Interested in applying for Econ 191A/191B – Senior Essay Seminar FA14/WI15? It’s not too late!

Have you been thinking of applying for our Senior Essay Seminar for Fall 2014/Winter 2015?  

Are you interested in earning Highest Distinction in one of the Economics majors?

It’s not too late!! There are still a few openings left in the course!

Students interested in taking Econ 191A-B (FA 14/WI 15) with Professor Starr must submit their proposals to Kelly Escobedo (in Sequoyah 245) or via email to no later than 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 23, 2014.

PLEASE NOTE: The Department will only be offering Econ 191A/B once this year, in the Fall 2014 quarter and Winter 2015 quarter.

The Senior Essay Seminar (Econ 191A-191B) is a two-quarter class for those of you with superior records in the Department of Economics who would like to build on your training through the pursuit of a research topic in the field of your choice. This research is likely to be the most engaging, stimulating, and memorable part of your undergraduate training. Completion of these two courses is part of the requirement for majors wishing to graduate with the phrase “with highest distinction” on their diplomas. If you would like more information on the Senior Essay Seminar, there is a great article in a past issue of Economics in Action where previous students reflect on the benefits they found from taking the courses (click here).

Students must take both Econ 191A and Econ 191B with the same professor to receive credit. These classes are typically taken by students in their senior year as a certain amount of knowledge is required to be successful in a research project.

Enrollment in this class is limited, to assure participating students close contact with the faculty supervisor. The first step in applying for the class is to propose a research topic. The topic should be focused — small enough actually to write something worthwhile — and on an area where you’ve already completed the relevant electives. For example, you could write on “The Collapse of the Fixed Exchange Rate Regime: Bretton Woods Fails after Three Decades,” or “The Challenge of the Euro: Can a Common Currency Area Survive?” assuming you’ve taken upper division macro, upper division international trade, and upper division international finance.

The paper can be on an applied empirical topic, a theoretical topic, a policy issue, an historical topic, etc. To view recent paper topics, visit our website . The typical completed paper will run 7500 – 10,000 words. You can review some of the most successful papers written in previous years in SH 245.

The research process usually includes a sequence of steps (not necessarily in this order):

  • Topic selection
  • Literature Review
  • Consultation with expert faculty
  • Consultation with specialist librarians to identify data and literature
  • Narrowing the topic
  • Locating and managing data (for an empirical project)
  • Research Plan
  • First draft
  • Completion

Class meetings will focus on research methods, introduction to library resources, student presentations of work in progress including class discussion. Attendance will be required. Final papers will be reviewed for originality using

Enrollment in the senior essay seminar is limited to students with high GPAs who show promise for conducting original research. If you are interested in these classes, please write a short (500 words is adequate) proposal of a research topic and why it is interesting. Your proposal should represent a real attempt to plan your work, but there will be no penalty if you later decide to depart from it. In the event that the class is oversubscribed, your proposal, your overall record, and possibly an interview with the instructor, will be used to decide who is admitted.  Please include your name and student ID number on the proposal.


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