What is involved in sponsoring an undergraduate or graduate student-initiated course?
Students can initiate several kinds of courses: Field Studies (197), Directed or Organized Group Study (98/198), Independent Study (199), and Honors Thesis (H195B). Only a grade of Passed or Not Passed is to be assigned in 99, 197, 198, 199 courses. H195B must be taken with a letter grade. Below are descriptions of these courses:
- Field Study (197) is conducted in conjunction with an internship at an outside organization whose activities relate to the student’s academic interest. As a sponsor, your main responsibility is to ensure the academic validity of the student’s field work. Students are required to turn in a 2-page proposal detailing the internship, what they will learn, how it fits in with their educational goals, and the student’s project and actual work activities to accomplish these goals. Students are also required to turn in a 5-10 page paper at the end of the internship in order to receive a final grade. The paper must focus on what s(he) learned in economics plus a short assessment of the internship as a learning process. You must sign the student's written proposal for the course, which is to be turned in to the Undergraduate Office no later than the third week of the semester. As a sponsor, you are also expected to confer regularly with the student and to evaluate the student's final written report. Internships are subject to review by the Undergraduate Chair. Econ 197 is open only to upper division declared economics majors.
- Honors Thesis (H195B) is undertaken by a student wishing to complete a primary research and writing project based on study of an advanced topic with faculty sponsor. H195B fulfills the thesis requirement for students wishing to earn honors in the major. Faculty advisors will apply the following standards to senior honors theses in your advising: (a) The topic should be well delineated, and the student should exhibit an understanding of the topic's intrinsic importance and relation to other economic problems. (b) The paper should be “original.” Originality can be demonstrated in a creative synthesis of the work of others, explorations of new data, or in original research. A satisfactory thesis should give new insights to the reader. (c) The student should demonstrate an understanding of the basic elements of economic theory and the ability to use the tools of theory in an interesting way or the ability to intelligently criticize received doctrine. Acceptable theses contain no errors of elementary economics. (d) The paper should be well written. Spelling, punctuation and grammar must be correct. Sentences and paragraphs should be well organized. You must sign the student's written proposal for the course, which is to be turned in to the Undergraduate Office no later than the first day of RRR week of the preceding semester. As an advisor, you are also expected to confer regularly with the student and to evaluate the student's final written report. Econ H195B is open only to declared economics majors with senior standing and a major GPA above 3.5 (to be confirmed by the Undergraduate Office). Faculty advisors may, at their discretion, set additional requirements.
- Independent Study (199) allows a student to work independently on a defined topic. You must sign the student's written proposal for the course, which is to be turned in to the Undergraduate Office no later than the end of the third week of classes. The written proposal must specify the nature of the study, the number of units to be credited, and the basis for grading. Econ 199 is open to upper division students from any major, but can only be supervised by Economics Department faculty or affiliates.
- Directed or Organized Group Study (98/198) allows the instructor to define a course of study for a group of students. These courses may be faculty-initiated or initiated and facilitated by students and sponsored by faculty. The course content for De-Cals must be related to the field of economics. Courses initiated by students are often listed on the De-Cal website. De-Cal (Democratic Education at Cal) is a program affiliated with the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) to help students create, facilitate, and publicize their own courses under faculty sponsorship. Before agreeing to sponsor a course, you should familiarize yourself with the responsibilities of the sponsoring faculty member, listed on the faculty checklist on the Special Studies website. All De-Cal courses must be approved by the Committee on Courses and Instructions, supported by the student's written course proposal and form signed by the instructor and the Department Chair. Faculty are responsible for entering grades into eGrades at the end of the semester.
Students can initiate the following types of courses: Directed or Organized Group Study (298), Supervised Independent Study and Research (299), and Individual Study for Doctoral Students (602). Only a grade of Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory is to be assigned in 298, 299, and 602.
- Directed Group Study for Graduate Students (298) Seminars for group study of selected topics which will vary from year to year. For 2 or more students. Group study for econometrics paper requirement.
- Individual Study for Doctoral Students(602) (Prior to Advancing to Candidacy) Individual study in consultation with the major field advisor, intended to provide an opportunity for qualified graduate students to prepare themselves for the various examinations required of candidates for the Ph.D. A student will be permitted to accumulate a maximum of 16 units of 602.
- Supervised Independent Study and Research (299) (After Advancing to Candidacy or special cases) Open to those students who have passed the qualifying examination and who are engaged in research for the thesis, and, in special cases, with consent of the instructor in charge, to graduate students who desire to do special work in a particular field. Students may take up to 12 units of 299 per semester while all other students may only take up to 6 units per semester.