Senior Thesis and Departmental Honors
A Senior Thesis in Economics is a year-long independent research and writing project for academically outstanding and highly motivated students. Normally, the thesis will consist of three or four chapters, including a literature review chapter.
Successful completion of a Senior Thesis encompasses three major steps:
- The preparation and defense of a thesis proposal in the student's third-to-last semester.
- The successful completion of ECON 350, Independent Study in the student's second-to-last semester.
- The successful completion of ECON 355, Thesis, in the student's final semester. The ECON 350/355 sequence fulfills the Capstone requirement.
- A GPA of 3.50 in economics courses by the beginning of the student's third-to-last semester (not including STAT 118 and MATH 120).
- The proposed project must build on prior or present coursework in economics. The project must deepen and expand the understanding the student has already developed through coursework; it should not introduce the student to a line of inquiry that is completely new to them.
- Successful completion of the following by the end of the student's third-to-last semester:
- Thesis proposal: Developed in consultation with a faculty thesis adviser, a five-page thesis proposal must be submitted to the thesis advisor by the end of the 9th week of the semester. The proposal should describe the topic, state a working thesis, and discuss the relevant literature. A revised and final draft is due to the department faculty in the 14th week.
- Proposal defense: A date for the proposal defense with department faculty should be scheduled by the 13th week. At the defense, the student will make brief introductory comments about the proposal to the faulty and respond to questions posed by the faculty.
- Thesis Proposal Approval: After the defense, the department faculty will decide whether or not to approve the thesis proposal and authorize the student to proceed to the ECON 350 phase of the thesis project.
- Signed agreement: An agreement that delineates the project schedule and requirements will be signed by the student and the faculty adviser and will be submitted to the department prior to the state of the student's second-to-last semester.
Thesis Project Requirements
ECON 350 Independent Study -- first semester Senior year (4-credits)
- The student must enroll in ECON-350, Independent Study, and in consultation with their thesis adviser, undertake a survey of the literature and write the literature review chapter of the thesis. The student will meet with their adviser regularly throughout the semester.
- Prior to the beginning of the final examination period the student will submit:
- Literature review chapter, including a bibliography
- Revised thesis proposal. The proposal's revision should be guided by the literature review and must include a clear thesis statement and a detailed outline of the thesis.
- Revised project schedule for ECON 355, Thesis, signed by the student and the adviser, and submitted to the department chair by the start of the student's final semester. The revised schedule should establish due dates for submission of the first draft of the thesis, the draft to be defended, and the final, post-defense, thesis draft.
- The student must earn a grade of A or higher on the literature review chapter and in ECON 350 as a whole to proceed to ECON 355.
ECON 355: Thesis, second semester, senior year (4 credits)
- The student will enroll in ECON 355: Thesis, listing the thesis adviser as the instructor.
- In consultation with their thesis advisor, the student will produce a complete first draft, a defense draft, and a post-defense draft by the dates agreed to in the revised project schedule.
- Thesis defense: A date for the thesis defense with department faculty should be scheduled by the 13th week of the semester. The defense should take place before the beginning of the final examination period. At the defense, the student will make brief introductory remarks about the thesis and then respond to questions posed by the faculty. After the defense, the department faculty will vote on whether or not the thesis qualifies for Honors in Economics.
- Post-defense draft of the thesis: The student will submit a final draft of the thesis that responds to issues raised in the defense. The final draft must be submitted to the adviser prior to the date for the submission of senior grades to the Registrar.
Honors in Economics
Students who complete the Senior Thesis (ECON 355) and earn an A or an A- grade qualify for Honors in Economics.