The senior thesis is widely considered to be the culmination of a Bates student’s education.
The thesis experience gives you the opportunity to select your own advanced topic, study it in detail, do some independent empirical research, and write a lengthy report. Recent topics have varied widely, including such studies as: Burden of the Federal Debt; The Savings and Loan Crisis; Eurocurrencies and International Financial Integration; Effects of Unionization on Monopoly Power; Analysis of the Municipal Bond Market; and China’s Population and Policy.
A few students each year opt to write Honors theses, a project completed over two semesters instead of one. Students are accepted into the Economics Honors Program by petition. All Economics faculty are involved with Honors theses, from the initial review of the proposal to the final oral examination in the spring with a distinguished outside examiner.
Students wishing to write an Honors thesis are strongly urged to begin discussing possible topics with faculty members during the Winter term of the junior year, and plan to do significant reading on the topic over the summer. Proposals for Honors theses are due to the Department Chair by the end of the first week of class of the Fall semester. Proposals are reviewed by the Department, and a decision is made whether to allow students to begin Honors work.
The best preparation for the thesis is the 300-level economics courses, where you can start thinking about ideas that might develop into a thesis topic. By March of your junior year you must choose whether to write a fall thesis or a winter thesis. For a fall thesis you should select a topic in March when you register for your senior year. At this time, you should consult the Department’s handout, Preparing Papers and Theses: A Guide for Economics Students, which is available.