Honors Directed Studies
Honors 4023: Directed Studies: exploring independently under the guidance of a faculty member
What would you like to study for an entire semester? An Honors Directed Study might be for you.
The Honors Charter provides that a student who is unable to take two Honors Colloquia (HON 4010) in his or her proposed curriculum may substitute an Honors 4023: Directed Studies (for 3 credit hours) for one colloquium. An Honors Directed Study is intended to help the Honors student (usually in the junior or senior year) explore an intellectual pursuit not available through the regular university course offerings; and, through independent study, to help the student develop that area in more depth or breadth.
If you plan to apply for fellowships and graduate school, remember that applications (and GRE scores) should normally be completed by the end of October (or sometimes earlier) in the senior year. Thus, the mentor supervising a Directed Studies project in fall or spring of the student's senior year will not usually be able to evaluate a completed project as part of a letter of recommendation.
To initiate a Directed Studies project proposal, first determine that the proposed course of study will not duplicate to a large degree material available in an existing course. Check with the Honors director as early as possible to alert her that you are interested in submitting a proposal--preferably a full semester in advance (for example, in January if you wish to propose the project for September). Next, prepare a preliminary written draft of the proposal, including 1-12 below, and take it to an appropriate professor (that is, one who has specialized academic expertise in the project area and is willing to direct it). Together, the student and professor will negotiate the terms of the proposed Directed Study in written form, including 1-14 below.
- The student's name and T number;
- A title for the proposed project;
- The date by which the project will be completed (before the first day of exams during the given semester);
- The name of the course (HON 4023) and the mentor;
- A description of the proposed project in a paragraph or two;
- Why this project is important to the student's development or curriculum;
- What textbooks or other materials will be used;
- How many meetings per week with the mentor are planned, and what role the mentor is to take with the project;
- What plan of action the proposed project will take (how the student will go about accomplishing the project);
- What kind of summary project will result (term paper, research project report, etc.);
- How the grade will be determined;
- What sort of exam will be given (oral, essay, objective, closed book, etc.);
- The signatures of the student and professor, and a signature line for the Honors Director; and
- The date of the signing.
The student should take the signed proposal to the Director of the Honors Program for approval, typically before the end of the semester prior to beginning the work. If the proposal is approved and the project completed successfully, the mentor will turn in a grade to the Director, who will transmit it to Records and ensure that it is entered as HON 4023.
All Directed Studies Proposals should be submitted as early in the previous semester as possible. A limited number of openings are available.
A copy of the term paper, research project report, or final written exam (or other appropriate representation of closure), together with the mentor's final evaluative comments, must be turned in to the Honors office before the first day of exams for the semester. These materials will be placed in the student's Honors portfolio.