Honors Program



In addition to completing the major requirements for graduation, Economics honors students must:

  • Have a 3.5 GPA in all upper division economics major coursework
  • Have a 3.3 GPA overall
  • Write an approved senior honors thesis

The level of honors (honors, high honors, highest honors) is determined by the GPA in upper-division Economics courses, using the same distinction level as the College of Letters Science: http://ls-advise.berkeley.edu/honor/honor.html


Econ H195B is the writing of the thesis. There is no class and students receive independent study units. Students must meet the GPA requirements stated above and have completed both macro- and microeconomics, as well as econometrics and one other upper-division course for the major before enrolling in Econ H195B (see Fall 2014 updates below). Please bring completed application to 539 Evans Hall. Students will be emailed a CCN after the GPA has been verified.


The deadline to submit the honors application for summer/fall 2014 is May 9, 2014.

Please note effective summer 2013, students may no longer take Econ H195B for pass/no pass and earn honors.  Econ H195B must be taken for a letter grade and 3 units.  Econ H195B will always be included when calculating the major GPA for level of honors.


Effective Fall 2014 there will be an additional prerequisite for students who wish to write an honors thesis.  Econ H195A or Econ 191, or another acceptable Economics elective which requires a research paper, must be completed before enrolling in Econ H195B.  Approved courses for the Fall 2014 semeser include:  Econ H195A, Econ 105, Econ123, Econ 124, Econ 132, and Econ 191.  If you would like to have an additional course reviewed for approval, please see an undergraduate advisor.

Students are encouraged to choose an Economics faculty member to supervise their thesis. Supervision by a faculty member outside the Economics Department is subject to approval by the Undergraduate Chair.

Additionally, there are copies of prior semesters theses available online at the undergraduate thesis website.

Some submissions have been omitted because they contain proprietary data, or because we do not have permission from the author to post the work. This is not a reflection on the quality of their work. All work is © 2009-2012 by the individual authors. All rights reserved.


Description: H195A is for senior Economic Majors who meet the GPA requirements of 3.3 overall and 3.5 in the upper-division Economics courses and that plan to write and honors thesis. Econometrics is a must.  Students must have completed econometrics or are taking econometrics!

The goal of the seminar is help students choose a thesis topic, get data, write a prospectus, get an advisor, and start working on the thesis. That’s a lot for fifteen weeks.  The goal of the honors program is to have students write a thesis of which they are proud.

Independent research is very different from taking a lecture class. In lecture classes students can be passive. To do research, students must take the initiative.  Most students love research, some students hate research, but almost none are indifferent.  Writing a thesis is a lot of fun, and a lot of work!

Here is an outline of H195A.

There are:

  1. Two group projects.
    1. Three or four students form a group. These projects are problem set versions of an empirical thesis and consist of a simple economic model, a hypothesis to test, and results. The group does the test and writes up the results.
  2. Individual projects
      1. 15 minute summary of an economic research paper which is
        1. published in an economic journal within the last five years, or a working paper, e.g., National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). Published or working papers usually are technically difficult. But don't be discouraged. The papers usually represent several years work and this is only one semester.  The papers provide a model for presenting research, or
        2. a newsletter from a Fed Bank, or other organization e.g., http://www.frbsf.org/publications/economics/letter/ newsletters are easy to read they're newsletters and present current interesting economic issues. They are not a thesis. Students have a semester to do more work.
      2. write a prospectus and get an advisor.

Grading is pass/fail. Students must do the assignments. If students are out of town for job interviews, the assignments must be submitted electronically. Students fail the course after three late assignments, and pass this course as soon as they have an official thesis advisor.

Space is limited, and seats are given on a first-come, first-serve basis for students who meet the requirements.  The fall 2014 Econ H195A application will be available at the end of May 2014.  

Thesis Deadline

Honors students are required to turn in a copy of their thesis to their thesis advisor. Theses are typically due on the first day of finals, but faculty sponsors can require an earlier deadline. Students must also email a .pdf of their thesis to the undergraduate advising office. This thesis will not be posted on the web without permission.

For more information about deadlines, please see our honors timeline.

The Departmental Citation

The department awards the Departmental Citation to the top Economics student during the yearly Commencement Ceremony held in May. The prize is based on the student's overall academic performance and contributions to the department.

The Mark A. Schimbor Prize in Economics

The department awards the Mark A. Schimbor Prize in Economics to the undergraduate who submits the most distinguished honors thesis.  This prize is awarded yearly during the Commencement Ceremony held in May.

Honors Notations

All honors students who have written a thesis by the time of the commencement ceremony are listed in the Commencement program, with the title of their thesis shown. The honors designation also appears on all transcripts and the UC diploma. Please note: if a students are walking prior to writing the honors theses, they will not be listed with the honors candidates in the Commencement program.