Honors Program and Awards

The economics department recognizes excellence in its leading student scholars through an honors program and departmental awards.

Honors and High Honors


To be eligible for the honors program in economics, a minimum GPA of 3.33 is required in the following three core courses:

  • ECON 251
  • ECON 252
  • ECON 375

At graduation, honors candidates also must have a B+ average (A– for high honors) in the nine economics courses taken for major credit, and they must receive a satisfactory grade in ECON 490. Students interested in pursuing honors should discuss a plan with a professor in the department by the end of their junior year.

Seminar and Thesis

Students pursuing honors must take the yearlong honors seminar (ECON 489 and 490) during their senior year. In addition to the seminar, students will conduct research to complete an honors thesis under the supervision of an economics faculty member.

Upon completion of the honors thesis, students present their work to the classmates in their seminar. All members of a seminar act as discussants of other students' work.

Students earn one course credit for the full year of seminar study, including the completion of an honors thesis.

Certification of honors and high honors will be based mainly on the quality of the honors paper.

The mathematical economics major includes all the requirements for an economics major, which means students majoring in mathematical economics have two mutually exclusive options for pursuing honors:

  • A mathematical economics major may qualify for honors or high honors in economics by satisfying the honors criteria for the economics major (above).
  • You can qualify for honors or high honors in mathematical economics by satisfying the same criteria (above); however, your departmental GPA is calculated for all 13 of the required courses.

    Departmental Awards

    Students who receive honors or high honors, as outlined above, are eligible for the following departmental awards allocated to graduating seniors.

    Established by past and present department members in honor of the late Chi-Ming Hou—a member of the Colgate economics department from 1956-1991—for outstanding achievement in international economics.

    Most recent recipient: Andrew Derrickson '23

    Awarded by the department to the senior with the strongest sustained performance in analytical economics and on the basis of the comprehensive exam.

    Most recent recipient: Nikola Duka '24 and Samay Gupta '24

    Established in honor of the late J. Melbourne Shortliffe, chair of the economics department emeritus, and awarded to outstanding graduating seniors who have concentrated in economics.

    Most recent recipients: Vuong Hoang '24 and Lizzie Zimmerman '24