The Honours program in the School of Economics is a rigorous one-year program that provides advanced training in economic theory and methods and develops research and communication skills through the completion of an independent and original research project.

The program is open to students that have completed an undergraduate (pass) degree at UNSW or another institution. Entry to the program is competitive and offers are made based on academic merit and availability of supervisors. Among recent successful applicants, the median Weighted Average Mark (WAM) across all subjects is 80 and the median WAM in economics subjects is 82. Typically, applicants will have completed (the equivalent of) Microeconomics 2, Macroeconomics 2, Mathematical Economics, and a third-year Econometrics course. Students that have not completed one or more of these courses are still welcome to apply, but successful applicants will typically have completed more math-based courses or have achieved higher WAMs.

The School of Economics offers the following Honours degrees and specialisations:

During the Honours year, students complete four courses at the Honours level, which include Advanced Microeconomic Analysis, Advanced Macroeconomic Analysis, a methods course, and an elective course. These courses build on undergraduate foundations to develop strong analytical skills and lateral thinking that serve students pursuing a wide array of careers.

In addition to coursework, students complete an Honours thesis. The thesis is an independent and original research project completed under the guidance of a supervisor. The thesis is the capstone of the undergraduate and honours degrees, requiring a synthesis of theory, methods, creativity, and effective communication skills.

Our graduates are highly sought after by both public and private sector employers and by prestigious masters and doctoral programs. Employers of our recent graduates include the Reserve Bank of Australia, the NSW and Federal Treasury, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Deloitte Access Economics, BIS Oxford Economics, HustonKemp, McKinsey & Company, Alphabeta, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, and Commonwealth Bank. Recent graduates have enrolled in PhD programs at MIT, UC Berkeley, Northwestern, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins, Vanderbilt, Yale, University of British Columbia, Oxford, and the London School of Economics.

Students are encouraged to submit applications for Term 1 by December 10 as rolling conditional offers will begin to be made in mid-December. Term 2 and Term 3 entry is typically not recommended but may be allowed in certain cases. Although full-time study is most common and offers advantages, part-time study is possible.

Applications should include:

  • a current academic transcript in electronic format,
  • a 300-600 word thesis proposal,
  • a cover letter or statement of purpose highlighting research interests and academic strengths (optional),
  • other relevant supporting documents, e.g. awards (optional).

The thesis proposal should identify a specific research question and explain why the question is interesting and important (motivation) and address how the question might be answered (feasibility). The proposal is a starting point for the thesis and may be modified later. Applicants are encouraged to become familiar with faculty members and their research interests and to speak with potential supervisors. Applicants are encouraged but not required to nominate a supervisor. Interested students may apply here

Browse through recent articles published in top economic journals

Use research search engines

  • UNSW provides access to a number of research databases that can be used to find papers and conduct literature reviews. JSTOR and Web of Science are particularly useful databases.
  • Google Scholar is a useful resource for conducting literature reviews and following developments in the literature. It is particularly useful for identifying the universe of articles that have cited a specific article.

Review past honours theses topics

  • Past theses will give you a sense of what students have been able to accomplish during the Honours year.
  • Theses of University Medal recipients demonstrate what a top thesis looks like.
  • Past theses will give you an idea of the topics that specific faculty members have supervised in the past, which may help you identify a suitable supervisor.

Talk to academics and current and former honours students

  • Talk to your lecturers and other academics you know about your ideas and possible supervision.
  • Read about our academics to learn more about their research interests and recent publications.
  • Talk to current and former honours students to learn more about what to expect and how to prepare.

Fees for courses are charged by the Unit of Credit (UOC) according to the classification of the course (undergraduate, postgraduate, or research) and the student (domestic or international). The Honours program is an undergraduate program at the UNSW Business School and requires completion of 48 Units of Credit. Eligible students can pay Honours program fees through HELP. See the UNSW Fees to calculate the tuition fees.

After being admitted to the program, students may apply for several Honours scholarships.

2019 Students

Nalini Agarwal

Supervisor: Kevin Fox
Thesis Title: Dissecting Labour Shares using BLADE: An Empirical Investigation into the Trends and Drivers of Australian Labour Shares

Elif B Bahar 

Supervisor: Federico Masera
Thesis Title: The Decaying American Dream: Violent Crime, Neighbourhoods and Intergenerational Mobility in the United States

Rhea Banerjee

Supervisor: Gonzalo Castex, Pei-Cheng Yu
Thesis Title: The Pursuit of Entrepreneurship: Can Universal Basic Income Play a Role? A Dynamic Model of Occupational Choice

Andrew Barich

Supervisor: Denzil Fiebig, Hasin Yousaf
Thesis Title: Bulk Billing and GP Satisfaction: A Study using the MABEL Survey

Natasha Bradshaw

Supervisor: Evgenia Dechter, Tess Stafford
Thesis Title: Paid Parental Leave and the Division of Household Labour Time Use, Wages and Attitudes of Australian Couples

Jack Buckley

Supervisor: Gabriele Gratton, Pauline Grosjean
Thesis Title: Why Values Matter: The Persistence and Resurgence of the Far-Right in France

Max Formato

Supervisor: Glenn Otto
Thesis Title: Australian Macro-Financial Connectedness: A Study of Dynamics and Determinants

Anny Francis

Supervisor: David Gunawan, Robert Kohn
Thesis Title: A Variational Bayes Approach To Copula Estimation

Nicholas Fransen

Supervisor: Sarah Walker, Michele de Nadai
Thesis Title: We Didn't Start the Fire": The Impact of a Kenyan Logging Ban on Deforestation

Mitchell Kazmierczak

Supervisor: Isabella Dobrescu, Alberto Motta
Thesis Title: Badges: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Carol Kong

Supervisor: Arpita Chatterjee, Nalini Prasad
 Thesis Title: The Effects of Monetary Policy on the Australian Housing Market: A New Approach

Kate Mulready

Supervisor: Sarah Walker, Scott French
Thesis Title: Does Voluntourism Improve Educational Outcomes? Evidence from Indonesia

Jonathan Nathan

Supervisor: Denzil Fiebig, Richard Holden
Thesis Title: A Super Sleight of Hand: Attribute Non-Attendance in Superannuation

Patrick Parrish

Supervisor: Seojeong Lee, Fanghua Li
Thesis Title: Let's Talk About Sex, Baby: Investigating Sex Specific Differences in the Impact of Unemployment on Fertility

Harvey Thompson

Supervisor: Juan Carlos Carbajal, Keiichi Kawai
Thesis Title: Pay To Win: Micro-Transactions in Video-Games

Robert Tiong

Supervisor: Kevin Fox, Shengyu Li
Thesis Title: Treating Competition Right: Decomposing Treatment and Selection in the Competition-Productivity Relationship

Gary Wang

Supervisor: Gonzalo Castex, Pei-Cheng Yu
 Thesis Title: Empty Nest: Optimal Dynamic Taxation with College Savings

Brendan Wilson

Supervisor: Keiichi Kawai, Richard Holden
Thesis Title: How Much is My Home Worth? The Value of Online Market Value Estimates

Aaron Wong

Supervisor: Glenn Otto
Thesis Title: Stuck in Traffic (Data): Analysing the Spatial Structure of Sydney with Travel Time Data

Jim Xu

Supervisor: Hongyi Li, Shengyu Li
Thesis Title: Zoned Out of the Market: How Zoning Restrictions Increase House Prices in Sydney

2018 students

Nicholas Bolevich

Supervisor: Denzil Fiebig
Thesis Title: Social Capital and Mental Health An Empirical Study of the Buffering Effect

Stephen Burgess

Supervisor: Evgenia Dechter
Thesis Title: Best Interest at Heart? Modelling Determinants and Estimating Consequences of Early School Enrolment

Nicola Cole

Supervisor: Andreas Ortmann, Pei-Cheng Yu
Thesis Title: The Impact of Organisational Form on Contract Design and Buyer and Seller Interaction

Atharva Karandikar

Supervisor: Sang-Wook (Stanley) Cho, Ric Simes, Glenn Otto
Thesis Title: Have Australia’s Free Trade Agreements Increased the New Goods margin?

George Prassas

Supervisor: Gigi Foster, Richard Holden, Pauline Grosjean
Thesis Title: Unexpected Bias in Cricket Umpire Decision Making

Jack Skelley

Supervisor: Sarah Walker, Scott French
Thesis Title: This Little Village Went to Market: Roads, Trade Frictions, and Market Access in India.

Adam Solomon

Supervisor: Richard Holden
Thesis Title: Strategy and Fundraising in Sequential Majoritarian Elections

Tristan Truuvert

Supervisor: Christopher Gibbs
Thesis Title: Low Interest Rates and Financial Crises An Historical Analysis From 1870 to 2013

2017 students


Sarah Davies

Supervisor: Gautam Bose, Sarah Walker
Thesis Title: Social Norms and Female Labour Force Participation in India

Binal Dodhia

Supervisor: Gabriele Gratton, Alberto Motta, Sarah Walker
Thesis Title: Understanding Ex-Ante and Ex-Post Corruption: Evidence from Kenyan Public Transport Sector

Simon Graham

Supervisor: Gigi Foster, Tess Stafford
Thesis Title: Disambiguating Ambiguity: An Experimental Analysis of Attitudes to the Unknown

Isabel Hartstein

Supervisor: James Morley, Glenn Otto
Thesis Title: Credit Ratios and the Real Economy: A Time Series Analysis Using US Data

Barath Kirubakaran

Supervisor: Christopher Gibbs, Nalini Prasad
Thesis Title: Understanding the Cash Flow Channel, Heterogeneous Effects Across Australian Households

Beatrix Leung

Supervisor: Denzil Fiebig, Hongyi Li
Thesis Title: Complexities of the Firm Innovation System: Assessing Complementarities within Organisational Innovation

Helena Luo

Supervisor: Andreas Ortmann, Evgenia Dechter
Thesis Title: The Effect of Personality Traits on Productivity

William Weatherburn

Supervisor: Glenn Otto, Pei-Cheng Yu
Thesis title: An Empirical Analysis of Disaggregated Australian Service Exports

2016 students

Kelvin Guo

Supervisor: Glenn Otto
Thesis title: The Role of House Prices in the Monetary Transmission Mechanism within Australia

Damoon Sadeghian

Supervisor: Pauline Grosjean, Sarah Walker
Thesis title: The 19th Century ‘Squattocracy’ and Contemporary Inequality

Tuong Bao Tran Nguyen

Supervisor: Evgenia Dechter
Thesis title: The Impact of Child Care Policies on Maternal Labour Force Participation and Hours of Work in Australia

Tsz Ho Dawin Heung (Jeff)

Supervisor: Valentyn Panchenko, Robert Kohn
Thesis title: Improving the Australian Macro-economic Forecasts

Calvin Yue He

Supervisor: Richard Holden, Mariano Kulish, James Morley
Thesis title: Sovereign Default Risk and the Fiscal Spending Multiplier

Aidan Wood

Supervisor: Sang-Wook (Stanley) Cho
Thesis title: The Environmental Impact of Trade Liberalisation in Developing Countries: A General Equilibrium Approach

Kai Zen

Supervisor: Gigi Foster
Thesis title: The Impact of Selective High Schools on Student Achievement

Rohan Garga

Supervisor: Gautam Bose, Peter Kriesler
Thesis title: Trust & Institutional Confidence in the Aftermath of Disaster

Cecilia Chang

Supervisor: Anton Kolotilin, Hodaka Morita
Thesis title: Punishing Corporate Crime: An Economic Analysis

Justin Tang

Supervisor: Juan Carlos Carbajal, Hongyi Li
Thesis title: Toll Booths on the Internet - Adblocking and Online Media

Sebastien Printant

Supervisor: Christopher Gibbs, Nalini Prasad
Thesis title: The Sensitivity of Australian Yields and the AUD/USD Exchange Rate to Macroeconomic News Surprises

Aaryn Lally

Supervisor: Glenn Otto, Kevin Fox
Thesis title: Hedonic Pricing and the User Cost of Housing in the Netherlands

Vanty Tang

Supervisor: Arpita Chatterjee
Thesis title: Effects of Chinese Import Competition on Local Labour Markets in Australia

Timothy Tze-Hymn Lo

Supervisor: Valentyn Panchenko
Thesis title: Asset Pricing Model with Adaptive Learning and Heterogeneity

Nathan Walsh

Supervisor: Tess Stafford
Thesis title: Residential Electricity Usage: How do Households Respond to Dynamic Peak Pricing Events?