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Honors Program


The Honors Program in the Department of Economics seeks to identify those students who have distinguished themselves academically in the initial years of their study and who wish to further their pursuit of intellectual dialogue through the opportunity to learn the craft of original research in the field of Economics, ostensibly leading to the application and/or study of Economics in the future.

Administered by the Emory College Honors Committee, the Honors Program in the Department of Economics allows especially qualified Economics and joint Econ-Math majors to engage in research and coursework more advanced than the normal undergraduate program, with commensurate standards for performance.

Watch this video to learn more about the Honors Program:

Dual Degree and Emory/GA Tech Students: A student doing a dual or extended degree has to complete honors in their final two regular semesters in the College. For a dual degree student, that would normally be the third year. For a 4+1 student, that would normally be the fourth year.

Starting in 2019 (Emory College Class of 2020), students who have completed all of the minimum requirements for consideration will be allowed to submit application materials in February of their junior year. The specific minimum requirements are:

  • An overall GPA of at least 3.5 and no pending "incomplete" courses as of January 31.
  • Completion of Econ 201, 212, and 220.
  • Completion of Econ 320, 421, 422, or 423, with an A or A- grade (conditional decisions may be extended for those taking these courses at the time of application).
  • A graduation date of the following Spring.

There will be no exceptions to the specific criteria listed above as minimum requirements for application. Any applications that are reviewed and do not meet allof the criteria as of the application date will not be considered. Prospective applicants should not contact the Honors Coordinator nor the Undergraduate Program Director or Coordinator to ask for or discuss exceptions or allowances.

Students interested in participating in the Econ Honors Program should plan accordingly. Starting with the Honors class of 2020-2021 (Emory College Class of 2021), strong preference will be given to those who have had exposure to research in the social sciences prior to entering the Honors program.

This could be achieved within Emory via programs and opportunities such as, but not limited to, CLSS, SURE, SIRE/RPP, Mellon Mays, as a research assistant in any social science, or by taking a Directed Reading (Econ 397R) course.

This could also be achieved outside of Emory via opportunities such as, but not limited to, summer programs like:

Students could also demonstrate interest in research through self-study or by completing relevant extracurricular coursework including, but not limited to, self-directed study in online learning platforms such as the EdX, Coursera, Lynda, etc., and coupling this with a compelling statement of research interest.

Applications will be blind-reviewed. Applicants should use only their Emory ID number on their application documents in lieu of their name. Any revelation of the applicant's name in the application documents will disqualify the application.

The ID number will be used for verification of having met the minimum application requirements only after applicants are preliminarily selected for admission to the Honors Program.

All materials are to be submitted online. Click here for the submission link.

Submit the following documents:

  • A questionnaire/application form.
  • A research proposal of 1-2 pages. The student should discuss a research topic or question they might develop into a thesis. The statement also should explain why the student is interested in doing research on the topic, related coursework, and (optionally) what faculty member or members the student would like to work with in carrying out the project. The proposal will be assessed in terms of: 1) Demonstrating the ability to formulate and motivate a meaningful research question in Economics; 2) Specifying methods that could be used to answer the question; and 3) The likelihood that the applicant who prepared the essay could likely write a successful Honors Thesis.
  • A sample of academic writing from an Economics or other Social Science course that best demonstrates the student's ability to write an in-depth original paper.

The Economics Honors Program Coordinator, in collaboration with the faculty of the Economics Department, will review these materials and select the participants for the Honors Program.

In addition to these materials, the faculty will also take into consideration the applicant's overall GPA, major GPA, and coursework in Economics, especially upper-level ECON courses taken at Emory or at Oxford College prior to the Spring semester of the student's junior year.

Only students who submit materials will be considered. Accepted students will be required to attend an orientation session and meet with a potential thesis advisor prior to the end of the Spring semester in which they applied and will be expected to complete prepatory coursework and substantial readings over the summer prior to their senior year.

The Economics Honors Program operates on the basis that the level of instruction and workload exceeds that of the typical undergraduate courses, thus requiring the dedication, self-motivation, and time investment typical of a graduate-level course in Economics or a related field.

Students should plan to register for the 4 credit hour Honors Sequence in each of the Fall and Spring semesters (total of 8 credit hours).

Students should expect to spend a minimum of 2-3 hours per weekday throughout the academic year undertaking class readings, preparing paper critique/discussion presentations, and identifying a research question and the appropriate methods and data to approach the topic, and writing the thesis paper.

In addition to scheduled class sessions, students are expected to meet with the Honors Program Coordinator approximately monthly on a one-on-one basis in the Fall and will meet with a primary advisor on a weekly basis in both the Fall and Spring.

At the end of the senior year, an examination covering the honors work is given to complete the program and bestow Honors upon the graduating Senior. One examiner must be chosen from outside the department.

Examiners will recommend whether the student will be conferred honors and, if so, the level of distinction (honors, high honors, highest honors) to the Honors Committee.

  • Honors (cum laude) represent exemplary completion of the program.
  • High Honors (magna cum laude) represents the completion of the program with exemplary performance and a thesis of a quality sufficient for oral presentation to scholars in the candidate's field.
  • Highest Honors (summa cum laude) represents the completion of the program with exceptional performance, requiring a thesis of a quality suitable for submission for publication in an academic journal in Economics.

A student may complete Honors in the joint Econ/Math major by completing the requirements for Honors either in the Mathematics Department or in the Economics Department. Participation in the Honors Program in more than one department is forbidden by the College.

For joint Econ-Math majors, the student's Honors Committee must include at least one faculty member from the Economics Department, one faculty member from the Mathematics Department, and one faculty member from a department other than the Economics or the Mathematics Department.