Department of Economics

Honors Thesis

Junior year is the time to start thinking about eligibility requirements, topics of interest, and potential advisors for an honors thesis.

An Honors Info Session is held each spring to answer junior’s questions about their senior year, and interested students must fill out the honors thesis form by the end of junior year.

We strongly encourage students to write an honors thesis. This is very valuable for students interested in graduate school or careers requiring independent research skills, as well as for students interested in tying together their academic experience with an in-depth investigation of one topic.

More than a good course paper

An honors thesis is more than a good course paper. It must represent a substantial effort in research and exposition. A thesis must be an original contribution to knowledge, beyond a simple replication exercise. The department does not specify page lengths, methods, or topics. Instead, an honors thesis candidate should establish his or her goals – and a timeline to meet those goals – in an understanding with the thesis advisor. To see the range of topics and methods prior students have pursued, take a look at examples of past honor theses here or by visiting the academic office in person. To find a faculty advisor who would be a good match for your topic of interest, see their research questions here. 


To graduate with honors, students must satisfy the following requirements by the end of junior year,

  • Complete at least 70% of the courses required for the concentration.
  • Have earned a grade of “A” or “S with distinction” in at least 70% of grades earned in the economics concentration, or 50% in the joint concentrations in APMA-Econ, CS-Econ, and Math-Econ (excluding courses transferred to Brown without a grade, and those taken Spring 2020).
  • Economics Concentrators must find a faculty thesis advisor in the economics department.
  • Joint Concentrators must find a primary faculty thesis advisor in either economics or the partner department. CS-Econ concentrators must have a secondary reader in the other department by the fall of senior year. APMA-Econ and Math-Econ do not require a secondary reader, unless the primary advisor deems it necessary. Joint concentrators need to satisfy the honors requirements of the economics department if their thesis advisor is in the economics department; while they need to satisfy the honors requirements of the partner department if their thesis advisor is in the partner department.

During senior year, thesis writers must:

  • Enroll in ECON 1960 in the fall & spring semesters (Note that 1960 does not count as a 1000-level elective for your concentration). A requirement of ECON 1960 will be attendance at one of two lab sessions each week. 
  • Submit a thesis proposal to both your thesis advisor and the Undergraduate Programs Coordinator Kelsey Thorpe, (see below for due date).
  • Submit their work in progress to their thesis advisor and Kelsey (see below for due date).
  • Depending on the nature of the thesis work, the thesis adviser may require the student to successfully complete one or more courses from among the data methodsmathematical economics and/or financial economics course groups in the fall of senior year, if they have not already done so.
  • Complete an honors thesis by the deadline agreed upon with their primary advisor and obtain the final approval of their advisor(s) (see below for due date).
  • Thesis writers are encouraged, but not required, to participate in the departmental Honors Thesis Presentation session held in May, with a brief presentation of their work and findings.


For students graduating Spring 2024:

  • Proposal - September 18, 2023
  • Work in Progress - December 18, 2023
  • Final Draft - April 19, 2024

For students graduating in Fall 2024*:

  • Proposal - February 2, 2024
  • Work in Progress - April 25, 2024
  • Final Draft - December 10, 2024

For students graduating Spring 2025:

  • Proposal - September 16, 2024
  • Work in Progress - December 16, 2024
  • Final Draft - April 18, 2025

For students graduating Fall 2025*:

  • Proposal - February 7, 2025
  • Work in Progress - April 24, 2025
  • Final Draft - December 9, 2025

*Note that for the Requirements listed above, "by end of senior year" means by the "end of Fall semester 2023" for Fall 2024 graduates and "end of Fall semester 2024" for Fall 2025 graduates.

More information

For students interested in finding out more, please attend the information session on honors theses that will be given in the middle of every spring semester. For students interested in undertaking research, but not wanting to pursue honors, the department offers senior capstone options.