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Writing Requirements and Economic Research Opportunities in the Undergraduate Curriculum: Results from a Survey of Departmental Practices


  • KimMarie McGoldrick


In a review of the purpose and structure of the undergraduate economics major, J. Siegfried et al. (1991) suggested that every student should be required to "do economics" and specifically recommended the development of skills through writing requirements and research-oriented courses, as in a capstone experience. The author describes results of a survey of economics departments at U.S. institutions designed to determine the degree to which writing assignments are required and the existence and form of research-oriented opportunities, such as honors, capstone and senior experiences, and the senior thesis. Results indicate that, although a majority of departments (70 percent) require a writing component as part of the major, less than half offer research-intensive experiences consistent with capstone and senior experience courses (49 percent), honors programs (37 percent), or senior theses (17 percent). When institutions offer such research courses, however, respondents state overwhelmingly that such experiences are indeed designed to encourage students to develop skills associated with "doing economics"

Suggested Citation

  • KimMarie McGoldrick, 2008. "Writing Requirements and Economic Research Opportunities in the Undergraduate Curriculum: Results from a Survey of Departmental Practices," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(3), pages 287-296, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jeduce:v:39:y:2008:i:3:p:287-296
    DOI: 10.3200/JECE.39.3.287-296

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    Cited by:

    1. Melanie Marks & David Lehr, 2014. "What Is an Economics Major? A Multi-State Analysis," Journal for Economic Educators, Middle Tennessee State University, Business and Economic Research Center, vol. 14(1), pages 2-16, Fall.
    2. William Bosshardt & Michael Watts & William E. Becker, 2013. "Course Requirements for Bachelor's Degrees in Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 643-647, May.
    3. Li, Ishuan & Simonson, Robert D., 2016. "The value of a redesigned program and capstone course in economics," International Review of Economics Education, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 48-58.

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