Independent Research Guidelines

Honors Program participants are encouraged to conduct a substantial research project on a topic of their choice.

Each project is designed in collaboration with a faculty mentor. Grant funds are available to support this research.

Research Criteria

Students meet regularly with their faculty mentor and reference librarian. Projects must:

  • Reflect serious undergraduate research, meriting the equivalent of 0.5 Honors course credit (two semester hours)
  • Take approximately 4.5 hours per week/67.5 hours per term, with research being conducted in a library, in a lab, or in the field
  • Result in some type of written text—the length will vary by discipline
  • Be presented to a public forum, such as a regional or national honors conference or discipline-specific conferences

To receive the 0.5 Honors credit, a copy of the project must be filed with the Honors Program Director no later than the day grades are due for that term; otherwise, no Honors credit will be awarded. An exit assessment must be completed no later than two weeks after the project is submitted.

Getting Started

  • Schedule an advising appointment with the Honors Program assistant director.
  • Complete an Honors Independent Research Form, obtaining all necessary signatures.
  • Then, register for Honors Independent Research (course number 495) in the home department of the faculty mentor.

Swords Scholar funding may be available for projects. For additional information, contact Mary Kay Mulvaney.

Swords Scholar Grant Proposal

He [or she] who has hit upon a subject suited to his [or her] powers will never fail.” —Quintus Horatius Flaccus, 8 B.C.

The following grant proposal must be submitted to compete for grant funding for the Honors Independent Research. Grant funds may be used for expenses such as:

  • Project supplies, such as specialized software purchases, laboratory equipment, or transcription equipment
  • Travel expenses for field observations and experiences
  • Seminar or conference fees
  • Professional stipends in extraordinary circumstances

Funds are not limited to the above, but rather may also be assigned to additional worthy expenses, at the discretion of the Honors Program Director and Honors Program Committee. Monetary grants are awarded on a competitive basis.

Grant Proposal Components

The proposal must be submitted electronically as a Microsoft Word document to Professor Mary Kay Mulvaney.

  • Introduce yourself
  • Explain your academic achievements
  • Indicate your rationale for proposing this project
  • Create a succinct, abstract (approximately 150 words) identifying the project, its major objectives, and anticipated results.  (HINT: Write this last—after you’ve worked out the details below.)
  • Describe the project, including objectives, methodology, anticipated resources, anticipated results, etc. This is the most extensive part of the proposal—probably 2+ pages—and it’s where you’ll make your case for deserving these funds.
  • Create a timeline indicating specific anticipated dates for completion of the various stages of the project: gathering data, transcribing notes, analyzing research, preparing the written document, and presenting results.
  • List all participants involved in the project, including faculty mentor.
  • Itemize all anticipated expenses for completion of the project—it is best to put this information in a table format.
  • Indicate grant money other than the Swords Grant you have received.

Keep in mind that a proposal is a persuasive document. Convince your readers that this is a significant research endeavor, worthy of grant funds and Swords Scholar Grant Recipient designation. Good Luck!

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