Skip to Main Content


Guide to Finance Resources - Literature and Data

For Juniors

The JP is a year long process. Just because it is due in April does not mean you should put it off until the Spring.  Most likely this size of a project is new to you and a bit daunting.   One of the hardest things to do is to pick the topic.  

Is the topic feasible ? 

There are many really interesting engaging fun topics for which there is little to no data and even less literature available.  Some things to keep in mind when thinking through topic selection.  

  • For instance: Sports - really interesting, not a great topic as the data is scant. Social media - really interesting, scant data once again.  Personal finance data is almost always a non starter as the data is just that "personal".  
  • Is the data really available ?  Start early and make sure that the data is available in the format and frequency you need.  If the data is not available, you may have to change topics.  Have a few ideas for JP topics when you start looking for data.  
  • Some of the best ideas maybe international topics.  Princeton has extensive international resources in finance but often it is in the native language.  This is great if you speak the language but not if you do not.  
  • Princeton has vast resources.  If the books or articles you need are not available at Princeton, Articles +, BorrowDirect and Interlibrary Loan can get materials that we do not have.  Start your research early to make sure you have all the resources on hand to do your work.  
  • Data resources are extensive at Princeton.  While print materials can be borrowed or found at other places, data does not work that way. Princeton rarely buys data for a single student.  So, if Princeton does not have the data and the data is not publicly available, please reconsider your topic. 

My job is to help you find what you need to do your work. Book an appointment, drop by my office, send an email or give a call.  I am here to work with you throughout the JP process. Below is a link to the JIW handbook that includes deadlines and advise. 

For Seniors

Writing a senior theses will be like a large JP, for those of you that did JPs, or something entirely new for those who did not do JPs. 

  • START EARLY.  That can not be said often enough.  Doing a thesis is a marathon not a sprint.  Things will go off the rails as data sources are not quite right or your topic changes slightly.  Start early so when things go wrong it does not put pressure on the rest of the process. 
  • Assess early on if your topic is doable.  Is the data available ? in a language you understand ?  Does it go back as far as you need? Is the date in the needed frequency? 
  • Did you find the needed literature?  
  • What does your advisor think of your topic - too big? too small? just right???

I am here to work with you to get what you need to do you work.  Please come by, email me, book an appointment or call me if you have questions or if I can be of help. 

Some of you can get lockers in Firestone. Seniors in African American Studies, Anthropology, Classics, Comparative Literature, Economics, English, French & Italian, German, History, Near Eastern Studies, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Slavic Languages & Literatures, Sociology, Spanish & Portuguese, or Woodrow Wilson School are eligible for a locker in Firestone Library. The link to apply is below. 


Certificate of Finance

Many of you are getting a certificate of finance.  Outside of the certificates' course work, there is an independent project requirement.  

  • On all independent work - start early and check in with your advisor often. 
  • Make sure your topic is actually doable and the materials are available and in the format you need. 
  • It is key to get your data and literature organized early so that you can work on the analysis and writing.  

I can help you find the library resources you need.  Princeton has extensive data resources and access to vast amounts of literature. Please reach out to me as you are investigating topics and refining your ideas. 

The requirements for the independent project are detailed below and this is taken from the BCF website. 

  • All Certificate students are required to submit either an independent finance paper or incorporate finance into (at least one chapter of) their senior thesis written under the direct supervision of a faculty member assigned to them by their department. The independent work must contain significant finance content.  We will also accept a junior paper that contains significant finance content. All independent papers should be at least 12-15 pages long. If you are unsure if your thesis or independent paper contains sufficient finance content contact the faculty representative for pre-approval before starting your independent work.

Deadline for the independent work:

  • Senior Thesis deadline is the same deadline as for your department major
  • Independent Paper deadline is Dean’s Date for spring term.


Profile Photo
Barbara Coffey
Firestone A-12-J-1