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Current Majors



In addition to completing the major requirements, an honors student must, by the time they graduate:

The level of honors (honors, high honors, highest honors) is determined by the GPA in your upper division major courses, using the same distinction level as the College of Letters Science which can be found on their website: http://ls-advise.berkeley.edu/honor/honor.html


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—either you took econometrics are you are taking econometrics!

The goal of the seminar is help you choose a thesis topic, get data, write a prospectus, get an advisor, and start on your thesis. That’s a lot for fifteen weeks.

The goal of the honors program is to have you write a thesis you are proud of.

Independent research is very different from taking a lecture class. In lecture classes you can be passive. To do research you must take the initiative. My experience is that most students love research, some students hate research, but almost none are indifferent. If you love research, then writing a thesis is a lot of work, but a lot of fun. If you hate it, then drop this course because a thesis is a lot of work and not fun for you.

Here is an outline of H195A. You will figure out pretty soon whether you like research or not.

There are:

  1. Two group projects.
    1. Three or four students form a group. These projects are problem set versions of an empirical thesis that I assign. They 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, eg, 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. You have only a semester. The papers give you a model for presenting research., or
        2. a newsletter from a Fed Bank, or other organization eg, 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. You have a semester to do more work.
      2. write a prospectus and get an advisor

Grading is pass/fail. You must do the assignments. If you are out of town for a job interview submit your assignment electronically. Three late assignments and you fail. You pass this course as soon as you have an official thesis advisor.

Applications can be submitted in person to the Undergraduate Student Services Office, or via email as an attached .pdf at . Space is limited, and seats are given on a first come, first serve basis for student who meet the requirements.


Econ H195B is the writing of the thesis. There is no class; it is independent study units. You must meet the gpa requirements stated above and have completed both macro- and microeconomics, as well as econometrics and 1 other upper-division course for the major before enrolling in Econ H195B. Please bring completed application to 539 Evans Hall. You will be emailed a CCN after your GPA has been verified. The deadline to submit this form for the Spring 2012 semester is December 16th, 2011.

Application for Econ H195B, Spring 2012

Econ H195B can be taken for 1-3 units, and for a letter grade or pass/no pass. Thesis requirements are the same regardless of which option you choose. If you are using H195B as an Economics elective, you must take it for 3 units and a letter grade. If you do not earn honors upon graduation, H195B will not be counted as an elective. Incomplete grades cannot be given for Econ H195B.

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 http://www.econ.berkeley.edu/econ/ugrad/theses/index.shtml

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 © 2009-2011 by the individual authors. All rights reserved.

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.

The Departmental Citation and Earl Randolph Memorial Prize
The department awards the Earl Rolph Memorial Prize and the Departmental Citation to the top honors student during the yearly Commencement Ceremony held in May. The prize is based on both the honors thesis and student's overall academic performance.

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 you are walking prior to writing your honors thesis, you will not be listed with the honors candidates in the commencement program.

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