Honours

The School of Economics honours coordinator is Professor John Romalis.

Reasons for Undertaking Honours in Economics


A degree with Honours in Economics is highly desirable for a student seeking employment as a professional economist, one who wants to do postgraduate work in economics or any student who simply wants to signal relatively high academic achievement. Furthermore, if a student wishes to work as a professional economist in industry, finance or the public service, employers may value a level of specialisation that is not provided by a three-year pass degree. Many of those who have graduated with Honours in Economics from the University of Sydney now have top jobs in government institutions like the Departments of Treasury and Finance, the Reserve Bank and the Australian Bureau of Statistics or in private banks or other financial institutions. Many others are academic economists, while some have won fame in the political arena.

The School of Economics has a challenging and rewarding Honours program. It provides our students with considerable experience in undertaking research, in developing their writing skills and in structuring arguments. The program places emphasis on self-motivated learning. One side benefit of this approach, besides encouraging independent thinking, is that the students learn the importance of meeting deadlines, learn to write within tight constraints and learn to manage their time in a way which enables them to perform to the best of their ability in meeting externally set tasks. The challenging nature of honours courses ensures that a student graduating with Honours in Economics is someone who:

  • has met a demanding academic screening test
  • has developed strong analytical and critical thinking skills
  • can undertake research
  • can write coherently and logically
  • has verbal presentation and interaction skills
  • can think and learn quickly and independently.

Pathway to the Final Honours Year

Preparation for the final Honours year in Economics at the University of Sydney begins in the second year of the undergraduate degree with dedicated honours program units in both the second and third year. Entry into the Economics Honours program is also possible in the third and fourth years, but the entry criteria are higher for students who take this pathway than for students who begin in their second year. Students entering in later years will also need to complete some units from the second and third years of the honours program, as detailed below.

University of Sydney students who begin and/or complete their three year degree mid-year can also enter the honours program and, at the end of their three year degree, can progress straight into their final honours year in second semester. To be eligible these students must have completed the required units in the honours pathway by the start of the same calendar year, and must attend the thesis class throughout that calendar year. This requires accelerated progression through the 2nd and 3rd year honours program, the options for which are detailed below.


2nd Year Economics Honours Program

Required units
Semester 1

ECOS2901: Intermediate Microeconomics Honours

ECOS2903: Mathematical Economics A
[OR MATH2070: Optimisation and Financial Mathematics]

Semester 2

ECOS2902: Intermediate Macroeconomics Honours

Plus ECMT2110: Regression Modelling (this is a prerequisite to the third year Economics honours program units, ECOS3903 and ECOS3904)

Entry Criteria

  • an average of 65% or higher in ECON1001: Introductory Microeconomics (or BUSS1040 Economics for Business Decision Makers) and ECON1002: Introductory Macroeconomics.

Entry Procedures

At the end of each year, students who achieve an average of 70% in ECON1001 (or BUSS1040) and ECON1002 will be sent a letter of invitation to enrol in the 2nd year Economics honours units for the following year. Students with an average of 65-69% need to see the Economics Honours Coordinator to request an invitation to enrol in these second year units.

Continuation in the Economics Honours program is conditional on meeting the criteria for the following year. Students need to present a current invitation letter at enrolment in order to enrol in any Economics honours program unit.


3rd Year Economics Honours Program

Required Units

ECOS3901: Advanced Microeconomics Honours

ECOS3902: Advanced Macroeconomics Honours

AND

ECOS3903: Applied Microeconomics
[OR
ECMT3110: Econometric Models and Methods, AND ONE of:
ECMT2120: Analysis of Discrete Choice Data, OR
ECMT3120: Applied Econometrics, OR
ECMT3160: Statistical Modelling, OR
ECMT3170: Computational Econometrics]

OR

ECOS3904: Applied Macroeconomics
[OR
ECMT3110: Econometric Models and Methods, AND
ECMT3130: Forecasting for Economics and Business]

Plus: One ECOS3000 Option (in either semester) except when both ECOS3903 and ECOS3904 are selected. Please note that students selecting ECMT alternatives to both ECOS3903 and ECOS3904 must take an ECOS3000 option to be eligible for an Economics major.

Entry Criteria

  • * an average of 70% or higher in ECOS2901, ECOS2902 and [ECOS2903 or MATH2070], on condition that the student has also passed all three of these units and ECMT 2110: Regression Modelling

OR

  • applications from students with an average of 80% or higher in ECOS2001 and ECOS2002 will be considered.

If accepted into the 3rd year honours program, these students will be required also to complete ECOS2903 [OR MATH2070] with a result of 70% or better, and ECMT2110.

Entry Procedures

At the end of each year, students who have achieved an average of 70% in the 2nd year honours program units, ECOS2901, ECOS2902 and ECOS2903, will be sent a letter of invitation to enrol in the third year honours program units for the following year.

Students who have completed ECOS2001 and ECOS2002 with an average of 80% or better need to apply to the Economics Honours Coordinator for entry to the 3rd year honours program.

Continuation in the Economics Honours program is conditional on meeting the criteria for the following year. Students need to present a current invitation letter at enrolment in order to enrol in any Economics honours program unit.

Accelerated completion of 2nd or 3rd year honours program requirements

Students who will complete their 3 year degree mid-year, and wish to progress straight into their final honours year, need to accelerate their progress through the 2nd and 3rd year honours program requirements in order to be accepted for mid-year entry to the final honours year. This is to ensure that they have the honours program requirements and can sit in on the non-assessed thesis class for the full calendar year. There are two ways these students can accelerate their progress.

  • The most straightforward is to take ECON1001: Introductory Microeconomics in summer school, to be eligible for entry to the 2nd year honours program by the next calendar year.
  • The alternative is for the student to take ECON1001 in their second semester, and ECOS2001 and ECOS2002 concurrently in their third semester, to be eligible for entry to the third year honours program in the next calendar year which will be the student's fourth and fifth semesters (but note the higher entry criteria for students taking this pathway, as detailed above).

Final Honours Year Entry Criteria and Procedures

Criteria for entry into the final honours year

  • Completion of a three year degree with a major in Economics, a Weighted Average Mark (WAM) of 65% across all senior units of study taken in the degree,

AND

  • an average of 70% or higher in the 3rd year honours program units, ECOS3901, ECOS3902 and [either ECOS3903 OR ECOS3904 OR the listed ECMT alternative units], on condition that the student has also passed all three of these units as well as one additional ECOS3000 level unit. For students who take both ECOS3903 and ECOS3904, the two marks will be averaged to give a single mark for inclusion in the honours program average; for students taking ECMT alternatives to ECOS3903 or ECOS3904, the two ECMT marks also will be averaged to give a single mark for inclusion in the calculation of the honours program unit average.

Students who complete their three year degree mid-year and wish to progress straight into the final honours year, must meet these requirements by the beginning of the calendar year in which they wish to begin their final honours year. They also must be able to sit in on the non-assessed thesis class for both semesters of that calendar year. Also see below on application procedures.

OR

  • students who have not completed the third year pre-honours units may be considered if they have an average of 80% or higher in their senior Economics units.

If accepted, these students would be required also to complete any of ECMT2110, ECOS2903, ECOS3901, ECOS3902 and [ECOS3903 or ECOS3904] not already completed. These units are to be taken before beginning the final Honours year coursework and thesis. Depending on the student’s other degree requirements the Faculty may require these units to be completed as a non-degree student.

Internal applications for the Final Honours Year

Students who meet the criteria need to apply for entry to the Final Honours Year. Applications for admission to the Final Honours Year should be submitted to the Faculty responsible for administering the undergraduate degree program in which the student is currently enrolled.

Applications close in November for entry in first semester and in May for mid-year entry (please check your Faculty website for the exact dates closer to the time). Earlier applications will be referred to the School of Economics on receipt.

Students who are not able to begin their final honours year until semester 2 should contact the School of Economics by the November closing date. A decision on their acceptance into the final year will be held over until they meet the requirement of completing their 3 year degree, but they will be advised of their eligibility to sit in on the compulsory thesis class during semester 1.

You do not need to have a provisional thesis topic at the time you make your application. See below under Thesis for topic selection information and timelines.

How to Apply

You must apply for Honours via our online course listings.

External Applications for the Final Honours Year

External students with a major in Economics and an average of at least 80% in their senior Economics units are encouraged to apply to take their final Honours year in Economics at the University of Sydney via our [[http://sydney.edu.au/courses/online course listings||].

External students with equivalent units to the Economics honours program units and other requirements, as specified above, should provide documentation to demonstrate this. Students without equivalent units also may be accepted if they meet the other criteria. If accepted, these students would be required also to complete ECMT2110, ECOS2903, ECOS3901, ECOS3902 and [ECOS3903 or ECOS3904] before commencing the final Honours year coursework and thesis. The Faculty may require these units to be completed as a non-degree student.

* Equivalent here means units with similar content and taught at a selective, pre-honours or advanced steam level. If you are unsure you should consult the honours coordinator in Economics.


Final Honours Year in Economics

Objectives of Final Honours Year in Economics

"The primary objective of the final (fourth) year Economics Honours program is to provide for our students a fertile and supportive environment within which they can maximise their own potential and meet their goal of becoming academic or professional economists. We recognise that our students have individual skills, backgrounds, attitudes and knowledge, and build on these to provide a diverse, challenging and empowering sequence of experiences through which they can develop confidence and acquire attributes that will enable them to make valued contributions in the workforce as professional economists." [Statement of objectives agreed by the School of Economics Honours Committee]

Underlying this broad primary objective are a number of intermediate objectives. These are to enable students:

  • * to gain command of the existing body of knowledge
    * to critically evaluate this knowledge
    * to identify emerging issues
    to apply critically this knowledge to emerging problems
  • to develop creative solutions
  • to work in groups
  • to prepare for post-graduate work
  • to start to develop research skills
  • to increase their enthusiasm and motivation
  • to develop a capacity to read efficiently
  • to develop confidence

Structure of the Final Honours year

In the final Honours year in Economics, students take five semester-length coursework options and submit a thesis not exceeding 15,000 words.

Coursework options

  • Coursework options provide the opportunity to study a number of specialised fields of Economics. In any year a minimum of seven options will be offered from an array which includes Labour Economics, Trade, Industrial Organisation, Classics, Development, Business Cycles and Monetary Policy, Topics in Microeconomics and Topics in Macroeconomics.
  • Students who meet the pre-requisites for Honours in Econometrics may substitute one Econometrics coursework option.
  • The Honours Coordinator must approve each student's choice of coursework options
  • Each coursework option is taught over one semester by a combination of lectures and seminars (or workshops) and examined at the end of the semester in which it is offered. However, the final marks for first semester options will not be available until after final Honours grades have been determined (see below).

Thesis

  • The thesis is an exciting and challenging component of the final Honours year, providing students with their first opportunity to undertake original research. In Economics, we encourage students to select their own provisional thesis topic, on condition that:
    • a supervisor with expertise in the area is available (there is an upper limit of two honours students per staff member)
    • the topic is approved by the thesis coordinator by the start of the first semester of the student's final honours year.
    Students who do not have an approved provisional topic by the start of their first semester will be allocated a supervisor and topic area.
  • The School of Economics provides active help to students in selecting their topic. In October a list of suggested thesis topics and supervisors is distributed, to potential final honours year students, along with a guide for students to identify their own topic. Students are advised to read the literature on each of the topics in which they are interested, as well as consult with potential supervisors and the thesis coordinator, before making their decision.
  • Each student is required to make a thesis proposal presentation to the School early in first semester (usually in week 4), after which provisional thesis topics are confirmed.

Theses Submissions

Theses must be submitted no later than 4pm on the Friday of Week 13, to the Economics thesis coordinator. An electronic abstract and three hardcopies of the thesis must be submitted. The thesis must be typed with generous margins, double-spacing and on one side of the paper only. The thesis must be bound, but spiral binding is adequate. Any standard referencing procedure may be followed as long as the approach used is consistent throughout the thesis. Students should consult the guidelines for writing a thesis provided in class. They should also consult one of the many dissertation style guides available in Fisher Library.

Double or Joint Honours

It is possible to complete either double honours or joint honours in Economics. Double honours involves completing all the honours requirements in Economics and one other subject and thus normally takes an additional year. With joint honours the two subjects are more generally closely related and a special program of study is designed for fourth year. This will usually entail doing approximately half the final honours requirements for Economics and half for the other subject. For example, each year a number of students take joint honours in Economics and Econometrics, and more recently some have taken joint honours in Economics and Finance.

To be eligible for joint honours, students must apply for, and be accepted into, the final honours year in each Discipline. For more information on the structure of joint honours programs, consult the Economics Honours Coordinator.

Examinations and Assessment

Coursework Options: Each coursework option is examined on the basis of work done during the semester and a final exam but this may be varied by the individual lecturer. Written work is to be handed in by the stipulated time and within the stipulated word limit. There are penalties for late submission. Each coursework option counts for 14% of the final Honours grade.

Theses: The thesis counts for 30% of the final Honours mark. Each thesis will be marked by at least two examiners. The supervisor will not be an examiner. Where the difference in the two examiners' marks would make a difference of 2% or greater to the final honours mark, a third examiner is used.

Examination Process: The marks for all coursework options and theses are reviewed by a School Honours Examiners' Committee. This committee reviews the mark distributions and averages for each component and may calibrate marks to ensure equity across the Economics honours cohort, prior to recommending an Honours mark to the Faculty Honours Committee. The Faculty Honours Committee may also calibrate marks to ensure equity across the Faculty honours cohort in determining final Honours marks.

The final grade of honours will be determined on the following University scale:

90 +Considered for University Medal
80 - 100First Class
75 - 79Second Class, Division 1
70 - 74Second Class, Division 2
65 - 69Third Class
Below 65Honours not awarded

Careers Information

All notices concerning Economics Final Honours Year and information about employment opportunities, scholarships etc. will be posted on the Honours year Blackboard site.