SENIOR HONORS PROJECT INFORMATION FOR PROJECT ADVISORS – March 5, 2010
This document contains current information regarding the senior honors project.
We hope it will be a helpful reference when you have questions about the Honors Program.
- Significant updating has recently taken place in several areas of our website. See these links for current information: (* Updating at these links will be complete March 15)
- The senior project committee has the responsibility of determining whether a senior project meets the honors milestone and should be awarded honors credit or not. Receipt of the thesis in the Honors office, complete with committee signatures, indicates completion of the honors milestone. If the committee determines that a senior thesis does not meet the high standards necessary to receive honors credit, the committee may decide to grant credit for the completion of work in the 499 course but deny the student the opportunity to graduate “With Distinction” through the Honors Program. Please notify the Honors Program if a student should not receive honors credit.
- The thesis submission process will be online ONLY, beginning with May 2010 graduates. Hard copy submissions will no longer be required or accepted.
- The honors program has significantly revised its formatting requirements in an attempt to simplify the process and not interfere with departmental guidelines. Students can paste their finished draft into a formatting template. See “SHP Forms” at this link:http://www.jmu.edu/honorsprog/shp-info.shtml
- The honors program encourages students to submit their final draft to program directors for review prior to submission of the final document. Reviews of drafts will be done via email, with the draft fully formatted and in a single Word document. Directors will contact students about specific revisions, if needed, or to let them know the draft is ready for conversion to PDF format and submission.
- Project submission deadline: April 7. Students must submit their project in PDF format to the honors program. Program directors will review the project to make sure nothing was corrupted in transmission. If revisions are necessary or transmission problems occurred, the student will be informed immediately and allowed to revise and resubmit. Once approval is given by a director, the student must submit the PDF file to the JMU Library system. This completes the submission process. Students must label their submissions properly when submitting, according to guidelines given at the submission link above.
- Some students may need to submit an additional file (video, audio, etc.), if applicable to their project.
- One hard copy of the title/signature page, with original signatures, must be brought to the program office by April 7. Signatures do not need to appear on the electronic version of this page.
- Project guidelines are determined by each department. We encourage all departments to prepare a document that addresses essential matters related to the project in order to establish consistency within the department; we will make it available from our website for use as a reference for students, project committees, honors liaisons, and the honors program. Having access to your guidelines will enable us to advise students appropriately.
- These items should be specifically addressed in project guidelines:
- Which courses are required? (2 courses or 3? 499A, 499B, 499C?)
- How many credit hours are assigned to each course?
- Are any courses block courses, or are they all a full semester in length?
- Which semester should the 499 sequence begin?
- What is the procedure for gaining permission to register for 499A?
- There is no need to include Honors requirements in departmental guidelines; direct students to the Honors website instead.
- Share your project guidelines with us in one of these ways:
- Submit your document to Honors to post on its website. If your department wishes to revise its guidelines in the future, please send a new document for us to post.
- Post guidelines on your department’s website, giving us the link to post on our site. This procedure will allow you to revise guidelines easily without having to send us a revised copy.
- The written work associated with the senior project should be similar in length and scope to the culminating project on the masters level.
- Project advisors assign the grades in each 499 course. Typically, incomplete grades are not given in the first two semesters but may be given in the final semester. However, there might be a compelling reason to assign an incomplete in any semester. In this case, notify the Honors Program of the incomplete by sending us a copy of the form sent to the registrar by the advisor.
- Late submission of projects. A project submitted after the April 7 deadline is not eligible to receive a Phi Beta Kappa or Phi Kappa Phi award. Graduation dates may also be impacted by late submission, posing a real concern for students entering graduate schools or jobs.
- Project advisors should contact Dr. Barry Falk if a project will be submitted late; indicate the reason for the delay and give a projected submission date. This procedure assures the Honors Program that advisors are aware of a student’s intention to submit their project late.
- Departments should decide which semester is appropriate for beginning the project. Typically, students begin in the third semester before graduation. However, department-specific requirements may impact the actual starting time. The project guidelines should clearly state when the student should begin. Factors that may impact the starting date:
- Prerequisite research course required
- Student teaching/internship
- Study abroad
- Department’s (or student’s) desire for students to complete the project prior to the semester of graduation
- Departments should determine how the 499 courses are labeled and how much credit is awarded in each course; indicate these in the departmental guidelines. While the honors program does not require credit and labeling to be handled uniformly, we would make this request to all departments that do not otherwise have a preference: label the courses as 499A, 499B, 499C. Our office often needs to run a query or communicate with students at various stages of project completion. This type of labeling facilitates our search. A combined total of 6 credit hours should be awarded for the 499 courses, divided between the semesters as your department chooses.
- Some funds are available through the Honors Program to supplement limited resources related to work on the senior project. Applications for the Edythe S. Rowley Endowed Scholarships and the Honors Program Small Grants can be found at: http://www.jmu.edu/honorsprog/scholarships.shtml
- Project committees are comprised of an advisor (full time tenured/tenure track/RTA faculty member in major department) and 2 readers. Readers are typically faculty members in the major department. However, due to the nature of a particular thesis, it may be appropriate to have a reader come from outside the department. Approval of the composition of the committee is determined by all signatories of the senior project application: dean, department head, project advisor, 2 readers. If a project advisor leaves JMU permanently but agrees to remain on the committee, he/she will become a reader and a reader will become the new advisor. In this case, and in any other situation that necessitates a change in committee structure, the student should submit a revised project application form, complete with all 5 signatures (dean, department head, and updated committee members).
- If a student’s project topic lies outside his/her major, thus creating the need to choose a project advisor outside the major, the proposal must include signatures from both the advisor’s department head and dean and the student’s department head and dean, in addition to the advisor’s and readers’ signatures.