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Honors Programs in Economics

Purdue University Campus

The Department of Economics offers an honors degree program and supports the university honors college by providing elective honors courses and supervising the honors thesis. The Economics Department honors degree program is distinct from the honors college; students may pursue either or both types of honors. If you are looking for a more research-intensive experience in your undergraduate studies, we have several honors programs available to highly motivated and academically successful students.

The one common element across all these programs is the Senior Honors Thesis course (ECON 49900) which offers students an intensive research experience and is the capstone of our honors experience. Under the direction and supervision of a faculty member, students will complete a research project, write a research article, and present the methods and findings in a seminar or workshop setting. Students not participating in any of the honors programs may request permission to enroll in ECON 49900 once they have completed Econometrics (ECON 36000 or ECON 56200). 

Another common element across these programs is the 3.5 grade point average requirement. Given the high grading standards in the economics department, a 3.5 GPA is difficult to achieve. We strongly suggest students limit the number of economics, statistics, and mathematics courses to no more than 3 in any semester. Taking too many economics, statistics, and mathematics courses at the same time will put the student at a disadvantage.

  • Economics Minor with University Honors

    A Minor in Economics or a Minor in Business Economics is a great way for Honors College students to complete the honors program requirements. The Econ Minor teaches students to use economic theory and analyze economic data and is a great way for majors in science, engineering, humanities, agriculture, and the social sciences to signal that they have business, analytical, and data skills that are in demand by employers and graduate programs.

    Students choosing to take econometrics (ECON 36000 or ECON 56200) as part of the minor in economics are eligible to take the Senior Honors Thesis course (ECON 49900) which will fulfil the thesis and scholarly project requirement of the Honors College.

    While there are many paths through the Econ Minor, the most common for Honors College students are:

    • ECON 25100H, ECON 25200, ECON 51100, ECON 56200, ECON 49900
    • ECON 25100H, ECON 25200, ECON 34000, ECON 36000, ECON 49900
    • ECON 25100H, ECON 25200, ECON 51200, ECON 56200, ECON 49900
    • ECON 25100H, ECON 25200, ECON 35200, ECON 36000, ECON 49900
  • Economics BS with University Honors

    The Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Economics offered through the Krannert School of Management is highly compatible with the university Honors College program. Econ Majors take core courses in microeconomic and macroeconomic theory and econometrics and then are able to choose from a wide selection of upper-division elective courses in areas including antitrust and regulation, public finance and taxation, health economics, labor economics, international trade, money and banking, game theory, industrial organization, and behavioral economics. The Econ Major has a relatively low number of required credit hours and allows honors students the freedom to take courses offered across campus. Economics majors are in high demand at graduation and completing the Honors College program sends a strong positive signal to employers and graduate programs.

    While not required for the economics degree, we strongly suggest that students take ECON 49900 (Senior Honors Thesis) as this will enable students to satisfy the thesis/scholarly project Honors College requirement. We also suggest that students take our other honors elective courses: ECON 25100-H, ECON 51100, ECON 51200, and ECON 56200.

  • Economics Honors with (or without) University Honors

    The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Economics Honors degree offered through the Krannert School of Management is intended for student who have excelled in the classroom and desire a rigorous degree program. This Economics Honors degree is separate from the Honors College program and Honors College participation is not a requirement for the Economics BS Honors degree. The Economics Honors program prepares students for graduate school or a highly quantitative career in economic consulting or data analysis. The Economics BS Honors degree requires students to earn good grades while taking additional math courses and the Senior Honors Thesis course. Graduates from this program typically go to prestigious economics, finance, and accounting PhD programs or to economic consulting firms like Accenture, Compass Lexecon, McKinsey, and Bain. The Economics BS-Honors degree program is also an excellent choice for Honor College students as the relatively large number of open elective courses can be used to complete the required honors elective courses.

    In addition to the standard economics course curriculum, students are required to complete calculus I (MA 161 or 165), calculus II (MA 162 or 166), multivariate calculus (MA 261), linear algebra (MA 351 or 511), statistics (STAT 350 or 511), and the senior honors thesis course (ECON 499). In addition, Economics Honors students must complete a minor (or a major) offered by the College of Science (we recommend Mathematics, Statistics, or Computer Science).

  • Economics BA with University Honors

    The Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Economics is offered through the College of Liberal Arts is a great fit for Honors College students who are interested in a mathematically rigorous study of human decision making as well as the flexibility to explore other disciplines in the liberal arts. The Economics BA major provides Honors College students with a logical structure and careful reasoning skills that are in high demand by private sector, not-for-profits, and government employers. Many of our Economics graduates ultimately seek a postgraduate degree in economics, business, finance, or law.

    While not required for the economics degree, we strongly suggest that students take ECON 49900 (Senior Honors Thesis) as this will enable students to satisfy the thesis/scholarly project Honors College requirement. We also suggest that students take our other honors elective courses: ECON 25100-H, ECON 51100, ECON 51200, and ECON 56200.

Successful completion of any of the above programs will be noted on your permanent transcripts. Completion of any of them entitles you to say that you graduated with honors.

Other recognition of excellent academic achievement

Each spring semester, the Economics Department invites eligible students to join the Purdue chapter of Omicron Delta Epsilon, the international honor society for economics and recognizes these students with the department's Distinction in Economics award.

The Economics Department also awards the Alan Hess Award and the Michael W. Watts Scholarship to the top juniors in the Economics Major each spring semester. Recipients use the scholarship funds in their senior year at Purdue.