Honors Directed Studies

Honors 4023: Directed Studies

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. This Directed Studies is intended to help the Honors student (usually in the junior or senior year) explore an intellectual area not available through the regular university course offerings; and, through independent study, to help him or her develop that area in more depth or breadth. If a junior or senior thesis option is not available to the student through his or her major department, then HON 4023 may be used as a thesis option.

If applying for fellowships, the student should remember that graduate school paperwork (and GRE scores) should normally be completed by the end of October of 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 in a position to evaluate a completed project in a recommendation for graduate school as he or she would be if the student completed the project in the junior year (or the summer following); whether doing the project in the junior or senior year is better for the individual student must be decided by the student.

To initiate a Directed Studies project proposal, the student should determine that the proposed course of study will not duplicate to a large degree material available in an existing course. Then he or she should prepare a preliminary written draft of the proposal, including 1-12 below, and take it to an appropriate professor (that is, one who has expertise in the project area and is willing to direct it). Together, the student and professor will negotiate a contract and put it in a written form including 1-14 below.

  1. The student's name and T number;
  2. A title for the proposed project;
  3. The date by which the project will be completed (before the first day of exams during the given semester);
  4. The name of the course (HON 4023) and the mentor;
  5. A description of the proposed project in a paragraph or two;
  6. Why this project is important to the student's development or curriculum;
  7. What textbooks or other materials will be used;
  8. How many meetings per week with the mentor are planned, and what role the mentor is to take with the project;
  9. What plan of action the proposed project will take (how the student will go about accomplishing the project);
  10. What kind of summary project will result (term paper, research project report, etc.);
  11. How the grade will be determined;
  12. What sort of exam will be given (oral, essay, objective, closed book, etc.);
  13. The signatures of the student and professor; and
  14. The date of the signing.

The student should take the signed proposal to the Director of the Honors Program for approval, normally in 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.

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 during the given semester. These materials will be placed in the student's Honors portfolio.