Brief History of Economics at UCSB — a timeline
Instruction in economics on the Santa Barbara campus antedates the establishment of the Department of Economics. It began in 1909 at the State Normal School of Manual Arts and Home Economics, a 2-year professional training school. The school evolved through several name and location changes and in 1944 the Santa Barbara State College was designated as the third University of California campus with an enrollment of 1,464. By 1955 the campus was settled in its present home on the former Marine Air Force base next to the ocean. Three years later in 1958 it was given university status and named The University of California, Santa Barbara.
1960 signified the inception of the Department of Economics, an autonomous department within the Division of Social Sciences of the College of Letters and Science. Our first Chair was Fred Halterman - his tenure saw 241 economics majors. Three years later the major count had doubled to 500, and by 2005 this count was 2500.
1960 also initiated the Carl Snyder Memorial Lecture series. This important event annually brings a distinguished economist to the college community, and the
Over the years the Department has been the fortunate recipient of numerous generous fellowships and scholarships. Notable of our major gifts:
- The significant donations of 4 Endowed Chairs which have enabled us to hire top-notch economic scholars and thereby attract talented doctoral candidates.
- The Mortimer Andron Ph.D. Fellowship Fund
- The Walter and Thelma Mead Ph. D. Fellowship Program
- The William Thormahlen Family Junior Faculty Fellowship Program
In 2004, Prof. Finn Kydland became UCSB's newest Nobel Laureate. Soon thereafter a macro-economics research center was created, the Laboratory for Aggregate Economics and Finance (LAEF), headed by Prof. Kydland. In addition to LAEF, the department also houses the the Experimental and Behavioral Economics Laboratory (EBEL), created to support research in experimental and behavioral economics. Research in environmental and resource economics was enhanced in 2009 when the UC Office of the President established the UC Center for Energy and Environmental Economics, based at UC Berkeley and UC Santa Barbara.
The Department also has the privilege of hosting the American Economic Association Summer Training Program and Minority Scholarship Program. The program gives under privileged, minority students a unique, intensive experience that prepares students for a graduate program in Economics.
Our Undergraduate Program remains outstanding with Economics continuing to be the most popular major on campus. The award winning Accounting Program provides a rigorous series of courses for preparation for the CPA exam as well as independent and group studies in management to relate economic theory to real life. Since 2002 the Accounting Association has grown extremely active, including annual career recruitment by the "Big 4" accounting firms for summer internships and full-time positions.
Our Graduate program offers not only a doctorate program, but also a unique terminal one year masterís degree. Doctorate candidates also have the opportunity to obtain a Ph.D. emphasis in Economics and Environmental Science through our joint efforts with the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management.