Honors Program

Interested in graduate school? Want to work in policy? By participating in the Communication Department's honors program, you demonstrate the ability to work independently and analyze complex phenomena.

The Communication Department Honors Program is designed for seniors who wish to undertake an extended research or creative production project under the supervision of a Communication faculty member. Because the Honors Program requires a two-quarter sequence of courses and classes are generally smaller, students get an opportunity to work at length and in depth with faculty and other students on an individual project. Students who have special research interests and plan to pursue graduate school or work in fields of production are strongly recommended to apply to the Honors Program.

Components of the Honors Program Application:

  • Application: Applications for the Honors Program are due Week 4 of the Fall Quarter of the student's senior year. Applications are available to students during the summer. 
  • Faculty mentor: Seniors wishing to be considered need to list one faculty member who supports their admission to the program. Prior to applying for admission to the Honors Program, students should contact the faculty member with whom they hope to work, submit a writing sample to that faculty member, and arrange a meeting to discuss their proposed project. Ideally, the faculty member is someone with whom a student has had one or more classes and whose subject area and is a good fit in terms of the research or creative interests a student hopes to pursue in the program. 
  • GPA: Students' overall GPA should be at least 3.0 and their GPA in the major should be at least 3.5.
  • Project proposal:Your proposal should demonstrate that you are thinking about the issue/topic in a way that is new or original. This should be one-page statement of your proposed honors project providing the following information:
    • The issue or general topic;
    • The reason you consider the topic important;
    • The question or set of questions you want to answer about the topic;
    • The method you want to use in answering those questions. 
  • Writing sample: This is a piece of academic writing and may be in the form of a final or term paper written for a course or seminar. It may also be the answer to a take home exam. It should be written by you alone and not co-authored as part of a group project, and it should demonstrate your ability to make an argument about a thesis and to communicate that argument clearly in your writing. The thesis on which your argument is based can either be one provided to you, say in an exam question, or one that you come up with on your own. In either case, the argument should be based on factual evidence of some kind. The length of your writing sample can be from 3 to 10 pages. Keep in mind that what matters most is quality, not quantity. Therefore, a five-page paper in which you make a reasoned and clear argument about a thesis based on documented evidence, is better than a vague and disorganized 10-page paper. You will need the writing sample at two stages in the application process. First, in finding a faculty mentor as it will help them decide if they can support your application and serve as your adviser. Second, you must submit it with your actual application.

A faculty committee will review applications and accept students who have promising projects.

Once accepted to the Honors Program, students are required to complete a two-quarter sequence, COMM 196A and COMM 196B in the Winter and Spring Quarters of their senior year, respectively. The student receives a letter grade at the completion of each quarter, based on attendance in the seminars and the successful completion of a research or creative production proposal in COMM 196A, and successful completion of the research or creative production project in 196B. The project is then reviewed and evaluated by the Honors seminar instructor and faculty student mentor in order to determine a department Honors award designation.

Successful completion of the honors program enables the student to graduate "With Highest Distinction," "With High Distinction," or "With Distinction," depending on performance in the program.

  • With Distinction: At least a 3.5 GPA in the major and a "B+" or better in the Honors Seminar
  • With High Distinction: A combined GPA above 3.7 - 3.89 (50% of the project grade; 50% on the major GPA)
  • With Highest Distinction: A combined GPA above 3.9 or above (50% of the project grade; 50% on the major GPA)

The application for the 2019-2020 Honors Program is to be determined. Please contact us on the Virtual Advising Center (VAC) if you have any questions.