Honors project

In order to graduate with honors, each honors student has to complete an honors project and present it at the University Honors Poster Presentation held toward the end of each semester. This project helps you learn more about your chosen field of study, research or scholarship, and yourself. The honors project involves planning, executing, and completing a project that is, for the most part, self-directed.

Project elements:

  • Finding a project adviser to work with
  • Determining the project topic
  • Completing the Project Intent Statement (doc)
  • Registering for 2-4 credits of your departmental Honors designation (KIN 490H, AESHM 490H, etc.) and your project advisers Honors research section (KIN 490H section JG, AESHM 490H section AC, etc.)
  • Completing the Project Proposal Form (doc)
  • Completing the project
  • Presenting the project in poster form at a University Honors Poster Presentation


The timing of your honors project and subsequent poster presentation is contingent on several factors. Students usually present the poster during the semester in which they have completed their project; often this is the semester in which they graduate.

Factors to consider:

  • Semester of your graduation
  • Applying and interviewing for post-baccalaureate study
  • Off-campus student teaching or internship opportunities
  • Participation in a study abroad program

Refer to the honors program timeline for examples of how honors deadlines fit within a student's academic career.

Project topic

You are responsible for choosing a project topic. The topic should further your educational goals and relate to your career plans. You might choose a specific topic area within your major or relative to your major that you wish to explore more in depth. If there is a faculty member with whom you would like to work, he or she may be willing to work with you on a topic of mutual interest. You also currently may be involved in ongoing research in your field with a faculty member (or know of a faculty member conducting a larger research study). If this is true, there might be a part of the larger study that can become your honors project.


Funding is available for completing your project. The Iowa State University Foundation provides the University Honors Program with grants to support studies or research integral to an honors student's project. Guidelines and applications can be found on the University Honors Program web site. Honors students can apply for the Honors Program Grant and/or the Stewart Research Award.

Refer to Awards and Scholarships for other sources of funding specific to the College of Human Sciences Honors Program.

Does your research involve human subjects?

If your research involves human subjects (surveys, interviews, focus groups, research subjects), you will need to seek IRB (Institution Review Board) approval if you or your project adviser plan to publish or display your results outside the Iowa State campus. If your research is solely for your honors project and poster presentation, approval is not needed. If you have questions about the IRB role or process, talk to your adviser. Information on IRB requirements can be found on at the Office for Responsible Research website.

Credits earned

Your faculty project adviser is responsible for determining with you the number of credits to be earned. Credits assigned will depend on the scope and complexity of the project. Your faculty project adviser will be responsible for assessing the project.