Procedure, Requirements & Guidelines

  1. Faculty Members: The Candidate's "Committee"
  2. Junior Year Requirements
  3. Senior Year Requirements: First Term
  4. Senior Year Requirements: Second Term
  5. Conversion to Independent Study
  6. Final Matters


I. Faculty Members: The Candidate's "Committee"

The PROJECT ADVISOR is designated by the candidate as the faculty member with whom he/she works most closely on the honors project. The Project Advisor is responsible for guiding/overseeing the candidate's work and for evaluating (grading) the academic credits earned by the candidate each semester. Candidates are expected to consult their Project Advisors regularly throughout the course of the project.

A SEBS CO-ADVISOR is a member of the SEBS faculty who must also be designated by the candidate if the Project Advisor is not a member of the SEBS faculty. The SEBS Co-Advisor must agree to meet regularly with the candidate to discuss the project's progress and must also approve the thesis for "honors." In default of a final evaluation of the candidate’s work from the Project Advisor, the SEBS Co-Advisor will be called upon to submit a grade for the project. Faculty members may not serve as Co-Advisor or Reviewer for more than two candidates in a class year. 
Some candidates also work with a Co-Advisor (not necessarily a SEBS faculty member) in collaboration with the Project Advisor.

The (external) REVIEWER is also designated by the candidate in consultation with the Project Advisor. The Reviewer should be available to advise the candidate during the course of the project, but reports his/her evaluations of the project directly to the George H. Cook Honors Committee. The Reviewer must have sufficient expertise to evaluate the project and procedures, and may be a member of any research unit. Faculty members may not serve as Reviewer or Co-Advisor for more than two candidates in a class year.

The SESSION CHAIR is the member of the George H. Cook Honors Committee to whom the candidate makes his/her formal presentations of the honors project. The Session Chair is designated by the Committee and is available to consult with the candidate throughout the course of the project. Final approval of the candidate's designation as a George H. Cook Scholar rests with the Session Chair, in consultation with the Reviewer and the Honors Committee. In special circumstances, the Session Chair may concurrently serve as the candidate’s Reviewer or SEBS Co-Advisor. Candidates working with a Project Advisor who is also a Session Chair are assigned to a different session/Session Chair.

The DIRECTOR, Dr. Malcolm Watford, is responsible for all aspects of program administration: reporting to the Honors Committee, communicating directly to all students and faculty involved in the program and overseeing the academic registrations/credits/ grades. The Director serves as the first line of communication for both students and faculty.



II. Junior Year Requirements

Students in the top 15% of the class (and other recommended or interested students) are invited to begin considering/ arranging the honors project.

Additional students are invited, and those undertaking the program are required to submit the Application for Candidacy.

Students actually beginning their research may register for 11:015:398 Honors Research (BA).

Project Advisors are encouraged to apply for summer/AY research fellowships for their candidates.

LATE MARCH [November - for candidates completing in the fall term]: Application Update
A printed version of the original Application for Candidacy is sent to the candidate and must be updated and returned to the Director. This one-page form, indicating the working title of the project and designating the Project Advisor, [SEBS] Co-Advisor (if applicable) and Reviewer, must be received by the Director by the end of March.

Upon receipt of the updated application, the Director will forward program information to all indicated faculty members.

APRIL [October]:
Special Permission numbers for first term registration will be sent to the applicants via email. Students should register for 11:015:497 [498] G. H. COOK HONORS PROGRAM (BA) indicating the credits (3-6) in the “By Arrangement Credits” path. Students may adjust their credits at any time until the last month of the term.

MID-APRIL [January]: Project Proposal
Candidates are required to submit a final copy of the Project Proposal, approved/signed by the Project Advisor(s), to the office of the Director. The Project Proposal (4-5 pages, typed) should include:

  1. an introduction, which includes a summary of the literature and/or other relevant background materials [to be} reviewed;
  2. a description of the project and its significance;
  3. an outline or discussion of the procedures to be followed;
  4. a bibliography of relevant articles/books. The citation and bibliographical style must be uniform throughout the paper and conform to the predominant style of publications in the field. Bibliographical references must include
    • for articles: full names of author(s), title of article, title of journal, information on issue/date and inclusive pagination;
    • for books: full names of author(s) and/or editor(s), title of chapter and/or book, edition number (if not the first, place/publisher/year of publication;
    • for internet information: full addresses, included date of accession
    The Reference Departments of the university libraries maintain collections of the style manuals for various disciplines, which should be consulted for stylistic details for citing Internet material and the more esoteric sources, e.g. government documents, interviews, pamphlets, maps, images, hearings, etc.
  1. The copy submitted to the Director must have a title page, signed by the Project Advisor, as shown in Sample Title Pages, Figure 1.
  2. Candidates whose projects require Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval (of projects involving human and/or animal subjects) must apply for review at this time and receive approval prior to actually beginning the research.

Note that, in order to meet this deadline, you should circulate a draft of your proposal to the Project Advisor as soon as possible to enable him/her to suggest revisions prior to their “signing on” to the project. Arrange, also, to meet with him/her to discuss the project, its progress, the proposal and whatever revisions their final approval of the proposal will require. Failure to submit the proposal by the deadline will result in the deletion of your registration in the program.

It is the candidate's responsibility to ascertain that all required submissions have been received by the Director. Do not ask faculty members to forward them; professors are well-known to be "absent-minded"! Hand delivery is the safest means. If the mail has been used -- federal or campus -- allow sufficient time for delivery and check that it has been received.

The signed Committee copy of the Project Proposal will be forwarded by the Director to the Session Chair.



III. Senior Year Requirements: First Term

SENIOR YEAR: 11:015:497, 498 G. H. Cook Honors Program (BA, BA)

SEPTEMBER: Candidate Information Update
Candidates will receive a printed version of the Application Update which must be returned to the Director – indicating any changes in the faculty members or title of the project, as well as updating their contact information – by the end of the third week of the term.

The SESSION CHAIR provides another direct link between the candidate and the Honors Committee, advising the Honors Committee of the status of a student's candidacy and bringing before the Committee problems requiring immediate resolution. Students should consult this faculty member (rather than the Director) on matters concerning the academic standards or expectations of the Committee for projects in the candidate's field.

All program information is sent to the candidate via email.

Continuing candidates for the program should register for the second semester, 11:015:498 [497] G. H. COOK HONORS PROGRAM (BA) following the same procedures as for the first. Special permission numbers will be forwarded to all continuing candidates by the Director in advance of the registration period.

DECEMBER [April]: PROGRESS REPORT (a working thesis draft)
Candidates are required to submit a Progress Report to the Project Advisor by the beginning of the examination period. This should be considered a rough draft of the thesis, including and amending the various sections of the original proposal. As an example, the introduction and literature review should be completed in this draft. The “Materials and Methods”/procedures and “anticipated results” should be as complete as possible at this time, with an outline/timetable for completing the project in the following three months.

Project Advisors and candidates should make use of the weeks between terms to revise the working draft of the thesis and to create a timetable for its completion by the beginning of April. Projects that do not seem to promise completion within the remaining months should be converted to an independent study at this time.

Grades for the independent research “course” (11:015:497/498) are not necessarily related to candidacy in the program. A grade for the academic credits will be submitted by the Project Advisor on the basis of the student's progress/accomplishment by the end of the first term. Grades for the first term are reported as follows:

  • A - F grades will be entered into the student's cumulative average, as with any other course.
  • H grades indicate that the student's work cannot be meaningfully evaluated at this time, but is progressing to the satisfaction of the Project Advisor. An H grade cannot be computed in the candidate's cumulative average and may appear as a blank on the transcript (or a report that "no grade was received" on the telephone. Do not be alarmed!). The final grade submitted at the conclusion of the project will be substituted for the H and the GPAs recalculated to include the grade and cumulative project credits.
  • TZ indicates that no grade has been received by the Director or that no work has been completed for the Project Advisor to evaluate. No credits will be entered for the course. The TZ will become an F at the end of the following term, if the matter is not resolved with the Director.



IV. Senior Year Requirements: Second Term

SENIOR YEAR: 11:015:497, 498 G. H. Cook Honors Program (BA, BA)

MARCH [November]: Candidate's Updated Information Sheet
The Director will forward an updated information sheet to all candidates in early March. This sheet should be returned to the Director and indicate, at that time, any anticipated problems in scheduling their April presentations (e.g., class conflicts for themselves or the Project Advisor) so that the Director can draft a tentative schedule of the April program.

In early April [November], candidates are required to submit a copy of the Honors Thesis to the Honors Committee (through the Director) and to the Reviewer and Co-Advisor (where applicable), for their review and approval. This copy must be forwarded/signed by the Project Advisor (Sample Title Pages, Figure 2.) prior to submission to the Reviewer, the Co-Advisor and the Director. Candidates are, therefore, strongly advised to submit a final draft to their Project Advisor at least a week prior to the deadline to assure ample time for his/her review, your revision/correction and their subsequent approval.

Note that errors in manuscript mechanics (spelling, grammar, typos) or general carelessness in manuscript preparation will be as unacceptable to the Committee as errors in measurement or data.

The formal requirements and length of the thesis should be discussed thoroughly with the Project Advisor, since they vary considerably according to discipline and the kind of project undertaken. The Honors Committee, however, requires the following standardization of the format of the typed manuscript (MS):

  1. text typed double-spaced, on 8.5 x 11";
  2. a formal title page. (See Sample Title Pages, Figure 4.);
  3. a second page, signed by the Project Advisor, forwarding the thesis to the committee. (See Sample Title Pages, Fig. 2.);
  4. an abstract page, indicating the title of the thesis, the author's name and a single-spaced abstract (summary) of no more than 200 words;
  5. subsequent pages numbered, beginning with 1;
  6. tables/figures inserted on separate pages at the point of discussion or gathered at the end, according to the practice of the candidate's field;
  7. references cited parenthetically in the text, and gathered at the end of the paper. The REFERENCES or BIBLIOGRAPHY page(s) at the end must, however, include complete information on the sources. (See the Project Proposal requirements, above.);
  8. discursive notes (if any) at the bottom of the page or gathered at the end;
  9. supplementary documents (APPENDICES) gathered at the end, following the REFERENCES/BIBLIOGRAPHY.

The copy submitted to the Director must include the original (signed) second page. It will be forwarded to the candidate's Session Chair for review prior to the oral presentation. If the Session Chair is also serving as a Reviewer or SEBS Co-Advisor (to whom the candidate must submit a copy of the approved thesis), only a title page and the signed second page need be submitted to the Director. The Reviewer's independent evaluation will be solicited by the Director at this time.

Candidates whose theses are not submitted to the Director more than a week before the defense will not be considered for honors and will be converted to independent study projects.

Candidates are required to make a 15-minute oral presentation of their work (a "defense" of their thesis or general discussion of their project) to the Honors Committee at the conclusion of the project (normally in the middle of April). Project Advisors, Reviewers, other interested faculty and students, as well as the public, are invited to attend.

Ten minutes are allotted for questions from the floor following the candidate's presentation. If the candidate's project consists mainly of a performance or exhibit that is to be (or has been) made at another time, this presentation should consist of a description of the project. (Slides from a photography exhibit, for example, might be shown. Or the rationale for a concert program might be discussed and explained.)

Candidates are encouraged to use PowerPoint or other audio-visual aids. Each room will have an LCD projector, but the Director must be notified, at least ten days in advance, if other kinds of equipment (slide projectors, VCRs, tape recorders, special computer hookups) need to be arranged for. Candidates should also arrive early enough to assure that the necessary equipment is properly set up and compatible.

Candidates should bring with them 20 copies of the ABSTRACT PAGE of their thesis for distribution to the audience. Copies of tables that are to be discussed in detail may also be distributed, if the candidate feels the presentation will be clarified by reference to them.

All faculty members and candidates will receive a tentative schedule of the presentations by the beginning of the week. The Director must be notified as soon as possible of any adjustments in the schedule that must be made. The final schedule of projects, times and room assignments will be posted at the Director's office and on the George H. Cook Scholars Program website.

Candidates will be notified -- no later than ten days after the Honors Presentations -- of the status of their candidacy and the revisions of the thesis (if any) required by the Project Advisor(s), Reviewer or Honors Committee prior to their final review and evaluation of the project's acceptability for the GEORGE H. COOK SCHOLAR award.

The Project Advisor will submit the final grade for the project to the Director. This grade must be a standard letter grade, A - F. No T or H grades may be submitted for graduating candidates at this time. If the candidate has not submitted the required revised HONORS THESIS or if no grade has been submitted, a TZ grade (indicating neither grade nor credits for the project) will be assigned until the matter is resolved by the Director/Honors Committee.

Again, it is the candidate's responsibility to ascertain that all program requirements have been met.

The Honors Committee will arbitrate any discrepancies in the various evaluations of the project's merit, in consultation with all faculty involved and with other appropriate faculty, if necessary.

Students will be notified of the status of their candidacy upon receipt of all required evaluations.



V. Conversion to Independent Study

The projects of candidates which are not, ultimately, accepted for honors will be converted by the Director to an appropriate independent study/research course with the Project Advisor. (This conversion may be initiated by the Project Advisor or the Honors Committee at any time during the course of the project/year.)

Candidates may withdraw their own projects from consideration for honors and/or conversion to an independent study at any time prior to the term’s deadline for withdrawal from courses. Students advised or wishing to withdraw their projects and/or convert them to independent study should see the Director for completing the necessary paperwork. Students and Project Advisors will also be notified of conversions made by the Committee.



VI. Final Matters

Candidates are required to submit a final/revised copy of the HONORS THESIS to their Project Advisor(s), Reviewer (if requested) and Session Chair no later than the last day of class of the semester for final review and approval. The original (or a "correspondence" quality reproduction) must be submitted to the Director before Commencement with both the formal title page (Sample Title Pages, Figure 4.) and a second page, bearing the signature and approval of the Project Advisor(s). (See Sample Title Pages, Figure 3. and note that the Reviewer is not required to sign the final thesis.) This is the copy which will be permanently bound by and kept in the Chang Library. The copy submitted should not, itself, be permanently bound, for the library will simply have to discard this binding: an envelope, folder or heavy paper clamp will do.

Designation of the candidate as a GEORGE H. COOK SCHOLAR rests entirely with the Honors Committee. The Scholar's thesis title and advisor are published in the SEBS Commencement Bulletin. Certificates are awarded individually to each George H. Cook Scholar at an appropriate ceremony held shortly before the SEBS Commencement.