A special opportunity is offered for senior students interested in Department Honors. Messiah University requires a minimum GPA of 3.5 on all courses completed at the University by the middle of the junior year. In addition, the department chair and faculty approve all department honors projects based on the quality of the honors project proposal.
Protocols for Departmental Honors Projects
The Department encourages students with scholarly initiative and advanced research skills the opportunity to pursue Department Honors Projects. Students may qualify for an honors course by:
- earning a GPA of 3.50 for all courses completed at the University to the middle of their junior year and
- meeting all other requirements as prescribed by the department (e.g. GPA for major courses).
- Complete the appropriate paperwork at the Registrar’s office.
Students will need to obtain the support of a faculty member who will act as the Honors Project Supervisor.
Students also need to submit a proposal to the History, Politics and International Relations Department for approval, one semester prior to the commencement of the Honors Project. The deadline for submission of Honors Project Proposals is December 1 in Fall and April 1 in Spring. Students are advised to commence gathering data and to conduct preliminary research immediately thereafter. Honors Projects may begin in the second semester of the student’s junior year although most students are expected to begin their projects in the Fall semester of their Senior year.
Honors Projects sponsored by the Department require 6 credits of project related work earned over two or three credit hours per semester. Only the grades A and B will carry credit. If the honors work is of such high quality as to merit the grade A, the student will graduate with honors in her / his major field, provided she/he has completed six semester hours. The student is also expected to propose an agenda for research, writing, and contact times with the Honors Thesis Supervisor, at the beginning of each semester to the Honors Thesis Supervisor for approval. The Thesis supervisor and Honors student will meet at mutually agreed times during the two semesters. At the end of the first semester, students will submit a paper which will include, but not be limited to a survey of the literature pertaining to their topic and an annotated bibliography. Students must obtain the Thesis Supervisor’s permission to proceed with their second semester of Honor Thesis related work.
Students writing an honors thesis are required to make a scheduled public presentation of their work during the last two weeks of the second semester. The date and time for this scheduled public presentation must be determined at the beginning of the second semester of Honors Project work. Furthermore, a final version the paper must be submitted to the thesis supervisor a week before this scheduled public presentation. A copy of the final revised version of the Honors Project, approximately 25-35 pages in length, must be submitted no later than 10 days after the scheduled public presentation. The Honors Thesis Supervisor will then sign off on the thesis. Students must submit a hard copy and electronic copy of the thesis to Allyson Patton in Boyer 215.
Given the intricacies of the process, students considering writing an Honors Thesis Project are encouraged to begin thinking about it early in their undergraduate career. Graduation with honors in a discipline is recognized at commencement and is noted on the student’s diploma.
A Sample Honors Thesis Proposal (PDF) is available here.