2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog

Departmental Honors

Students who complete and defend a departmental honors thesis are eligible for departmental honors. This honor is announced at commencement and is also recognized in the spring Academic Awards Assembly. Copies of all student theses are bound and housed in the College library.

Departmental honors require at least two semesters of research and writing resulting in a completed thesis that is approved by a three-member faculty committee after an oral examination. The departmental honors thesis may also consists of a creative project involving creative writing, art piece(s), music, video, digital media, etc.  If so, the creative product would be accompanied by a traditional research paper on a related topic, or a written reflection paper discussing the process of the artistic creation, how the person's work fits into its genre and related works, and what was learned during the process, including a bibliography.  Copies of the project or photographs, recordings, etc., of it would be stored in the Archives with the written reflection paper or research paper.  The student would work with his/her Committee Chair to plan the work schedule for the two or three semester span of the project, and to decide what criteria would be used for grading.

Please note that the Departmental Honors Thesis Project must be separate from a typical senior project, although it may use the senior project as a springboard.  The length, format, and grading will be determined with the faculty Committee Chair and presented in writing within one month of the beginning of the first semester in which the student is enrolled in their first honors thesis course.

Students seeking to receive this honor at commencement must also:

  1. Maintain a GPA of 3.00 for all college work and work done in their major. Upon recommendation of a department chair, seniors who do not meet this requirement may be permitted to engage in a study with the understanding that honors will not be recorded unless their cumulative quality point average is 3.00 by the time they graduate, or unless they achieve a 3.35 grade point average during their senior year.
  2. Secure the approval of the head of the department chosen for honors work and notify the Office of Academic Affairs of the intention to enroll in departmental honors two weeks after the first day of class of the fall semester of the senior year by filling the appropriate form with the Departmental Honors Coordinator. This program may be initiated only within the candidate's major field of study.
  3. Take at least two semesters of honors thesis credit. Students may begin honors research in the second semester of the junior year by taking HONR 389 Junior Departmental Honors Research. Seniors take HONR 489 Senior Honors Research and HONR 490 Departmental Honors Thesis. The Departmental Honors Thesis Project may be pursued for zero to two (0-2) credits per semester (two credits per semester is preferred). Under some circumstances when students will be away from campus for approved semester experiences, they may begin their Departmental Honors Project sequence a semester early. Expectations of these courses and further details are described in the “Instructions for Preparation of Departmental Honors Theses” available from the Departmental Honors Coordinator.
  4. Meet all deadlines. By April 1, senior candidates must submit a computer printed thesis on the topic assigned for study and investigation to their thesis committee. In early-to-mid April, students must appear before the committee for an oral examination. Final binding copies are due three weeks prior to graduation. Compliance with all deadlines allows thesis projects and honors to be listed in the Commencement program.

Students whose completed theses are approved by their committees later than the deadlines can have honors noted on the transcript only.