Mississippi College believes that motivated students should be able to shape their own educational experience. The independent reading, research and writing project is one way honors students can do this. Students who choose to participate must have at least twelve hours of credit at Mississippi College and must have a GPA of at least 3.25 overall and a 3.50 within their major fields. Students must maintain those levels to continue in the program. In order to receive “high honors,” students must successfully complete their project and have at 3.50 overall GPA and a 3.75 within their majors. Students enroll for the project within the subject area of their choice, normally using the 361, 461, 462 course numbers in their subject area. This project is a three semester sequence.
1. During the first semester, students begin to define their project, working with a faculty member director of their choosing. Students develop a reading list and do general reading in order to define their research clearly. At the end of the first semester, students are expected to submit a proposal to their director and to the honors council that includes a clear discussion of their research area, the particular focus of their project, an understanding of how this would contribute to the field, and a specific timeline for completion. In addition, students should submit a substantial bibliography to show that resources exist for further research. This semester is one credit hour.
2. During the second semester, students focus on directed research, either by exploring completely the secondary sources discovered during the first semester, or by engaging directly in research experiments that build on secondary source material. Working closely with the faculty director, students begin to refine their research issues and move toward a clear hypothesis, assertion or thesis concerning their research area. At the end of the second semester, students will either submit a revised proposal or clearly demonstrate significant progress in research to their director and the honors council. This semester is two credit hours.
3. During the third semester, students finish their research and write their report. While the structure and format of the report will vary from discipline to discipline, it should be understood that the strongest projects will defend a clear hypothesis, assertion or conclusion based upon the research conducted in the second semester. The final written project will conform to the highest standards of academic writing within the discipline, and the best projects will include an interdisciplinary element. This semester is three credit hours.
Students will receive a grade for each semester they remain in the project. At the beginning of the third semester, students and faculty directors should notify the chair of the Honors Council of the intention to complete the honors project that semester and request the appropriate paperwork. At the end of the third semester, students will submit their research report to a committee, chaired by their director, and made up of two other members of that department and one representative assigned by the Honors Council. The committee will engage the student in an oral examination on the research project. The committee will then determine whether the project, report, and examination are unsatisfactory, satisfactory, or superior. The superior designation can only apply if the student meets the qualifications for “high honors.” If a project is declared “unsatisfactory,” the student may receive no higher than a C for the final semester work and will not graduate “with honors” at graduation. Committee members will sign on signature sheets to be included with the final copy of the report. Each signature sheet should contain original signatures.
The oral examination must occur at least one week before the last regular class day of the semester.
Upon successful completion of the examination, the student will make final corrections and prepare the report for final submission.
Students who have successfully completed their oral defense should make any final corrections to their report. The report should follow the accepted style manual of the subject area and should conform to the highest standards of academic writing in that area.
Students will make four copies the final report on white bond paper, no less than 50% cotton rag content. These copies will be taken to the graduate office and a binding fee paid by the student. Failure to pay the binding fee will result in the essays not being bound and preserved.
The final copies should include the following items, arranged in the following manner:
- Blank flyleaf—included but not counted in page numbering
- Title Page
- Table of Contents
- List of tables and figures (if used)
- Body of Report
- Appendices (if needed)
- Biographical Sketch of the Author
- Signature sheets of Committee Members
- Blank flyleaf
The final copies of the essay must be submitted by the last regular class day of the semester. Incompletes will not be given for honors projects except in the most extreme of situations.