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Honors Projects: Start Here

So, you want to do an Honors project. Excellent choice! Many students find that completing an Honors project is one of the most rewarding experiences of their undergraduate career. But - Honors Projects are ambitious undertakings, and there are some things you should consider before you start. Note that the Undergraduate Catalog dictates the rules and procedures that structure the program.

Make sure you qualify

Not everyone is eligible to do an Honors project. You can't register for Honors 495 yourself. Administrators within the Charles Center will provide you with your registration instructions once your application is approved. Honors projects are done at the end of your undergraduate career. You will work on the project over your senior year. You may not apply for the program until the second semester of your junior year.

In order to be allowed to register for Honors 495 you must have at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average by the end of your junior year or a 3.0 for your junior year alone. That is a minimum. Check with the department or program: some have stricter requirements.

You don't qualify for the Honors program? We know you're disappointed, but there are other options. You could do an independent study project, which only lasts one semester. Or, you can do an internship for academic credit and get some off-campus experience.

Know what you want to investigate/ Find a project advisor

The application form for the Honors Program requires a signature from a professor who agrees to supervise your project. Your Honors advisor will serve as your mentor throughout the project and will be responsible for your final grade (note that the awarding of Honors and the level of Honors is done by your examining committee). You need to know what topic you want to research so you can approach appropriate faculty with that request.

You don't have to have a complete plan at this point - your project advisor will help with that. But you need to know what you want to explore so you know who to ask for help.

If you already know what topic you want to explore, approach faculty who are doing work related to it and ask if they will serve as your advisor. It's a good idea to have two or three people in mind, as not everyone's schedule can accommodate an Honors student researcher.

If you don't know what topic you want to explore, go talk to people. Talk informally to faculty teaching courses you enjoy, other students who are already working on their project, or your major advisor. You want a topic that is suitable for your research skills and understanding of the subject matter. Remember that this is a subject that you will live with for an entire academic year, so it should be in an area that you find stimulating.

Apply for admission to Honors

Deadline: Applications are due by noon on the first day of class in the semester you will begin work on your Honors project. Departments or programs may have earlier deadlines or additional requirements for admission to Honors - check with your Honors advisor and/or department for details.

The Application for Admission to Honors form requires electronic signatures from you and your Honors advisor. After the Charles Center confirms your eligibility for the Honors program, they will send a list of applicants to department chairs and program directors for final approval.

Application for Honors (495/496)

The earlier you complete the application, the better.

  • Applications submitted in mid-February, along with more detailed plans for the project, are eligible to apply for an Honors Fellowship, which provides funds for research conducted the summer before the project officially starts.
  • Applications submitted by the last day of classes in May will be processed over the summer and you can register for Honors 495 during open enrollment.
  • Applications submitted on the first day of class in the fall will be processed during add/drop - which might effect your other course choices.