About Vancouver School of Economics

The Vancouver School of Economics is a global centre for research and hands-on learning about pressing economic issues. The School is one of the world’s best: in a recent ranking based on research publications, the School ranked in the top 20 worldwide, and number one in Canada. We are proud of our established tradition of research excellence, high quality graduate and undergraduate education, and community engagement – especially in the area of economic policy. Our record of excellence is based upon research, teaching and service to the community since 1915. To read Facts and Figures about the VSE, click here.

Our faculty includes nine researchers affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research, six researchers affiliated with the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, two current and one former research fellow of the Bank of Canada, two elected fellows of the Econometric Society, four fellows of the Royal Society of Canada, two research fellows of the Institute for Research on Public Policy, and one of the Distinguished Fellows of the American Economics Association. Our faculty have influenced public policies on issues such as taxes and minimum wage rates through ground-breaking research and participation in debate. Faculty members advise Statistics Canada, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, and the Bank of Canada, among numerous other national and international organizations. To read more about our faculty, click here.

The UBC Department of Economics, Sociology, and Political Science was established in 1915 within the Faculty of Arts. At that time, however, there were no officers and staff in the department. Three courses in economics were offered by Mack Eastman, assistant professor of the Department of History. Theodore H. Boggs became the first professor of economics in 1917 and head of the department in 1920 when he was joined by Henry F. Angus. In 1931, Angus succeeded Boggs, and he served as head until 1956.

Meanwhile, the name of the department was changed to the Department of Economics, Political Science, Commerce, and Sociology in 1934. Five years later the Department of Commerce was created and the department was renamed the Department of Economics, Political Science, and Sociology. In 1956, the Department of Anthropology, Criminology, and Sociology was newly formed and the name of the department was changed to the Department of Economics and Political Science. A program leading to a master's degree in economics was introduced in 1926 and a doctoral program was instituted in 1962. The Department of Economics and Political Science was split into the Departments of Economics and Political Science in 1964. Other heads of the department have been John J. Deutsch (1956-1959), Joseph A. Crumb (1959-1960), John H. Young (1960-1966), Anthony D. Scott (1966-1969), A. Milton Moore (1969-1973), Ronald A. Shearer (1973-1977), John G. Cragg (1977-1986), Samuel P. S. Ho (1986-1990), John F. Helliwell (1990-1993), William C. Riddell (1993-1997), Ashok Kotwal (1997-2001), Angela Redish (2001-2006), Brian Copeland  (2006-2010), and David Green (2010-2011).

In December 2012 the Department became the Vancouver School of Economics, remaining within the Faculty of Arts (which administers all departments and programs in the humanities, social sciences, and creative arts at UBC). The title of Department Head was changed to School Director, with Michael Devereux becoming the School's first Director (2012-2014). He was succeeded as School Director by Thomas Lemieux on July 1st, 2014.

To read more about the 100+ years of economics education at UBC, please click here.


Some of VSE’s esteemed faculty demonstrating their sartorial skills at convocation, May 2014. From left: Mauricio Drelichman, Michael Devereux, Nancy Gallini, David Green, Gerald McIntyre, Angela Redish, Clive Chapple, Craig Riddell.