The purpose of the capstone course is to provide a culminating experience at the end of an undergraduate program. Students typically take a capstone course in their last semester of their degree program. This experience is designed to help students develop a more comprehensive and integrative understanding of their major, apply their knowledge in useful ways, and demonstrate their mastery of critical thinking and research skills.
Our capstone courses in economics are registration restricted, meaning that a student must schedule an advising session with an economics advisor prior to registering for a course to demonstrate that they have met all of the prerequisites. Also, an advising session will help to ensure that the capstone course selected is a good fit for the student's own career goals. After the capstone advising session, the student should email the course instructor to request permission to enroll into the capstone course.
Students in our degree programs may choose from one of three capstone courses:
ECON 491: Capstone in Economics:
This course is a general capstone experience in economics that is appropriate for students in either the BA or the BS degree program. This is a one-semester course and is usually taken in the last semester of a student's undergraduate program.
This course combines experiential learning with a research project and takes one semester to complete. This course requires that a student has received an internship offer during their last year of study in the degree program–this course does not provide any internship placement services. While students from either the BA or the BS degree program can take this course, it is a strong fit for students pursuing careers in which internship experience is highly valued prior to graduation. This capstone is very appropriate for students pursuing the Managerial Economics concentration.
Economics students are encouraged to contact Mason Career Services to access professional and career development resources, to schedule an advising appointment with a career services advisor, to learn about upcoming campus career events on the Mason Careers Calendar (e.g., Mason Career Fair), or to obtain guidance on how to find an economics-related internship, using Mason Handshake. Internship opportunities may also be found in the quarterly Economics Undergraduate ECONnections newsletter.
ECON 495: Honors Thesis in Economics
This capstone experience is designed to be completed over two semesters (a minimum of 6 credit hours) and allows students with a high GPA to be eligible for Honors in the Major. This is a more research-intensive experience and is the best fit for students who aspire to be professional economists and who want to pursue a graduate degree in economics. A research proposal is required before students can enroll in the course. Proposals are due by August 1st of each year and students should contact the instructor of ECON 495 for more information or to submit their proposals. Information about our honors distinction is available here.