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Facts and Questions

Students are, by their very nature, curious! The Honors Program is particularly inspired by a student's desire to explore and discover. Therefore, this section is for both the incoming freshmen who want to unleash the collegiate experience of their dreams, as well as for the advanced upperclassman who's eager to build a thesis that marches to its own drum. Either way, feel free to refer to the answers provided or reach out to Honors Program staff members with any additional questions. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Students take one Honors Program course each year. The freshman, sophomore and junior year courses are interdisciplinary seminars. Honors Program seniors take Honors 498: Honors Thesis during the semester when they are completing their thesis projects.

The Honors Program Chair will be contacting students via university email about the Honors Program Thesis in their sophomore year. Students will work on and complete their thesis during their junior year.

Absolutely! Students who want to create their own topic must first talk with the Honors Program Chair. The Honors Program Chair will then direct the student on how to write a proposal and set up a committee to oversee the work.

It depends upon the discipline. Artistic performances, for example, do not require papers. The Honors Program Chair will tell students what is expected. Typically, however, an Honors Program thesis in the humanities, social sciences, biological sciences or business will be around 30 pages.

Many students in the Honors Program work as a research assistant for a professor and, in that process, write an original Honors Program thesis. The professors, who are typically working on a research project, will carve out a small part of their work for students. This will give students the material for a 30 page paper. See blackboard postings for professors who are looking for research assistants or contact the chair about working with a faculty member roughly in their field.

A thesis defense is scheduled in public on particular days. The theses are advertised on bulletin boards around campus and a notice of each defense is sent to the President, Academic Vice President and Deans of the Colleges. Students are typically asked to make a powerpoint presentation about their research that lasts for 45 minutes. The presentation should be reviewed by their advisor prior to formal the presentation. Students should dress up for the presentation as administrators, other faculty, family and friends will typically attend the defense.

Yes, students have to completely finish their thesis within a week of their defense. The Honors Program Chair will need time to read the thesis before officially accepting it. This is largely because there can be up to 20 students presenting at once, which creates a lot of work. The Honors Program Chair will need two weeks before grades are due to read through the final projects. Timeliness is particularly crucial during the winter semester because the university budget is based on the academic year and ends after the winter semester. Students who fail to get their thesis finished that semester may not receive payment.

Yes, at the moment students receive $600.00 after they have completely finished and defended their thesis. Both their advisor and the chair have to have signed off on the thesis for this to happen. Students are strongly encouraged to defend and finish writing their thesis in the same semester.

It is best to communicate directly with the Honors Program Chair on all program questions.

When a student's grades slip too low they are placed on academic probation for a semester, which means that they have a semester to bring them back up. The Honors Program Chair will contact students informing them that they are on academic probation and request a meeting.


Dr. Elizabeth Rich, Honors Program Chair
Science East 164
(989) 964-4317

Programs of Distinction
Wickes Hall 230H
(989) 964-7320

Cathy Davis, Administrative Secretary
Science East 260
(989) 964-4110