ECON396 (Honors Workshop) and ECON397 (Honors Thesis) constitute a two-semester sequence in which outstanding seniors write an honors thesis in economics. Its primary objective is to develop and apply the skills required to write original research. The program is particularly valuable for students interested in careers that require producing rather than just consuming economic analysis and/or those seeking to pursue graduate programs (including economics, business, public policy, and international relations).

Economics Honors Program

The Economics Honors program is a 6 credit, 2 course sequence which culminates in the completion of a senior thesis. 

Requisites to Obtain Honors

To graduate with Honors the students must complete the four courses below (12 credits) with an overall GPA of 3.5 or higher:
  • ECON396 (only in Fall) 
  • ECON397 (only in Spring)    
  • ECON422 or ECON424 
  • One additional 400 level course from the following list

The thesis will be written as part of ECON396 and ECON397 and is eligible to receive either the Dudley and Louisa Dillard or the Sujon Guha award for best honors thesis. 


Before starting the program (i.e. registering for ECON396) students must complete at least 15 credits of upper level Economics courses (300 or 400 level) with a GPA of 3.25 or higher. These courses must include:
  • ECON305 or ECON325
  • ECON306 or ECON326
  • At least one field course from the following list

Courses in statistics (ECON321 or ECON230) and econometrics (ECON422 or ECON424) are useful but are not a prerequisite.

Application Process

If you would like to apply please attend the yearly information session and carefully read its summary and the application form. If you have any additional questions please feel free to contact Dr. Nuno Limão, the Director of the Honors Program at limao [at] econ [dot] umd [dot] edu
Submit the application form by the deadline provided therein.

Preparing for the Honors Sequence 

Given the high standards required to complete the honors thesis (i.e. ECON396-397), you will need to prepare for it during the spring and summer by identifying an appropriate topic and advisor. Please read the information here and in the application form for guidelines and suggestions on how to do this.
After reading these please contact Dr. Limão with any questions or to set up an appointment to obtain further guidance on how to best approach the honors sequence.

Selected Honors Theses from Recent Graduates

Click here for selected honors theses from recent graduates.