application and can provide a bridge to successful careers or advanced study. Majors in economics generally recognize the importance of mathematics to their discipline. Undergraduate students who plan to pursue doctoral study in economics or business need the more advanced mathematics training prescribed in this major.

This major is considered to be excellent preparation for Ph.D. study in economics and business administration, as well as for graduate studies for professional management degrees, including the MBA. The major provides a formal framework making it easier to combine study in the two fields.

Course requirements of the Joint Major in Mathematics and Economics consist principally of the required courses of the mathematics major and the economics/management science majors:

Lower-Division Requirements:

  1. Calculus and Linear Algebra. Mathematics 20A-B, 20C/21C, 20D, and 20F
  2. Introductory Economics. Economics 1-2-3

Upper-Division Requirements:

Fifteen upper-division courses in mathematics and economics, with a minimum of seven courses in each department, chosen from the courses listed below (prerequisites are strictly enforced):

  1. Mathematical Reasoning. Mathematics 109 (formerly Math. 89)
  2. One of the following:
    1. Applied Linear Algebra. Mathematics 102
    2. Numerical Linear Algebra. Mathematics 170A
    3. Linear Algebra. Mathematics 100A and B
  3. One of the following:
    1. Foundations of Analysis. Mathematics 140A
    2. Advanced Calculus. Mathematics 142A
  4. One of the following:
    1. a. Ordinary Differential Equations. Mathematics 130A
    2. b. Foundations of Analysis. Mathematics 140B
    3. c. Advanced Calculus. Mathematics 142B
  5. One of the following:
    1. Microeconomics. Economics 100AB
    2. Management Science Microeconomics. Economics 170AB
  6. Econometrics/Statistics. One of the following:
    1. Economics 120A-B-C
    2. Mathematics 180A and Economics 120B-C
    3. Mathematics 180A and 181A and Economics 120C
  7. One of the following:
    1. Macroeconomics. Economics 110AB
    2. Mathematical Programming: Numerical Optimization. Mathematics 171AB or

    Two of the following:

    1. Decisions Under Uncertainty. Economics 171
    2. Introduction to Operations Research. Economics 172A-B-C (Note: 172A is a prerequisite for 172BC)

Other courses which are strongly recommended are: Mathematics 130B, 131, 181B, 190, and 193A-B and Economics 109, 113,175, and 178.

Further information may be obtained in the mathematics and economics undergraduate offices.


Currently, honors programs exist for the economics major and for the management science major. There are two levels of honors. For the lower level, indicated by the phrase “with distinction” on the diploma, you must satisfy the first two of the following three requirements. For the higher level, indicated by the phrase “with highest distinction” on the diploma, you must satisfy all three requirements. There is no application to the honors program. Register for either major under the regular major code (EN25 for economics, EN26 for management science). Your final degree check will indicate which level of honors you receive.

  1. Complete either a management science major or the honors track of the economics major, both of which require fifteen upper-division courses. The honors track of the economics major consists of the course work of a regular economics major (twelve upper-division courses) plus one advanced microeconomics course (Economics 105, 107, 109, 113, 117, 150, 151, 155, or 179), one advanced macroeconomics course (Economics 103 or 146), and one advanced econometrics course (Economics 121, 125, 174, 175, 176, or 178). Typically, a course will qualify as “advanced” if it has the corresponding core courses as prerequisites. As an example, a course with an Economics 100A-B prerequisite will typically qualify as an advanced microeconomics course.
  2. Have an upper division GPA in your major greater than or equal to 3.5. Typically, the upper-division major GPA will exclude grades for courses taken at universities other than those in the UC system.
  3. Take the honors versions of at least two upper-division courses (Economics 100AH-BH, 110AH-AH, 120AH-BH-CH, and 170AH-BH), and take the senior essay seminar (Economics 191A-B). The GPA across these four or more courses must be 3.5 or above. Admission to these courses is by special permission; check with the undergraduate adviser in the Economics Student Services Office.

Grade Rules for Majors

All courses used in meeting requirements for a departmental major must be taken on a letter-grade basis, and must be passed with a grade of C– (C minus) or better. These rules apply to lower-division as well as upper-division courses, and to courses taken from other departments (such as required mathematics courses). Exceptions are courses such as Economics 195 and Economics 199, for which P/NP grading is mandatory. However, no more than twelve units of Economics 195 and Economics 199 taken P/NP may be counted toward a major.

Advanced Placement Credits

Because no high school economics course provides the kind of background needed for upper-division economics and management science, we are strict on allowance of credits. The policy is as follows: If the AP score is 5, accept AP Micro (AP Macro) as equivalent to Economics 1 (Economics 3) in meeting major or minor requirements. If the score is 3 or 4, the student is required to take Economics 1 (Economics 3) for the major or minor. There is not an advanced placement exam equivalent to Economics 2.

Minors and Programs of Concentration

The economics minor or program of concen-tration consists of eight courses: introductory microeconomics (Economics 1); microeconomic applications (Economics 2); introductory macroeconomics (Economics 3); and five upper-division economics courses, which are otherwise not restricted.

The management science minor, paralleling the economics minor, consists of nine courses: introductory microeconomics (Economics 1); microeconomics applications (Economics 2); introductory macroeconomics (Economics 3); financial accounting (Economics 4), and any five from the following list (Caution: some courses have prerequisites):

Economics 170A

Managerial Microeconomics

Economics 170B

Managerial Microeconomics

Economics 120A


Economics 120B


Economics 120C


Economics 171

Decisions Under Uncertainty

Economics 172A

Operations Research

Economics 172B

Operations Research

Economics 172C

Operations Research

Economics 173

Corporate Finance

Economics 174

Insurance, Economics and Finance

Economics 175

Financial Investments

Economics 176


Economics 178

Economic and Business Forecasting

Economics 179

Decisions in the Public Sector

Grades of P/NP are acceptable for minor courses. If courses are taken for a letter grade, passing is considered with a “D” or better. To declare a minor or program of concentration, obtain a minor declaration form, fill it out, and turn it in to Sequoyah Hall 245. Students should check with their colleges regarding area of focus, programs of concentration, and project minors.

The Graduate Program

The department offers a Ph.D. degree in economics, designed to provide a solid, analytically oriented training in microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, and advanced specialties. Since the program is structured as a doctoral program, only students who intend to pursue a doctorate should apply. The department also offers the Ph.D. degree in economics and international affairs jointly with the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies.

The main economics Ph.D. requirements are that a student pass qualifying exams in microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, and select courses of specialization, and prepare an acceptable dissertation. The Ph.D. degree in economics and international affairs also requires successful completion of a language requirement and additional electives offered by IR/PS.

Detailed descriptions of the Ph.D. programs are available on the Internet at the department Web site at Residence and other campus-wide regulations are described in the graduate studies section of this catalog.

Departmental Ph.D. Time Limit Policies

Students must be advanced to candidacy by the end of five years. Total university support cannot exceed six years. Total registered time at UCSD cannot exceed seven years. Students will not be permitted to continue beyond the pre-candidacy and total registered time limits. Students will not be permitted to receive UCSD administered financial support beyond the support limit.