Independent Study and Departmental Honors  

Senior majors who exhibit a high level of scholarship may apply to do independent research under faculty direction. Departmental honors may be awarded for superior work. Students who are interested in graduating with honors must approach a faculty member or the Department Chair to apply as early as possible.


Only students who have completed the required courses (ECO 100, 103, 200, 201, 203 respectively, and 210, MAT 216, or BOS 250) by the end of their junior year are eligible to apply for honors research. Normally, the honors-bound research project is completed during the spring semester of the senior year. To be eligible, the student must have achieved a GPA of at least 3.5 in economics courses and a GPA of 3.0 or higher overall at the beginning of the honors project and at the time of graduation.

Granting of Departmental Honors

The final granting of honors by the Department of Economics is conditional on maintaining a GPA of 3.5 in all economics course work.


The honors program consists of a substantial piece of work requiring extensive independent research within an Independent Study program resulting in a high-caliber thesis. A thesis of this quality requires sustained research effort throughout the semester.

The student is expected to work independently and to meet with the advisor on at least a bi-weekly basis. The advisor may require written work for each meeting. If at any time the advisor believes that the student’s research effort is insufficient for an honors project, s/he may recommend cessation of honors and dissolve the honors committee.

In particular cases it is advisable that the student completes ECO390 Directed Reading in their junior year or the fall of their senior year as preparation for the honors program.


Although extenuating circumstances may lead to a revision of these deadlines, in general the failure to meet these deadlines will end the honors program. (The timing of the deadlines listed below assumes the honors project is completed during the spring semester. If a project is completed during the fall semester, the deadlines would correspond to similar placement within that semester.)

Early to mid February: Topic is finalized and honors committee formed.

The student has delineated an area of study and established a research question. The Honors Committee is constituted by the Advisor in consultation with the student. It will be made up of two Economics professors and one or more professors from another department. The Advisor is not a member of the Committee.

Third week of March: Draft submitted to advisor.

Early April: Draft submitted to honors committee.

After reading the draft, Members of the Honors Committee make a recommendation to the Advisor as to whether or not the thesis is worthy of Honors.

Third week of April: Final draft submitted to honors committee.

The Committee members have between one and two weeks to review the thesis.

Oral Defense and Copy of Thesis

The advisor will schedule the oral defense in consultation with the honors committee. The oral defense is announced to the public. It will normally take place during the examination period.

During the oral defense the student will present their work to the committee and respond to questions from committee members. The advisor has no role in defending the thesis. The oral defense may, but is not expected to last beyond one hour in total.

Immediately following the oral defense, the honors committee recommends to the Department of Economics that the candidate receive honors (without revision), honors (with revision), or no honors. The advisor informs the candidate of the committee’s recommendation. If revisions are required, the student will resubmit the thesis to the advisor within one week.

The student must file one paper copy and one electronic copy (CD) of the final thesis as well as a signed release form with the College Archives in Shadek Fackenthal Library. Instructions and a downloadable release form are available at

The student should also submit a paper copy of the thesis to the Department of Economics office.

Projects awarded honors 

2017. " Sprawl, Mobility Gaps, and the Transit Solution," Layla Thomas (Faculty Advisor: Tony Maynard)

2014. "Pollution Haven Hypothesis Revisited: FDI and Environmental Regulation,"  Raghav Paul (Faculty Advisor: Evelyn Wright)

2013. "Revisiting the European Crisis: Whose Crisis and Who Should Pay," Niriksha Shetty (Faculty Advisor: Yeva Nersisyan)

2013. "The Effect of Increased Minority Presence in Metropolitan Areas on Earnings and Unemployment Inequality," Deepa Yusuf (Faculty Advisor: Sean Flaherty)

2011. "An Economic Analysis and Comparison of Percutaneous Coronary Intervention and Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery," Jonathan Bock (Faculty Advisor: Sean Flaherty)

2011. "An Empirical Analysis of Factor Endowments and Comparative Advantage," Jay Merchant (Faculty Advisor: Roger White)

2007. "Financial Account Openness Following the 1997 Asian Crisis," Emanuela Verenca (Faculty Advisor: Roger White)

2006. "Economic Motion: An Application of the Lotka-Volterra Equations," Viktor Vadasz (Faculty Advisor: Roger White)

2006. "Rapid Credit Growth Rates in Transitional Economies with an Emphasis on Bulgaria," Vania Stavrakeva (Faculty Advisor: Roger White)

2006. "Stock Market Reaction to Acquisition Announcements: An Empirical Analysis of Current Trading Strategies using an Event Study Approach," Isfandiyar Shaheen (Faculty Advisor: Roger White)

"Beijing Discretion: A Critique of the Washington Consensus”

"The Dollar-Euro Exchange Rate: Fundamentals, Market Sentiment, or Tossing a Coin?”