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College Honors Program

Senior Projects: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Senior Honors Project?
It’s the capstone experience in the College Honors Program curriculum.

What are the options that I have in doing the Senior Honors Project?
There are three options available to meet the Senior Honors Project requirement:
  • Senior Honors Seminar  (HONR 497)
  • Departmental Honors or Department Project
  • HONR Senior Honors Project  (HONR 498, HONR 499)


What is involved in each of these options?

HONR Senior Honors Project (HONR 498, 499 - 2 semesters)
This two semester project can take a variety of forms, including an interdisciplinary thesis, creative arts project, or service learning project.  This option is designed for students who wish do something different– i.e., creative, unique, or wish to pursue a project that is not within their major field of study.

* Students who choose this option must submit a project application and proposal to the CHP for approval.

Department Honors or Department Project (2 semesters)
Many departments – for example, Political Science, English, Philosophy, Chemistry, etc. – have major honors opportunities, which will fulfill the requirement for the CHP Senior Honors Project without any additional work.  Some majors do not offer Departmental Honors, but rather departmental projects, such as the Senior Project required of Engineering majors, which can be used to meet the CHP Senior Honors Project. 

* Students who choose this option must submit a project application and proposal to the CHP for approval.  Students may submit the same proposal to the CHP which was submitted to their department.

Senior Honors Seminar (HONR 497 - 1 semester)
This one semester, 3 credit course, is offered both in the fall and spring semesters. This class is an interdisciplinary seminar with a thematic focus that changes depending on the professor who is teaching the course.  The course involves reading, discussion, and a written research paper.

How do I decide which option I should choose?
This is a personal decision that should be based on your interests as well as what fits best into your overall schedule of requirements for your chosen major.  For example, if you are an English or History major, it probably makes sense to choose the Department Honors option.  If you are an engineering major, you would want to choose the Department Project option so that you can use your major's required project to meet this CHP requirement.  Most nursing majors (though not all) choose the Senior Honors Seminar option, as it best fits their schedule.

Can I start my Senior Honors Project during my Junior year?
Yes, you can begin the project during your junior year.  If you decide to take the Seminar (HONR 497), you can take that course during either semester of your junior year if that works best for your schedule.

If I choose to do the 2 semester Senior Honors Project option what are the expectations for my project?
You will need to meet the general parameters for all Senior Honors Projects; namely:

  • Your project must be of graduate level quality.
  • Your project must reflect the methodological, theoretical and substantive expectations in the project area.
  • Your project must be two semesters and total 4 to 6 graded credit hours.
  • Your project must culminate with some type of public presentation– e.g., performance, a show, a presentation to students or faculty, etc.


What if I’m confused about project ideas, who should I talk to?
Please contact Dr. Curry at, who would be happy to talk with you about your project.  Also, we would encourage you to talk to your academic advisor or to another faculty member that has interests that are similar to yours.

What is the procedure for getting my project off the ground?
The semester before you begin your project, you should speak with a professor about being your project advisor.  Once you have a project advisor, you need to fill out the Senior Honors Project Application form.  On the form you will indicate which option you intend to pursue:  Major Honors/Department Project option or the HONR Senior Honors Project option, as well as attach a project proposal to your application.  (Your project advisor can guide you in preparing the proposal.)   This application must then be signed by your project advisor, your academic advisor, as well as the College Honors Program Director (Dean Curry) for their signatures.  Once your project has received these three approvals, you must complete an Independent Study form to register your credits with the Registrar's Office .


How do I schedule my public presentation?

Speak with your project advisor regarding the timing, location, and publicity of your presentation.  It is the responsibility of the student to contact Room Reservations to reserve a suitable space.  Please contact Lili Hagenbuch if you need assistance.


How do I advertise my public presentation?

You may contact Lili Hagenbuch at with the time/date/place, as well as the title and brief description of your presentation.  An email announcement will be sent to all College Honors Program students about a week before the presentation.  Any further advertising is up to the student and/or their department.


Where do I turn in my completed paper?

One copy of your Senior Honors Project must be submitted to the Honors Program as an email attachment sent to  The format should be MSWord (or MSOffice suite) or pdf, if at all possible. 


A second copy must be submitted via email to Beth Transue at the library for archiving.  The format should be MSWord (or MSOffice suite) or pdf, if at all possible.  If the project requires a different file format, please include a description of the file/format used, so that it can be properly stored and accessed in the future.  If projects are physical objects, rather than documents which can be stored electronically, please contact Beth to determine the best way to submit these to the library.  


Copyright Permission:   Because the library stores copies of students' papers on permanent reserve in electronic form and link to the electronic documents through the library catalog, they are collecting permissions from students so that they may properly maintain and provide access to the copies of their documents online.  Students should either print this out and return it with their signature, or copy it into their submission email to Beth stating that they agree to it:  

"I give permission for public access to my Honors paper, and for Messiah College to maintain and provide access in electronic format for online use. In granting this limited permission, my intention is not to surrender my intellectual property rights, but to promote scholarship by providing electronic copies for personal study and not-for-profit education use. By providing this permission, I also certify that, to the best of my knowledge, my work does not infringe upon any third-party copyright."


What do I turn in if my Senior Honors Project does not involve a traditional research paper?

We have received some non-traditional projects such as a computer program (and accompanying report) on CDROM.  We would also accept non-traditional projects that were not too 'bulky' such as a DVD of a theater performance or a film.  As another example, we had an Art Honors Project where the student experimented with ceramics.  She then wrote a literature review and report along with digital photographs of her work.  We did not receive the actual ceramic work however.  For these non-traditional projects, archiving would be determined on a case-by-case basis depending on size.  Please contact Lili Hagenbuch or Beth Transue (Librarian/Collection Development Coordinator) for questions on archiving your non-traditional project.