Economics Honors Guidelines

The Economics Department offers advanced students the opportunity to undertake independent original research leading to the writing of an honors thesis in the senior year. For a student considering honors, it is important to seek advice and guidance from the faculty in the junior year. This helps to prepare high-achieving students for a productive academic experience in completing an honors thesis.

Prerequisites for Honors Candidacy

The prerequisites are ECON 203, ECON 210, and ECON 211; and a grade point average of 3.700 in all Economics courses. Exceptions are rare and require departmental approval.


Interested students should inquire with the department head about the honors program at any time during the junior year, and before registration for the fall term of the senior year. University policy requires that a student declare candidacy for honors in writing to the department head by May 1. A student receives honors in economics at the end of the senior year, after successful completion of the honors thesis.


In the fall of the senior year, an honors candidate will enroll in ECON 440 (0 credits), Honors Thesis Workshop, and ECON 423 (3 credits), Directed Individual Research. By the end of the add/drop period of the fall term of senior year, an honors candidate will identify a thesis advisor and this advisor will become the professor of record for ECON 423. At the end of fall term, an honors candidate will be allowed to proceed only if there is clear evidence of a feasible research question, data, and a committee composed of at least three faculty including the advisor, with at least two faculty from the Economics Department.

If given approval to continue in the honors track, the student will again in the winter term enroll in ECON 440, Senior Research Workshop, and in ECON 423, Directed Individual Research, with the thesis advisor.

The total coursework for honors will equal 6 credits over fall plus winter terms.


A potential honors candidate shall submit a complete first draft of the thesis no later than the last day of the winter final examination period. The final draft is due no later than the end of the third week of spring term. The thesis committee will vote to award or withhold honors, and the committee will assign a grade for the work by the Wednesday of the fourth week of spring term. The thesis advisor will notify the department head of the potential award and the title of the thesis by the end of the winter term so that the department head may send the information to the University Registrar's Office for inclusion in the university's records upon successful completion of the thesis.


At the end of each term, a grade of WIP [Work in Progress] for ECON 423 will be issued. When the thesis is complete and the thesis committee determines that it has met the conditions for honors, the committee will assign by the Wednesday of the fourth week of the spring term the grade to replace the outstanding WIPs. ECON 423 for fall and winter terms will be converted for each term to ECON 493, Honors Thesis. If the candidate withdraws from the program or the thesis committee deems the thesis unsuccessful in meeting the standard for honors, the thesis advisor who taught ECON 423 will assign a grade for ECON 423 for each term in which the student was enrolled.

Summary of Course Sequencing

Fall (3 credits)

  • Econ 440: Honors Thesis Workshop (0 credits)
  • Econ 423: Directed Individual Research (3 credits)

Winter (3 credits)

  • Econ 440: Honors Thesis Workshop (0 credits)
  • Econ 423: Directed Individual Research (3 credits)

Leyburn Library Collection

The successful candidate will provide a finished copy of the thesis to each member of the committee and a copy to Leyburn Library Special Collections. The candidate must consult by May 1 with the Special Collections Librarian to determine the form required by the Library.