ECON396 (Independent Honors Study) 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 students must obtain a GPA of 3.5 or higher in both sets of the following courses:
  • ECON396 and ECON397
  • One methods course and one field course listed below
    • BS Methods Courses: ECON321 or ECON422
    • BA Methods Courses: ECON402, ECON424, or ECON426
    • Field courses: 300 or 400 level ECON course from the following list

The thesis will be written as part of ECON396 (offered only in the Fall) and ECON397 (offered only in the Spring) 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 have completed the courses below with a GPA of 3.25 or higher:

BA students:

  • ECON305 or ECON306
  • One BA Methods Course: ECON402, ECON424, or ECON426
  • At least one field course from the following list

BS students:

  • ECON325 or ECON326
  • ECON321 or STAT401
  • At least one field course from the following list

Application Process 

Applications for the ECON Honors Program are accepted each spring semester for admission into the program the following fall. If you would like to apply please attend the yearly information session and carefully read its summary and the application form. Applications are currently being accepted for the 2024-2025 academic year. The deadline to apply is April 26th.  

If you have any additional questions please feel free to contact Dr. Nolan Pope, the Director of the Honors Program at npope [at] umd [dot] edu ()

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. Pope 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.