Honors Research

Students wishing to pursue research honors will work with the Associate Provost's office and the chosen academic unit. Examples of honors projects from previous years can be found under individual unit pages in Digital Commons. Each unit will have different criteria for projects - be sure to begin work with a project advisor as soon as possible. 


Students having a cumulative grade average of 3.25 overall and 3.50 in their declared major or in another field in which they have completed six courses are eligible to seek research honors during their senior year. 

Declaration of Intent to Seek Honors

Eligible students are encouraged to begin exploratory work that may lead to a research honors project in the spring of the junior year.  Those students who decide to seek research honors must declare their intent to do so before initiating their project, or as soon thereafter as possible. The deadline for declaration of intent is October 1 of the senior year.

Declaration of intent is accomplished through completing and filing a Research Honors Record. This form is available through the office of the Associate Provost (Holmes Hall 211). Completion of the form involves identifying a Project Advisor and a Project Hearing Committee, and submitting a proposal, including a “working title”, no more than one page in length describing the nature of the project.

Project Advisor  

The student seeking research honors must secure the cooperation of a faculty advisor in the field in which the research project is to be completed. The advisor will be responsible for evaluating and aiding in the direction of the proposed work, including any independent study taken for credit in connection with the project. The advisor will also act as convener of the student’s Honors Project Hearing Committee.

Project Hearing Committee  

In consultation with the Project Advisor, the candidate will identify a Hearing Committee composed of three faculty members in addition to the Project Advisor. One of these faculty members must be from a field different from that in which the work will be done. The faculty members appointed to the hearing committee must meet with the approval of the candidate, and the candidate must obtain their consent to participate. Approval and consent are indicated by each party initialing the Research Honors Record appropriately.

Research Honors Content  

The form of the research honors project will vary from discipline to discipline. As a general rule, the research should be consistent with the kind of scholarly projects undertaken by professionals within the field in which the project is to be done. The best source of advice as to the appropriateness of the project would be the Project Advisor and members of the Hearing Committee.


A proposal describing the project must be submitted as an attachment to the Research Honors Record. The proposal need not be long - keep it under one page. The proposal should include a working title for your project, and at least one paragraph describing the problem you will be pursuing in your project. Remember, you are only at the proposal stage. Once begun, projects often develop and move in unanticipated directions. The proposal is meant to demonstrate that you have already thought carefully about your honors research project. It is not meant to unduly limit or constrain the actual project as it unfolds. Changes in the direction or scope of your project should be discussed with and approved by your Project Advisor.

Hearing Process and Decision

It is the candidate’s responsibility to set up the meeting with the Hearing Committee. The Project Advisor usually assists in these arrangements. Candidates should pick up the Research Honors Record from the Associate Provost’s office prior to the hearing, and bring it to the hearing with them. Candidates for honors must present documentary results of their work to their Hearing Committees at least one week prior to the agreed-upon date of the hearing. Hearing Committees normally require a candidate to give an oral presentation in defense of the project. This hearing must be completed no later than Friday of the last week in which classes are held.

In a closed session following the hearing, the committee members shall consider the merits of the completed project and any associated presentation, and decide by a majority vote (3 to 1 is required for positive decision) whether or not to grant the designation “Research Honors in (field).”

Decisions regarding research honors must be reached and a signed Research Honors Record submitted to the Associate Provost prior to 4:30 p.m. on Friday of the last week in which classes are held. At this time a final copy of the honors paper or document should be submitted to the Associate Provost for the University’s permanent records. At this time, you will be asked to sign a release so that your paper can be placed in the library. 

Credit and Grades for Research Study

Students may receive credit and grades for work done in connection with projects submitted for Research Honors consideration. This is done by registering for appropriate independent study or independent project courses under the direction of the Project Advisor. The Project Advisor alone is responsible for assigning grades for this work, and decisions regarding Honors shall not affect the grading process.