“Only investing a lot and improving education at all levels – from now and always – it will be possible to accelerate and sustain economic growth”
University education – properly institutionalized – is very recent in Brazil. While the first universities in the world date back to 1100s (1088 in Italy – University of Bologna; and 1170 in France – University of Paris), the creation of the first Brazilian universities only occurred from 1931 onwards. Moreover, according to COFECON (Brazilian Federal Council of Economics), higher education in economic sciences, as a profession, has only 60 years.
The project of Luiz Vicente de Souza Queiroz, when creating his College of Agriculture, in Piracicaba, attributed the due importance to education of rural economy, agrarian legislation, and agricultural accounting, according to records of the Minutes of the 1st Ordinary Meeting of the Congregation of the Practical College of Agriculture’s Professors at the time.
For two essential reasons, and with optimism, we look forward at the future of the Department of Economics, Management, and Sociology of ESALQ/USP. The first – due to the accumulated experience and the success in these 100 years (and more) in the teaching of applied economics. The second – due to the high social return that long ago we accredit to the human capital education in the development process of the nations.
Text from “Os 100 anos de economia na ESALQ:1912 a 2012” [The 100 years of economy in ESALQ: from 1912 to 2012] written by Prof. Paulo Fernando Cidade de Araújo.
Currently, the Department has under its responsibility the Undergraduate Program in Economic Sciences, the Undergraduate Program in Management, Bachelor’s Degree (Licensure) in Agricultural Sciences and Biological Sciences.The Department offers courses for all Undergraduate programs of ESALQ, accounting for 40% of subjects in the Environmental Management program.
Record of the benchmarks in the academic history and evolution of economics at ESALQ, in two different institutional periods/scenarios: Chair no. 7 – Rural Economy (1912 – 1970); and the Department of Economics, Management, and Sociology – LES (1970 – 2012).
I. CHAIR NO. 7 – RURAL ECONOMY AT ESALQ AND AT USP
a. Significant increase of the Faculty
From 1912 to 1937à the Full Professor Tarcísio de Magalhães was responsible for the education of rural economy, agrarian legislation, and agricultural accounting at ESALQ.
From 1937 to 1972à the Full Professor Érico da Rocha Nobre and the Assistant Professors of the Chair of Rural Economy expanded and diversified education and started the research in economics and sociology.
In 1964à the ESALQ/USP–OSU (The Ohio State University) and USAID (US Agency for International Development) partnership collaborated for the institutional development and implantation of the Graduate program in rural economy as well as in other Chairs of ESALQ.
In 1965à the Research Project: Formação de Capital na Agricultura Paulista [Capital Formation in the Agriculture of São Paulo] was essential to mark and qualify the research activities in the Graduate Program in agricultural economics (applied). Several Master’s thesis have been based on this project.
b. In 1966à the creation of the so-called Diversificação de Economia Rural [Diversification of Rural Economy], for students of the 5th year of the Agricultural Engineering program, motivated and prepared future candidates for the academic life at ESALQ/USP, at FEA/USP and at other educational institutions.
c. In 1966à the Graduate Program in Social Rural Sciences is established, with two areas of concentration at Master’s level. One in Agricultural Economics; the other in Rural Sociology (it does not exist anymore).
II. DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMICS, MANAGEMENT, AND SOCIOLOGY – LES. 
a. In 1972, Joaquim J. C. Engler replaces the Full Professor Érico da Rocha Nobre, due to his retirement.
b. In 1976, the Faculty of LES accounts for 25 professor in the fields of economics, sociology, rural extension, and domestic economics.
c. In addition to the strong support from USP, our teaching, research, and development activities have also been supported by partnerships with a considerable number of external institutions, in projects and actions of LES and ESALQ.
d. Since 1976 à the FEALQ – Foundation created in the Department – have been providing strong stimulus to human resources research, extension, and education at ESALQ. In 1981, three research centers have been created by the Foundation: CEBTEC (focusing on agricultural biotechnology); CEPEG (focusing on genetic research), and CEPEA (focusing on agricultural economics research).
e. In 1990 à begins the PhD Program in the Graduate Program in Agricultural Economics which; from 1996 onwards, it was called Applied Economics.
f. In 1994 à in the Area of Concentration in Economics and Management of the Agronomic Engineering Program, ESALQ decides to grant a certificate to students that, of the total of elective disciplines taken, 60% (or more) have been offered by the Department.
g. In 1995 à the Bachelor’s Degree – Licensure in Agricultural Sciences is created by ESALQ/USP – in the field of Humanities, under the coordination of LES. It was approved by MEC (Brazilian Ministry of Education and Culture) in 1996. It is offered to students of the Agronomy Engineering and Forestry Engineering programs of ESALQ. Licenciates in Agricultural Sciences are also able to register their Licensure degree. Subsequently, the Bachelor’s Degree – Licensure in Biological Sciences program was created.
h. In 1998à begins the Undergraduate Program in Agro-industrial Economics, and from 2003, it is called Undergraduate Program in Economic Sciences, currently with 40 positions.
i. In 1998à the Pavilhão de Economia e Sociologia [Pavilion of Economy and Sociology] is opened to host the Graduate Program in Applied Economics (PPG/EA), the Érico da Rocha Nobre Library, and the Centro de Estudos Avançados em Economia Aplicada [Center for Advanced Studies in Applied Economics] – CEPEA.
j. In 2002 à the Undergraduate Program in Environmental Management (evening classes) is created at ESALQ/USP. It aims to educate professionals qualified in the areas related to the management of natural resources, focusing on sustainability.
k. In 2004à ESALQ celebrated 40 years of its Graduate Program.
l. In 2011à the Undergraduate Program in Management is created in ESALQ/USP, and started in 2013.
m. In 2015àthe Graduate Program in Management is created in ESALQ/USP, which started at the second semester of 2016.
Current resources of the Department –In addition to have appreciable physical and operational infrastructure, including a library, the Department comprises human resources prepared to overcome the great challenges of the academy. Its faculty currently comprise50 professors in the areas of economics, management, and humanities. And its administrative and technical staff consists of 12 people.
 From 1970 to 1977, it was called the Department of Applied Social Sciences. Thereafter until 1998, it became Department of Economics and Rural Sociology.