Economics Honors Program

Departmental Honors

Applications for the Economics Honors program are available in late January/early February.  Students must apply no later than winter quarter of their junior (or second to last) year. Applications are available in winter quarter only. 

Achievement oriented students who have obtained very high grades in Introductory Economics, ECON 200 and ECON 201, should consider applying to the Departmental Honors Program. Students interested in this program should read the information below and plan on attending an information session, typically offered in late January. Fulfilling the Honors major requirements will allow them to graduate “With Honors in Economics,” as well as the opportunity to complete an undergraduate thesis. This distinction is noted on both the diploma and the student’s transcript from the University of Washington. Please note that admission to the Econ Honors Program is competitive.

Benefits of participating in the Economics Honors Program

Students naturally want to understand the benefits of participating in the Econ Honors Program when deciding whether to apply. Some benefits include:

  • Production of original research resulting in a senior thesis
  • Working on-on-one with a Department of Economics faculty member who serves as your thesis adviser (this can be helpful for letters of recommendation for internships, graduate programs, etc)
  •  Preparation for graduate school
  • Working with a small cohort of strong, like-minded Econ majors
  • Small honors courses

While there are certainly strong benefits to participating in the program, Econ Honors is not a good fit for everyone.  For some highly qualified students, the additional courses do not fit into their graduation plans or work with their schedules, some may find the requirements too rigorous, etc.  It is not necessary to be in the Econ Honors program to apply to graduate schools  as long as they have done well academically. 

For those wanting to conduct research but not participate in the Econ Honors Program, ECON 499 and the opportunities found through the Undergraduate Research Program are other options.  

Econ Honors Admission Requirements

Students must apply no later than winter quarter of their junior (or second to last) year. Applications are available in winter quarter only. 

  • Acceptance into the economics major
  • Minimum cumulative UW grade point average (GPA) of 3.3
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 in UW Economics courses
  • Minimum grade of 3.5 in ECON 300 (students should be enrolled in or have already taken ECON 301 when they apply to the program)
  • Submission of completed application form (available in late January)

Program Requirements for Honors in Economics

1. Completion of 
a. ECON 300 or ECON 400  with a minimum grade of 3.5   and  
b. ECON 301 or ECON 401 with a minimum grade of 3.5
-an add code for ECON 497 will be given only upon fulfilling these two minimum grade requirements.

2.  Completion of the Honors course sequence in the following order:
a. ECON 396 Honors Research Seminar, 2 credits (taken spring of sophomore or junior year)
b. ECON 496 Honors Seminar, 5 credits (taken in autumn)
c. ECON 497 Honors Thesis, 5 credits (must be taken in winter immediately after ECON 496)

3.  At the time of graduation, honors students must have a minimum 3.3 UW GPA and a minimum 3.5 ECON GPA (UW and transfer)

Important notes:

  • ECON 496 and 497 are in addition to the 400-level Econ courses required to complete the degree.  Both courses do not count toward the general education writing requirement.
  • Strongly recommended: One econometrics course to be taken prior to ECON 496
  • ECON 396 must be taken prior to ECON 496 and 497.  ECON 496 and 497 must be taken in consecutive autumn and winter quarters.  Theses are due in May after taking ECON 497.
  • Students who complete these requirements will graduate with “Honors in Economics.” This is noted on your diploma and UW transcript.

University Honors and the College of Arts and Sciences Honors

The Economics Department participates in the University Honors and the College of Arts & Sciences Honors Program. The specific economics requirements for this program are listed above. Students who participate in this program must also complete the College Honors requirements and will then earn a Bachelor’s Degree “With College Honors in Economics.”

National Honor Society in Economics

Omicron Delta Epsilon (ODE), the national Economics Honor Society, recognizes distinguished scholastic achievement in economics. Eligible students will have earned a minimum of 20 upper-division (300- and 400-level) economics credits with a minimum GPA of 3.6, and have achieved a minimum overall UW GPA of 3.5. STAT 311 and other statistics courses are omitted from the **major GPA** calculation. Majors are automatically screened for eligibility and then invited to join each Spring.