Department of Economics
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

Graduate Program:

Undergraduate Program:



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 12 credit sequence, which culminates in the completion of a senior thesis. The pre-requisites for beginning this sequence (i.e. for registering for ECON396) are as follows:

  • completion of ECON422 (Econometrics I)
  • an overall University GPA of at least 3.25
  • completion of at least 18 credits of upper level Economics courses with a GPA of at least 3.25
  • the 18 credits of ECON courses should include: 
    • ECON325
    • ECON326
    • at least one field course. Click here for a list of field courses.

For students to satisfy the Economics Honors Program, they must:

  • complete ECON422 prior to their senior year
  • complete ECON396 and ECON397 in their senior year **Please note that ECON396 is offered only in the fall semester and ECON397 is only in the spring semester
  • complete one of the following four courses:
    • ECON407 (Advanced Macroeconomics)
    • ECON414 (Game Theory)
    • ECON423 (Econometrics II)
    • ECON425 (Mathematical Economics)
  • the above 4 course requirements must be completed with a GPA of 3.5 or above

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@econ.umd.edu

Submit the application form by the deadline provided therein.

Preparing for the Honors Sequence (Econ 396-397)

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.

Math Background

In terms of math background, a well-prepared honors student aiming at entering a good graduate program in economics should have taken MATH140, 141, and 241 (the 3-semester calculus sequence for math, engineering, and science majors), MATH240 (linear algebra), and MATH246 (differential equations). The two semester-sequence in real analysis (advanced calculus), MATH410 and 411, is also highly recommended. (In fact, good graduate programs like to see at least one course in real analysis on transcripts.) Other math courses worth considering are MATH340 and 341 (Multivariable calculus I and II), STAT410 (Introduction to Probability Theory), and MATH424 (Introduction to the Mathematics of Finance).

[It is worth emphasizing that this math background is not required to take the honors sequence (ECON396-397), but is strongly recommended if your goal is to be admitted to a good graduate program in economics.]