- Department Honors Program
- Study Abroad
- Washington Semester Program
- Omicron Delta Epsilon Honor Society
- The John D. O'Connell Prize for Accounting Excellence
Director: Justin Svec
Application Deadline: The application process is open for third-year students during the beginning of the fall semester.
An excellent opportunity for faculty-student collaboration is offered by the department Honors Program. Program participants gain valuable experience in research, writing, and public speaking.
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’s 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.
To be considered, four copies of the following materials must be submitted to Babette Mahoney, the department’s administrative assistant (Stein 519), by Friday, Oct. 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 (PDF)
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 in the fall.
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 anytime 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
- 2017 theses
- 2016 theses
- 2015 theses
“Corporate Valuation: An Analysis of Discounted Cash Flows and Comparable” Companies (PDF)
Thesis advisor: Professor Justin Svec
Thesis advisor: Professor Victor Matheson
Published Honors Theses
Several previous honors theses have been published in academic journals as joint papers by the student and advisor. Below is a partial list:
- Robert Baumann and Katie Lucia '05, "Differences in the College Enrollment Decision Across Race," American Economist, Vol 53, Issue 1 (Spring) 2009.
- Miles B. Cahill and Alaina C. George '03, "Executive Compensation Incentives in a Volatile Market," American Economist, Vol. 49, No. 2 (Fall), 2005: pp. 33-43.
- Scott Hinds '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.
- David Schap 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.
- David Schap 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.
- John R. Carter 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.
- John R. Carter and Stephen D. Guerette '90, "An Experimental Study of Expressive Voting," Public Choice, Vol. 73 (April), 1992: 251-260.
Many economics majors study abroad during their junior year. The College offers a number of opportunities to study for a full year in countries around the world. There are also a few select programs that provide a chance to study abroad for a single semester. Visit the Study Abroad site for details.
The department strongly encourages students to participate in the study abroad program but reminds interested students of the importance of planning ahead.
Study Abroad/Study Away Policy
Economics majors may receive credit for at most two economics courses taken at institutions other than Holy Cross. These courses may include principles, statistics, lower level electives or upper-level electives provided the courses are commensurate with our offerings and are pre-approved by the department study abroad coordinator Thomas Gottschang. Students must complete their intermediate theory courses at Holy Cross. Note: This policy does not apply to transfer students.
Accounting majors may receive credit for three accounting courses taken at institutions other than Holy Cross. These courses may include principles, statistics, or accounting electives. Students intending to study abroad/away are encouraged to discuss their academic plan with an accounting faculty member.
- Thinking about studying abroad? View which courses can be taken abroad or away.
- Committed to studying abroad? View the study abroad worksheet and download a copy so that you can develop a plan to go abroad and complete the economics major on time. Accounting majors should consult the accounting coordinator.
- Currently studying abroad? Follow these guidelines to stay on track.
Study Abroad Advisor
Many economics and accounting majors spend a semester working as an intern in a Washington, D.C., government agency or private organization in either the junior or senior year. Washington Semester Program participants also take a public policy course and write a thesis.
Participation in the program counts as one semester's worth of credit (four units) toward graduation. However, credit towards economics and accounting major requirements is not granted for any of the elements of the Washington Semester Program.
The economics and accounting department strongly encourages students to participate in the Washington Semester Program but reminds interested students of the importance of planning ahead.
Contact your academic advisor to plan your course of study. You may also contact the department chair, Robert Baumann, if you have any questions about department policy.
Omicron Delta Epsilon is the international honor society for economics. Members receive The American Economist, a well-regarded economics journal.
To be considered for Omicron Delta Epsilon, you must:
- Have completed Econ 255 (Microeconomics) and Econ 256 (Macroeconomics) at Holy Cross
- Have a combined GPA in all economics courses of at least 3.5 and an overall Holy Cross GPA of 3.0
Application Materials and Process
- Print out and fill out the application form (PDF)
- Notes: The "Chapter name" is Zeta. Leave "Initiation date" blank.
- Print out a transcript from STAR.
- Write a check for the $40 membership fee made out to Omicron Delta Epsilon.
- Write a separate check for any ODE jewelry item or plaque made out to Omicron Delta Epsilon (see application form for details).
The award was established to honor the longstanding service of the College's distinguished accounting professor, John D. O'Connell '53. Applicants for the prize must have an excellent academic record, a record of meaningful service to the College community and a demonstrated interest in the profession of accounting. The College's accounting faculty will review the applications each spring and select the annual recipient. The prize includes a cash purse and an engraved desk set.
Winners from the previous three years include:
- Brittany Scott '18
- Emily Stevenson '17
- Lauren Gerberich '16
Applications are solicited in the spring of each year. Questions about the award should be directed to Professor Nancy Baldiga.
The department encourages students to complete internships. Please visit the Center for Career Development for more information.
Tutors and Graders
There are also opportunities for students to become tutors or graders to introductory classes. To learn more, contact department chair Robert Baumann.