Honors in the Major

Honors in the Major

Undergraduate students can receive honors distinction in their major on their transcripts by successfully completing a CSSH honors research project. Students need not be members of the university-wide Honors Program to receive College Honors.

The College of Social Sciences and Humanities encourages undergraduate students to participate in the research community at Northeastern by working with a faculty mentor on independent research.  Undergraduate students in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities who propose and successfully complete research projects of sufficient scope (as described below) will receive honors distinction in the major.  This will be recorded on the transcript as “Honors in [Name of Major],” and coursework that counts toward the honors project must bear the prefix of the major department or program.  No prior university-wide Honors Program participation is required.  Students earn honors in their declared major.

Ordinarily the scholarly project will be a single project pursued for two semesters and, although the project need not be done for academic credit, it will be equivalent to the work required by a minimum of 8 semester hours of academic coursework.  Students carrying out an honors project will ordinarily register for XXXX 4970 Junior/Senior Honors Project 1 one semester and XXXX 4971 Junior/Senior Honors Project 2 in the subsequent semester, where XXXX is the departmental prefix.  With the consent of the department, the student may register for one semester of another appropriate course with the departmental prefix.

After the proposal has been approved, a student will be able to register for the appropriate coursework and begin the honors research.  This means that the proposal must be developed and presented for approval before the beginning of the research semesters.  In practice this will ordinarily mean that the proposal must be submitted to the CSSH Undergraduate Advisory Curriculum Committee for review by the Friday before the last day of classes in Fall or Spring semesters, at the latest.

The faculty mentor is a very important element in the success of the project and should be chosen carefully.  She or he will be a resource to the student throughout the research, from the developing of the proposal to the dissemination of the results.  The most successful projects tend to arise when the student-mentor connection is strong and built on shared intellectual interests.

Eligibility to Pursue Honors in the Major

  • Minimum cumulative QPA of 3.500
  • Fifth, sixth or seventh semester student
  • Must have secured the participation of a faculty mentor
    • Mentors must be full-time faculty members.

Application Process

  • Student prepares application packet with input from faculty mentor
  • Student secures willingness of faculty mentor to write a letter of support
  • Student secures the signature of the faculty mentor
  • Student secures the signature of the department chair(s)
  • Application packet reviewed by Undergraduate Academic Advisory Committee (UAAC)
  • Student, faculty mentor, department chair will receive response from UAAC within three weeks

Expanded Guidelines

The application packet, which includes:

  • Cover sheet
  • Unofficial transcript
  • Research proposal
  • Letter of support from your faculty mentor

must be signed by the department chair(s) of your major department(s).  This packet should be completed electronically and sent to Andrew Casasanto-Ferro (a.casasantoferro@neu.edu).


The proposal is the most significant part of the application.  It must be approved before registering for the research course.  The proposal should be a narrative description of the proposed project, expected outcomes, and form of the finished product.  It is usually at least 750 – 1000 words long.  The narrative should include the thesis or research question; a discussion of primary works and authors; theoretical framework; methodology and data source, if relevant; significance of the contribution; and a clear statement of the rationale and goals of the final project.  Additionally, the proposal should include a preliminary bibliography of relevant texts or other materials and a projected timeline by which intermediate goals will be met.  If relevant previous work has been done, e.g. while on co-op, please indicate the bearing it will have on the proposed project.

Also, if the student’s work uses human subjects, the student may have to get Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval before starting research.  To determine whether or not IRB approval is necessary, the student should contact Nan Regina, Director of the Division of Research Integrity.  Her contact information includes:  Phone:  617-373-4588; Office:  960 Renaissance Park; E-mail:  n.regina@neu.edu.  The IRB guidelines and process can be found at this web site:  http://www.northeastern.edu/research/hsrp/

Faculty Mentor

The letter of support from the faculty mentor should address explicitly how and why the proposed project would meet Honors criteria, what guidance the faculty member will provide, and how the final product will be evaluated.


The proposal must be developed and presented for approval before the beginning of the research semesters.  In practice this means that the proposal will ordinarily be submitted to the CSSH Undergraduate Academic Advisory Curriculum Committee (UAAC) for review by the Friday before the last day of classes in Fall or Spring semesters.  The UAAC frequently asks for revisions of proposals so it is best to allow time for this.

Collaborative Project Proposals

Proposals for collaborative projects must include the following elements:

  • Statement explaining the reason for pursuing a collaborative project
  • Statement of prior experience with collaborative projects, if any
  • Statement of how the workload will be divided between participants
  • Evidence that the project will be twice as substantive as an individual project would be

These additional elements are necessary because the result of a successful project will be a designation of Honors in the Major on each individual participant’s transcript.

Successful Completion

  • Final project must be approved by the appropriate department as meeting the criterion of significant, honors-worthy research embedding both intellectual engagement and rigor
    • Each department will establish a process by which successful completion will be determined
    • Each department will send names of successful candidates to Dean’s Office
    • Public presentation of the completed project at a College-sanctioned event required

Click here for downloadable PDF version of these guidelines