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Economics 501 Seminar and Research Papers

Each student must write and orally present two research papers in the Economics 501 Graduate Student Seminar. Two faculty member readers must approve the paper. It is the department's intention that the Economics 501 seminar should be an opportunity to present work in progress that will hopefully become part of the student's dissertation.

First Paper

The department expects that the first Economics 501 paper should be completed by July 31 at the end of the second year. One faculty member must sign the "Submission of an Economics 501 Paper" form by July 31 as part of the prerequisites for third year funding.

This paper is then presented in the Economics 501 seminar during the Fall Quarter of the third year. Each seminar session is 50-minutes long. Presenters should be prepared to speak for thirty to forty minutes, and expect to receive questions.

Second Paper

The second paper is typically completed by the Winter Quarter of the third year and presented in the Economics 501 seminar during the Spring Quarter of the third year. The second paper may be a revised version of the first, but only if the readers feel that sufficient progress has been made.

Registration and Evaluation

Students should register for two quarters of Economics 501 on a pass/no pass (P/N) basis. Typically this is in the Fall and Spring Quarters of the third year. In each quarter, a pass grade for the quarter will be awarded by the Economics 501 instructor if:

  1. A research paper is written and orally presented in the Economics 501 seminar.
  2. Two faculty members sign the Completion of an Economics 501 Paper form signifying that the paper met the requirements for an Economics 501 research paper and that they attended the presentation of the paper and affirm that it met required presentational standards. At least one of the faculty signing each form must hold a tenure-line appointment in the Economics Department (an exception to this condition is only permissible with prior written approval of the Director of Graduate Studies). The form must be received by the Graduate Program Manager within two weeks of the presentation or by the Friday of exam week of that quarter, whichever is earlier.
  3. The student had satisfactory attendance at the seminar. Economics 501 is designed to be an interaction between the presenter and peer students. It is mandatory that all third year students attend every Economics 501 seminar. Excessive absence will result in an “N” grade being assigned for the Spring Quarter registration. Excessive absence is defined as being absent from more than 10% of the combined number of sessions in the Fall and Spring Quarters. (For example, if there are 44 sessions in an academic year then absence from five or more sessions is considered excessive absence.) A student is considered absent irrespective of the reason or whether the instructor had been notified in advance. A student assigned an “N” grade for this reason can have the grade changed to a “P” by attending in the following Fall Quarter three sessions for each absence above 10%. (For example, a student missing seven sessions in a year with 44 sessions would have to make up nine sessions, calculated as 3x(7-4)=9.)

If the requirements above are not met, a "N" grade will be awarded for that quarter. A total of two pass grades in Economics 501 is required for a student to satisfy the department’s research paper requirement.

It is the responsibility of the student to arrange for evaluation of their paper. The student should approach two appropriate faculty members to (a) evaluate the paper, and (b) attend the presentation. The student should approach faculty who taught classes which stimulated the student's interest in the topic and are also likely to serve on the student's dissertation committee. The presenter should provide both faculty members with copies of the paper at least one week in advance of the presentation.

Practical Information

The Economics 501 seminar is aimed primarily at third year students. Second year students should plan to attend some seminars in the Spring Quarter to learn about the level of papers and presentations. Any second year student who has made good progress on their first paper can elect to present the paper in the spring quarter of their second year if they wish.

The seminar normally meets twice or three times a week in the Fall and Spring Quarters.  The seminar is organized by one or two faculty members each year who attend each seminar.

An initial order of the presentations for Fall and Spring of the following academic year are given in the March edition of the Graduate Connection newsletter, based on two separate random drawings of names. Then in the September edition of the Graduate Connection, the actual dates for each presentation are given. Pareto-improving exchanges can then occur between students, with the consent of the organizers.

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