Honours program

The Honours program, both BA and BSc, offers top economics students a fourth-year experience that includes small classes, increased access to faculty, a stimulating intellectual environment, and the camaraderie of working with a small group of like-minded students.

Economics offers two honours programs. Both the BA Honours and the BSc Honours are excellent preparation for graduate studies in Economics or a related area (e.g. Agricultural Economics, Business, Industrial Relations, International Relations, Law, Public Policy). However, the intent to pursue graduate studies is certainly not a requirement for admission.

The focal points for the program are:

  • Honours seminar (ECON 499 in the Fall and Spring of same academic year);
  • Personal supervision on a research project leading to completion of an Honours Thesis;
  • Two Advanced Theory Courses (ECON 400 and ECON 401).

BSc Honours students are required to participate in all three components. BA Honours students are  encouraged, but not required to take the advanced theory courses.

Honours advisors:

Honours seminar

The centrepiece of the program is a fourth-year Honours seminar (ECON 499), open only to Honours economics students. The seminar is supervised by the Honours Advisors and will meet weekly throughout the year. Other faculty members may also participate occasionally.

The purpose of the seminar is to provide outstanding students in economics with an introduction to conducting research in a cooperative and engaging intellectual environment. We anticipate many of the students who participate will go on to consider graduate work in economics and other fields.

The seminars are devoted to a range of topics including both economic issues and how to write and present research papers. Students are asked to prepare discussions of papers and are expected to contribute to a lively debate of issues.

Part of the seminar is devoted to discussion of progress on students' thesis projects, with students giving each other feedback and advice throughout the year.

Advanced theory courses

In addition to the seminar, BSc Honours students will take ECON 400 (Advanced Microeconomic Theory) and ECON 401 (Advanced Macroeconomic Theory).

Although not required, BA Honours students are encouraged to take these courses (especially if they are interested in pursuing an MA in Economics). The class sizes will be kept small to provide a further opportunity for the sharing of ideas across the cohort of Honours students. Small class sizes allow Honours students greater access to the faculty who teach these courses.

Research project and thesis

Students in the program will write a thesis on a research project chosen in consultation with the Honours supervisors. The thesis is intended to be a substantial paper that furthers understanding in the student's chosen area of inquiry.

Students are supervised by a faculty member with expertise in the area. They also receive advice from their fellow students in the Honours seminar and from the Honours Advisors. The thesis is due in April of the student's final year, and it is presented in the Honours Seminar in a session open to all students and faculty.

Past Honours students' theses and supervisors.

Application and admission

Students apply to the Honours program in their third year of studies. Successful applicants join the Honours Seminar (ECON 499) in the Fall of their fourth year.

Students are selected on the basis of their overall academic performance, their performance within the Economics major, communications skills, and intellectual promise. The students who are admitted typically have high grades in core courses such as ECON 203, 204, 225, 313 and 345 or 365 as well as in a few upper-level courses (e.g. ECON 366, ECON 400-level courses). BSc students should also have high grades in ECON 350, 351,365, 366, and MATH 208.

Interested students should submit a one-page essay explaining why they wish to be admitted to the program and what field(s) of economics they are (currently) most interested in. Specify clearly whether you are applying for the BA or BSc Honours program, and remember to include your student number. Please submit your application electronically to the Honours Advisors at econhnrs@uvic.ca by the end of March. Admission announcements will be made by the end of April.