An Independent Research project may be considered for departmental honors if it demonstrates superior quality of work. Your advisor can nominate your thesis for Honors consideration at the end of the fall semester of your senior year based on your capstone research project. To be considered for Honors, you must have a cumulative GPA across the College of 3.5. Only students doing independent research for capstone can be considered for Honors (i.e., either GEOS 550 or 560). The faculty other than the thesis supervisor will decide if the quality of your research and academic record meet the standard for Honors. You can do more independent research in the spring of your senior year up to 2.0 credits of capstone independent research (i.e., 0.5 in JR spring, 0.5-1.0 in SR fall, and 0.5-1.0 additional credit in the SR spring should the student elect to continue). Thus you can take a maximum of 1 credit of independent research per semester in your senior year. Regardless if your research continues into the spring of your senior year, the Honors decision is based on your GPA and thesis at the end of the fall semester of your senior year.
A first draft of the paper should be turned in to your advisor four weeks before the end of classes to allow revisions so that a final draft will be ready for delivery to the research advisor and the other faculty by the last day of classes. Final revisions to the written thesis are made based on the comments of the readers. The oral defense will be scheduled for the spring semester of your senior year. Defenses are open to other majors, interested friends, faculty, and other guests. After the defense, the faculty (without the research advisor) will vote in private, based on careful consideration of the quality of the paper and defense, and of the academic maturity of the student during the project year. Students who successfully complete the defense will be named in the Commencement Program as having achieved honors.
All the previous student theses are bound and shelved in the department reading room/library (K128). Those that received honors have the designation “h” after the year (e.g., 1957h) on the spine.