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The Honors Program and Independent Study

The Undergraduate Honors Program in Economics (Econ 4990-4991) is an opportunity for students who have demonstrated academic excellence in the major to pursue an independent research project. The program runs for the entire senior year, and the research is conducted under the supervision of a faculty advisor.

Admission to the Honors Program is selective, and it is based upon the following criteria: 1) performance in coursework, both economics and in general, 2) a description of the proposed research question, 3) a letter of recommendation from a member of the faculty, and 4) prior research experience, if any. Students typically develop empirical projects, but it is also possible to do experimental, theoretical, or historical work.

During the fall semester, students develop thesis proposals that articulate the research question, survey the relevant literature, and assess the relevant data. After the approval of the thesis proposal, students are enrolled for the spring semester.  Students successfully completing the Honors Program receive eight credits which can be applied toward the 100-credit requirement in Arts and Sciences. The Honors Program counts as one course toward the twelve course requirement of the Economics Major.  Students who successfully complete the program will graduate cum laude.  Awards of the higher levels of honors - magna cum laude and summa cum laude - take into account not only thesis quality but also performance in the major and other factors.

Requirements: There are no formal prerequisites for the class. Honors students must be in residence at Cornell during both semesters of senior year (ie. fall and spring) unless special permission is granted.

The Department's Program of Independent Study

This program is less selective and less formal than the Honors Program, but also offers Economics majors an opportunity to work closely with a faculty member and to conduct original research. Students participating in this program enroll in Econ 4999, Independent Study in Economics; this course carries variable credit, and is available both fall and spring semesters. Before enrolling in Econ 4999, the student must submit a proposal for independent study, approved by a member of the Economics Department.

Econ 4999 will count towards the 100 College of Arts and Sciences course credits needed for graduation however, it will not count toward distribution/breadth requirements. 

For further information, see any member of the Economics Department, and visit the College of Arts & Sciences Academic Advising Center, G17 Klarman Hall.

Hatfield Honors Thesis and Independent Study Funding
Economics majors undertaking an honors thesis or independent study within the Department of Economics, may apply for funding of their research through the Robert S. Hatfield Fund for Economic Education.  Examples of appropriate requests include funding for the purchase of data sets or subject payments for experiments.  Applications will be forwarded to supervising faculty members for approval before being considered.

Click Here to Apply - Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

If you have any questions about the application, please email Sarah Louise Schupp at sls499@cornell.edu. You can also visit her in Uris 492.

Related Links

Main Office
Department of Economics
404 Uris Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, N.Y. 14853
Phone: (607) 255-4254
Fax: (607) 255-2818