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Hutton Honors College

 — Indiana University

Contact: Dr. Robert Withnell
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences

1. How is your honors degree program administered? Is there a specific person who acts as coordinator? Is there a faculty committee?

The honors program is administered by the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences. Please contact Dr. Robert Withnell, email:, telephone: 812-855-9339.

2. What are the requirements for admission into your honors program? How are students recruited for your program? May students recommend themselves?

All juniors with a GPA greater than or equal to 3.5 are eligible for participation in the SPHS Departmental Honors Program. In the fall semester, the Director of Undergraduate Studies sends an email message to the students inviting those students who meet the GPA eligibility criteria to attend a meeting to receive information about the program and to field questions from prospective applicants. Students who wish to apply to the honors program should email the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Acceptance to the program requires a GPA greater than or equal to 3.5 and an academic faculty member willing to mentor the student.

3. How does a student graduate with honors from your department?

Students must successfully complete three SPHS courses for the honors program, one in each of their final three semesters at IU, maintain a cumulative GPA at or above 3.5, and complete an honors thesis with a faculty member.

4. What courses do students take as juniors and before in order to prepare for working on the senior project? How are these honors seminars and courses typically conducted? What are the usual requirements in such courses?

  • SPHS-S 311//Fall: it is recommended that students interested in the honors program take this course prior to admission to the program (e.g., fall of junior year). Preference will be given to applicants who have completed or who are enrolled in this course at the time of their application. Students may also enroll in P211: Psychological and Brain Sciences, to complete the research methods course requirement.

    The following three course sequence is required for completion of honors:

  • SPHS-S 415/Spring: This is a seminar offered in the spring semester of the junior year and usually taught by the Director of Undergraduate Studies. There are two objectives: a) to learn to think critically about research and research design in speech and hearing sciences; and b) to learn about the on-going research activities conducted by faculty in the department.
  • SPHS-S 399/Fall: Most of the work for this course is done under the tutelage of the student's mentor. It is during this semester that the student will develop the research project and begin working on the data collection process. One-hour meetiings, as needed, are offered by instructor of record for SPHS S399/499.
  • SPHS-S 499/Spring: Continuation of honors thesis research. One-hour meetings, as needed, are offered by the instructor of record for SPHS S399/499. Near the end of the semester, a summary report on the completed honors project is presented to the faculty and students via a poster presentation session.

    5. Are there departmental resources available to support internships or research projects related to the senior project?

    Funding for research projects is considered on an as-needed basis. Faculty mentors are responsible for ensuring students have the necessary resources to complete research projects.

    6. What is the nature of the senior project and what are the requirements for completing it?

    There are no rigid requirements and the details are left to the individual faculty mentors. Typically, a senior project involves conducting an experiment following a review of the literature and to present the details, together with the results and their discussion, in a manuscript that is "thesis-like" in nature. This is followed by a poster presentation wshere all students present their results to faculty and students from the department.

    7. How might the work required for an honors degree be particularly beneficial in future endeavors?

    Participation in an independent research experience enhances critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, and provides a good understanding of the nature of research in speech and hearing science. Graduation with honors is a testimony to academic excellence and may enhance a student's prospects for acceptance into graduate school.

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