By a student’s junior or senior year, they will be working towards completing a major or majors and will have identified particular areas of intellectual curiosity and excitement through their coursework. Now is the time to think about designing and pursuing an Honors Independent Project.

The Honors Program provides guidance and mentorship to students as they pursue an Honors Independent Project. Students first enroll in an Honors research and inquiry seminar (0.25 units), the semester preceding their Honors Independent Project to develop a plan for their project. Then, while honors students pursue their Honors Independent Project (490 H), they will also enroll in the Honors Capstone Seminar (0.25 units). The semester in which a student completes their Honors Independent Project would typically be during the fall or spring semester of a student’s senior year, but the timing can be flexible to meet the needs of each student.

Honors research and inquiry (0.25 units)

This course is the launching point for senior honors projects. In this course, students will first identify an area of inquiry and a faculty member who will serve as their honors research mentor. Students will then learn about the process of formulating a research thesis and/or defining a creative project, and how to conduct relevant background research in different disciplines. The seminar will culminate in an honors project proposal, developed in collaboration with a student’s thesis mentor and will include peer-review from fellow honors students in the course.

Honors Independent Study (1 unit, 490H)

In this course, students will conduct a substantial, independently-conceived and executed  research or creative project that is supervised by a research mentor. A written thesis or other appropriate reflective or creative piece that summarizes the project will be completed. This piece will be used by the Examining Committee to assess the quality and rigor and appropriateness of the independent honors project for earning the designation of Graduation with Honors.

Honors capstone course (0.25 units)

This course is taken in the same semester as the honors project (490H). Students will meet weekly to share their progress and their scholarly work with fellow honors students. This course allows students to practice their oral and written communication skills about their scholarly or creative works to a diverse audience without detailed knowledge of their discipline. The course also provides opportunities for students to practice scholarly discourse across disciplinary boundaries.