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Undergraduate students can receive honors distinction in their major by successfully completing a CSSH honors research project. CSSH encourages all students to contribute to the Northeastern community and beyond as scholars, researchers, and innovators.

General FAQs

CSSH majors with junior or senior standing and a GPA of at least 3.5, who have secured a full-time faculty member as a mentor, can propose a project for Honors in the Major. Honors in the Major is distinct from the University Honors Program. Students do not need to be members of the University Honors Program to propose an Honors in the Major project.  Conversely, student who are members of the University Honors Program may also choose to apply for Honors in the Major.

The Honors in the Major proposal must be approved by the department in advance of the semester in which the student plans to undertake any work for credit; programs may set their own deadlines for application.  Interested students should identify a faculty mentor well ahead of the application deadline. 

Unless the department specifies otherwise, students should complete and submit to the faculty advisor and/or unit committee a proposal (described below), a preliminary bibliography, where appropriate, and an unofficial transcript.

To receive Honors in the Major, the completed project must be approved by the department or program committee as meeting the criteria established. Each unit in CSSH will convey the names of successful Honors in the Major candidates to the Office of Student Advising/Registrar by the final day of classes each semester.  The designation “Honors in [Major]” will appear on the student’s transcript.

The college expects that students and their mentors will make every effort to enable students to share their work with the department, college, or university community, whether in department colloquia or at venues such as the CSSH Undergraduate Research Forum or the university Research, Innovation, Scholarship, and Entrepreneurship (RISE) fair.

If the committee’s evaluation finds that the project does not merit conferral of Honors in the Major, that finding will not in itself affect the student’s grade for any related coursework, GPA, eligibility for graduation, or any other recognition for which the student may be otherwise eligible.

Honors in the Major Project FAQs

Honors projects are expected to make an original contribution to their fields of inquiry or activity. The Honors in the Major project may consist of entirely new work; it may draw on or represent the culmination of previous research, co-op, or other learning experiences; or it may combine both prior and new work. Students writing a thesis or producing a creative work or another equivalent research project will register for at least one, and at most two, semesters of 4970/4971, Junior/Senior Honors Seminar 1/2. With departmental approval, students may complete such work as part of a capstone or senior seminar rather than register for 4970/4971.

The format of the honors project (research paper, portfolio of work, creative project, etc.) is determined by the student in consultation with the faculty mentor and approved according to the process designated by the department or program. 

Writing your proposal

The proposal is must be approved before registering for the research course. It should be a narrative of 750-1000 words and include:

  1. A statement of the thesis or research question; 
  2. a preliminary theoretical framework; 
  3. methodology and data sources, if relevant; significance of the contribution; 
  4. a clear statement of the rationale and goals of the final project;
  5. an account, if relevant, of preliminary or related work completed (e.g., co-op experience, prior research) and its relationship to the final project as proposed; 
  6. if appropriate to project format, a preliminary bibliography of relevant texts or other materials; and
  7. a timeline of intermediate benchmarks and steps toward the final product.  

If the research involves human subjects the student must contact Nan Regina, Director of the Division of Research Integrity, to determine whether IRB approval is necessary.  The IRB guidelines and process can be found here: