Honors Program

Honors program application form

The application deadline is May 15th by noon, with later submissions considered on a case-by-case basis.

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 in the Autumn on communication scholarship, in which the students get to know one another and are exposed to a range of theoretical, conceptual, and methodological interests. They complete a first draft of their study proposal in this class, with extensive feedback from the faculty and other honor students.

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:

Cumulative GPA of 3.3 as per UW policy on graduating with departmental honors.

At least junior standing (90 credits) by the quarter in which the student applies to the program.

A clear project idea: The student may change his/her mind about the project over the course of the summer and Autumn term.

A strong writing sample that shows evidence of the ability to conduct reviews of research literature and/or engage in primary research from any tradition that is part of the field of Communication.


Valerie Manusov (manusov@u.washington.edu) for more information.

Honors Coursework

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 5-10 credits of COM 497 (Honors Thesis), supervised by their individual faculty advisors. Com 497 is only offered as a CR/NC course. 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.

Examples of Honors Theses


  • Kaitlyn Bannister- Learn Italian Culture Through Film
  • Brooke Byun- Asian American Representation in US Media
  • Caleb Huffman- Donald Trump’s Presidential Announcement Speech: A Rhetorical Analysis
  • Annika Larson- Did Donald Trump’s Twitter account impact his media coverage during the Access Hollywood tapes scandal?
  • Jacob Rahn- Why Does South Park’s Audience Lose Their Agency?
  • Komalpreet Sahota- Can You Hear Me?
  • Nancy Soto- Agenda-Setting Function in Spanish and English Language TV News
  • Napatsorn (Pam) Thanarugchok- “Beyond Appetite”: Examining Identities and Self-Presentation through Food Visuals on Social Media