If you wish to do an honors thesis, you MUST have at least a 3.2 GPA at the beginning, end and all points during the two semesters that you work on the project. This is a university-wide rule, and there are no exceptions. An honors thesis involves two semesters of work: COMM 693H in the fall of your senior year and COMM 694H in the spring of your senior year.
It is your responsibility to find an adviser and committee for your project. The adviser must be a faculty member at UNC. In most cases, it will be a faculty member in the Communication Studies department. However, this is not necessary, and it may be more practical in some cases to find an adviser in another department. For example, students in the Speech and Hearing Sciences concentration may want an adviser from the medical school, since none of the faculty members in our department specialize in that area. After finding an adviser, you will need to assemble a committee of 3-5 people, including your adviser, to evaluate your work at the end of the spring semester. When approaching your potential adviser and committee members, you will want to bring an outline of what you choose to do for your project. Although an honors thesis is usually a research paper, it may also take the form of a performance or film. Regardless of the format, you should have a basic plan when you talk to faculty members about your project.
Once you have found your committee, your thesis adviser must contact the Student Services Assistant to be enrolled in COMM 693H, prior to the registration add/drop date, which is usually 1-2 weeks into the semester. Please note that you can start honors projects in the fall semester ONLY.
You will need to defend your thesis, so making arrangements to do so will be up to you (the Student Services Assistant will be on hand to assist you in these matters, as needed). You should talk to your committee members in advance to determine a time that is good for them. If you will require performance space or any special equipment (powerpoint, DVD, etc.) in the room where you will defend your thesis to your committee, let the Student Services Assistant know.
When you defend your thesis, your committee will decide if your work has earned you the honors designation. Superior work may be awarded the designation of “highest honors” ONLY with a GPA is 3.5 or higher, no exceptions. This is a departmental requirement.
If you or your adviser determines that your project does not warrant the designation of honors, the Student Services Assistant will work with you to change your enrollment in COMM 693H and 694H to enrollment in independent study so that you will still receive academic credit for your work. For designation of credit and advising purposes, upon successful completion of each semester of honors thesis in Communication Studies, the hours can only count toward elective credit in the major. They cannot be used towards the required courses for your concentration.
After you successfully defend your thesis, you will need to print it on 100% cotton paper with 1.5-inch left margins. Your thesis adviser must sign the front page. Bring this document to the student services assistant. Your work will be archived in the NC Collections Room in the Wilson Library. If your work is in a format other than paper (DVD, for example), or if it is a combination of formats (for example, a videorecording of a performance along with a paper you wrote about your experience), that will also be archived. Bring your work to the student services assistant.
You will receive a gold cord to wear at commencement exercises. There is no charge for this cord and you can pick it up from the student services representative in the department.
Your name will be designated as “with honors” or “with highest honors” in the UNC commencement program. At the departmental commencement ceremony, “with honors” or “with highest honors” will be announced after your name is called while you walk across the stage.