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School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences - The University of Texas at Dallas

Honors Program

 

Student

 

The Honors Program of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS) serves students in five undergraduate areas of study: Child Learning and Development (CLDP), Cognitive Science (CGS), Neuroscience (NSC), Psychology (PSY) and Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology (SPAU). The mission of the program is to provide enriching educational experiences in a mentoring environment for academically gifted and highly motivated students. The program helps students get involved in research so that they may complete an Honors Thesis and gain the skills necessary to succeed in their graduate or professional work.

 

The Honors Program consists of a Honors Thesis Core completed by all students. A Dean's Scholars' Tier is completed in addition to the Thesis Core by a subset of students who wish to pursue doctoral-level professional careers and to serve the School of BBS. Students who complete the Honors Thesis Core of the Honors Program are awarded distinctive white Honor's Stoles to wear at commencement. The notation of BBS School Honors appears on their official transcripts. Students who additionally complete the Dean's Scholars' Tier receive a Certificate of Award from the Dean of BBS, which is suitable for framing. The Director of the Honors Program is Dr. M. Spence. Below is an overview of the Honors Program and the detail of its Honors Thesis Core and its Dean's Scholars' Tier.

 

Overview of Honors Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Honors Thesis Core Forms for Fall 2014
Dean's Scholars' Tier  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overview of Honors Program

 

 
Honors Thesis Core
Honors Thesis Core Plus
Dean's Scholars' Tier
How do students enroll?
By replying to invitation to enroll and meeting admission criteria By replying to invitation to enroll, meeting stricter admission criteria, and being selected by a faculty committee
When is invitation to apply received?
Mid-term, fall semester Mid-term, spring semester
When do students enroll?
Spring semester, junior year Fall semester, junior year
What courses are students required to take?
Honors Seminar Dean's Scholars' Seminar & Honors Seminar
Must all students complete an honors thesis?
Yes Yes
How do students graduate with BBS honors?

 

How do students graduate with BBS honors and Dean's Scholars' Award?

1. Meet GPA and graded hours criteria

 

2. Successfully complete Honors Seminar or approved substitute

 

3. Submit Honors Thesis application form by due date

 

4. Successfully complete Honors Thesis and submit by due date

1. Meet GPA and graded hours criteria

 

2. Successfully complete Dean's Scholars' Seminar

 

3. Successfully complete Honors Seminar or approved substitute

 

4. Submit Honors Thesis application form by due date

 

5. Submit application to graduate as a Dean's Scholar by due date

 

6. Successfully provide a service to School of BBS for each semester of participation

 

7. Successfully complete Honors Thesis and submit by due date

 

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Honors Thesis Core

 

Introduction

 

The goal of the Honors Thesis Core of the Honors Program is to help students become self-sufficient and self-motivated learners who can reach their highest potentials. The Honors Thesis Core attempts to expand students' skills through enriching educational experiences that will promote greater success in admission to top-ranked graduate schools and/or employment in chosen careers. A primary requirement of the Core is the completion of an Honors Thesis. The Thesis process is important in teaching students how to 1) gather relevant information, 2) see it more clearly, 3) organize it more logically, 4) understand it more coherently, and 5) report it more persuasively - indispensable skills in a society requiring individuals to evaluate critically what they see, hear and read.

 

Minimum Criteria for Admission and Graduation

 

Admission qualifications:

 

  • At least 12 graded hours at UT Dallas including 2 core courses in the student's major
  • An overall UT Dallas GPA of at least 3.5

 

Criteria for graduation with BBS School Honors:

 

  • At least 30 graded hours at UT Dallas
  • At least 12 of the hours in BBS major core courses
  • An overall UT Dallas GPA of at least 3.5
  • Successful completion of the Honors Seminar (CLDP/CGS/NSC/PSY/SPAU 4375) or approved substitute activities
  • Successful completion of an Honors Thesis (grade of at least B+ from both the faculty sponsor and second reader)

 

Types of Theses: Empirical Research vs Library Research

 

  1. Empirical Research
    An empirical-research Honors Thesis generally reports the results of a project in which students gathered experimental data to answer a research question(s). In most cases, students work with their faculty sponsors and second readers to 1) derive a well-defined research question(s) and 2) design and conduct a study that yields evidence to answer the question. The structure of the resulting Thesis is similar to a journal article with sections that introduce the research question; describe the methodology; report, analyze and discuss the results; and draw conclusions. In some cases, students who work in the research laboratories of their faculty sponsors and/or second readers may 1) derive a research question consistent with the lab's goals and 2) answer the question with an analysis of the lab's archival data. An empirical research Thesis (roughly 15-25 pages) usually requires at least two semesters for completion.
  2. Library Research
    A library-research Honors Thesis generally reports an integrative, analytic and novel synthesis of the academic evidence in order to address a research question(s). In most cases, students work with their faculty sponsors and second readers to 1) derive a well-defined research question(s) and 2) identify the body of peer-reviewed, published research that yields evidence to answer the question. The structure of the resulting Theses vary. Excellent models of some appropriate structures may be found in Pan, M. Ling (2011). Preparing literature reviews. Qualitative and quantitative approaches, 4th Edition. Los Angeles: Pyrczak Publishing. ISBN 1-884585-76-0. A library research Thesis (roughly 25 to 35 pages) may be completed in one full semester by some students, but two semesters are recommended.
 
Typical Time Course of Participation

 

Students

In the fall semester, all BBS students receive an email stating the minimal criteria for admission to the Honors Program and inviting junior-level students who qualify to contact Mr. Kent Mecklenburg, academic support coordinator, or one of the BBS advisors for an enrollment form to be submitted to Dr. M. Spence.

 

In the spring semester of their junior year, students in the Honors Program enroll in the Honors Seminar (CLDP/CGS/NSC/PSY/SPAU 4375). The Seminar attempts to hone the knowledge skills of critical thinking, creativity, and effective written and oral communication. By the end of the Honors Seminar, all students also will have determined 1) a Thesis approach (empirical or library research), 2) a research question(s), and 3) a faculty sponsor and second reader. Some students who are engaged in research in academic laboratories may qualify to substitute other activities for the Honors Seminar (NSC students, please see Email Dr. Tres Thompson; other students, please see Email Dr. M. Spence). Such students must independently determine their Thesis type, research question, and faculty sponsor and second reader by the end of the spring semester of their junior year.

 

In the fall semester of their senior year, students in the Honors Program are encouraged to enroll in either 4v98 or 4v99 (Directed Research or Individual Study) with their faculty sponsors to provide protected time to 1) gather the data for their Theses and 2) evaluate and discuss their evidence with their faculty sponsors and second readers.

 

During the semester in which the student will graduate (typically spring semester of the senior year), students are encouraged to enroll in 4397 (Honors Thesis) with their faculty sponsors to provide some protected time to 1) write their Theses and 2) evaluate and revise their Theses with the assistance of their faculty sponsors and second readers.

 

Submission of Honors Thesis for Consideration of Graduating with BBS Honors

 

Submission of Honors Thesis Application Form

At the beginning of the semester in which the student will graduate, the student must submit the Honors Thesis Application form (contact Mr. Kent Mecklenburg, GR 4.528) to the Honors Program. This must be done no later than the last day to drop a class without a "W" (see academic calendar). The student's proposed topic/type of Thesis and his/her faculty sponsor and second reader must be approved by the Director of the Honors Program and the Associate Dean.

 

Submission of Honors Thesis

The completed Honors Thesis must be formatted in APA style and submitted in electronic form to Email Dr. M. Spence and Email Mr. Kent Mecklenburg by the last day of classes (see academic calendar). Each student must also submit his/her completed Thesis to turnitin.com (see Dr. M Spence for password). Theses must be received by the due date for students' names to be published in the Honors Convocation Program and for white Honors Stoles to be available to wear at commencement.

 

Submission of Thesis Evaluation Form

Students must obtain and complete their section of the Thesis Evaluation Form (contact Mr. Kent Mecklenburg, GR 4.528) and give copies of the Thesis Evaluation Form to both the faculty sponsor and second reader.

 

Submission of Thesis Grade by Faculty Sponsor and Second Reader

The faculty sponsor and second reader must complete and submit their Thesis Evaluation Forms to Dr. M. Spence, GR 4.116, or Email mspence@utdallas.edu, on or before the ending date of the final grading period (see academic calendar). Acceptance of the Honors Thesis by the Honors Program requires a grade of at least B+ from both the faculty sponsor and second reader and approval of the Thesis by both the Director of the Honors Program and the Associate Dean. If both the faculty sponsor and second reader note that the Thesis is of exceptionally high quality (i.e., A+)., they may recommend the Thesis to the Director of the Honors Program for consideration of receiving BBS School Honors with Distinction.

 

BBS School Honors versus University Honors

 

Students who qualify may earn both School and University Latin Honors by meeting the requirements of both programs. Requirements for graduating with BBS School Honors are detailed above. Requirements for graduating with University Latin Honors are 1) at least 45 graded hours at UT Dallas and 2) an overall GPA of at least 3.956 for summa cum laude, 3.807 for magna cum laude, and 3.614 for cum laude (estimated GPA values for 2012-2013; actual values may vary).

 

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Dean's Scholars' Tier


Introduction

 

The overall goal of the Dean's Scholars' Tier is to provide an enriching educational experience in a mentoring environment for the subset of academically gifted and highly motivated students who wish to pursue doctoral degrees after graduation from UT Dallas (PhD, MD, or JD). Doctoral graduate programs are highly competitive, and the Dean's Scholars' Tier was created to assist students in becoming highly competitive, successful applicants. The Dean's Scholars' Tier has stricter admission criteria and includes additional seminar and service requirements.

 

Minimum Criteria for Admission and Graduation

 

Admission qualifications are the same as for the Honors Thesis Core with the following exceptions:


  • Enrollment is a competitive process in which a faculty committee selects participants from the pool of applicants
  • Students must have declared a major in at least one BBS undergraduate program
  • Students must have an overall UT Dallas GPA of at least 3.6
  • They must have at least 30 hours to complete prior to graduation

 

Criteria for graduation with BBS School Honors are the same as for the Honors Thesis Core with the following exceptions:

 

  • An overall UT Dallas GPA of at least 3.6
  • Successful completion of the Dean's Scholars' Seminar (CLDP/CGS/NSC/PSY/SPAU 4v90)
  • Successful completion of a service contribution to the School of BBS for each semester of participation
  • Successful submission of application to graduate as a Dean's Scholar

 

Typical Time Course of Participation

 

In the spring semester, all BBS students receive an email stating the minimal criteria for admission to the Deans' Scholars' Program and inviting sophomore-level students who qualify to contact Mr. Kent Mecklenburg (GR 4.528) for an application form to be submitted to Dr. M. Spence. The date for submitting the completed application, including the required letters of recommendation, will be stated on the form. Accepted applicants will be notified via email approximately two weeks after the receipt of the applications.

 

In the fall semester of their junior year, the Dean's Scholars enroll in the Scholars' Seminar (CLDP/CGS/NSC/PSY/SPAU 4v90) The Seminar attempts to introduce the Scholars to the quality and demands of professional life in a variety of doctoral-level careers. Other aims of the Seminar include the following:

 

  • Learn about specific requirements for admission into top-tier doctoral level programs
  • Learn about the research and fieldwork required to be a highly competitive applicant
  • Engage in conversations with working professionals about what they do, how they like it and how they built their careers
  • Meet and talk with BBS faculty and learn about the research, internship and volunteer opportunities available in BBS
  • Learn from participating in a community of aspiring scholars who want to contribute to the future

 

Time Course of Unification of Dean's Scholars' and Honors Thesis Participants

 

In the Spring semester of their junior year, the Dean's Scholars enroll in the Honors Seminar (CLDP/CGS/NSC/PSY/SPAU 4375) and transition into the regular Honors Program, along with completing their Service requirements to the School of BBS for each semester of participation.

 

In the Fall and Spring semesters of their senior year, the Dean's Scholars continue within the regular Honors Program, along with completing their Service requirements for each semester of participation. The Service requirements must be documented appropriately on the application to graduate as a Dean's Scholar that is submitted to the School the last day of classes in the semester in which the student will graduate.

 

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FAQ


Q: Which BBS faculty can serve as faculty sponsors/second readers for Honors Theses?

A: Any member of the tenure-track faculty with appropriate expertise may serve as a mentor with one exception. Two newly appointed faculty members who have never mentored a BBS Honors Thesis may not serve as the only mentors for an Honors Thesis.

 

Please note: 1) All mentors of an Honors Thesis must be physically present in Dallas; mentors away from Dallas on sabbatical, etc. may not mentor an Honors Thesis. 2) Select non-tenure-track faculty may serve as mentors with the approval of the Director of the Honors Program and the Associate Dean.

 

Q: Can faculty of other universities/medical schools or UT Dallas programs other than BBS serve as faculty sponsors?

A: Faculty of other UT Dallas programs or other local universities/medical schools with appropriate expertise may serve as mentors if approved by the Director of the Honors Program and the Associate Dean with the following exception. One mentor, either the faculty sponsor or the second reader, must be a member of the BBS faculty with relevant expertise.

 

Q: Can seniors apply to enroll in the Honors Program?

A: Senior level students may apply to enroll in the Honors Program only if 1) they have been a Research Assistant for a UT Dallas faculty member with regular participation in research meetings for at least two semesters, and 2) the UT Dallas faculty member for whom the student is a Research Assistant requests a waiver of the enrollment criteria.

 

Q: What if my GPA falls below the admission criteria while I'm in the Honors Program?

A: Students whose GPAs fall below the admission criteria may continue in the Honors Program on probationary status for one semester. At the end of that semester, they will exit the Program if the GPA continues to be below the admission criteria.

 

Please note: To graduate with BBS Honors, a student's GPA must meet the criterion for participation in the Honors Program at the time of graduation.

 

Q: Can students conduct their Thesis research off campus?

A: All Honors Theses must be carried out in collaboration with UT Dallas research labs or on the UT Dallas campus with UT Dallas faculty with one exception. BBS students who are studying/working in a mentored, structured environment off campus (e.g., laboratories at UT Southwestern) may conduct their Theses at that site (with approval of the Honors Program).

 

Please note: 1) All Theses must be carried out in a mentored, structured environment, and all faculty mentors and the Honors Program must approve students' projects. 2) The directors of the off-campus laboratories must formally consent to the use of their labs' data in students' Theses or must serve as the Faculty Sponsor or Second Reader for students' Theses.

 

EXAMPLE: Students who are doing, or have done, a Green Fellowship may use their fellowship research as the basis of their Honors Theses. In this instance, the Green Fellowship mentor may serve as the Faculty Sponsor or Second Reader, along with one BBS faculty member with relevant expertise. Please contact the Honors Program Head for applicable forms for obtaining permission from non-BBS faculty members to use research carried out in their labs. As always, the research lab in which the work was carried out retains the ownership of the data.

 

Q: May students use work produced in other classes in their Theses?

A: No. The Thesis must represent a substantive new contribution that is developed in collaboration with the Thesis mentors. Although the research of the Thesis hopefully builds upon a student's previous learning experiences, no work produced for another course may be used in the Thesis.

 

Please note: Data collected in a mentor's lab on- or off-campus during an independent research project/independent study project for which the student received academic credit may be used in the Thesis.

 

Q: What is the difference between the Honors Thesis Core and the Dean's Scholars' Tier of the Honors Program?

A: The purpose of the Honors Thesis Core is to provide enriching educational experiences in a mentoring environment for all academically gifted and highly motivated students. The purpose of the Dean's Scholars' Tier is to supplement the above goal by additional enriching activities that will assist Scholars in becoming highly competitive, successful applicants to top-tier doctoral programs. With regard to admission, the criteria for admission to the Dean's Scholars' Tier are stricter. With regard to typical participation, the Dean's Scholars' Tier requires one more semester of coursework (the Dean's Scholars' Seminar in addition to the Honors Seminar), and a service activity for the School of BBS, such as assisting at Welcome Week, Parents' Week, etc., for each semester of participation.

 

Q: Can I graduate with BBS School Honors by participating in only the Honors Thesis Core or the Dean's Scholars' Tier?

A: All students, including the Dean's Scholars, must complete the Honors Thesis Core to graduate with BBS School Honors. The students who additionally complete the Dean's Scholars' Tier receive an additional Certificate of Award from the Dean of the School of BBS that is suitable for framing.

 

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FORMS FOR FALL 2014

 

Documents

Dean's Scholars Program Application Form

Thesis Application Form

Thesis Evaluation Form

 

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