The Department of Communication also provides an opportunity for advanced undergraduate study and research in communication. Entry into the program is highly competitive, with no more than 10 students accepted each year.
Participation in the honors program offers challenging and rewarding intellectual experiences that extend well beyond typical undergraduate courses. The honors program requires students to engage in rigorous study of a significant communication research question that culminates in an honors thesis. Though students in the honors program typically write their theses independently, the honors students take a seminar together on communication scholarship, in which the students get to know one another and are exposed to a range of theoretical, conceptual, and methodological interests.
Admission to the Program
Students apply for the program only if a faculty member agrees to nominate the student for admission. In nominating a student, a faculty member commits to serving as this student’s advisor for his/her thesis. Additional admissions criteria are as follows:
- At least junior standing (90 credits) by the quarter in which the student applies to the program.
- Submission of writing sample (often a paper from a Communication course).
- Admissions letter in which student discusses an idea for the thesis topic.
- Completion of either COM 201 or COM 202.
- Submission of UW transcript.
Students accepted into the Honors program typically have a minimum grade-point average of 3.7 in Department of Communication courses and a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.5.
Applications are due by May 15, 2013 and decisions are made by the end of spring quarter. Application forms are available here.
Students begin the honors program in the fall quarter by enrolling in COM 496 (Honors Seminar), a 5-credit course that focuses on the process of research conceptualization. Students work on their projects, both individually and in classroom discussion. Students also read scholarly writings that help them move through the stages of conceptualization and explication. Thereafter, students take 10 credits of COM 497 (Honors Thesis), supervised by their individual faculty advisors. Development and completion of an honors thesis is demanding work. Typically, students will be most successful when their thesis credits are taken over the course of two or more quarters.
Both the honors seminar and thesis credits can count toward the requirements for the Communication degree: the seminar satisfies the Methods requirement, and thesis credits count under the Electives requirement. These courses also can contribute toward the upper-division credit requirements.
Public Presentation of Research
Honors students are encouraged to submit their research projects for presentation in the University of Washington’s Undergraduate Research Symposium, held annually in May. This public event includes both a poster room, where students provide graphic summaries of their findings, and topical panels, in which students from different departments present the findings of related research projects.