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Departmental Honors

Policy statement

Most departments and programs in the College of Arts and Sciences offer departmental honors programs for outstanding students who have the opportunity to take advanced seminars as well as pursue independent study and research. Departmental honors programs vary among departments; they may include comprehensive exams theses research projects and creative endeavors.

Honors programs may require:

  • Participation in some phase of honors coursework (seminars tutorials and courses of independent study) each semester of the last two years. 
  • An independent project of research study or creative achievement culminating in a paper laboratory problem field research problem or creative effort.
  • A comprehensive examination given in the last semester of the senior year covering the work of the concentration group. It may be oral written or both as the department desires. One faculty member outside the student’s major field is always asked to participate. 

Students must have a minimum College GPA of 3.300 and the approval of the department chairperson or departmental honors committee for admission and they must maintain this minimum average to graduate with honors. A potential candidate for honors should consult as soon as possible with the departmental honors advisor or the chairperson of the department about requirements. Students wishing to earn honors in two different departments must complete a distinct body of work for each honors notation.

Honors work is often done under the course numbers 399 for juniors and 499 for seniors. The number of credit hours earned under these two course numbers is determined by the departmental honors committee but it normally should not exceed a maximum total of 15 credit hours.

  • 2021-05-01: Revised policy language for clarity, particularly that departmental honors can only be earned in conjunction with a major.
  • 2018-05-01: Revised policy language for clarity.

About this policy

Policy ID:

Academic Opportunities and Distinctions

Version Date: