Man presenting thesis
Dan King researched The Impacts of Immigration Policy on the American Agricultural Industry for his Honors Thesis.

Students who successfully complete an honors thesis can graduate with distinction or highest distinction. Graduating with distinction is among the highest honors that Duke bestows on its undergraduates.

The honors program is a two-semester sequence, most commonly completed in spring of junior year through fall of senior year (PUBPOL 495S and PUBPOL 496S).

To qualify for the honors program, a student must have a 3.4 GPA* in the following core courses: 

  • PUBPOL 155
  • PUBPOL 301
  • PUBPOL 302/GLHLTH 210
  • PUBPOL 303

* Beginning with the class of 2026, the GPA cutoff to qualify for the honors program will be a 3.7.

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Apply to the Honors Program

Best Honors Theses


Best Honors Thesis 2022

Arya Patel won the 2022 Best Honors Thesis award. Arya embedded herself with a grassroots organization in India to conduct interviews with migrant women about barriers to access for relief related to COVID-19. 

Explore more honors theses

Best Honors Thesis 2023

Mary Monti won 2023 Best Honors Thesis for her work looking into the regional differences in high school textbooks to assess how different perspectives  might help shape different political beliefs and ideologies. 

Read about Mary's experience
Woman smiling at camera
Christina Gibson-Davis, Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy



E-mail Christina Gibson-Davis

Undergraduate Handbook

Get information about the honors program and more - review the Undergraduate Handbook. 

The Honors Thesis

One Student's Story

Ysanne Spence PPS'22 talks about what writing an honors thesis has meant to her.