University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

College Honors

Submitting the College Honors application

To submit an application, students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.40 or higher at the time of application.

To begin the process students should, during the second semester of the junior year, consult with and receive approval of a faculty member who agrees to act as thesis supervisor for the project. Following the proposal guidelines, the student will then write a formal proposal in close consultation with the thesis supervisor.

Next, students must complete the following to successfully submit the completed College Honors application:

  1. Complete the Application To Undertake Work for College Honors form.
  2. Email their proposal to with their name in the subject line. The proposal must follow the Guidelines for Honors Research Proposals.
  3. Ensure that their thesis supervisor completes and submits the Faculty Recommendation Form by the deadline.

Typically, students will work on their theses during the fall and then spring terms of their senior years. Such students should follow the schedule for May Graduates. Those students who plan to graduate in December should follow the schedule for December Graduates.

The proposal is by far the most important piece of the application package. It should be developed through close consultation with a thesis supervisor, starting in the second semester of the student's junior year if possible. Care should be taken to complete each of the required sections: Title, Abstract, Description of the Project, Previous Work, Significance, Proposed Methodology and References. Because your ability to carry out an advanced independent project is being judged, in large part, by the quality of your proposal, pay special attention to the guidelines for the proposal outlined here and the advice of your supervisor..

Students whose theses involve interaction with human subjects, animal research or bio hazards should be aware that such work often requires the approval of a separate, University-wide committee (the Committee on Human Research in the Behavioral Sciences, CHRBS). Students writing theses in Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, or related fields should be sure to ask their thesis supervisors whether CHRBS approval is required and obtain confirmation before starting the thesis. Students working in Biology should also be aware that theses involving human or animal experimentation also require a separate University approval and should work with their thesis supervisors to obtain it. Approval need not be secured at the time at which the proposal is submitted but the proposal should indicate that the student is aware of this requirement and taking steps to fulfill it. (In the past, several students have written theses only to be told that they could not receive credit for their work since it had not received the appropriate authorization.)

The student's thesis supervisor provides guidance in constructing the thesis, helping the student to analyze his or her ideas critically and providing input and correction along the way. Thesis Supervisors are normally secured in the semester prior to the submission of the College Honors application package. More information about securing a thesis supervisor is available in the Frequently Asked Questions section. Students should be aware that not every person is allowed to be a thesis supervisor. Specifically, the thesis supervisor must be a tenured or tenure-track professor (not a lecturer or instructor) in the College of Arts and Sciences. In some cases, students who would like to work with a faculty member who does not fit these criteria may do so,but only if they can secure the agreement of a tenured or tenure-track professor in the College of Arts and Sciences who is willing to serve as the student's official supervisor Questions on this point should be directed to the Chair of the Honors Committee.

Once the application is received, the Committee evaluates the proposal based on its written standards as specified in the guidelines. The Committee then sends a response to the student via e-mail.

Responses can fall into one of three categories:

  • Acceptance
  • Revision (Student must resubmit a completely rewritten and revised proposal)
  • Rejection (Student does not meet qualifications or the proposal is truly unworkable. In such cases, the student may sometimes be able to continue the work as Readings and Research through his or her major department.)

When submitting a College Honors proposal, students should register for the appropriate Honors course (HON 2XX) through the department in which they hope to pursue their Honors work. For example, Biology students should sign up for HON 208 in the fall and HON 209 in the spring; English students should sign up for HON 220 in the fall and HON 221 in the spring. In the event that an Honors course in the student's department is not listed in the course newspaper, the student should consult with the Chair of the Honors Committee. Students must take 6.0 credits of HON 2XX coursework to receive College Honors. Typically, these 6 credits are distributed evenly between the first and second semesters, i.e. 3 credits each semester. However, if, for reasons owing to a student's schedule (the student is already registered for, say, 16 credits), a student wishes to do so, College Honors credit may be variably distributed across the two semesters, i.e. 2 credits the first semester and 4 the next, 1 and 5, 4 and 2, or 2 and 4. Please note that this is an "accounting issue" only; students are expected to do an equal amount of work both semesters regardless of how the credit is distributed.

Last modified June 10 2015 06:35 PM