The Honors Program recognizes the highest level of academic achievement among Cornell students. The following provides important information about the Honors Program, including eligibility, the application procedure, and requirements. The Honors Program is a rigorous and rewarding endeavor. Though the application process begins in your junior year, in order to be successful it is important that you begin to plan for honors research carefully, even as a freshman and sophomore.
In order to graduate with Honors, students must be in residence for eight semesters (students can still opt for Study Abroad or Urban Semester, because these programs require registration as a Cornell student). Transfer students are eligible for the Honors Program as long as they remain in residence for all semesters after they transfer. Students must achieve and maintain a GPA of at least 3.4 to be eligible for the Honors Program, and the 3.4 GPA must be maintained even after being admitted into the Honors Program. Students whose GPA drops below 3.4 will be dropped from the Honors Program (though these students can register for special studies in order to complete their research.
It is expected that students apply for acceptance into the FSAD Honors Program during the first semester of their junior year (the beginning of the second semester of junior year is the latest possible period for application and registration). Students must complete the FSAD Honors Program Application Form. To complete the form, students must first identify and get the consent of a FSAD faculty member who would become their Research Mentor. The Research Mentor will help the student identify a topic, and act as an advisor throughout the Honors Program. The Research Mentor must approve the student's proposed thesis topic and sign the application form. The student will be notified within two weeks of submitting the FSAD Honors Program Application whether they are accepted into the program.
The FSAD Honors Thesis
The major component of the Honors Program is the honors thesis. Each student is required to conduct original research on a topic chosen by the student. Credit is given for this research, so that this work is part of the student's course load each semester. The research must be written up in a formal manner appropriate to the research type. FSAD 4990 Honors Seminar is the official course for Honors Program research. Students may register for up to 6 credits in FSAD 4990 over their last three semesters, and must take FSAD 4990 for at least the two semesters of their senior year. During the junior year, the student usually does their preliminary research under FSAD 4010. The research will be supervised by your FSAD faculty Research Mentor. The final written thesis must be submitted by April 1 of the senior year. The research thesis will be evaluated during an oral thesis defense by the student's Honors committee, which must meet no later than April 15. This committee consists of the faculty honors advisor, the research member, and an additional Faculty Representative who is assigned by the FSAD Honors Research Director. The Research Mentor and Faculty Representative may request revisions which must be incorporated into the final version of the written thesis.
Summary of Requirements
In addition to the honors thesis, students must complete all of the following requirements in order to successfully complete the Honors Program. For the most part these requirements are designed to aid in the research process.
1. Students must attend four professional research seminars during their senior year (decided upon in conjunction with their Research Mentor).
2. Students must meet with their Research Mentor at the beginning of the fall semester senior year to set out written expectations regarding progress on the thesis during the fall semester. Applicants may be asked to review an honors project completed in FSAD as an example of format and expectations.
3. The student must form an Honors Thesis Committee by identifying and obtaining the consent of an FSAD faculty member to act as Faculty Honors advisor. This should be done when applying for the Honors Program. The student must also identify a second faculty research member, who will usually be from outside of the department or college.
4. The Honors Research Director will appoint an additional FSAD Faculty Representative to the Honors Thesis Committee.
5. Submit a complete thesis draft to each member of your thesis committee after receiving approval from your faculty honors advisor by April 1.
6. Schedule Oral defense of thesis for no later than April 15. (FSAD Honors Completion Form)
7. Students are required to complete and present a poster of their research at a poster session organized by the Cornell University Research Board between April 15 and the last day of classes in the spring semester.
8. Also the student will submit a digital (pdf) copy of the honors thesis to ECommons for posting. (FERPA and ECommons Release)
If the thesis is defended to the satisfaction of the thesis committee, and a final thesis with any revisions suggested during the defense has been approved, the student will graduate with honors. The honors will appear on the student's Cornell transcript and diploma.
If you have additional questions please contact Professor Margaret Frey, Director of Undergraduate Studies and Department Honors Director.