Journalism Honors Program

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To graduate with honors in Journalism & Mass Communication, a student must have a GPA of at least 3.50 in the major.  The JMC Honors Project is the centerpiece of earning JMC honors and may take the form of an individual thesis or a professional project. The Project is typically completed during the last semester of the senior year.

Please note that University Honors is separate from JMC honors, but we encourage students to pursue both University and JMC honors.  Information on University Honors can be found here.

JMC honors students must complete JMC:4955 Honors Project (3 s.h.) under the supervision of a faculty member.  The Honors Project requires students to fill out an Independent Study Contract by the end of the second week of the semester when they are taking the course.  JMC honors students are encouraged, but not required, to take JMC:4910 Readings in Communication & Mass Communication (1-3 s.h.) as preparation for the Honors Project during the semester before they complete the Project.

The Honors Project and Honors Readings courses count as JMC electives against the student’s total journalism credit hours (no more than 48). Only full-time faculty members may supervise them.  The nature of the project is up to the student and supervisor. Examples of previous projects are on file in the Blank Honors Center and in the SJMC Resource Center (E350 AJB).

The same honors project may not be turned in to two departments unless special permission is obtained from both departments. Double-department honors projects require more substance and depth than single-department projects.  Please check with honors advisors from both departments before pursuing such projects.

Note: Graduating with distinction, based on GPA and class percentile, is different from graduating with JMC or University honors.

Pursuing JMC Honors:

  • Students can graduate with honors by completing a traditional research thesis or something more hands-on and/or creative.  The project can be almost anything—an extensive or investigative reporting/writing project, a first issue of a magazine, a photo essay, a media-related Web site, a PR campaign—that interests the student and can be explored in ways the student has not yet done.
  • Students are urged to think of the project as a personalized "capstone" that builds on what they have learned already and that is tailored to their career aspirations. It must produce an original portfolio piece that demonstrates a high level of creative and professional achievement.
  • Hands-on projects must also include an “evaluative component” in which students reflect on the project and on what they learned from it. This generally is an essay of at least four pages.

JMC Honors Timetable

  • Before pursuing the Honors Project:
    • Students think about what they might want to do as an Honors Project.  Students also are welcome to come to JMC Advisor Anna Newnum (W241 AJB) or JMC Honors Advisor Travis Vogan (E342 AJB) with ideas or questions.
    • Students discuss Project ideas with faculty members and enlist an appropriate faculty member to serve as a supervisor.
  • Semester before Honors Project:
    • Students take JMC:4910 Readings in Communication & Mass Communication to prepare for Honors Project (Optional).
    • Students sign an Independent Study Contract with their faculty supervisor JMC:4955 Honors Project and register for the course no later than the end of the “add” period of the semester when the Project is to be completed.
  • Semester when project is to be completed:
    • Students meet with faculty supervisor to discuss details of the project, including a timetable, the anticipated end result, and how it will be evaluated.
  • Midpoint of the semester when student is graduating:
    • Students completing an Honors Project (or who have completed one in a previous semester) file a Graduate with Honors in a Major form with the Honors Program Office, 420 Blank Honors Center. The deadline is the same as the deadline for filing a general "intent to graduate" form with the Registrar’s office. The Honors Project faculty supervisor signs this form. A copy of the form goes to JMC Honors Advisor Travis Vogan (E342 AJB).
  • End of the semester in which the honors project is completed:
    • Students complete all requirements for the Honors Project to the faculty supervisor’s satisfaction. For hands-on projects, this includes both the project and the evaluative component.
    • Students fill out a Thesis Submission Agreement, with their advisor’s signature, and submit the form to Honors Program.
    • Students submit Project to Honors Program here.
    • Further Project submission guidelines are available here.
    • Aside from electronically submitting the project to the Honors Program, JMC requires students to submit a hard copy to The Journalism Resource Center, E350 Adler.