Honors Program

The department offers a two-semester Honors Program in Economics (ECON 498 in the fall semester and ECON 499 in the subsequent spring semester) available to qualifying ECON and MTEC majors. This program, which provides for 3 hours of economics credit and an additional 3 hours of university credit, is supervised by a single faculty member, who meets with all students during the semester, leads discussions, makes assignments, guides research, observes and critiques presentations, and grades final papers – in some cases with input from other faculty members who are also providing guidance and supervision for individual student research projects. To enter the Honors Program, students must have a GPA > 3.67 in all courses taken toward fulfilling their departmental requirements, must have completed all of the new core requirements, must have completed the 400-level course or courses most closely related to their area of research, and must receive the approval of the instructor. MTEC majors: Please note that the Honors Program does not substitute for the capstone course (ECON 496 or ECON 497), which is a required course for all MTEC majors; however, ECON 498 does count toward MTEC major requirements as a 400-level elective. Students still subject to the pre-2015 degree requirements are eligible for the old honors program, but cannot enroll in ECON 498/499 unless they switch to the new program.

Honors Program: 2015-2016

Six senior students participated in the Economics Department Honors Program in 2015-2016, which was taught by Professor Robin Sickles. Two were advised by Professor Sickles while the other four were advised by other members of the department (Professors J. Brown, Cunha, Tang, and Wolpin).  

Four of the students won awards from the Rice Economics Department:
The Peter Mieszkowski Prize for Honors Program Research:
2016   Jan Dudek for Do Children from Non-Nuclear Families Leave Home Early?
2016   Mengdi (Maggie) Shi for Exploring the Sex Difference in Sleep Duration and its Effect on Productivity
The Baker Institute Public Policy Essay Prize:
2016    Sean Leong for Analyzing Fuel Poverty in the United States through the Consumer Expenditure Survey
The Gaston Rimlinger Prize:
2016    Tanya Rajan for Diarrheal Disease Shocks and Childhood Growth: An Analysis of Children in Cebu, Philippines

Course Descriptions

ECON 498 – Honors Program in Economics-I
Credits: 3
Grade Mode: Standard Letter
Research workshop open to ECON and MTEC majors. Students must have a GPA of at least 3.67 in all courses required for their major, and must have taken all ECON courses directly related to the topic of their research. Students develop a research idea, construct an economic model with testable hypotheses, test those hypotheses, and write and present in the workshop an academic quality paper. Instructor and department approval required. Instructor may impose additional pre-requisites. (In 2016-2017, the pre-requisite of ECON 300/305/405 or other course pre-requisites may be waived or required as a co-requisite; see instructor.)
College: School of Social Sciences
Department: Economics
Pre-requisite(s): (ECON 203 OR ECON 303 OR ECON 375) AND (ECON 209 OR ECON 309 OR ECON 446) AND (ECON 300 OR ECON 305 OR ECON 405)

ECON 499 – Honors Program in Economics-II
Credits: 3
Grade Mode: Standard Letter
Continuation of ECON 498. University credit only.
College: School of Social Sciences
Department: Economics
Pre-requisite(s): ECON 498