Transition from Coursework to Research

The transition from second to third year is extremely important as most students have completed all of their electives by the start of third year. Third-year students begin to work in earnest on their thesis research. However, the transition to research actually begins in second year, when students enroll in a variety of elective courses. Electives help students narrow down areas for thesis research and begin to talk seriously with professors about the frontiers of research. Ideally students will narrow their search for a thesis topic and will obtain a professor who will act as an advisor well before the end of their second year.

Another opportunity to begin thesis-related work in the second year is ECON 220F, which requires students to complete an empirical project. In spring of the second year, students enroll in a two-quarter sequence of thesis paper and presentation courses designed to provide the beginnings of the thesis. Students should take these research courses very seriously and, ideally, should consider them as extensions of research that they began in second year and the intervening summer.