The Honors Program provides an opportunity for students to engage in faculty-mentored research and creative projects through the Honors Project. As with the HBC course enhancement, the student and professor together agree to a set of activities and outcomes that ensure that the project is at the Honors level. Honors Projects should be higher level of work, rigor, and depth than a non-honors departmental research, thesis, or seminar course. A student who is working on an Honors Project should (1) seek to synthesize and critically analyze a body of knowledge within the chosen academic field, (2) seek to advance original research, or (3) seek to create a serious and substantive work in a medium that can be presented, exhibited, or disseminated. All students enrolled in an Honors Project must have at least one affiliated full-time faculty mentor. Students must have already completed one unit of independent study within their chosen field of study, and they must be enrolled in 1 unit of independent study with the faculty mentor while they are conducting their Honors Project. The student must present the outcome of their work through a presentation, exhibit, or performance.
All Honors Projects require prior approval of the faculty mentor and affiliated Departmental Chair or designee. Students must complete an Honors Project Proposal that will be reviewed by the Honors Program Coordinator.
How many Honors Projects can I use towards my Honors Program requirements?
Students are allowed to count one Honors Project unit towards the completion of the Honors requirements. The Honors Project should be completed no earlier than Junior year.
Steps to Submitting a Proposal
Step 1– Meet with your project advisor. If an Honors student is interested in conducting an Honors Project, the first step is to meet with the professor to see if it is feasible and if the professor is willing. Ideally, this meeting should occur before the semester begins, and preferably towards the end of the first semester of independent study. Only full-time faculty can supervise an Honors Project. Exceptions might be considered on a case-by-case basis; for exceptions, students should first contact the Department Chair or designee to obtain approval, then contact the Honors Coordinator as soon as possible and before submitting the proposal. If a proposal is eventually submitted, students must make a clear and compelling case for an exception as part of their proposal.
Step 2– Develop the enhancement or project plan. Next, the student and the professor together should come up with a plan for the student’s independent study. The plan must incorporate three essential elements:
- Rigorous, Scholarly Documentation of Learning, Discovery, and/or Reflection (examples might include outlines, research notes, annotated bibliography, scripts or drafts, lab notes, research memos, etc.),
- Sharing of Work with Peer Community (examples might include poster or oral presentation at TCNJ or professional conference, committee defense, recital, etc.), and
- Artifact, Performance, or Written Product (examples might include thesis, work of art, multimedia performance, research report, exhibit, etc.)
The plan should include 1) the specific area(s) to be investigated and/or studied, 2) the activities and/or methods to be carried out, 3) a tentative meeting and work schedule, with due dates for project milestones, 4) a detailed description of the final product(s) that will be submitted for assessment, and 5) the means by which the product will be presented. Please note that for proposal assessment, a description of each product (e.g., content outline, how many sources will be used, product length) should be included.
Step 3– Prepare a draft of the Honors Project. The student (not the professor) prepares a approximately 2-3 page description and submits it to the professor for review. The plan should include:
- an introduction and relevant background information,
- a description of the goals of the project and the significance of the project to the field,
- a description of the methods to be used to complete the project,
- a general schedule for conducting the work and including periodic one-on-one meetings with the professor,
- a description of the three essential elements of the project: documentation of learning, sharing with peer community, and final product,
- a preliminary list of primary sources to be used in researching the project, and
- an explanation of how the Honors Project is aligned with two of the three pillars of the TCNJ Honors Program curriculum.
Step 4– Complete and Submit the Honors Project Application. Once the professor has approved the proposal, the student completes the Honors Project Form (see below) and submits the form, proposal and related materials to 109 Green Hall.
How is an Honors Project Evaluated and Approved?
The Honors Program Coordinator will evaluate each Honors Project application on an individual basis. Evaluation will be based on the criteria indicated above. Incomplete proposals and proposal that are not of the proper format will not be evaluated. Proposals must obtain a minimum score of 11 on the Evaluation Rubric to obtain HP approval.
Please note that materials must be submitted by 4 pm on the Friday of the second (full or partial) week of classes for fall and spring courses. For Maymester and J-term courses, the proposal must be submitted by the last day of classes of the previous semester (that is, the last day of fall classes for a J-term course, and the last day of spring classes for a Maymester course). For Summer Session courses, the proposal must be submitted three weeks before the first day of the course. Late proposals will not be considered. The Coordinator of the Honors Program will evaluate each proposal for Honors Project, on an individual basis.
Completion of Honor Projects
By the end of the semester, students will complete and submit their project materials for final evaluation by the course instructor. If the project has been satisfactorily completed, students will complete Part I of the Honors Project Completion Form and have the HP instructor complete Part 2 and submit the form to the Honors Program for processing. In addition, students provide information regarding the Honors Project presentation (see below) and should submit copies of their final report/product to the Honors Office.
Presentation of Honors Projects Projects
Students should inform the Honors Program of scheduling associating with their Honors Project. We encourage students to also present their work at the Celebration of Student Achievement.
The HP criteria and policies provided above have been approved by the Honors Program Council in Spring 2018 and were approved by the TCNJ Committee of Academic Programs (CAP) in Spring 2019.