Proposal guidelines

A successful proposal for a departmental honors project should include a clear statement of the research question, a description of how the student became interested in the project, a research plan, the names of the project director and two faculty readers and a bibliography.

The proposal should be two-three pages, single-spaced, and the bibliography one. The number of pages will depend somewhat on the discipline and the nature of the proposed project. The proposal should demonstrate work commensurate with 1 or 2 semester hours of credit, depending on how many credits the student registered for. Each of these components is described more fully below.

  • Title Page.The form includes places for the title of the project, the name of the author, the term(s) in which the study will take place, and three signature lines to indicate that each of the student's committee members have read and approved the proposal. The statement indicating that the student's committee members have read and approved the proposal must be included.
  • Statement of Research Question. Specifically what question are you trying to answer as you research your project? Is the question one you can answer in 3-6 semester hours of independent study? (e.g., "What caused World War II?" might be too big a question for a departmental honors project.) If you are proposing a creative writing project, what kind of text do you imagine? What will the subject matter and the form be, and how will your work be both related to and different from similar texts already in existence?
  • Description of Student Interest. In evaluating an honors proposal, it helps the committee to know how you got involved in the question and how the project fits into your interests or life.
  • Research Plan. How will you get your hands on the resources you need to complete the project? What library or archive collections, survey populations or other sources or information or study will be accessed? If you are doing a creative writing project, what kinds of models and sources of information will you need to consult? For how many terms do you plan to register, for how many hours do you plan to register, and what do you plan to accomplish in each term? Include a timetable stating deadlines for the completion of various stages of the project including rough drafts and the final draft, insuring that the final draft is ready for submission to the UAPC by its spring deadline.
  • Committee. In the proposal you should list the names of the faculty member who will supervise the project, and two faculty members who will review the student's work and the final project. These three people make up the student's committee. Include a brief explanation of the role each member will play.
  • Bibliography. A one-page preliminary bibliography helps us know that you are familiar with what has been written on your topic and that there is enough material out there to justify your proposed project. The bibliography should include sources from a variety of media.
  • Special Permission Checklist. Some projects will require permission from additional faculty members and/or administrative bodies. To increase the chances that the student will have a successful project, students are to complete the attached checklist to the best of their ability and turn it in with their proposal.

  Although this document focuses on written projects, other types of projects are also encouraged.

Revised October 13, 2003