Overview

The content of the Honors Program is designed to develop a deep and critical understanding of the methodology, theory, and policy aspects of a social science which provides key insights into political, legal, business, and personal arenas of life. For example, should economics be considered a scientific discipline? What is the relation of economics to other fields of inquiry? How have economists viewed the role of the market price system in the development of modern economics? What is the role of ethics in economics? To what extent can economists agree on policy objectives or goals? What weights should be given to potentially conflicting objectives as efficiency, equity, security, and growth? At the same time the program will expose the student to the way in which the "skills of the economist" can be applied to the problems of modern society.

HONORS PROGRAM COURSES: Work in the Honors Program consists of 12 credits, including an honors thesis. The credits are for work done in economic theory, methodology, philosophy, and public policy, as well as for the thesis. These credits can be used to satisfy the credit requirements for majors in Economics, and the courses also count as writing-intensive courses. The 12 credits are currently taken as follows:

  • Economics 400M: This is a three-credit course open only to students enrolled in the Honors Program. Economics 400M is offered in the Fall semester and is devoted to the methodology and philosophy of economics, the role of the price system, and their relation to problems of public policy, involving work in some applied area of economics. In previous years the course has been concerned with such topics as:
    • Current international economic problems
    • Issues in federal tax policy
    • Methods and effects of government regulation
    • Worker and consumer safety standards
    • Issues in health economics
    • Origins and development of social insurance and economic regulation
    • Income distribution and welfare economics
    • Economic application of game theory
    • Economics of technological change


  • Economics 489M: Two credits of this course are taken in the Fall Semester; four credits in the Spring Semester. In the Fall Semester the student selects the topic for his or her honors thesis, which normally deals with some current issue of public policy, and begins research on it and writing. In the Spring Semester the student completes the research and writing of the thesis and presents it to the class.
  • Economics 413 or Economics 452: Both of these courses are three credit courses and are offered in the Spring Semester.

RELATION TO THE UNIVERSITY SCHOLARS PROGRAM: A student does not have to be in the Schreyer Honors College to be admitted to the Department’s Honors Program, nor does being a Schreyer Scholar automatically guarantee admission to the Department’s program.  Any sophomore student admitted to the program who is not in the Schreyer Honors College, meets their requirement for junior gate admission, and so desires will be nominated for admission to the Schreyer Honors College.  Economics 400M and 489M count as honors courses in the Schreyer Honors College; in addition, the honors thesis required in the Department’s program fulfills the thesis requirement of the Schreyer Honors College.