Rose R. Terlin, 71, a retired economist with the Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor, died of cancer Sunday at The Washington Home Hospice.

Miss Terlin was born in San Francisco and earned bachelor's and master's degrees in economics from the University of California at Berkeley. Much of her career was devoted to student affairs and the YWCA. She was the author of several books, including "Christian Faith and Social Action."

She was a member of the YWCA's national board from 1939 to 1943 and in those years also was director of social and economic studies of the World Student Christian Federation in Geneva, Switzerland.

After returning to this country, she was chief of the white collar section of the War Labor Board in the New York area. For the next 10 years she was an editor-in-chief of the Women's Press for the national YWCA and the Whiteside Press in New York. Fro, 1955 to 1960, she was director of public relations for the YWCA in Pittsburgh.

Miss Terlin moved to Washington in 1960 and joined the Women's Bureau at the Labor Department. She was a senior economist at the time of her retirement in 1975.

Survivors include a brother, John, of San Francisco, and a niece who, she helped to raise, Jeanna Haney, of Chicago.

The family suggest that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Vincent G. Lombardi Cancer Research Center, Georgetown University Hospital.