Guidelines for Faculty

Eligibility and Registration

Students who are seniors in the Honors College are required to become candidates for departmental honors in order to remain in the College; all students, whether or not they are in the Honors College, are eligible, provided they have a 3.0 overall grade point average, with a 3.2 in the department in which they intend to become a candidate. Any uncertainty about a student's eligibility should be resolved by the department chairperson.

At the beginning of the semester, the chairperson of UHTC (University Honors Thesis Committee) sends a letter to all department chairpersons asking for names, mailing addresses and email addresses, and student ID numbers of candidates for departmental honors; theses titles; and the names of theses sponsors. After receiving this information from department chairpersons, the UHTC chairperson sends a letter to each candidate, explaining the next steps that need to be taken. The thesis sponsor receives a copy of this letter and the calendar of deadlines.

The first semester, with permission of the relevant dean, the student enrolls in HON 494, Honors Prospectus; the second semester, the student registers for HON 495, Departmental Honors, provided that the honors prospectus was accepted by the reader. The student registers for the 495 course with the permission of the chairperson of the University Honors Committee.

At the beginning of the semester that the student starts the thesis prospectus, the student prints the HON 494 application (HON 494 Application) The student and his/her thesis advisor should meet on the first or second day of classes to discuss filling out this application, which the thesis advisor must sign. The chairperson of the department also signs, indicating that the department has accepted the student as a candidate for departmental honors. This form is due at the end of the add-drop period in the office of the appropriate dean. Once approved, the student receives a revised schedule adding three credits for Honors prospectus.

Students should select faculty advisers with whom they can work comfortably, and who have general expertise in the area of the student's topic. It is a good idea for students to select their sponsors the semester before they submit their prospectuses. Sponsors receive one-half teaching credit for each of the two semesters.


The honors prospectus is due in late October in the fall semester and in late March in the spring semester to be submitted to the chairperson of the UHTC. Most prospectuses are six to 10 pages long, and contain a fairly complete description of the student's project, including background literature that forms the context of the study, a statement of purpose or hypotheses, methodology, the nature of the evidence to be used, the limits of the study, and its significance.

The prospectus should be drafted by the student, reviewed carefully by the advisor, and revised, if necessary, before it is submitted to the chairperson of the UHTC. If the student is in the Honors College, please be sure that the student submits a second copy to the director of the Honors College (currently Dr. Terese Gemme, Honors College Director/Music Department). The UHTC chairperson sends the prospectus to the faculty member (the university reader) with knowledge of the appropriate field; that person has 10 days to make a decision to approve the prospectus, to ask for revisions, or to reject the proposal. All communication between that faculty reader and the student are sent through the UHTC chairperson to the student's sponsor.


Once accepted as a candidate, with an approved prospectus, the student should register for Honors 495. The permission for on-line registration is given by the UHTC chairperson only, not the department chairperson.

The student should work steadily on research and writing in order to complete the thesis by the March or November deadline. The student should be urged to submit a complete draft to the University reader, second reader, and other readers about a month before the deadline in order to receive critical comments from them and be able to revise or correct the thesis as indicated.


When the thesis is complete, the student distributes copies to the Examining Committee: the advisor, the University reader, who approved the prospectus for the University Honors Committee, the second reader and a representative for the department, and (if needed) a representative from the Honors College. One member of the Examining Committee may represent two of these categories, but the committee must have at least three members.

The student is responsible for arranging a time and a place for the oral exam (approximately one hour long) before the Examining Committee. At the end of the oral exam, the committee's vote decides whether the student receives departmental honors. In order to receive the departmental honors the student must receive at least a "B" grade from the Examining Committee. The student must prepare two copies of the Thesis Signature Sheet, this will enable the student to receive his/her diploma at the next Honors Convocation following the oral exam. The date of the Honors Convocation is announced in the Spring Semester Schedule of Classes. The thesis advisor submits a grade to the registrar.  After successfully defending their thesis, students submit an unbound copy of the thesis to Elspeth McCormack, Honors College, ENB225.

Please direct all questions regarding problems unforeseen here to Dr. Sandra Bulmer, Chair, University Honors Thesis Committee; Public Health, OB1 101, Phone: (203) 392-6993;