Departmental Honors

Departmental Honors encourages superior, advanced students to do intensive, independent or creative work of high quality in a field of concentration. It differs from the independent study courses in that it is more inclusive and requires a higher quality of scholarship. Also, a greater degree of initiative on the part of the student is expected. The study may cover the material of individual courses, cut across course or departmental lines or include matter and procedures not offered in usual courses.

In order to qualify for Departmental Honors, the student must comply with the following standards and conditions:

  1. Students cannot complete Departmental Honors if earning a degree through the University Honors Program.
  2. The student and an advisor must present an application to the dean who must approve the application prior to appointing an ad hoc committee, with the advisor as chair, to supervise the project and serve as readers of the resulting thesis or jurors of a creative work.
  3. The application must be made and the committee appointed prior to the completion of 90 semester hours toward graduation.
  4. The student must have maintained a high grade point average throughout his or her college career (a 3.75 or better is usually expected), and the student must satisfy the advisor and the dean that she or he has the ability to complete a project of the quality expected (an ACT of 29 or better or the comparable SAT are one acceptable measure of that ability).
  5. The student will normally enroll for 495 and 496 Honors Research, three hours in each semester of the senior year. The work usually involves research during the summer between the junior and senior years, and often begins in the junior year.
  6. It is expected that the project will be completed in a department or departments in which the student has concentrated at least half of the work during the junior and senior years.
  7. Completed work must be satisfactory in both quantity and quality or the student will be dropped from honors work. Work will be evaluated by the advisor, the committee and an external examiner. It is strongly suggested that the student and advisor work closely with the committee throughout the research, seeking its advice, assistance and assessment as the project proceeds.
  8. The external examiner will be approved by the committee and the dean. The examiner should be someone who comes from a distinguished institution of higher learning (other than Drury) who can be objective in evaluating the quality of the work accomplished. It is the advisor’s responsibility to identify possible individuals, to invite the evaluator and to brief the evaluator on our departmental honors program and its expectations.
  9. No later than March 31 of the senior year, a comprehensive examination must be given by the external evaluator. The examination will be open to the committee members and the college community in general. It should be publicized and it should be an occasion for the student to inform those present regarding his or her work. The examiner, having read the thesis and conducted the examination, will make a recommendation to the committee. The committee will determine, in consultation with the advisor, whether the student will graduate with departmental honors, or, failing that, what grade should be received (the research that will no longer be listed as honors research). With favorable recommendation by the committee, the student will be designated as graduating with departmental honors. On the transcript, the student will receive the designation “with departmental honors.”

Copies of the work completed by students who graduate with departmental honors shall be placed in the library.