Internship and Research Opportunities


Internships provide a combination of academic preparation and direct work experience. The academic portion is under the supervision of a full-time faculty member, and the amount of academic credit awarded ranges from four to sixteen hours.

The direct work experience portion is under the supervision of the staff where the internship takes place, and the amount of work varies from full-time (e.g., in the full semester programs) to 10-16 hours a week.

Internship Guidelines

All internships taken for College credit must be unpaid and the department does not award internship credit in the fall semester for internships completed during the summer.
Most internships are undertaken during junior or senior year; first year students cannot do internships for credit.

Students interested in receiving credit for experiential training should register for ECO 394: Internships.

Students in ECO 394 require a faculty sponsor to receive internship credit. To get a sponsor, students can reach out to any economics professor. Most economics professors will only offer pass/fail credit for internships.

Students can find possible internship opportunities:

  • Posted on the undergraduate bulletin board outside Harkness 208
  • Posted in the Career Center
  • On their own by searching online or networking

Internships cannot be used as one of the elective courses required for an economics concentration.

Undergraduate Research in Economics

Undergraduate students in economics are exposed to research from the beginning of their curriculum. Students begin doing research in our introductory course in the form of minor research projects. Upper-level courses provide additional opportunities by requiring research papers to earn writing credit.

The required econometrics course has students conducting empirical analysis using econometric methods, a task that is a key component of empirical research in economics. Upper-level courses introduce research opportunities by assigning research papers in order for students to receive writing credit.

Students seeking to conduct further research in economics can do so in a number of ways:

Top ↑

Independent Study

Independent study usually involves advanced, individual research supervised by an economics faculty member. Students interested in pursuing ECO 391: Independent Study are required to have completed the following:

  • The core requirements for the major (ECO 207, 209, 231)
  • Relevant lecture courses related to the project they wish to pursue*

*For example, students researching advanced finance must complete the department's finance sequence; students interested in studying Rochester's fiscal structure should have taken electives in public finance and urban economics.

Independent study is considered advanced research, going beyond the material presented in elective economics offerings. Students should not view independent study projects as substituting for an existing offering.

Before registering for ECO 391, students must:

  • Identify a faculty member willing to supervise their project
  • Have a well thought-out project in mind

Students should meet with their prospective faculty supervisor well in advance of registering for independent study to discuss:

  • Interests
  • Electives that should be taken prior
  • If the faculty member is an appropriate supervisor

Students seeking advice as to identifying an appropriate faculty supervisor should speak with a departmental advisor first.

Top ↑

Senior Seminar

Students can also purse independent research by registering for ECO 389: Senior Seminar. Since the Senior Seminar is supervised by an economics faculty member there is no need to obtain an additional faculty supervisor.

One advantage of the Senior Seminar is that students can share their ideas and writings with other students doing independent research and experiencing similar successes and frustrations.

Students can expect to write a major research paper of approximately 30-40 pages. Multiple drafts of your paper are likely to be required. See examples of past papers to learn more.

Both Independent Study and Senior Seminar are considered writing courses and can be used to fulfill the research paper requirement necessary to graduate with high or highest honors.

Top ↑

Undergraduate Research Assistantships

Economics faculty will also occasionally hire undergraduate research assistants. Arrangements are handled on an individual basis. Interested students need to approach a faculty member, often inquiring first of a professor they have had for a class.