Department of Economics, 1947-present


The Department of Economics and Sociology first appeared in the Catalogue of Tufts College for the 1902-1903 academic year. The Department of Economics subsequently disappeared from the Catalogue of Tufts College for the next twenty-one years. The Department of Economics and Sociology reemerged prior to the 1924-1925 academic year. Prior to the start of the 1945-1946 academic year, the Department of Sociology became an independent and free-standing academic department. The Department of Economics also became an independent academic department at that time.

History of Department of Economics

The Department of Economics and Sociology first appeared in the Catalogue of Tufts College for the 1902-1903 academic year. The Department of Economics subsequently disappeared from the Catalogue of Tufts College for the next twenty-one years. The Department of Economics and Sociology reemerged prior to the 1924-1925 academic year. Prior to the start of the 1945-1946 academic year, the Department of Sociology became an independent and free-standing academic department. The Department of Economics also became an independent academic department at that time.

The description presented by the Department of Sociology in the Bulletin of Tufts College for the academic year 1945-1946 reads, "The aim of the department is to develop in the student an understanding of business institutions and an ability to analyze important economic problems of today: unemployment, public finance, the relation of labor and capital, money, international relations, the control of depression and inflation, and many others. The courses are designed to equip the student with techniques of analysis which will be of value to him in his life's work, and will enable him to give more intelligent consideration to questions of public policy."

In the twenty years following the end of World War II, the Department of Economics enjoyed many successes. Student enrollment in courses offered by the Department continued to increase. The Department relaxed credit requirements for earning an undergraduate degree in 1963 to accommodate the many students who were double-majoring in Economics and another field.

By 1974, the Department of Economics had firmly established its national reputation for teaching and scholarship. Members of the faculty were becoming well known for their publications. At the same time, the prestige of the Department's graduate program had increased significantly. It ranked in the top forty-five graduate programs in economics nationally.

By 1976, the Department began to face serious challenges. The Department became overwhelmed by the tremendous increase in economics students. Due to the relatively small size of the faculty, professors in the Department found it increasingly onerous to carry out their teaching obligations. Even before the rapid increase in the number of economics students, the Department had the highest ratio of students to faculty of any department in the university. This situation was significantly exacerbated when five faculty members of the twelve-member department decided to leave Tufts noting insufficient funds for the department and a lack of resources to handle the rapidly rising number of students. Although Tufts hired two new economics professors in 1976, this move was seen as being insufficient in meeting the needs of the Department.

The Department of Economics had reemerged as a strong department by the early 1980s. In 1988, Joseph Neubauer funded the Department's first endowed chair, thus increasing the prestige of the department nationally.

The Department of Economics continues to be a vibrant, dynamic department at Tufts. The undergraduate major in economics continues to be one of the most popular concentrations at Tufts.