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Departmental Honors


The departmental Honors Thesis presents advanced students in a major the opportunity to perform individual research in their field, under close faculty supervision, on a topic of their special interest. Note: Departmental Honors is distinct from Honors College and does not require membership or participation in Honors College. See below for eligibility requirements for departmental honors.

The course name varies (Departmental Honors, Honors Essay, Honors Project, Honors Research) but each earns departmental honors. Honors Thesis is the general rubric.

The Honors Thesis marks the culmination of the student's general preparation in the field with a specific and specialized research project that represents the student's mastery of the methods and content of the discipline. It is each advanced student's academic masterpiece!


The Honors Thesis/Research allows students:

  • to define themselves intellectually with an area of special expertise.
  • to develop a deeper understanding of the issues and methods of their field of study.
  • to enjoy close collaboration with faculty experts.
  • to earn credits in the major and graduate with departmental honors.
  • to develop presentation skills, and qualify to present research in the department, at Hofstra on Undergraduate Research Day (in December and May), regionally at the Colonial Academic Alliance undergraduate research conference, and even nationally at professional conferences.
  • to increase their chances for a top graduate school through a polished example of writing and research of greater scope or depth than possible in a seminar. Graduate schools like to see proof of sustained and well-documented research.
  • to develop talking points based on extended research for job interviews.
  • to position themselves to apply for prestigious inter/national postgraduate scholarships.
  • to build confidence in their abilities and knowledge for the future!
  • to earn more detailed, fuller letters of recommendation for subsequent applications for graduate school or grants.


The general requirements throughout the University are a G.P.A. of 3.4 overall and 3.5 in courses in the major; senior or 4th-year status; permission of the departmental chairperson and of the faculty adviser or research supervisor; a presentation and oral defense of the research, the format of which varies by discipline and department. A minimum of 60 semester hours must be completed in-residence at Hofstra including at least 15 hours in the student’s major field; transfer students might complete that total at graduation with the departmental honors thesis, otherwise if eligible beforehand. Note: Membership or participation in Honors College is not required for departmental honors.

The final presentations range from research posters to formal lecture (paper or PowerPoint) presentations, to performances or exhibits.

The specific requirements vary by discipline, department and adviser, such as number of pages, format, method, mode of presentation.


Departments offering departmental honors have a specific course listing (usually 100 or 199) that indicates departmental honors, but can be called, variously, Departmental Honors, Honors Essay, Honors Project, Honors Research. Honors Thesis is the general rubric.

N.B. The Honors Thesis or Honors Essay listing does not automatically appear in the department's course listings each semester. The chairperson adds a listing with a new section number for each student, assigned to the respective faculty adviser. The listing acts as permission of the department to proceed.

The Honors Thesis listing earns three (3) credits. Some departments encourage or require students to complete a related independent study prior to the Honors Thesis; others require two semesters (6 credits) of honors research. Honors College counts all departmental honors credits earned by its students towards the Honors College requirements.


The Honors Thesis requires senior status, but students can begin to develop a topic in course work during the junior year. Though the thesis commonly gets done in the spring or final semester, it is possible and even advantageous for graduate school and postgraduate scholarship applications to perform the research and finish the essay or project in the fall, if possible. In that case, background research can begin in the summer and even continue in the spring. In all cases, the schedule develops in consultation with the department and faculty adviser(s).

See your major faculty adviser and departmental chairperson to discuss the possibility in your field, and to get started!

- Elfreda Blue, Vice Provost for Graduate and Undergraduate Studies