Research Opportunities

Economics Department Research Opportunities

The Economics Department strongly encourages undergraduates to engage in economic research during their time at UCSB, a top-tier research University. All research opportunities offered by the Economics Department are only open to students in either the Economics or Economics & Accounting majors. Students can do individual research with a faculty member or engage in research through one of the programs below. Please review ​the qualifications to be enrolled in ECON 199RA before applying to those positions eligible for course credit.

All applications for the ​below programs are distributed through the Career Connection Blog, ucsbecon.com.

Research Fridays

Research Fridays is a program created to give undergraduate Economics and Economics & Accounting students an opportunity to participate in economic research. Students will be given ​actual academic research projects and collaborate, guided by both faculty members and Econ PhD students. Students are eligible for one unit of upper-division credit through ECON 199RA.

Experimental and Behavioral Economics Laboratory (EBEL) - Researchers with Undergraduates Mentoring Program (RUMP)

The UCSB Economics Experimental and Behavioral Economics Laboratory (EBEL) Group hosts Research Assistants through their Research with Undergraduates Mentoring Program (RUMP), led by Professor Emanuel Vespa. This program provides an opportunity to ​assist faculty who are conducting research in the area of Experimental and Behavioral economics. Researchers conduct a series of computerized experiments to investigate several aspects of human behavior related to economics. Students are eligible for one unit of upper-division credit through ECON 199RA.

Gretler Fellows Research Assistants

The Economics Department and the Gretler Foundation have created this Fellowship to encourage undergraduates to engage in research at UCSB, a top-tier research university. This program provides a stipend for the undergraduate as well as research funding for the faculty member, encouraging students to learn from top researchers in their fields of study. Fellows are chosen in the fall of each year and are expected to work throughout the academic year (October - June).

Economic Forecast Project (EFP)

The Economic Forecast Project was established in 1981 by the Department of Economics at UC Santa Barbara to provide the community with information on economic, demographic, and regional business trends in the Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura County areas. The primary research activity is the collection and verification of statistical data and other evidence about the changing business and economic environment in our county. The UCSB Economic Forecast Project monitors the status of the economy and provides a clear and comprehensive analysis of economic trends in the local area. Each year, EFP hires undergraduate research assistants to engage in research and assist with statistical analysis.


University Research Opportunities

The College of Letters & Science Faculty Research Assistance Program (FRAP)

The Faculty Research Assistance Program (FRAP) allows undergraduates to gain valuable research experience, work with leading UCSB researchers, and simultaneously earn academic credit through special research assistance courses, 99/99RA or 199/199RA.

If you are interested in FRAP, please visit the directory. This directory provides information about current research projects, the faculty and senior researchers conducting the research, and the academic or other preparation necessary to participate in the projects.

The McNair Scholars Program

The McNair Scholars Program prepares qualified undergraduates for entrance to a PhD program in all fields of study. The goals of the program are to increase the number of first-generation, low-income and/or underrepresented students in PhD programs, and ultimately, to diversify the faculty in colleges and universities across the country.
McNair Scholars Program


External Research Opportunities

The American Economic Association Summer & Scholarship Programs

Since 1974, the AEA Summer Training Program and Scholarship Program have increased diversity in the field of economics by preparing talented undergraduates for doctoral programs in economics and related disciplines. AEASP is a prestigious program that enables students to develop and solidify technical skills in preparation for the rigors of graduate studies. As many as 20% of PhDs awarded to minorities in economics over the past 20 years are graduates of the program.

All students receive 2 months of intensive training in microeconomics, math, econometrics and research methods with leading faculty. At 3 credits per class, students have the opportunity to earn 12 college credits.
AEA Summer & Scholarship Programs

Testimonial


            My name is Gabrielle Grafton, and I had the incredible opportunity to participate in the American Economics Association Summer Program at Michigan State University during the summer of 2019. As an underrepresented student in economics, the AEASP provided me with graduate level courses, professional connections, new friendships, travel excursions, and research experience. Being exposed to the course work, expectations, and communication involved in an Economics Ph.D program as I go into my last year at UCSB was truly an invaluable experience.

            Being fully funded by the AEASP, I took 12 units worth of advanced Mathematics, Microeconomics, Econometrics, and Research Methods courses taught by exceptional professors at MSU. Additionally, my cohort was able to go on excursions to Western Michigan University, Lake Michigan, the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank, and Detroit, during the eight week long program. However, my favorite part of the experience was being able to meet, connect, and work alongside so many like-minded scholars from all over the world.

            If you are an underrepresented student in economics who aspires to continue studying economics at the graduate level or wants to figure out if a career in economics is the right thing for you, definitely apply to the AEA Summer Program. From this experience I gained incredible insight into my first year in an Economics Ph.D program, and now I can truly say that being an Economist is the career path for me! If you have any questions about the program from an AEASP alumni, feel free to contact me at ggrafton@ucsb.edu.

The Federal Reserve Research Assistantships

Most of the Federal Reserve banks have research assistant internships and full-time positions available ​undergraduates. You will have to apply separately to each bank.

Atlanta
Boston

Chicago
Cleveland
Dallas
Kansas City
Minneapolis
New York
Philadelphia
Richmond
San Francisco
St. Louis
Washington, DC

The National Bureau for Economic Research (NBER) Job Listings

Founded in 1920, the NBER is a private, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to conducting economic research and to disseminating research findings among academics, public policy makers, and business professionals. NBER-affiliated researchers study a wide range of topics and they employ many different methods in their work. Key focus areas include developing new statistical measurements, estimating quantitative models of economic behavior, and analyzing the effects of public policies. 
NBER Research Positions

The NBER also provides a forum for other research institutions to post available positions. T​he below page provides links to full-time job listings for bachelor's degree candidates, graduate students, or post-docs, where a substantial share of the work involves assisting economics researchers prepare papers for publication in academic journals, through, for example, collection and analysis of datasets or field research. Positions typically have an expected duration of 1 to 3 years, and typically give priority to candidates looking to continue to the next stage of their academic career upon completion of the position. 
Non-NBER Research Assistant Postings


The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) Job Site

J-PAL and its partner organizations recruit for hundreds of positions on a regular basis. Positions may be located at universities, research centers, and non-profit organizations connected to the work of our affiliated professors and partners around the world. They are available in field research, project management, and data analysis, as well as policy outreach, training, and finance & administration.
J-PAL & Affiliates Job Site

The Bridge-to-the-PhD Program at Columbia University

The Bridge-to-the-Ph.D. program at Columbia University is designed to increase the participation of students from underrepresented groups in Ph.D. programs. It is an intensive research, academic, and mentoring experience for post-baccalaureates seeking to strengthen their graduate school applications and to prepare for the transition into Ph.D. programs. Scholars who apply to and are selected for the economics program will be paired with a mentor in the economics department, and take part in activities tailored towards Ph.D. programs in the field.

Columbia University

The National Science Foundation - Research Experience for Undergraduates

The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation. REU projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects specifically designed for the REU program. This solicitation features two mechanisms for support of student research: (1) REU Sites are based on independent proposals to initiate and conduct projects that engage a number of students in research. REU Sites may be based in a single discipline or academic department or may offer interdisciplinary or multi-department research opportunities with a coherent intellectual theme. Proposals with an international dimension are welcome. (2) REU Supplements may be included as a component of proposals for new or renewal NSF grants or cooperative agreements or may be requested for ongoing NSF-funded research projects.

Undergraduate student participants in either REU Sites or REU Supplements must be U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or permanent residents of the United States.

Small Business Innovation Research Postings

Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Postings

Testimonial


            My name is Gabrielle Grafton, and I had the incredible opportunity to participate in the American Economics Association Summer Program at Michigan State University during the summer of 2019. As an underrepresented student in economics, the AEASP provided me with graduate level courses, professional connections, new friendships, travel excursions, and research experience. Being exposed to the course work, expectations, and communication involved in an Economics Ph.D program as I go into my last year at UCSB was truly an invaluable experience.

            Being fully funded by the AEASP, I took 12 units worth of advanced Mathematics, Microeconomics, Econometrics, and Research Methods courses taught by exceptional professors at MSU. Additionally, my cohort was able to go on excursions to Western Michigan University, Lake Michigan, the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank, and Detroit, during the eight week long program. However, my favorite part of the experience was being able to meet, connect, and work alongside so many like-minded scholars from all over the world.

            If you are an underrepresented student in economics who aspires to continue studying economics at the graduate level or wants to figure out if a career in economics is the right thing for you, definitely apply to the AEA Summer Program. From this experience I gained incredible insight into my first year in an Economics Ph.D program, and now I can truly say that being an Economist is the career path for me! If you have any questions about the program from an AEASP alumni, feel free to contact me at ggrafton@ucsb.edu.



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