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

BBS SCHOOL 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.

 

Students enrolled in the Honors Program complete a research project and Thesis under the supervision of a faculty mentor. The thesis is evaluated by the faculty mentor and a second faculty reader. Successful completion of the project and thesis are acknowledged by the notation of BBS School Honors on the student's official transcript and awarding of white Honors Stoles that are worn at commencement. The Director of the Honors Program is Dr. M. Spence.

 

Overview of Honors Program
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Forms for Fall 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overview of Honors Program & Thesis Completion

 

How do students enroll?
By replying to invitation to enroll and meeting admission criteria
When is invitation to apply received?
Mid-term, fall semester
When do students enroll?
Spring semester, junior year
What courses are students required to take?
Honors Seminar
Must all students complete an honors thesis?
Yes
How do students graduate with BBS honors?

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

 

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Honors Thesis Core

 

Introduction

 

The goal of the Honors Program is to help students become self-sufficient and self-motivated learners who can reach their highest potentials. Completion of an Honors Thesis expands students' skills through enriching educational experiences that will promote greater success in admission to top-ranked graduate schools and/or employment in chosen careers. The primary requirement of the Honors Program 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 submit an enrollment form to the BBS academic support coordinator or one of the BBS advisors.

 

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 the undergraduate academic support coordinator ) 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 the undergraduate academic support coordinator 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 the undergraduate academic support coordinator) 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 4.532, 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.

 

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 3.929 for summa cum laude, 3.787 for magna cum laude, and 3.593 for cum laude (estimated GPA values for 2014-2015; actual values may vary).

 

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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.

 

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FORMS FOR FALL 2015

 

Documents

Thesis Application Form

Thesis Evaluation Form

 

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