Honors Program

For Fall 2020, Spring 2021, and Summer 2021, students may elect the P/NP grading option for Economics major courses. Please visit Fall 2020 through Summer 2021: Economics P/NP Grading Option Policy Modifications for further details.
Please visit Spring 2020: Economics Academic Policy Updates for a comprehensive overview of the adjustments made to honors requirements due to the COVID-19 events of Spring 2020. 


Honors Criteria

In addition to completing the major requirements for graduation, the minimum requirements to receive honors in the Economics department are:

  • Have a 3.5 GPA in all upper division economics major coursework
  • Have a 3.3 GPA overall
  • Complete ECON H195B (Write an approved senior honors thesis)
  • Effective for students graduating Summer 2021 and later: To be eligible for honors in the major, a maximum of two P graded upper division courses* earned in Fall 2020, Spring 2021, or Summer 2021 may count towards the upper division Economics major requirements. Exceptions may be considered on a case-by-case basis.  *excludes ECON H195A, ECON 197, ECON 198, and ECON 199.

Students who qualify for department honors can also check the College of Letters Science website to see if they meet the criteria for a level of Distinction in General Scholarship at Graduation (Distinction, High Distinction, Highest Distinction). This is determined by the GPA in the upper division Economics core and elective courses, using the same distinction level as the College.

Honors Research Requirement 

There is a prerequisite research requirement for students who wish to write an honors thesis. The research requirement must be completed before enrolling in Econ H195B. Students may complete the honors research requirement in one of the following ways:

  • Complete ECON H195A (2 units, P/NP, Fall only course. See below for details) or
  • Complete ECON 191 (4 units, offered every semester. May count as elective towards major when taken for a letter grade) or
  • Complete an upper-division undergraduate research seminar (Econ 122, 124, 132, 153, 154, 164, 173, and 183), or, with approval, an upper-division Economics elective that requires a research paper. (NOTE: Research seminars offered on a limited basis).

If you would like to have an additional course reviewed for approval, please contact ugrad@econ.berkeley.edu.

ECON H195A (Option for Research Requirement)

The goal of H195A is to help students choose a thesis topic, get data, write a prospectus, get an advisor, and start working on the thesis. 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!

ECON H195A is a fall semester only, two-unit course that can only be taken with the P/NP grading option. It cannot be used as an elective for the economics degree. 

H195A is for Economic Majors who:

  • meet the GPA requirements of 3.3 overall, and 3.5 in the upper-division Economics courses (GPA requirements are lowered by 0.05 grade points for students with Expected Graduation Terms of Spring 2020-Spring 2021)
  • have not taken ECON 191 or an undergraduate research seminar
  • plan to write an honors thesis
  • completed econometrics or is concurrently enrolled in econometrics. Econometrics is a must.  
The Fall 2024 ECON H195A application is available here and is DUE FRIDAY, MAY 10th, 4PM. Applications are accepted on a first come, first served basis until space is no longer available. Enrollment is subject to eligibility (see requirements above).
Students will be notified by the Economics Department if they are granted a spot and enrolled in the course. Please plan for alternate options (i.e. ECON 191) as space does fill up quickly. Enrollment subject to eligibility (see requirements above).


ECON H195B - Senior Honors Thesis Course

Econ H195B is the writing of the thesis. There is no class. Students meet with their individual thesis advisor periodically throughout the term and receive independent study units. Before enrolling in Econ H195B, students must:

  • have a 3.5 GPA in all upper division economics major coursework, and have a 3.3 GPA overall (GPA requirements are lowered by 0.05 grade points for students with Expected Graduation Terms of Spring 2020 through Spring 2021)
  • have completed macroeconomics, microeconomics, and econometrics
  • have completed at least one additional upper-division course for the major
  • have completed a course in which a research paper is required:  Econ H195A, Econ 191, an upper-division undergraduate research seminar (Econ 122, 124, 132, 153, 154, 164, 173, and 183), or, with approval, an upper-division Economics elective that requires a research paper.  If you would like to have a course other than those enumerated above reviewed for approval, please see an,  undergraduate advisor.  Work in Economics through the Haas Scholars Program can also be used to meet the research requirement for Economics.

Econ H195B must be taken for a letter grade and 3 units.  Econ H195B must count as an elective when taken and will always be included when calculating the major GPA for level of honors.

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.

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 © 2009-2024 by the individual authors. All rights reserved.

TO APPLY: Please submit your completed application signed by your faculty advisor here. Faculty may send their approval via email in lieu of a form signature. Students must include this emailed approval in their application submission.

The Fall 2024 ECON H195B application is due by 4PM May 3rd, 2024.

Thesis Deadline

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

For more information about when/how to submit your thesis, please see our honors timeline.

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 student is walking prior to writing the honors theses, they will not be listed with the honors candidates in the Commencement program.