Honours Program

Take your degree one step further. The honours program provides a solid foundation for graduate studies in economics, and prepares you for a challenging career. 

Your participation in advanced economics courses will enhance your quantitative skills and analytical expertise. Graduates from the honours program have gone on to join high-ranking graduate programs in Canada, the United States, and Europe. 

The honours degree requires 120 units, and students are still able to graduate in four years. To apply to the program, you will need to speak with an academic advisor.  

Required Courses

Visit the SFU Calendar for the full program requirement list you will need to complete for an Economics honours program.

ECON honours paper

ECON 494 and ECON 499W are required courses where you will develop an honours paper. ECON 494 is a methodology course, and will allow you to prepare for your honours research project, e.g. collecting data, obtaining ethics approval, and reviewing the related literature. ECON 499W is where most of the actual writing and presentation of your thesis will take place. Every year, students with the best paper will be recognized with the Jack Knetsch Award.

advice for prospective honours students

We strongly recommend second-year prospective honours students to enroll in MATH 152/158 (term 2 or 3), followed by STAT 270 in lieu of BUS 232/ECON 233 (term 3 or 4).

In order to spread out challenging courses and/or to make room for additional upper-division courses, we recommend that students consider taking some of the following courses during their second year:

  • ECON 302 and/or ECON 305 (for students with a grade of A- or better in ECON 201),
  • ECON 333 (for students with a grade of A- or better in STAT 270 or BUS 232/ECON 233), and/or
  • MATH 232/240, MATH 242 and/or MATH 251 (for students intending to pursue the Math Intensive Option below).

Sample Course Enrollment Plans

Although the honours program can be completed in the same amount of time as the economics major, it is significantly more challenging. Honours students are given advanced coursework and expected to develop the skills necessary to solve complex issues with the support of an instructor. 

Below are two sample course enrollment plans—a Basic Option and a Math Intensive Option. The Math Intensive Option is recommended for students targeting high-ranking MA/PhD programs.

Basic Option

 

Third year

Fourth year


Total

ECON upper-division courses

302-4
305-4
331-5 (Spring)
333-4
3 ECON electives (9 units)  

402-4 (Fall)
435-5(Fall)
494-3 (Fall)
403-3 (Spring)
499W-6 (Spring)
ECON Elective (3 units)   

 

ECON upper-division units

26

24

  50

Additional upper-division units (any field): 10

This enrollment plan can be completed without taking summer courses by spreading out the 60 required upper-division units evenly across four terns. However, using a summer term to spread out the core courses (ECON 302, 305 and ECON 333) and any math courses may help improve performance.

Additional MATH courses are a good idea. We particularly recommend MATH 232 and MATH 242. However, 200-level MATH courses do not count toward upper-division requirements.

Math Intensive Option 

This option is recommended for students targeting high-ranking MA/PhD programs.

 

Third year

Fourth year

Total

ECON upper-division courses

302-4
305-4
333-4

ECON electives 

402-4 (Fall)
435-5 (Fall)
494-3 (Fall)
403-3 (Spring)
499W-6 (Spring)
ECON electives

 

MATH

232-3/240-3*
242-3
251-3*

308-3**
310-3**

 

ECON upper-division units

 

 

  50

Additional UD units (any field): 10


* In lieu of ECON 331
** Up to six upper-division MATH units can be counted toward the ECON credit requirement – the above plan includes three such units. Approval must be obtained from the Undergraduate Chair. These units cannot be counted toward another program.

  • The 200-level MATH courses do not count toward upper-division requirements.  
  • Some of the MATH courses are not offered every semester. Plan ahead by looking at the MATH course offerings or by searching on go.sfu.ca.
  • MATH 320 is recommended for students wishing to take additional MATH courses.
  • Students especially interested in econometrics and statistics can also take STAT 330 after completing STAT 270, ECON 333 and MATH 251, with permission of the Statistics department.

Notes for both options:

  • 'Electives' are assumed to be 3 units each, and at least one of them must satisfy the writing (W) requirement.
  • ECON 499W fulfills the upper-division W requirement. 
  • Students intending to apply to graduate programs in economics are encouraged to replace electives with master’s-level courses (4 units each), with permission of the instructor, at any time after completing:
    • ECON 331 (or MATH 232/240 and 251), and
    • the relevant core course(s) - ECON 302, 305 and/or ECON 333