Honors Expectations and Procedures

Honors Expectations – Economics

Receipt of Honors in Economics is a special distinction reserved for those students who have excelled in their academic accomplishments throughout their time at Bates and have completed a thesis project with certain distinguishing characteristics and features. The distinction of Honors requires that the student and the thesis meet all of the criteria specified below. An outstanding performance in several of the expectations for Honors may offset a less than exemplary performance in another area. A significant deficiency in any one expectation is sufficient grounds to deny Honors. The thesis advisor has the authority to withdraw the student from the Honors program at any time prior to the submission deadline for the written thesis. The oral examination panel members, who may consult with the advisor, have final authority for judging whether the student has satisfactorily met the criteria for receipt of Honors.

An Honors Thesis in Economics must explore a significant question or topic that adds to the understanding of the issue. The student receiving Honors in Economics must both demonstrate knowledge of the literature and also contribute to the fields of experimental, empirical and/or theoretical economics.

The thesis should describe a project that, if brought to completion, would contribute to the knowledge of the field of economics, either as a stand-alone item or as part of a larger project. The department recognizes that two semesters of work is seldom sufficient to complete a project to the point of a peer-reviewed publication, but the project should be on a trajectory for such an outcome.

In the written thesis and oral defense, the student must be able to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of the project. One or more chapters of the thesis must develop the necessary, background, theory and/or methodology through a thorough discussion and citation of relevant, published literature.

The student must demonstrate a high level of self-motivation, independence and continuous scholarly engagement in the project over the entire two semesters.

The student must demonstrate that considerable progress has been made in the actual execution of the project. The student must have advanced the project to the stage where defensible conclusions can be drawn.

The thesis must be well written. A high quality written thesis is well organized, concise, grammatically and mechanistically correct, coherent and logical in its arguments and development of ideas. The written thesis must cite appropriate sources that inform the project. Data must be clearly presented. Language must be precise, sophisticated and incorporate terminology appropriate for the topic of the thesis.

The student must be able to answer questions posed by the examination committee and engage with members of the committee in a scholarly discussion of all facets of the project.

Honor’s Nomination Process – Economics

Primary steps in the Honors nomination process

  • In the winter semester of the junior year, students should discuss the possibility of doing Honors with potential advisors and indicate their interest in working with particular advisors on the thesis advisor selection form.
  • By the end of the first full week of classes of the fall semester of the senior year, students should submit the formal proposal for Honors thesis to the Department Chair. The Department will review proposals and make formal decisions on whether or not to allow students to officially begin Honors work.
  • Late in the fall semester of the senior year, students will be asked to give oral presentations on their projects. Students must complete work equivalent to that of a one-semester thesis by the end of the fall semester.

Winter semester of the junior year
Students should discuss the possibility of conducting Honors with potential advisors during the thesis proposal process that occurs in winter semester, junior year. Students indicate their possible interest in an Honors thesis on the thesis proposal form. When assigning an advisor, the department will indicate whether the student has met the basic requirements (usually a GPA over 3.5 in economics and excellence in academic accomplishments in previous work at Bates) to be considered for the Honors program.

Summer between junior and senior year
Students intending to pursue Honors are expected to further develop their thesis topic prior to the start of the fall term of the senior year. You should consult with your thesis advisor during this time period.

Fall semester of the senior year
Students intending to pursue Honors must submit a proposal to the faculty of Economics. Honors thesis proposals are due at the end of the first full week of the Fall semester. Proposals will be vetted and chosen by the Faculty. Students intending to pursue Honors will give an oral presentation to the department late in the fall semester of the senior year. The seminar should provide the department with an organized overview of the project, a description of progress made to date, and future plans including a timetable for completion of the project. The student must be able to answer questions posed by members of the department and engage with members of the department in a scholarly discussion of the project.

The department will judge the quality of the presentation, the quality of the project to date, and determine whether the student is making satisfactory progress toward completion of a thesis of Honors quality. The department, in consultation with the advisor, will make a decision whether to formally nominate the student for Honors. In case of the student not been nominated, the student will need to fulfill the requirements of a one-semester Fall thesis.

Winter semester of the senior year
Honors nominations are due to the college at the end of the first week of the winter semester.

If, at any time prior to the submission of the written thesis, the thesis advisor feels that the student is not meeting the expectations of the economics department for a satisfactory Honors thesis, she or he has the authority to withdraw the student from the Honors program.

A student formally nominated for Honors can withdraw from the program at any time prior to the thesis submission deadline or oral exam date.