Updates from Your Economics Vice Chair

The information was sent out to all majors and minors on 10/10/11

Dear Economics Students,

My name is Dr. Melissa Famulari.  I am the Vice-Chair for Undergraduate Education in the Department of Economics.  My open office hours for undergraduates to stop by and see me changes each quarter, depending upon my teaching schedule. This fall, my office hour is Monday from 12:30-1:45 in the Econ Building room 221.  Feel free to stop by if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about your education.  You should CERTAINLY stop by to see me if you are considering graduate school.

There are several items I want to address in this e-mail including:

  1. Your 2011-12 undergraduate advising team.
  2. Graduating on time.
  3. The Undergraduate Economics Blog.
  4. Opportunities for our top students.
  5. Some results from the 2011 Senior Exit Survey.
  6. Introducing:  STUDY LOUNGE!!
  7. UES (Undergraduate Economics Society).
  8. Textbooks and prices for 2011-12.


A.  Kelly Escobedo: Undergraduate Intake Advisor.  Kelly has worked 11 years in student affairs and been with the Economics Department since 2010.   Kelly earned her B.S. degree in Business Administration from Portland State.

B.  Betty Gunderson:  Undergraduate Advisor.  Betty has worked in students affairs for 15 years and joined the Economics Department in 2011.   Betty earned both her BA and MA in Sociology from San Diego State.

C.  Katie Magallanes:  Undergraduate Advisor.  Katie majored in History at USC.  Katie joined the Economics Department in 2008.

D.  Kimberley Newmark:  Undergraduate Advisor.  Kimberley earned her BA in Psychology with a minor in Anthropology from UCSD. Kimberley has been with the Department since 2002.

Kelly, Betty, Katie and Kimberley are your main department contacts and your key guides to completing your major requirements in a timely fashion.  They are an amazing resource for you -they have so many important tips and are experts on the administrative details of the Department of Economics and UCSD!

You can reach them in the Virtual Advising Center (VAC), via e-mail econugadvisor@ucsd.edu, by phone (858)534-3383 or during advising hours in Sequoyah Hall 245.

Another faculty member you may have reason to contact is Dr. Kate Antonovics, the Vice Chair for Instruction in the Department of Economics.  If you have any comments, suggestions, or concerns regarding your instructors or your TAs, please contact Dr. Antonovics at kantonov@ucsd.edu.


We do not offer all required classes each quarter and required classes fill up quickly.  What does this mean to you?  Enroll in your courses as SOON as you can.

**KEY TIP:  If you think you MIGHT get a grade below a C- in a required class, enroll in the class for the following quarter as soon as you can.  Several students who planned to graduate in the Spring waited to enroll until after they received their Winter course grade.  By this time the class was full and the student was unable to complete their graduation requirements.

**KEY TIP #2:  If you think your class grade might be below a C- or you need to drop a class because your course load is too heavy, stop in to see the undergraduate advisors to discuss your options.  Often, they can help you avoid a REALLY bad situation.

3.  THE UNDERGRADUATE ECONOMICS BLOG (http://blog.ucsd.edu/econblog/)

In case you have not seen this yet, the Department of Economics hosts EconUGBlog to provide information to undergraduate students about events, jobs and internship opportunities related to economics. You can go there to read about:

  • Upcoming student organization events
  • Internship/job opportunities that employers send directly to the Economics department.  We also keep archives of past postings so you can see who has hired UCSD grads in the past.
  • Results from our Senior Exit Survey on employers and job descriptions of our recent graduates
  • Useful links such as to the American Economics Association and Professor Hamilton’s Blog.
  • ETC!


We know classes are big and that it can be difficult for even our top students to get to know the economics faculty. This is particularly troubling when students need letters of recommendation for law school, medical school, graduate school, MBA programs and more research oriented jobs such as those at the Federal Reserve Boards, BLS, Census, and consulting companies such as NERA. If you have only taken a large class with a faculty member, there is often little that we can write other than “here is the nature of the course and here is how the student did.”  These types of letters will not help you much.

There are special opportunities that we offer to students doing very well in the program that will allow you to interact closely with the faculty:  Honors sections and the Senior Essay Seminar (Econ 191A-B).

4A.  Honors Sections (100AH/100BH/100CH, 120AH/120BH/120CH, 110AH/110BH)

These allow our top students to explore core course material in greater depth while simultaneously taking the required core course.  They provide students with an opportunity to work closely with the economics faculty in a small class setting.

Performing well in these sections fulfills part of the requirements to achieve honors with highest distinction in the major (Note:  Management Science students cannot use 110AH or 110BH to fulfill their honors section requirements because macroeconomics is not part of the Management Science core).

While the content varies depending on the faculty member teaching the section, previous students have read economics articles, discussed Nobel Prize winner’s speeches, and written and/or presented short papers.

  • ***If you earned A’s in the prerequisites for the class, then you should SERIOUSLY consider taking the honors section** KEY TIP: Honors sections must be taken CONCURRENTLY with the corresponding lecture. Be sure to pay attention to when the honors sections are offered so you can take advantage of this opportunity!

4B.  Econ 191A-B:  Senior Essay Seminar

This two quarter sequence is really one class with one letter grade for both quarters.  Econ 191A-B allows you to explore in depth a topic of interest to you.  These classes are “capstone” classes in the sense that you will utilize many of the economics tools you have learned throughout your education.

Paraphrasing Professor Machina’s description of these classes, you go from being a consumer of economics research to a producer of economics research. Econ 191A-B also allows you to show your creativity in a way that few other classes do in the Department.  It is definitely hard work, but nearly all the students I have talked to find Econ 191A-B to be one of the most fulfilling experiences of their undergraduate careers.

You must have a GPA in the major of 3.5 or better and be a senior to take these classes.  Further, all of your core classes should be completed.  Econ 191A is typically taught in the Fall with 191B offered in the Winter.  Admission to Econ 191A-B is by proposal submission; the undergraduate advisors will send out an announcement in Spring quarter, so watch for the e-mail if you are interested!  Please note that we do not accept late submissions, so make sure that you pay attention to the deadline.

4C.  Rising Leaders Internship Program

In conjunction with the Economics Leadership Council (ELC), the Department recently launched the Rising Leaders Internship Program, where continuing students have the opportunity to get valuable feedback from successful professionals working in the finance industry. Selected students are marketed to summer internships accumulated by the ELC at top companies both locally and nationally. This is a great opportunity for rising juniors, look for announcements regarding the application process and annual events in the coming weeks!

4D.  Research and Travel Grants

The ELC has also generously donated funding to support academic and professional development opportunities for students. If you have applied and been selected to compete in an academic competition or to present a paper at a research conference related to Economics, the Department may fund your travel (up to $1000). For more information, stop by Sequoyah Hall 245.


Every spring around 9th week we ask our graduating seniors to let us know what they are planning to do upon graduation.  Just under half of our graduates responded to our survey last year.

When we asked our grads, “What are you planning to do upon graduation?”  Most responded that they were going to look for a job but 27.7% said they were employed at or before graduation.

We keep a list of any employers who have hired our graduates on the undergrad blog.  Last year one of our students found a job by looking at the web pages of these companies to see if they had openings.  For a complete list of companies, graduate schools and job titles, view the 2011 survey results: http://blog.ucsd.edu/econblog/archives/2293.

We also asked, “What is one bit of advice you’d share with current students.”  Several mentioned that getting an early start to your job search is important.  In particular, there are several large companies that recruit in early fall for jobs that will start after spring graduation.  Another common piece of advice was to “study hard, go to office hours and know your calculus!”

Finally, we asked, “What is one thing you would do to improve the program?”  A student responded, “Opening a econ study lounge which allows students to meet up and study without knowing each other in the first place. So students would have a place to gather and ask specific questions to each other – sure, one can study in the Library but nobody knows what the other person is studying… maybe one studies the same as the person right next to one and even has the same question…. econ study lounge is the key!!”


We agree that a study lounge might help foster economic student camaraderie and the exchange of ideas! After consultation with UES President James Lee, we have decided to try out this idea by offering a one hour study lounge every Wednesday, in Sequoyah Hall 244 from 7:00-8:00pm.  The study lounge will happen right after the UES general body meeting.  There will be selected economics textbooks available for reference, and fellow majors to consult if you have questions.  Starting October 12th, 2011!


In addition to running the new study lounge, UES is doing so much this year!  I just want to bring to your attention two mixers that UES organizes and the Department of Economics funds.

A.  Undergrad Student-faculty mixer:  Last year we met and ate at Round Table Pizza.  There were many faculty members and students in attendance.  I had a great time getting a chance to chat with some of you.  We will certainly do this again in either Winter or Spring quarters.  Watch for the announcement!

B.  Undergrad -Grad Student mixer:  In the Sequoyah Hall Quad, a chance to chat with your TAs in an informal setting.  For those of you considering grad school, this can be a very useful opportunity–remember our graduate students were in your position a few years ago!


There are several steps the Department of Economics takes to reduce your textbook costs.  First, whenever possible, we use one textbook for an entire course sequence.  Second, we negotiate “UCSD Custom Textbooks” for Econ 1-2-3, 100A-B-C, 110A-B, and 120A-B-C.  The interior of these UCSD custom books is the same as the non-custom textbook but typically have a few additional pages.  Except in the case of the 100 sequence, if you can find the same edition of the book even cheaper, buy it!

For the 100 series, since the book is bundled with Aplia, we recommend buying the book from the Bookstore.  Finally, we will use these textbooks in our core courses all year (including the summer).

For those of you who plan to sell your book at the end of the quarter, the bookstore will buy back these “UCSD custom textbooks” for 50% of the purchase price, just like the non-custom textbooks.  (Be careful Summer Session 2 students: if we change textbooks for next year, then the Bookstore will NOT buy back the book from you).  Sometimes we get a great deal (sometimes not!)

Textbook UCSD Custom at Bookstore Amazon (10/6/11) New, HARDBOUND Book
Frank & Bernanke, 4th Ed. Hardback (Econ 1-2-3) $80.00 $175.00
Nechyba with Calculus +1 year Aplia Hardback (100A-B-C) $121.33 $186.66
Blanchard, updated 5th ed,  Hardback(110A-B) $112.67 $153.57
Wonnacott & Wonnacott, 4th ed. Paperback (120A) $66.67 $133.77
Stock & Watson, 2nd ed. paperback (120B-C) $66.67 $170.46

Good luck in all your classes this quarter and I hope to meet many of you during my office hours this year!

Dr. Famulari


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