Honors Program

Looking at 4 students at a table through a glass wall

Senior Honors Program


Business majors with a GPA of at least 3.5 in the major are eligible to apply to the department's honors program, which involves research and writing under the supervision of a member of the Business faculty. Candidates for honors must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 in their BUS courses (excluding BUS 89a and BUS 98a) and be on track to complete at least 20 credits of BUS courses (excluding BUS 89a and BUS 98a) by the end of the first semester of their senior year. If accepted to the program, students enroll in BUS 99a and BUS 99b and receive course credit for their completed work; however, this will not count towards the requirements for the major.


Requirements

Candidates will be admitted to BUS 99b only if their progress reports on work completed in BUS 99a are judged satisfactory by the assigned advisors. Each BUS 99 course carries four credits; these do not count towards the major. Students must register for both BUS 99a and BUS 99b to be considered for Honors in Business.

How to Apply

All students considering an honors thesis should begin early to think about a topic and to plan their senior year to accommodate a substantial research program. Please speak to instructors about potential honors thesis research ideas: they can provide useful guidance and ideas.


Submit a one-page thesis proposal to the Honors Coordinator by at least the Friday before the end of the Add/Drop period on the academic calendar.

Thesis Proposal


The proposal should specify the question(s) the student's research will address and the methods and data to be used. We have seen successful theses built around many different types of methods, including business plans or analyses, case studies, and methods that have harnessed econometric techniques or experimental data. The Honors Coordinator will consult with potential advisors to judge whether the project seems feasible and appropriate and also assign advisors with expertise in the relevant area of interest. Our department attempts to distribute advising responsibilities fairly among faculty members. While we try to honor a student's request to work with a particular faculty member, in some cases it may not be possible to assign a student's first choice of advisor.


The Business faculty will determine which thesis proposals are accepted into the program. As not all proposals are accepted, students should sign up for an additional course in case they are not able to enroll in BUS 99a. If your proposal is accepted, you must contact Karen Muise get a consent code to enroll in BUS 99a. It is your responsibility to get this and enroll in the course before the last day to add classes.

Advisor Assignments


Each potential thesis writer will be assigned two faculty advisors — a primary one that he/she consults regularly, and a secondary one that he/she also consults, but less frequently. Although students may consult with faculty beforehand and request to work with particular faculty members, in the interest of matching students with faculty whose research interest best align with the proposed topics and in the interest of distributing the burden of advising equitably, students should know that they may not always get their first choice of advisors.

December Graduates


Students scheduled to graduate in December should consult the Honors Coordinator as early as possible, but in any case before the start of the spring term prior to their expected graduation. To be admitted to BUS 99a, December graduates must submit a one-page thesis proposal to the Honors Coordinator at least a week in advance of the Registrar's deadline for spring enrollment.

Considerations & Resources


Writing a thesis can be very rewarding, but it takes a surprising amount of hard work. Most candidates feel pressed for time in the senior year as thesis research competes with job hunting or graduate school applications for their attention. Choosing a suitable topic is often the toughest part. Some thesis writers start with a research paper written in a course and extend and deepen the work to the scale of a thesis. Others select an interesting published article and extend its scope to another time and/or place. It is also helpful to discuss potential topics with one or more faculty members.

Finally, we want to remind you that looking at some past honors theses is a good way to learn what kinds of work have gained approval in the past. Past years’ theses are catalogued and kept in the Brandeis Library, and some recent examples are available in the Business Program office for students’ perusal.


Here are a few possible project ideas that our faculty may be interested in advising.