Guides & Forms

Suggested Course Flow

  Fall Spring
  • Two field course electives


Paths to the Honors Thesis

Path 1

The best setting in which to foster the research process is a two-semester workshop, resembling graduate workshops. In a workshop setting, students meet with their professor(s) and each other to observe advanced research (professors from outside the university, Duke Economics graduate students, and Duke economics professors present their own research to the students), and then, in turn, develop and later present their own research on a regular biweekly basis, continually receiving feedback from their peers and from professors and graduate students.

The department offers two distinct two-semester research workshop sequences for students interested in writing an honors thesis: ECON 495S Honors Seminar I and ECON 496S. Students do not necessarily have to qualify for Graduation with Distinction in order to enroll in these research workshop sequences, nor will completion of either sequence guarantee Graduation with Distinction. Note: Should a problem arise that prevents a student from completing this sequence, they can switch to Path 2 described below. 

Students who follow Path 1 may begin as early as the spring semester of their junior year. Davies Fellowships are available to sponsor some of these juniors (and their mentors) to enable them to do research full time under the supervision of their advisor during the summer between their junior and senior years.

Path 2

Students who choose this path enroll in a ECON 394 Research Independent Study in either the spring of their junior year or the fall of their senior year, under the instruction of the mentoring faculty member. In the following semester — or in a subsequent semester — the student enrolls in an ECON 493 Honors Research Independent Study and completes the thesis. For the Independent Study courses (ECON 394 and 493), students must enlist the approval of a specific faculty member (through submission of an approval form to the director of undergraduate studies), indicating that the faculty member is willing to work with the student for an entire academic year in an independent study format to produce an honors thesis.

Students who start on Path 2 may switch to Path 1 by enrolling in ECON 496S Honors Seminar II with the signature of their faculty mentor and the approval of the ECON 496S instructor, which is gained by submission of a satisfactory thesis proposal.