Undergraduate Research and Mentoring
Our faculty and staff are committed to your success. You will find small class sizes and faculty who are enthusiastic about the classes they are teaching and the related research they are doing. The department prides itself on the student mentoring environment it has established. Faculty members are available at office hours and regularly meet with students at other times (by appointment).
For advanced undergraduate students (those who have done well in their first econometrics course--Econ 4100), you have the opportunity to further this knowledge in a number of ways. At least one undergraduate per year has opted to present their research at the University-sponsored Undergraduate Research Symposium (URS). This Symposium offers the opportunity to present the research orally or as a poster (most students have opted for the latter). In the past five years, advanced undergraduates have participated in both. In fact, a number of students who have presented their work have gone on to top PhD programs in Economics (most recently, Trung Ly at Notre Dame and Mitch Downey at UC-San Diego).
Also, advanced undergraduate students who have taken a course with a professor and want to study a course topic in further depth have the opportunity to do so (at the professor’s discretion) through Directed Readings Courses (Independent Study).
Undergraduate students also have the opportunity to work as faculty research assistants. Tasks have included doing programming for empirical projects, conducting literature reviews, and assembling data for tables and charts. These experiences are very valuable, especially for those interested in pursuing PhD programs.
Finally, advanced undergraduate students have the opportunity to present their research at regional economics association meetings including the Midwest Economic Association (MEA) and the Missouri Valley Economics Association (MVEA). Both associations have competitive undergraduate research paper sessions.
The department also offers peer mentoring. At the Economic Resource Center (ERC), which serves as a University Computer lab, study, and meeting space, students will find peer tutors (especially for principles of macro and micro). Working together enhances learning.
For advanced undergraduates, faculty offer assistance with resumes (including providing samples and feedback) and guidance about internships, current job opportunities, and career paths. (This is in addition to the excellent assistance students receive through UMSL’s Career Services). The Department of Economics also sponsors an annual “Career Day” event which features a panel of three alumni. This is an important opportunity for current students to learn firsthand about career paths and ask questions about all aspects of the job process (e.g. what were the most valuable classes you took? If you had to do things over what would you do? ) For more about past Career Day participants, see the Alumni page and the Department Newsletters.