In the process of fulfilling the major requirements, honors candidates must pass Economics 494 (section H) and earn a grade of A- or better in Economics 495 (section H). 

An Honors candidate must have a GPA of 3.50 or higher in the economics major and a GPA of 3.20 or higher overall at the time of graduation in order to be granted honors. This policy does not allow rounding upward to meet the minimum requirements.

Note that Economics 494 (section H) does not count towards the major because it is graded on a Pass/Fail basis.

Normally an honors candidate will take 494 (section H) and 495 (section H) in the senior year. If you are a prospective honors candidate, apply in writing by submitting this application form (PDF) to the department chair no later than May 1 of your Junior year.

High honors will be granted if, three-fourths of the department approves a recommendation from the advising committee that high honors should be granted. In such cases the advising committee would provide details explaining why a student's work rises to the level of High Honors.

Preparing Your Honors Thesis: Suggested Timeline

The honors thesis committee consists of a primary adviser, a secondary adviser and the chair of the Economics Department serving ex-officio.

You should meet to discuss your proposed research question with your primary and secondary advisers. Your research question will ideally be the same as that in your honors application or a variant of it. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the feasibility of your proposed research. You will submit an application by May 1 to the economics chair and director of the honors program (Prof. Caleb Stroup).

After meeting with your honors thesis advisers, you will enroll in Economics 494 (section H) for the fall semester. It is your responsibility to work out a schedule with your thesis committee so that you can meet with your committee on a regular basis throughout the semester.

Fall Semester

Course goals for Eco 494 (section H):

Write a thesis proposal and successfully pass oral defense of your proposal in December. Components of the thesis proposal:

  • Introduction / Motivation of topic / connection to broader research conversations
  • Sketch of theory and testable hypotheses
  • Data / summary statistics / data visualizations
  • Methodology and identification strategy
  • Preliminary empirical findings

Oral defense: you will be asked to defend your proposal in front of the Economics Department at the end of the fall semester.

Spring Semester

Course goals for Eco 495 (section H)

Write full honors thesis and pass oral defense of your thesis in May.

Using the feedback from your committee and from your oral defense to guide your efforts, you will finish the research and empirical work for your thesis. The remainder of your time will be spent writing your thesis. Along the way you will:

  • Develop a comprehensive literature review
  • Build a formal economic model
  • Credibly address econometric challenges, e.g. endogeneity, measurement error