A student and her faculty mentor smile for a photo at the 2017Medallion Ceremony.
Departmental Honors

What is Departmental Honors?

Departmental honors provides an opportunity for students to challenge themselves academically by engaging in advanced individual scholarly activity in their major. It is designated as a 499 class in a student's major, and the student works one-on-one with a faculty supervisor to undertake an honors project appropriate to the field.

The honors project looks different in every major. It might be a survey of consumers to evaluate attitudes regarding a certain marketing strategy. It might be a data analysis of the stomach content in hundreds of flounder in water with different salinity levels. It might be critically evaluating the message and narrative in a TV show and how it impacts viewers. It might be a literary analysis of modern or classical texts. It might be the production of a film, the writing of a manuscript, or the showcase of an art exhibition.

Why Departmental Honors?

Departmental Honors is a key part of the University Honors curriculum. If you are part of the Honors College, it is the capstone experience to your story in Honors. But anyone with a 3.2 GPA can complete an honors project. What are the benefits, and why should you consider it?

  • Opportunity to pursue an independent research or creative scholarly project on any topic of your choice
  • Earn class credit in your major--complete those last 3 hours at the 400 level in order to graduate, and do it on your own terms
  • A 499 class fulfills your Explorations Beyond the Classroom (EBC) requirement for University Studies and also counts as Writing Intensive (WI) course
  • Completing a thesis will prepare you for grad school; not only will it make your application more competitive, but it will prepare you for graduate-level research
  • The unique Interdisciplinary Honors Project (HON 499) allows you to combine approaches and research from multiple disciplines, or work with a faculty mentor outside your major
  • Special honors designation on your transcript and diploma (University Honors with honors in [Major] for University Honors graduates and Honors in [Major] for Departmental Honors graduates)
  • Build a close relationship with your faculty mentor
  • Opportunities and financial support to present your research at academic conferences around the country
  • Fellowships and scholarships dedicated exclusively to undergraduate research
  • Some exceptional theses go on to get published in academic journals--an impressive professional credential
  • Prove to employers, mentors, or grad schools that you are well-equipped to take on advanced, independent projects--that you are a true self-starter
  • Learn more about yourself, about the research process, and about a topic that interests you 

View some of the past Departmental Honors papers here. 


Withdraw from your Departmental Honors Thesis >>

Click here to enroll in the Departmental Honors Canvas Group

**Note: the Canvas group is for informational purposes only; anyone can join; it is NOT how you register for Departmental Honors.