Departmental Honors Questions

These questions cover interactions with other programs, how the honors chairs think about substituting requirements, and what to do in special circumstances.


Can a gemstone project be an honors project?
No. (If there is computer science research that you alone do within the project, advised by CS faculty, you may use that as an honors project.)
Can a group project be an honors project?
Maybe; you will have to carve a component that is your own.
Can a project for industry or another department count?
Maybe, but your thesis still requires a CS faculty mentor.
Can an NSF REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) project count?
Yes, it counts toward the structured research requirement, even if off-site. You'll still need an honors thesis approved by a CS faculty mentor.
Can a graduate class I use for the BS/MS program count for honors?
Can my honors thesis be used as a master's thesis?
No. The BS/MS interaction is as follows. Your honors thesis must be submitted before you graduate with your BS, which you will do before the Master's. Ideally, you'll complete the honors thesis and oral defense before you've completed six 400- or graduate-level classes.

A Master's thesis should include substantially more content than an honors thesis. By completing the honors thesis early, there will be time for substantial further development to the idea or a completely different project.

It is the responsibility of the Master's thesis advisor to determine that substantial additional work was completed. Since BS/MS students must complete 6 credits of 799, the Master’s thesis should easily have much greater scope than the Honors thesis.


Can I take a graduate-level class instead of a 400-level "honors option" class?
Yes, in fact we strongly suggest you take graduate-level classes instead or honors-options 400s. You can count one MS-qualifying graduate-level class as an area requirement.
I just can't take 396H since it conflicts with another class I really need. Can I take something else?
Only if this a hardship two years in a row. Convince the honors chairs. We'd like to know what classes we have to avoid conflicts with too. You may be welcome to take the graduate version of the 396 class or attend a research group seminar regularly instead.

What if?

What if my grades falter senior year and I no longer qualify?
Then you had all the experience and benefits except for an annotation on your transcript. If you have already completed your honors thesis and you've been too ambitious in course selection, you may petition for an exception. If you have not completed your honors thesis, it may be better for you to focus on improving your grades.
What if I take an honors course but I'd rather be in a non-honors course?
Do your best. The courses may not share enough graded
work to allow any transfer.
What if I can't find an advisor?
Talk to the honors chairs, your academic advisors in the undergraduate
office, or your favorite faculty.
What if I'm a computer engineering major?
You can take CS honors classes if you like. ECE has its own honors program that you may be able to enroll in. You may also be able to change your major.


Read up about requirements and projects elsewhere on this site, or apply.