Double Majors

Graduation with Distinction - Double Honors for a Single Thesis Written for Two Separate Departments/Programs

In support of interdisciplinary efforts at Duke, the Curriculum Committee approved in Fall 2002 an option to permit a student to pursue double honors for a single thesis written for two separate departments or programs, an option distinct from that of completing two entirely separate theses and earning honors in each. In doing so, the Committee established certain guidelines that all departments/programs choosing to offer the double honors option must use. Students earning double honors will have both distinctions indicated on their transcript and have their names cited in both departments’/programs’ lists in the Commencement program. Whether or not to include this option as part of their Graduation with Distinction program rests with the individual academic departments and programs. 

In order for a student to pursue double honors, the following guidelines must be met:

  • The student must propose a double-thesis in advance to both departments/programs and seek their approval together. A student may not seek the approval of a second department or program AFTER already proposing a thesis in one department/program and beginning work on it.
  • To qualify as a legitimate double-thesis, it must clearly draw on advising from and work done for both departments/programs. Specifically, the student must formulate two separate committees; only one member may be on both committees (the thesis advisor). The student must take at least one thesis-related course from each department involved, as determined by each department (e.g., thesis seminar or independent study). A double-thesis, therefore, should benefit clearly from its basis in two different departments/ programs, exemplifying a strong cross-disciplinary quality.
  • Evaluation of the honors thesis must be done separately by the two committees.  This means in practice that the committees may evaluate the thesis differently according to their own standards. It would be possible for such a thesis to receive highest honors from one committee and honors from the other; or honors from one, and no honors from the other. This separate evaluation process would insure that the thesis legitimately satisfies the requirements and standards of two separate departments/programs.
  • Students are eligible for double honors for a single thesis only if they are majoring in both departments. Students may not use the Graduation with Distinction outside the major to earn double honors for a single thesis.

Download Double Honors Document (doc - 47 KB)