The Honors Program provides a special opportunity through independent study for the intellectual stimulation and development of students who are motivated to work on a large project of their own. Students are encouraged to explore possible topics during their junior year. The best way to do this is to discuss potential areas of interest or specific topics with individual faculty members. We strongly recommend that the student and supervising faculty member agree on a topic before the student leaves for the summer following their junior year.
Eligibility for the economics honors program is contingent upon: 1) a minimum 3.2 cumulative grade point average, or a minimum 3.2 grade point average for the junior year; 2) a 3.5 cumulative grade point average in economics or special permission of the Economics Honors Committee. All averages are computed at the end of the junior year.
A student will be accepted to candidacy when the following two conditions are met:
1) his/her eligibility is certified by the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Registrar's Office;
2) his/her written thesis or project proposal is accepted by the Economics Honors Committee.
The written project description must be submitted to the Committee no later than the end of the first week of the first semester of the senior year. The proposal should include specific and detailed discussion of the project's purpose, references to related studies, and the expected methodology. Proposals are normally three to five pages in length.
Honors projects (usually honors theses) are judged by an examining committee of not less than three faculty members, including the student's thesis advisor, one other member of the Economics Department, and one faculty member from another department. The designation Honors indicates excellent work that fully met expectations (and carries the grade "A" for Economics 495 and 496). Honors projects that do not merit the designation Honors but which represent substantial work on the part of the student will be awarded credit for independent study (Economics 490).
Preparation for Honors Work
A student should select a potential advisor during the junior year. Together with that faculty mentor, the student should come up with the broad outlines of a topic. Over the summer between the junior and senior years the student should read widely in his or her chosen literature, and prepare a formal honors proposal for the department to evaluate in September. This proposal should be discussed with the potential advisor before submitting it to the honors committee.
In some years, the department may offer a one-credit course entitled Junior Research Seminar (Economics 491). If you are a junior trying to decide whether or not to pursue honors, or if you would like to pursue an independent research project, please consider enrolling in this class. If you are a senior planning to go to graduate school in economics, you should also talk with a faculty member about the possibility of taking the class.