Graduation with Distinction

Due to COVID-19 the deadlines have been extended one week for the following (new dates listed):

  • Applications for GWD - March 30
  • Hold your presentation - April 22
  • Turn in your final paper - April 29

Graduation with Distinction

A student who is qualified to graduate with distinction may apply to the DUS. (See Duke University Bulletin.) Accepted candidates then complete a substantial project, suitably documented, or a distinguished paper, which the student defends in an oral examination before a committee of three faculty members. 

You must apply for Graduation with Distinction by March 30, 2020. Your presentation must be held by April 22, 2020 one week before the last day of classes.

Your final paper, after your presentation and changes made that were requested by your committee,  must be submitted to by the last day of classes, April 22, 2020.


  • Candidates must have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher in computer science courses numbered above 200.
  • Candidates must complete a project, representing at least one year's work and including at least one independent study, under the guidance of a faculty member in computer science who oversees and endorses the project.
  • The project should represent a significant intellectual endeavor including the writing of a report.
  • A presentation of the project must be made to a committee of three faculty members, two of whom will normally be from computer science, although for interdisciplinary projects this restriction can be relaxed.
  • Graduation with high or highest distinction is awarded at the discretion of a faculty committee in consultation with the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
  • Graduation with high or highest distinction is typically awarded for projects that are of publishable quality. Candidates should have a grade point average of 3.5 or higher in those courses related to the area of research; these courses must include at least one course above 400.

Written Document to Accompany Presentation

The Document

Graduation with distinction requires a written document to accompany the presentation that is required by Duke.

  • The written document must be given (in perhaps a draft form) to the committee prior to the presentation.
  • The written document must have a substantial bibliography of related work.
  • The document must have a chapter/section on related work.
  • The document must convey the results and methodology of the project.
  • There are no length requirements, however the document should convey both the depth and breadth of the contributions and project, which must represent at least two semesters of work.

Theses from Previous Semesters

The theses linked below are provided as examples of the style, organization, and content of a report submitted as part of the requirements for graduation with distinction. Other than the guidelines above, your faculty committee will determine the exact requirements of your document. Other reports may differ substantially from the ones below.

Research Posters

You are expected to submit your research to the Annual CS Poster Showcase.

See Guidelines for Research Posters from the Undergraduate Research Support Office.


Apply Here

Awardees: Alumni who Graduated with Distinction
Duke Computer Science students who graduated with undergraduate awards and distinction.