Honors Procedures – Economics Department

Macalester’s economics Honors program provides students the opportunity to bring together all of the skills they have developed in their major and apply them towards a year-long research project. The honors program includes a fall-semester seminar and a community defense in the spring semester. Students graduate with honors status upon successful defense of the honors project prior to graduation. Along the way students have the opportunity to present their work at national conferences and submit their paper for competitive awards.

The Economics Department encourages juniors with major research project interests to consult with faculty members about applying for the senior Honors program in the spring of their junior year. The topic chosen should demonstrate a broad and deep understanding of the subject area.

II. Timeline and Institutional Procedures

These deadlines are intended to facilitate progress toward a successful Honors paper. Please refer to college honors calendar for the updated and specific timeline. December graduates must arrange suitable deadlines one semester earlier on an individual basis.

  1. Application to Department: April of junior year, at least two weeks before registration for fall
  2. Proposal Defense: beginning of fall semester in senior year (Students studying away in spring of the junior year may still enter the honors program at this point)
  3. Taking honors seminar: fall semester in senior year
  4. Honors draft submitted to supervisor and other member of Honors committee: by the end of fall
  5. Final abstract due and departmental selection of Honors committee: in the middle of spring
  6. Final paper due for readers: first Monday in April in senior year
  7. Final Oral evaluation: late April in senior year
  8. Library copy of paper due, with all corrections, as specified by the Honors committee: Last day of spring semester classes

III. Application

All juniors, including those who are studying away in the spring term, must indicate their interest in pursuing a senior Honors project by submitting a project proposal in consultation with a proposed faculty supervisor by the stated deadline in late March.  We recommend that students studying away during spring of their junior year draft their proposal in consultation with their proposed Honors supervisor before leaving campus.

The proposal must contain a clear statement of your research question and a short description of your project, including some academic references and a description of the data you might analyze, and other information requested in the Google Form application.  Admissions to the Economics Honors program will be decided by a committee of Economics faculty and decisions will be communicated by the beginning of fall registration in the spring of the junior year.  Admitted students must participate in the Honors Seminar and should register for Econ 444 in the following fall semester.  Honors projects, while year long endeavors, are only eligible for 4 credits during the fall semester.

IV. Qualification

The Economics Department will consider each application and select the most promising and well-conceived proposals. A competitive proposal demonstrates a student’s broad and deep understanding of the chosen subject area, clear statement of the proposed research question, and commitment to completing the proposed project. Please note that submitting an Honors proposal, while necessary, does not guarantee admission to the Honors program. 

To be accepted into the Honors Program in the Economics major, a student must also satisfy the following:

  1. The student must have demonstrated the discipline, skills, and theoretical and/or empirical competencies necessary for successful completion of an Honors Project.
  2. Have an advisor who agrees to supervise the project.

V. Honors Seminar

This course helps you complete a draft of your honors thesis. The course provides support for writing, research methods, and data analysis. Honors students will also need to give short overviews of their progress throughout the seminar.

VI. Final Evaluation

Successful completion of the Honors Project requires the approval of the student’s Honors Committee. The Honors Committee consists of the faculty supervisor, and two faculty reviewers. All committee members must sign the Project Completion Form for the project to be approved.

An Honors Project culminates in the following three artifacts:

  1. An Honors paper and abstract.
  2. A public presentation of the work, in a venue approved by the department.
  3. An oral examination on the substance of the honors project. This examination will involve the honors student, the Honors Committee, and interested members of the Macalester community. This event will include presentation and discussion of the honors material. The oral examination will take place in mid-April.