Fisher Family CDDRL Honors Program

Students at commencement

Fisher Family CDDRL Honors Program

About the Undergraduate Honors Program

The Fisher Family CDDRL Honors Program aims to provide an opportunity for eligible seniors focusing on democracy, economic development, and rule of law subjects in any university department to earn honors in democracy, development, and rule of law (DDRL). CDDRL seeks a diverse group of undergraduate majors for the program from any department or interdisciplinary program interested in writing their senior theses on a subject touching upon DDRL with a global impact. Students will work to complete their thesis under the guidance and consultation of CDDRL faculty but may have a primary thesis advisor from their own department. Upon fulfilling individual department course requirements and completing the honors program, the student will graduate in his/her major with a certificate of honors in Democracy, Development, and Rule of Law.

CDDRL Honors Thesis

Read honors theses from alumni of CDDRL's Honors program

Components of the Program
  • Components of the Program
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Components of the Program

  1. Students apply to the program in the winter quarter of their junior year. Students will be notified of acceptance to the program before spring break.
  2. Students accepted into the program will take a 3-unit CDDRL research seminar in the spring quarter of their junior year. This course will be taught by CDDRL affiliated faculty on a rotating basis. The goal of the seminar is to expose students to different approaches to research, help them to refine their theses topics, and produce a prospectus that asks a clear question, demonstrates familiarity with some of the existing approaches to the question, and then proposes a research design to begin answering the question.
  3. Students will be encouraged to do fieldwork or other forms of original research over the summer prior to their senior year. Some of them may also undertake internships in CDDRL programs like our Summer Fellows Program on Democracy and Development (for development practitioners from around the world and held at CDDRL every summer); or other international internships offered through the Haas Center for Public Service.
  4. CDDRL will hold a CDDRL Honors College every September before fall quarter classes begin. The Honors College will take place in Washington, DC, in order to expose the students directly to the broader development policy community and is fully funded by CDDRL. More information is forthcoming about exact dates.
  5. Students will be required to take POLISCI/INTNLREL 114D, Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, in the fall quarter of their senior years (if they have not taken it previously). This is a 5-unit course.
  6. In the fall and winter quarters of their senior year, the students will be required to participate in the CDDRL honors research workshop with the faculty leader of the program. They may claim 1 to 3 units each quarter for this component of our program. Students will briefly present their thesis research to date and then respond to questions from the group regarding the project and areas where it might be improved. We have found this to be an effective way to encourage students to stick to a deadline and to stimulate them to reconsider aspects of their project once they present it in front of a small audience and receive feedback.
  7. The students will complete their thesis projects no later than the first week of May of their senior year (if they wish to be considered for an award). They will submit their theses for honors to the faculty committee at CDDRL and their respective advisors. They will present their finished work to the CDDRL community at that time.
  8. Upon graduation, students will graduate from their respective departments and receive honors in Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law. CDDRL will also offer an annual prize to the author of the best thesis in the CDDRL program.




Online applications for the 2022-23 academic year are now closed.  Please check back in September 2022 for 2023-2024 application dates.  


Contact Us

Kristin Chandler, Fellowship Coordinator

Encina Hall
616 Jane Stanford Way
Stanford, CA 94305

650-497-1271 |