Honors Program

Culminating Experience Goals & Guidelines



  1. An Honors culminating experience allows a student to complete a substantial project which applies the knowledge gained in the major(s); demonstrates a practical command of research, creative, or performance techniques; writing ability;, and shows the student's ability to work independently.
  2. The culminating experience should serve as a useful transition to graduate study or as the culmination of work in the major(s) and in the Honors Program. Although most students complete the Honors culminating experience during the senior year, some juniors are advised to complete the project during that year.


  1. The Honors culminating experience should examine a significant problem in the theory, research, or practice of the major discipline(s). When appropriate the collection and interpretation of data should be included. The Honors culminating experience may consist of an original research project; creative work or a performance accompanied by supporting written and visual documentation; or a critical literature review.
  2. The student will select the topic of the project in consultation with a faculty member who is both familiar with the topic in question and agrees to direct the project through completion. There is a strong preference that the project director should be a tenured or tenure track faculty member.  However, the Honors Director may approve a non-tenure track faculty member to oversee a culminating project when such an arrangement is in the best interest of the student. The student and director will then decide on the remainder of the Honors project committee, which will usually consist of at least two faculty members. In some cases, a non-faculty member, if approved by the thesis director in consultation with the Honors Program director, may serve as a committee member. The student, director, and committee members will work together throughout the duration of the project. The director will assign the course grade in consultation with the other committee members.
  3. The responsibility of the project director is to give guidance to the student during the semester and provide the student with a timeline for completion with specific deadlines and penalties for missed deadlines. The deadlines should require that the student circulate a draft of the written component of the Honors culminating experience to the project director and committee members one month before the project is due. This will allow ample time for revisions. The project director will provide detailed critiques throughout the project and will convene with the two committee members and the student occasionally to report progress.
  4. The student will submit an Honors Program Culminating Experience Description form signed by the appropriate parties. It should be received by the Honors Program Director the semester prior to the semester in which the project is to be completed. The form states the date it is due and should be filled out by the student in consultation with the project director.
  5. To receive credit for the Honors culminating experience, the student will register for the appropriate course in the major discipline or for HONR 450H for 3 credit hours during the semester in which the project is completed. The student will also enroll in HONR 451H Honors Thesis Symposium for 1 credit hour while completing their honors culminating experience.
  6. A project which represents honors level work will receive a grade of B or better in order to count towards the completion of an Honors Program Degree.
  7. For projects that culminate in a research-based thesis, the suggested length is 25 to 50 pages, including prefatory material and documentation. For projects that culminate in creative work(s) or a performance, the length of the supporting written documentation is determined by the project director after conferring with the committee members. All written components of the Honors culminating experience must be typed, 12 pt. font, double-spaced with 1-1/2 inch margins on the left, top and bottom, and with 1 inch margins on the right. The cover page should include the title of the project and the student's name centered in the top 1/3 of the page and spaces for the director and two committee members to sign in the bottom 1/3 of the page. The students will be given instructions on formatting in HONR 451H.
  8. One copy of the written component of the honors culminating experience is due to the Honors Program Director as an electronic submission on the last Monday of classes during the semester in which the project is completed. The Honors Program will have the document bound.  Many departments and project directors request digital or hard copies, but that is optional.
  9. Documentation and attribution should follow APA guidelines, MLA guidelines, or specific guidelines determined by the project director. The written component of the honors culminating experience should include a thorough review of the appropriate literature, an abstract or synopsis of the project, a bibliography, and complete references.