MRP Guidelines

Department of Economics Master's Research Paper (MRP) Guidelines


  • An MRP can be an empirical analysis, in the sense of using data to explore a problem or puzzle, or it can be a comprehensive survey of an area of economics.
  • It is completed under the guidance of a faculty supervisor, and it is evaluated jointly by the supervisor and a second faculty member (second reader). Together, they agree on a final grade.


  • An MRP allows you to explore in depth a topic in economics of interest to you. It represents an opportunity to develop and enhance your skills in analysis, writing and critical thinking.
  • Some students find that the MRP is helpful in their job search as it allows them to provide evidence to potential employers about their ability to do independent work.


  • Get permission to do an MRP from the Associate Chair, Graduate Studies in Economics.
  • Spend one or two days browsing the Internet and available published and/or working papers to find a broad topic of interest to you. The searchable database ‘Econlit’ is a good place to start.
  • Once you have narrowed your search, you can approach individual faculty members with a rough idea (preferably written) about your topic to find out if they are willing to supervise your research paper.
  • Your proposed MRP must satisfy at least 3 criteria:

            1)         it should have the potential of contributing to the economics literature.

            2)         it needs to be do-able; in terms of your background and skills, and the time frame you propose to complete the paper in.

            3)         it has to be the equivalent of TWO term courses. The department expects your paper to be a comparable amount of work.

No term paper taken for another course can be used as your MRP. A previously written term paper, subject to your supervisor’s approval, may be allowed to serve as a starting point but a significant extension of it must follow for it to be considered acceptable as an MRP.           

  • Make an appointment with your supervisor to discuss and decide on the topic and scope of the essay.
  • Complete the MRP supervision form. Forward the supervision form by email to the Graduate Coordinator and let her know you will be completing the MRP so the milestone can be added to your Quest account.


  • To successfully complete the MRP, it is crucial that you maintain regular contact with your supervisor, preferably with a consultation weekly or every two weeks. You must allow ample time for your final draft to be evaluated by both your supervisor and second reader because usually several rounds of revisions are required. It is not acceptable to e-mail or drop off your paper to the supervisor a few days before a graduation deadline and expect it to be graded.
  • When your supervisor and second reader have approved the final version of your paper, please send a pdf version by email to the Department of Economics, Graduate Program Coordinator.