Research Opportunities for Honors Students

Honors Thesis Research

Honors thesis projects offer students the chance to focus on a particular topic of interest, passion, or conviction. These projects may take the form of a scholarly paper, original writing (plays, poems, short stories), artistic composition or design, science experiment, a curricular module, or other project that meets academic standards for originality in a student’s major discipline. Many students build on projects they began in other classes, in a lab or field experience, or choose a topic they in which they are personally or intellectually invested. 

The thesis project is expected to be completed during the same semester that a student is enrolled in HNRS 495, the Honors Thesis Seminar.  Prior to enrolling HNRS 495, students are encouraged to enroll in either an independent study, a research course or the senior project course associated with their field of study to make headway on their thesis projects. Students may earn up to 3 units of Honors credit for these types of research coursework. 

Honors students conduct their thesis projects with the guidance of a faculty member in the student's major field of study. Students are free to select a faculty member of their choice. Consulting early and often with a thesis advisor helps students organize their projects so that they are feasibly completed and of high quality.  At latest, students should plan to identify and confer with a thesis advisor no later than the spring semester of their junior year. 

Some thesis projects require approvals (e.g., Institutional Review Board) and/or funding (e.g., for materials).  Students should talk with their advisors about whether these are required for their own projects, and if so, begin the process of securing approvals and/or funding as early as possible. 

The oral presentation of students' thesis projects occurs in the semester in which the student is enrolled in HNRS 495. All presentations are delivered publicly at the Honors Colloquium (held twice a year, in December and May).

Please visit the FAQ for current students to learn more about the Honors thesis. 

Hinman Grants

The University of San Diego Honors Program invites all Honors Program students in their Junior or Senior year to apply for the Lawrence Hinman Honors Research Grant. The purpose of the grant is to support the growth and development of Honors research. These grants can be spent on research to develop the Honors Senior Thesis, to develop a presentation for a conference, or to travel to present at a conference. Not only do these research grants improve the quality of student research, but they also look great on applications to graduate schools, professional programs or jobs.

Fall Application Deadline: Monday, September 14, 2020 (by 5 p.m.)

Spring Application Deadline: Monday, February 22, 2021 (by 5 p.m.)

Go here to apply for the Lawrence Hinman Research Grant.

National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC)

Every fall, we select a group of USD Honors students to attend the NCHC Conference. This annual conference invites Honors Program faculty, students, and staff from colleges and universities across the country to participate in various workshops and interactive presentations. Students are encouraged to share ideas and network with honors professionals. They deliver a presentation about USD's Program, and they learn about different ways to improve our honors teaching, learning and administration.

Students who are selected to attend NCHC are those who actively participate in the Honors Program beyond classwork (e.g., serve as an Honors student leader, attend and organize Honors events), and who have indicated an interest in attending the conference.