Honors Thesis

Honors students graduatingHonors students graduatingWe strongly encourage students to write an honors thesis. This is very valuable for students interested in graduate school or careers requiring independent research skills, as well as for students interested in tying together their academic experience with an in-depth investigation of one topic.

An honors thesis is more than a good course paper. It must represent a substantial effort in research and exposition. The department does not specify page lengths, methods, or topics. Instead an honors thesis candidate should establish his or her goals – and a timeline to meet those goals – in an understanding with the thesis advisor. To see the range of topics and methods prior students have pursued, take a look at examples of past honor theses here or by visiting the academic office in person.

Students interested in graduating with honors must fill out the honors thesis form and return it to Angelica Spertini by the end of junior year. Students must satisfy the following requirements to graduate with honors, as specified on the form:

  • Complete 70% or more of their courses for the concentration by the end of junior year
  • Have a GPA of 3.7 or above in economics concentration courses (and for students in applied math-econ, CS-econ, or math-econ, 3.5 overall) by the end of junior year. No more than one course in the concentration can be taken S/NC.
  • Find a faculty advisor in economics (or in the partner department for joint concentrators) by the end of junior year
  • Enroll in ECON 1960 in the fall semester of senior year (or, for joint concentrators, an equivalent course in the partner department). Note: ECON 1960 is an addition to the usual concentration requirements
  • (For joint concentrators only) : Find a secondary reader in the partner department (if the primary advisor is in economics) or in economics (if the primary advisor is in the partner department) by fall semester of senior year
  • Enroll in ECON 1970 under the primary thesis advisor in the spring semester of senior year
  • Complete an honors thesis by the deadline you agree to with your primary advisor, and obtain final approval from your primary advisor (and secondary reader for joint concentrators). Note: ECON 1970 is an addition to the usual concentration requirements
  • Do a short public presentation of your work in the honors thesis presentation sessions in May
  • For joint concentrators only: Satisfy all honors requirements in the partner department
  • For all honors thesis candidates in the Class of 2016 and beyond only: Take one “data methods” course and one “mathematical economics” course

For students interested in finding out more, please attend the information session on honors theses that will be given by Prof. Ken Chay at the beginning of every spring semester. For students interested in undertaking research, but not wanting to pursue honors, the department offers senior capstone options.