Honours in Economics (HECON)

Honours in Economics is a program offered within the Research School of Economics that offers students who have excelled in their undergraduate studies a challenging but rewarding year of study in economics. We seek outstanding students who are keen to undertake independent economics research with the guidance from academic staff. Past students graduating from the Honours in Economics program have been highly successful with careers in government, Industry and academia in leading institutions and organisations around the world. 

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Demonstrate a sound knowledge and critical understanding of research design and methods
  2. Apply that knowledge to the development of a research proposal and research plan
  3. Develop the capacity to perform high-level independent research
  4. Exhibit in-depth knowledge of their chosen research topic
  5. Demonstrate a high level of ability to critically analyse and evaluate economics research questions and communicate the results. 

Eligibility-to-apply Requirements

The following content in this section is also on the approved ANU Course Management System for the HECON program. All the following conditions are necessary for an applicant to be eligible for admission considerations: 

Condition 1 (Basic Qualification)

An applicant must possess an AQF Level 7 Bachelor Degree or equivalent. The qualification must either be from a cognate discipline or from one of the following majors (or equivalent):

  • Mathematical Economics major; or,
  • Economics Major (must include ECON3101 and ECON3102 - third year Micro and Macro, respectively).

This qualification must have been completed within the last two years of the time of application.

Cognate Disciplines:

Finance, Economics, Commerce, Actuarial Studies, Statistics, Mathematics and Science.

Condition 2 (Application Materials and Specific Coursework)

In addition to Condition 1, applicants must

  1. have submitted all the application materials (including a research proposal and evidence of potential thesis supervisory arrangement detailed further under "Application Materials");
  2. have attained an average mark equivalent to an ANU 70 per cent calculated from 18 units of courses with the highest final marks. This calculation excludes all 1000-level courses (i.e., introductory undergraduate courses);
  3. have satisfactorily completed ECON2125 (Optimisation for Economics and Financial Economics);


  1. have attained an average mark equivalent to an ANU 70 per cent calculated from the following 36 units (i.e. 75 EFTSL) equivalent to the ANU Courses:
    1. ECON3100 Economics 3 (H);
    2. ECON3101 Microeconomics 3; and
    3. ECON3102 Macroeconomics

Condition 3 (Interview)

In addition to Conditions 1 and 2, an applicant must be available for further interview with the Research School of Economics. The Research School of Economics reserves the right to waive the interview in cases where applicants are deemed to be clearly suitable for admission

Admission to ANU is on a competitive basis as the number of places available in a program is limited. Admission to Honours is also subject to supervisory capacity and the relevant approval from the Head of School or College.

Other Information and Application Materials

Application deadline:

  • Deadline for S1 is 15th December (11:55pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time).

Notification of outcome:

  • Applicants will be notified of the outcome for admission by 15th January

Acceptance deadline:

  • If applicants are successful in receiving an offer, the acceptance deadline is 31st January

Application materials:

Applicants must provide complete documentation, including

  • a certified or coloured copy of testamur and final transcript (except for ANU students);
  • a maximum THREE-page document detailing their research proposal to their The proposal should contain the following elements:
    1. Research question
    2. Motivation for the question
    3. Some preliminary discussion of relevant literature
    4. Bibliographic reference
    5. Potential RSE Supervisor's name (you are advised to talk to potential supervisors and obtain their agreement to supervise prior to applying)

What to Expect in HECON

Coursework (total 36 units). Along with the year-long supervised research work (ECON4488, 12 units), students are required to take a mix of two compulsory courses, two courses from a compulsory restricted-list, and two approved elective courses (6 units each). Upon entry into the program, students will consult with the HECON convenor on the appropriate courses to undertake. The purpose of the HECON coursework is to help students build up their research toolkit and to develop as more rounded thinkers.

There are a few core subjects that are compulsory for HECON. For the HECON program, the core coursework is at the same level as that of a first-year PhD in Economics program. At this level, things are done generally. An aptitude for abstract and logical thinking is expected.

Students are expected to move effortlessly between mathematical rigour (plus technical skills) and verbal narratives in developing logically coherent economic analysis. What that means on the ground is that we expect students to be able to read and do abstract mathematical proofs and to critically understand and apply mathematical/quantitative/computational/econometric methods to economic questions.

For a partial but more concrete peek into what's involved, please survey these typical references used in the HECON year's Micro, Macro and Econometrics core subjects:

Microeconomics (ECON4411):

  • D.M. Kreps, Microeconomic Foundations I: Choice and Competitive Markets, Princeton University Press, 2013
  • M.J. Osborne, and A. Rubinstein, A Course in Game Theory, MIT Press 1994

Macroeconomics (ECON4422):

  • L. Ljungqvist and T. Sargent, Recursive Macroeconomic Theory, 4th Edition, 2018 (MIT Press)
  • J. Miao, Economic Dynamics in Discrete Time, 2014 (MIT Press)
  • QuantEcon: https://quantecon.org/

Econometrics (EMET4314):

  • B. Hansen, Econometrics (available as a free pdf online)
  • J. Stachurski, A Primer in Econometric Theory (MIT Press)
  • J. Wooldrige, Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data (MIT Press)