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Honors Program Information

Director: Prof. Justin Svec

Now Accepting Applications from Class of 2019!!!

Information Session: Monday, September 18 at 4pm in Stein 526. 

Application Deadline: Friday, October 6 at noon to Ms. Babette Mahoney in Stein 519. 


The Economics and Accounting Department is soliciting applications for the Department Honors Program from the Economics and Accounting majors in the junior class. This program offers outstanding majors the opportunity to conduct independent research. Program participants gain valuable experience in research, writing, and public speaking. Descriptions of research projects from previous Department Honors participants can be found below.

The program consists of three parts. In the spring of the junior year, department honors students take a research methods seminar (ECON 460 Research Methods I) in which they learn the tools of economic research, develop a thesis topic and literature review, and choose an advisor. This course is also a lower-level elective for economics majors. In the fall of senior year, honors students write a thesis under the guidance of their advisor. The thesis counts as course credit (ECON 462 Honors Directed Research), and also an upper-level elective course for economics majors. In the spring of senior year, students prepare a presentation to be given at the College Academic Conference, and provide guidance to the juniors in the research methods class. This is a half-course overload called ECON 461 Research Methods II. To be granted honors at graduation, students must meet the standards in each course. Please direct all questions to the director of the program, Prof. Justin Svec (, 508-793-3875) or the department chair, Prof. Robert Baumann (, 508-793-3879).


To be considered, four copies of the following materials must be submitted to Ms. Babette Mahoney, the Economics Department Administrative Assistant (Stein 519), by Friday, October 6, 2017 at noon:

  • An unofficial transcript printed out by you from STAR. Make sure it is fully legible.
  • A separate typed list of economics and accounting courses (including current courses) with faculty names.
  • A letter of reference from a faculty member in the Department of Economics and Accounting. Ask the professor to send letter directly to the department office.
  • A one or two page statement or purpose. Why do you want to participate in the Program?
  • A short writing sample, e.g. a short paper from a class you've taken
  • A completed application cover page, available here.

In addition, sign up for an interview time in the department office when you submit your materials. Decisions will be made prior to course enrollment. More information about the program and application process will be available at the information session on Monday, September 18 at 4pm in Stein 526

Economics honors applicants will normally finish ECON 255 (Microeconomics), ECON 256 (Macroeconomics) and ECON 249 (Statistics) by the fall of junior year, though exceptions are routinely made for candidates with other strong credentials. Applications are competitive, and require a recommendation, transcript, essay, and other materials. Decisions are made by the Honors Selection Committee following interviews. Accounting majors should have taken accounting courses through ACCT 278 (Intermediate Accounting II), and ECON 111/112 (Principles of Macroeconomics and Microeconomics) or ECON 199 (Principles of Economics), ECON 249 (Statistics), and the second semester of calculus equivalent by fall of junior year. Students studying away from the College in the spring of junior year or any time during senior year are not eligible for the program. The program usually admits between four and six students per class.

Special considerations for Accounting Majors

Accounting majors face special challenges in completing the program due to the large number of courses that are required for the major as well as the 16 course cap placed on economics and accounting department courses.

  • Accounting majors must be aware that admission to the honors program may affect course selection and possibly require taking additional coursework as overloads or away from the College. Given the CPA exam requires 150 hours of coursework to sit for the exam, in reality this may not be an unreasonable burden.
  • Majors often take electives such as Corporation Finance, Accounting Information Systems, Financial Institutions and Markets, Ethics, and other economics or accounting courses. Some students need some specific electives in order to sit for the CPA exam in some states. The research methods course qualifies as an elective for accounting majors and may qualify as "business" hours for purposes of the CPA exam in certain states. 
  • The honors program will take up two of the electives. If an honors student wishes to take Econometrics to help with the thesis, that will use another of the student's electives that may count towards graduation. Econometrics has Microeconomics as a prerequisite, which normally would require an overload.


Recent honors theses

Previous honors theses are posted on the department web page:


Published honors theses

Several previous honors theses have been published in academic journals as joint papers by the student and advisor. A partial list can be found below:

Baumann, Robert and Katie Lucia '05, "Differences in the College Enrollment Decision Across Race,"American Economist, Vol 53, Issue 1 (Spring) 2009.  

Cahill, Miles B. and Alaina C. George '03, "Executive Compensation Incentives in a Volatile Market,"American Economist, Vol. 49, No. 2 (Fall), 2005: pp. 33-43.

Hinds, Scott '00, Nicolas Sanchez and David Schap, "Public Enterprise: Retrospective Survey and Prospective Theory" in Jurgen G. Backhaus and Richard E. Wagner (eds.) Handbook on Public Finance, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2004: pp. 277-300.

Schap, David and Andrew T. Young '97, "Enterprise and Biodiversity: Do Market Forces Yield Diversity of Life?" Cato Journal, vol. 19, no. 1 (Spring/Summer), 1999: 49-67.

Schap, David and Deirdre K. Valvo '96, "Recoverable Damages for Wrongful Death in the States,"Journal of Forensic Economics, Vol. 10, No. 3 (fall), 1997: 279-84.

Carter, John R. and Shannon A. McAloon '94, "A Test for Comparative Income Effects in an Ultimatum Bargaining Experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Vol. 31 (December), 1996: 369-380.

Carter, John R. and Stephen D. Guerette '90, "An Experimental Study of Expressive Voting," Public Choice, Vol. 73 (April), 1992: 251-260.