Candidates for an Honours degree in economics are required to submit an essay based on the independent research work undertaken by the student under the supervision of a faculty member (supervisor).
This document sets out the recommended procedures to be followed in the planning and production of an honours essay and pertains both to the Honours Essay required under the B.A. (Honours) Regulations, and to the Honours Dissertation required under the B.Sc. (Honours) Regulations.
The specific guidelines are intended to help students and supervisors in this endeavour.
It is noted that honours essays are not meant to be equivalent to graduate dissertations. The work required to complete the essay should be in proportion to the three course credit hours awarded for Econ 4999.
The honours essay is intended to provide an opportunity to pursue a topic in depth, to learn to identify and analyze an economic problem that merits study, and to communicate the results clearly.
The honours essay thus gives the student an opportunity to present and defend a view that derives from the research and is the student's own.
Students who are considering applying for the honours program should meet with the Head of Department to discuss the program requirements including the essay.
Upon admission to the program (normally in the third year), the candidate should again meet with the Head who will help the student begin the process of thinking about (a) selecting a suitable essay topic, and (b) identifying a faculty member as a potential supervisor.
The essay requires significant effort on the part of the student as well as the supervisor. Candidates should therefore talk with faculty members as early as possible about areas of interest, topics and possible supervision. Having identified a potential supervisor, the candidate should work with that faculty member to select a topic and begin to explore the relevant literature.
Guidelines for Choosing a Topic:
- The essay should relate to course work already completed.
- The topic must be appropriate in scope, and narrowly focussed.
The next step is to write a 1-2 page essay proposal. The proposal shall be submitted to the Head no later than the end of October in the student's final year. Before submitting the proposal, the candidate should work closely with the potential supervisor to ensure that the proposal meets the following standards.
Guidelines for the Honours Essay Proposal:
- The proposal must present a brief and clear description of the problem to be explored.
- It must contain a statement explaining why the problem merits study.
- It must include an outline of the project.
- Finally, it should list a working bibliography of books/articles to be read.
Once the proposal has been approved, and the supervisor has been appointed by the Head, the candidate should meet with the supervisor to determine all the details of the honours study (the availability of the supervisor, the frequency of meetings, the extent of required readings, and how much written work will be required for each of two progress reports to be submitted to the supervisor.
In preparing the first draft of the essay, the candidate is expected to pay due attention to grammar, spelling, and syntax. It is strongly recommended that the student follow the stylistic guidelines for citation, referencing et cetera outlined below.
During the Winter Semester, the Head in consultation with the supervisor will ask another faculty member to serve as second reader. A complete draft of the essay must be submitted to the supervisor and the second reader two (2) weeks before the end of classes.
The final version of the essay shall be submitted to the supervisor no later than the last day of classes. The final version shall address the comments received from the supervisor and the second reader. The final grade for the honours essay will be determined by the supervisor, with input from the second reader and, if appropriate, from the other members of the department. Three copies of the essay must be supplied: one for the supervisor, one for the QEII Library, and one for the department.
Summary of deadlines:
Proposal due no later than the end of October in the semester immediately preceding that in which the student registers for the Honours Essay.
First draft due two weeks before the end of classes in Winter Semester.
Final version due on the last day of classes in Winter Semester.
For advice on undergraduate programs in the Department of Economics, please contact the Undergraduate Coordinator:
Professor Scott Lynch