Program Description

The D+EA Honors Program recognizes the highest level of academic achievement among DEA majors. The program is designed to allow a small number of talented undergraduates the opportunity to formulate and carry out an independent research investigation under the supervision of a member of the D+EA departmental faculty. The D+EA Undergraduate Honors program is for students who want to prepare themselves for future graduate work. Students who successfully complete the program will graduate with Honors in D+EA. The Honors designation is recorded on the student's official Cornell University academic record. 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 the student's junior year, in order to be successful it is important that the curriculum is planned carefully.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to graduate with Honors students must be in residence for eight semesters (students can still opt for Study Abroad programs, etc., 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 a GPA of at least 3.3 to be eligible for the Honors Program, and the 3.3 GPA minimum must be maintained after being admitted into the Honors Program. Students whose GPA drops below 3.3 will be dropped from the Honors Program (these students can register for special studies in order to complete their research).

Application Procedure

Students should apply for acceptance into the D+EA Honors Program during the first semester of their junior year. Students must complete a D+EA Honors Program Application Form. The form must include an abstract on the proposed Honors Thesis (described later in this document) and must be signed by the Committee Chair and the D+EA "At-Large" Honors Representative before submitting the application to the department. Once completed, the student will return the form to the D+EA Academic Programs Coordinator. Students will be notified within two months of submitting the D+EA Honors Program Application whether or not they have been accepted into the program.

The following is a description of the faculty and staff associated with the honors thesis:

  • Committee Chair - This person must be a faculty member (professorial rank) in D+EA who works with the student on a commonly agreed topic of study for their thesis.
  • External Examiner (also referred to as Reader) - This person must be an outside faculty member with whom student will work with during their honors thesis. The external examiner should be a faculty from a non D+EA department. A D+EA faculty member with expertise in a different concentration may be accepted if recommended by the chair. The student will work with their committee chair to select an external examiner.
  • D+EA "At-Large" Honors Representative - This person is a pre-selected D+EA faculty member whose role is to provide comparability of standards across student theses at the Department. The current "At-Large" Honors Representative for D+EA is Dr. Rana Zadeh.
  • Academic Programs Coordinator - This person is a designated staff member in the department who provides academic support to students. The Academic Programs Coordinator for D+EA is Sienna Torbitt (

The D+EA Honors Thesis

The major component of the Honors Program is the Honors Thesis. The student's original research must be written up in a formal scientific manner, or a manner appropriate to the major, following the advice of the D+EA Faculty Committee Chair. If the topic requires approval by the University Committee on Human Subjects, this must be obtained prior to commencing the research.

DEA 4990 - Senior Honors Thesis is the official course title for the Honors Program research. Students must register (for six credits) in DEA 4990 - Senior Honors Thesis starting in the Fall (or first) semester of their Senior year, by adding the course officially through the Registrar's Office. (see timeline for details). Research will be supervised by the Honors Thesis Committee Members. The student will write their thesis under the direct supervision of the Committee Chair. The actual submission date and defense will be agreed by the Committee Chair and the External Examiner and planned ahead by the student in collaboration with the Committee Chair and the External Examiner. The Committee Chair and the External Examiner must receive the thesis at least one week prior to the defense, and either committee member may request revisions, which must be incorporated into the final version of the written thesis that is due by the last day of classes. The final research will be graded based on the thesis and the oral thesis defense given by the student to their Committee Chair and the External Examiner.


Application Form

Please refer to the D+EA Honors Program Suggested Timeline and the
Suggested Timeline for December Graduates.

If you have additional questions, please contact Rana Zadeh, D+EA's "At-Large" Honors Program Representative.