Economics majors who are interested in researching a specific issue or topic may want to consider enrolling in ECON399: "Independent Study in Economics", ECON499: "Independent Research in Economics", or in the Honors program. If you want to devote only one semester to independent study, then ECON399 or ECON499 are options.
In general, ECON399 and ECON499 are open only to students who have maintained high grade point averages and have already taken appropriate economics courses as background. Motivated students should contact a prospective professor with a similar research/academic area of interest to sponsor/supervise them in an ECON399 or ECON499 directed independent study (professor biographies are available on the faculty page). Students need to have a proposal for the area they wish to explore and articulate the scope of the work they propose. The arrangements for work and grading are worked out between the professor, the student, and Dr. Cindy Clement, Director of Undergraduate Studies in Economics.
Interested students must create a syllabus describing three essential elements:
- What is the topic to be addressed?
- What learning activities will the student carry out?
- What outcomes (e.g., graded assignments) will demonstrate what the student has learned or accomplished?
The objective of this document is to set mutual expectations between the professor and student. Once a final version of the syllabus is agreed upon, the professor should submit the syllabus to Dr. Cindy Clement via email at clement [at] econ [dot] umd [dot] edu in order to obtain final approval and permission to register for ECON399 or ECON499.
ECON399 and ECON499 are not substitutes for an existing course. It is possible for ECON399 or ECON499 to count as a 300 or 400 level course of choice, however, that will be determined by Dr. Cindy Clement based on the nature of the work to be done. Contact Dr. Cindy Clement for more information.
Very occasionally, positions for part-time undergraduate research assistants are available through the Economics Department. These positions are usually filled by individual professors based on students they know from their own courses. [currently open positions]
Various agencies, think-tanks, and consulting firms will contact the Economics Department with openings for research assistant at various times during the year; all of these opportunities are publicized to economics majors via our undergraduate blog.