Research Honors

Individualized interdepartmental programs offers a research honors program. To be awarded a degree with research honors is the College’s way of acknowledging the achievements of truly outstanding students in each year’s graduating class.

Research honors requires substantial planning.

Criteria for Honors

Eligible students must apply to the individualized interdepartmental research honors program and receive an offer of acceptance from the Committee on Individualized Interdepartmental Programs (CIIP). 

The staff and faculty involved in the interdepartmental programs can assist students in the planning process, but students are responsible for knowing the requirements of the interdepartmental research honors program and adhering to all program deadlines.  Students are expected to have regular contact with their supervising faculty advisor, and to be proactive in alerting their faculty advisor to anticipated problems or concerns.

Honors Coursework

If accepted into the research honors program, students must complete a minimum of 12 credit hours beyond the interdepartmental major requirements.  Honors students must complete:

  • Four-credit independent study (I.S.) course in fall of senior year devoted to honors research (CASC 389H: Advanced IPA Senior Honors Research)
  • Four-credit I.S. course in spring of senior year devoted to thesis writing (CASC 393H: Advanced IPA Senior Honors Thesis)
  • Four-credit, advanced-level course or seminar that is related to the honors project
    This course is intended to provide a broader and deeper understanding of the area of the honors project, and is selected in consultation with their honors faculty advisor. This course should be taken senior year, preferably in the fall of senior year.

Note: Four-credit Independent Study (I.S.) Course Registration forms must be submitted online no later than the third week of each semester. Students cannot register for I.S. courses using UR Student. Interdepartmental programs strongly encourages students to submit their I.S. registration forms as early as possible.  While the I.S. registration form is an online form, adding the course is not an automated process.

Honors Faculty Advisor

The role of the faculty advisor is to assist the student in the development and fulfillment of their proposed research honors project.

The faculty advisor is selected by the student and reviewed by CIIP upon submission of the Research Honors Application - Part I (see below for program deadlines).

The honors faculty advisor is the main advisor and retains lead responsibility for supervising research and the thesis.

The faculty advisor must hold the rank of assistant professor or higher, and the faculty advisor should have a connection to the proposed research honors project.

The faculty advisor will be responsible for supervising the student and their independent research throughout the student's senior year (CASC 389H in the fall and CASC 393H in the spring). The faculty advisor will be listed as the course instructor for both CASC 389H and CASC 393H.

The faculty advisor, in consultation with the second reader, will determine if research honors should be awarded.

Honors Thesis Second Reader (Faculty)

The second reader is selected by both the student and the honors faculty advisor. CIIP reviews this information upon submission of the Research Honors Application - Part II (see below for program deadlines).

The second reader is another resource and support for the student. The general role of the second reader is to read the thesis for appropriate content, theory, and methodology.

The second reader must be a member of the full-time teaching faculty.

The faculty thesis advisor and the secondary reader may work together to develop expectations for how the second reader will be involved. These arrangements may vary.

Senior Thesis

The senior thesis is a focused and sustained scholarly project that offers a substantial critical analysis of a corpus of original research. The research may have begun in the student’s coursework, but it will be significantly enriched in breadth and depth during the first semester of independent study outlined above.

The thesis is not a paper and not an essay. Instead, it offers an original perspective, both critical and theoretical, on a well-defined topic. Researchers will begin with a hypothesis about the material, research it exhaustively, and write up their findings in a thesis that, ideally, could be publishable.

To graduate with honors, a student must write a thesis that is original, critical, and analytical. The thesis must engage with existing research in the field and must be carefully argued and well written. Because writing a thesis involves incorporating advisors’ comments along the way, students will be in continued contact with their faculty advisor and carefully consider and integrate their suggestions.

Each thesis is presented in a format that is appropriate for the discipline. Most honors theses are about 50 pages in length. 

Interdepartmental Research Honors Program Deadlines

Research Honors Application - Part I (August 11, 2021)

The Committee on Individualized Interdepartmental Programs (CIIP) will evaluate the applications for Research Honors and may approve them, disapprove them, or approve them subject to specific modifications ad recommendations.

Once the application has been reviewed and approved by CIIP, students will receive written notification (via e-mail) of their acceptance into the IPA Research Honors program. 

Research Honors Application - Part II(November 1, 2021)

This information will be reviewed by CIIP.

Final Thesis Deadline (April 15, 2022) 

The final thesis must be submitted to the faculty advisor and the second reader no later than four Fridays before commencement. For the 2021-2022 academic year, commencement weekend begins Friday, May 13, 2022. For spring 2022, the IPA Research Honors thesis submission deadline is: April 15, 2022.

Research Honors Report form (May 6, 2022) 

The Research Honors Report form must be submitted to the Multidisciplinary Studies Center (MSC). Students are responsible for providing the form to their faculty advisor. The honors faculty advisor should submit this form directly to the MSC.