Honors Program

Honors program

The honors program in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences is open to academically talented and motivated students who wish to engage in independent study and research under the close supervision of a faculty advisor. All juniors with an overall GPA of 3.5 or better are eligible for participation. Successful applicants are admitted to the program in the spring of their junior year.

The honors program involves a sequence of three semesters. During the spring semester of their junior year, students enroll in SPHS-S398, a seminar designed to develop skills in a number of areas, including reading and understanding research, writing a scientific report, and thinking critically about research design.

During the senior year, honors students enroll in SPHS-S399 in the fall and SPHS-S499 in the spring. These seminars provide opportunities for students to discuss their research progress and receive feedback on their writing. Honors research typically involves an experimental study that is presented in a formal, written document known as a thesis. The thesis includes a review of the literature, the details of the study, together with the results and discussion of the study. The finished thesis is expected to be approximately 25 typed pages (double spaced) in length.

Students who complete the entire sequence of study and the honors thesis receive credit for their intensive writing requirement. The culminating experience of the honors research project is a poster session at the end of the spring semester in which students present their results to faculty and students from the department. As final recognition of the completion of the honors program, students receive a notation on their diplomas and are eligible to wear gold honor cords at graduation.

Why do an honors thesis?

Successful completion of a departmental honors thesis is excellent preparation for graduate school. Participation in an independent research experience enhances critical thinking and better understanding of the nature of research in speech and hearing science. Graduation with honors is a testimony to academic excellence and may enhance a student's prospects for acceptance into graduate school.

How do I apply to the honors program?

Students with qualifying grade point averages will be contacted by the department in the fall semester of their junior year. An informational meeting will be held in September to learn more about the program.

Applications to the program should be submitted electronically to the director of undergraduate studies. Honors application materials consist of four documents:

  • A cover letter that provides a brief statement indicating why you want to do honors, what you hope to gain from it, who you are interested in working with and why
  • A writing sample, preferably one in which literature has been cited
  • A resume
  • An unofficial copy of your academic transcript

Applicants will be notified in October regarding the outcome of their application.

Things you should know

It is strongly recommended that students interested in the honors program take SPHS-S311, Introduction to Research Methods, prior to admission to the program. Preference will be given to applicants who have completed or who are enrolled in the course at the time of their application. Students may also enroll in PSY-P211 to complete the research methods course requirement.

Available space in the honors program is limited, based on the number of faculty who can assume responsibility for a student. It is usually not possible to accommodate all students who are interested, thus making acceptance into the program highly competitive. Admission is based on a number of factors including, but not limited to, GPA, class rank, rigor of academic program, and faculty interest. Students who are intellectually curious and willing to take academic risks in order to expand the boundaries of their knowledge are urged to apply.

When exploring with whom you might consider working, review laboratory websites to identify faculty who share your intellectual interests. Schedule a meeting with more than one potential faculty mentor. Your goals at the meeting are to assess whether the faculty member is a good fit for you, to make a positive impression, and to begin establishing a working rapport.

Pursuing honors is not the only means to engage in learning outside the classroom. You can take advantage of a variety of opportunities to work in close collaboration with a faculty member, either as a research assistant or UTA. Talk to your academic advisor to learn more.

Have questions about the honors program?


Dr. William Shofner

Academic advisor

Annelies Stoelinga