Research Honors

Guided by a faculty mentor, qualified seniors may conduct an independent project leading to a scholarly/artistic product. Successful review by a faculty committee leads to Research Honors recognition at graduation.

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 who have a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher, meet the first requirement for qualifying for Research Honors. If you are interested in applying for Research Honors, you must also have a 3.5 cumulative GPA in the field in which you want to pursue your research. To check if you meet the second criteria, please access your Degree Evaluation Report through myIWU. If you have questions on how to determine your cumulative GPA, please contact Tameka Myers (

In addition, students must have completed six courses in the field in which they are pursuing their Research Honors. To be eligible, students must be currently enrolled in, or have completed these six courses, by the application deadline.

Students are limited to one Research Honors project.

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 their 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 the 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 done. 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.

Honors Project Hearing Committee

In consultation with the Project Advisor, the candidate will identify a Honors Project 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. Visiting faculty are eligible to serve as a member of the Hearing Committee. Adjuncts may serve as members of the Hearing Committee with approval from the Project Advisor.

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 Honors Project Hearing Committee.


A proposal describing the project must be submitted as an attachment to the Research Honors Record . The proposal should be one page or less. 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 Research Honors project. It is not meant to unduly limit or constrain the actual project as it unfolds. Once begun, however, 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 Honors Project Hearing Committee. The Project Advisor usually assists in these arrangements. Candidates should pick up the previously completed and filed 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 digital copy of the finalized honors paper or document should be submitted to the Associate Provost for the University’s permanent records, and  you will be asked to sign a release so that your paper can be archived 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.

Revised 10/04/21