Honors 496

Upper Division students generally take two semesters of Honors 496, making up the last 6 credits in the Upper Division sequence.  The first semester of Honors 496 is usually dedicated to research while the second semester is dedicated to the writing, revision, and presentation of the Senior Honors Project.  This course is conducted like a directed reading course rather than a seminar, encouraging independent research and communication with one’s thesis advisor.  At the end of the Honors 496 sequence, students present their final thesis at the Spring Symposium or Fall Forum.     

Students taking Honors 496 for the first semester and who are not graduating in that semester are required to take an Honors 496 course designated for them (usually sections 001-003).  This course has a mandatory course/workshop component that meets at designated times. Students planning on graduating should register for the appropriate Honors 496 section.  Please note that Honors 496 is now optional WI – however, students registered for HON 496 (WI) must submit their 16 best pages of writing to Honors by the end of exam period.

During the Honors 496 sequence students build their Honors Thesis Committee, bringing in two other faculty members, academics, or knowledgable personnel to help critique the thesis.  Committee members can be from other academic fields or disciplines and should be chosen based on their knowledge and ability to provide positive feedback.  We prefer that the two committee members are full-time faculty at UH Manoa, but under certain circumstances other readers may be appropriate.  If this is the case, please provide a memorandum endorsed by the advisor providing a rationale for their appointment.  In the case that students choose to add a fourth reader no such restrictions apply, but please inform us of their name, affiliation and email address on the Honors Project Committee form.      

Schedule for the Senior Honors Project

To ensure a successful completion and timely submission of the Senior Honors Project, we have listed requirements and a generic schedule below:

i. Orientation meetings:

At the beginning of the first semester of work on the project, students must meet with the Honors Director.  There will be scheduled orientations during which students will learn the deadlines and procedures of Honors 496, followed by an opportunity to clarify any outstanding questions. Students who are unable to attend one of the scheduled meetings must make an appointment to see the Honors Director personally.

At the beginning of the second semester of research work, students must make an individual half-hour appointment to meet with the Honors Director as soon as possible after the semester begins in order to discuss plans for graduation.

ii. Regular meetings with your thesis advisor:

Students and their thesis advisors are responsible for establishing a regular schedule of meetings to review progress on the project.  We suggest mapping out a plan for the completion of various project stages as soon as possible and updating the schedule as necessary.

iii. Progress Reports

At the end of the first semester both student and advisor will be asked to submit a progress report. This report is an important part of the course requirements. Failure to provide us with a progress report by the last day of classes may result in a lower grade for the course.  Students will need to submit a Student Progress Report – HON 496, and their advisor will need to submit an Advisor Progress Report – HON 496.

iv. Forming a committee:

As previously indicated, students must establish an Honors committee.  We suggest students consult with their advisor and invite potential committee members as soon as they see fit.  Please remember: at a minimum committee members read the examination draft from which they determine a preliminary Honors designation, so students must keep this in mind putting together their committee.

General Project Deadlines:

Following are the general deadlines for submission of the Senior Honors Project during the final semester of Honors 496:

Project DeadlinesFallSpringSummer
Advisor sees entire rough draftOctoberMarchJune
Committee sees examination draft (consult, comment/meet)NovemberAprilJuly
Present completed projects at Fall Forum or Spring SymposiumDecemberMayN/A
All graduation materials due to Honors officeDecemberMayAugust
Committee's evaluation due to Honors officeDecemberMayAugust


Submitting a Senior Honors Project

To review all materials that must be submitted to complete the Senior Honors Thesis, please view Graduating with Honors.

Page Requirement

Our Honors students come from a variety of academic disciplines, and their submitted theses represent this diversity.  While we do not impose strict requirements on the length of one’s Senior Honors Project, we have compiled a few averages based on previously submitted work:

  • Arts and Humanities: 50-120 pages
  • Social Sciences and Business: 35-100 pages
  • Natural Sciences, Math, and Engineering: 25-60 pages

Citations and Formatting

The format of the final thesis, citations, and any appendices, diagrams, or tables included in the work must be consistent with the student’s academic discipline.  For example, students submitting a thesis from the English Department refer to MLA guidelines while students from the Biology Department refer to CSE.  We encourage students to consult their thesis advisors with specific questions regarding citations and formatting.

Please note that students submitting creative work – a photography or art instillation or gallery, a music or dance recital, a play or script, a collection of stories or poems, an engineering or architecture project – must also submit an essay that explains and interprets the work.

Academic Advising

Students enrolled in Honors 496 are required to meet with the Honors Director.  As previously mentioned, students in their first semester of Honors 496 are required to attend the course workshops as they embark on their Senior Honors Thesis while students in their second semester of Honors 496 meet with the Director to discuss plans for graduation.  These meetings are separate from meeting with students’ Honors Thesis Advisors.

Waivers for Honors 496

As with Honors 495, students may take courses from their home departments to waive Honors 496.  For more details about which courses would suffice, please consult the Honors Program Director by emailing honors@hawaii.edu.  To successfully waive this course, students must submit a completed waiver form with support from the Honors Thesis Advisor.  If students are submitting their final Senior Honors Thesis, please consult our submission requirements to ensure all appropriate materials are received.