Guidelines and Approval Process for Departmental Honors Options
Departmental Honors Options are an important way to not only recognize and honor superior students, but also to challenge them and to enrich their educational experience at the University. Departmental honors options provide one way to honor the many transfer students who cannot participate fully in the University Honors program. Since there is wide variation among departments, schools and colleges, individual departments should have some freedom to design their own honors option within a framework that provides consistency for students and faculty in terms of expectations and quality.
I. Department faculty establishes appropriate departmental requirements for receiving honors in the major and designates an honors coordinator.
Typical requirements to qualify for departmental honors might include:
Completion of a request/admission form to enter the honors option (participation is elective; students must apply and be admitted).
Completion of a specified number of total hours (e.g., 90 hours).
Completion of specified number of hours in major (e.g., 24-28 hours).
Minimum GPA at PSU and in major (e.g., 3.3 GPA).
Completion of specific course(s) (e.g., research methods).
Typical requirements for receiving departmental honors might include:
Completion of written research report/paper/thesis (perhaps in conjunction with University Honors thesis number) with understanding of close mentoring relationship with faculty.
Completion of departmental honors course(s) or seminar(s).
Presentation of research to department faculty committee, symposium, seminar.
Receipt of specific grade in honors work (e.g., B+ or above, and GPA).
II. Forward departmental faculty approved document to appropriate college/school dean for approval.
III. Dean sends approved document to Provost for approval and inclusion in Bulletin.
IV. Upon departmental approval of student completion of honors option work, written notification is given to Records and Registration for posting on student transcript and diploma. Possible language might be "with departmental distinction" or simply "with distinction." Since PSU already uses "Honors" for students achieving specified GPAs, and designates students who successfully complete "University Honors Program," it would seem that we should either adopt the Latin honors for graduating GPA, or language using "distinction" for departmental honors.