Senior Honors Program, General Information
The Dietrich College Senior Honors Program was begun in 1982 as an opportunity for the college's most accomplished and promising seniors to work independently, with the close guidance of a faculty member, in the design and completion of a year-long scholarly or creative project. The "Honors Program experience" was conceived as an integrative and particularly fulfilling capstone for student participants, as well as a vehicle for creating a distinguished scholarly and creative undergraduate student community. In addition to the experiences that this provides for senior participants, the program also provides an attractive academic goal for Dietrich College "sub-seniors."
Project topics have included traditional research studies, analytical syntheses of research trends in a discipline, or such creative works as poetry or essay collections centered on one or more themes, and full-length novels. The steady increase in the program's size to its current level (approximately 30-40 students per year) and the broad diversity of topics pursued by Honors participants across all Dietrich College departments testify to the program's popularity and impact in the college.
Eligibility to enter the program is based on three criteria:
interested student meeting the above criteria is encouraged to submit
an application (see application deadline discussion below). Applications
require a one-paragraph description of the area of research or creative
activity that the applicant intends to pursue and, if known, what the
actual thesis topic would be. Applicants must discuss this proposed project
with the faculty member who would act as thesis advisor, and obtain his/her
approval on the application form. Successful applicants are then urged
to begin work immediately with faculty advisors to develop a project bibliography,
reading list, and any other related activities that might help "jump start"
A number of annual events are affiliated with the Honors Program. In the fall, Dietrich College hosts a reception for Senior Honors students and their advisors. In late spring, Honors Program students are required to fulfill a presentation requirement by participating in the university's Undergraduate Research Symposium. The Dietrich College Honors Convocation is held Saturday morning of Commencement weekend.
A word about topics: while most students choose a topic within their major, it is also acceptable to propose a topic that falls outside one's major. Student should be aware that faculty who agree to supervise these projects hold their students to very high standards, and would assume that (regardless of major) students have a sufficiently extensive background to pursue the topic proposed. Therefore, students proposing a topic outside of their major should be prepared to demonstrate the extent of that background when approaching prospective faculty advisors.
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