Honors Capstone Committee

Every Honors student’s capstone committee consists of at least two different professors: the student’s primary faculty mentor and a Departmental Honors Advisor (DHA) in the student’s or primary faculty mentor’s home department. If the mentor and DHA are the same, students must add a second faculty member with useful expertise. Any student may add a third faculty member to the committee if they see a need for additional expertise. The Honors Program Executive Director also reads each final capstone to ensure a high level of achievement across the program as a whole.

Please carefully review the detailed descriptions of student, faculty mentor, committee member(s), and University Honors Program responsibilities on this page. 


Student Responsibilities

Courses and Advising

  • Enroll in (or audit) HONR 3900, a one-credit pass/fail course that asks students to read sample capstones and proposals, identify topics, find faculty mentors, finalize committee membership, and submit an Honors Capstone Proposal. Students who cannot complete this course meet with an Honors Advisor a year before capstone completion to schedule the appropriate preparation and training.
  •  Enroll in HONR 4900 or other Honors-approved capstone course (ENGR Senior Design) in the project completion term. Pass any required non-Honors major capstone courses first.
  • Schedule an Honors Graduation Audit with the Honors Academic Advisor by the third week of the term before graduation to assess Honors points and map a path toward graduation with Honors

Proposal

  • Working with the faculty mentor, complete an Honors Capstone Proposal following the required format, including a list of deadlines and brief annotated bibliography or literature review. Submit proposal to all committee members and revise to earn committee approval with signatures.
  •  Upload signed, completed proposal to Honors Canvas course; secure final approval from Honors by the beginning of the term before capstone completion/graduation.
  •  In rare cases, if a project changes in fundamental ways, students may need to submit and secure approval for a new proposal, at the discretion of the faculty mentor. No major project changes may be made after the second week of classes in the student’s final capstone/graduation term.

Work Plan

  • Complete and upload an approved, signed work plan, using the proposal timeline as a starting point. Include a detailed list of deadlines for research/creative work, draft submission, updates to DHA/committee, regular (twice/month) meetings with mentor, and public presentation time/place.
  • Plan must include key dates, particularly submission of final draft to DHA and any other committee members (one week before the last day of classes), public presentation/defense (by the last day of classes), and final deadline to Honors (one week after the last day of classes).
  •  Agree upon work plan with mentor and DHA/committee members; upload signed form and plan to Honors early in the term before graduation or as soon as possible following approval of proposal.

 Professionalism and Drafting

  • Follow the work plan in a timely and professional manner.
  •  Apply for appropriate research or travel funding to support the project (e.g., Honors Research and/or Study Abroad funding, URCO grants, USUSA support, departmental or college funding).
  •  Discuss any proposed changes to work plan or deadlines with faculty mentor well in advance of those deadlines; failure to do so might jeopardize Honors graduation.
  •  Submit to mentor all required drafts of the project and revise as instructed.
  •  Proofread and edit carefully. The Honors Writing Tutor can help with this work—start early.
  •  Submit final draft to the DHA/committee one week before the last day of classes. Revise as instructed.

Public Presentation

  • Arrange for public presentation of the project. Students should decide on the venue and make all arrangements, with mentor/Honors support. Public presentation or defense must be completed and documented by the last day of classes in student’s final completion/graduation term.

Final Product

  • Make all revisions suggested by faculty mentor, DHA, and/or other committee members.
  • Submit the final product to Honors no later than one week after the last day of classes.
  • The final product should be carefully proofread and formatted, and it must include both a signed an unsigned Honors Capstone Cover Page, a reflection and author bio, Verification of Honors Capstone Public Presentation, and Electronic Capstone Approval (see Honors Capstone Submission Instructions). 

Faculty Mentor Responsibilities

Courses

  • Work with students enrolled in HONR 3900 to finalize committee membership and to draft and polish an Honors Capstone Proposal.
  • Serve as faculty mentor and instructor of record for HONR 4900 or other approved Honors Capstone course (ENGR Senior Design) in the completion term. If students are required to complete a major capstone course, help them understand how the Honors Capstone adds to and extends that work.

 Proposal

  • Mentor student in shaping capstone idea and writing the proposal. Ensure that the student follows proposal format, including a basic list of deadlines and brief annotated bibliography or literature review. The proposal should meet your standards for high-quality work in the discipline.
  • Remind student of proposal deadlines: submit to Honors by end of HONR 3900 and secure Honors approval early in the term before capstone completion/graduation.
  • In rare cases, if a project changes in fundamental ways, students may need to submit and secure approval for a new proposal, at the discretion of the faculty mentor. No major project changes may be made after the second week of classes in the student’s final capstone-completion/graduation term.

Work Plan

  • As soon as possible after proposal approval, work with the student to create a more detailed capstone work plan, building on the timeline in the proposal. Include specific deadlines for research/creative work, writing and draft submissions, reports to DHA/committee members, regular (usually at least twice monthly) meetings with faculty mentor, and time/venue for public presentation.
  • Ensure that work plan includes all key dates, particularly submission of mentor-approved final draft to committee/DHA (one week before last day of classes), public presentation/defense (completed by the last day of classes), and final Honors deadline (one week after last day of classes).
  • Prompt student to seek work plan approval from DHA/committee member(s) and then to upload the plan to the Honors Canvas course early in the term before graduation or soon after proposal approval.

Project Oversight

  • Communicate with the student about the professional importance of following the work plan.
  • Encourage the student to apply for research/travel project funding (e.g., Honors Research and/or Study Abroad funding, URCO grants, USUSA support, departmental or college funding).
  • Students may not change deadlines without securing mentor approval well before the deadline they propose to change. If students miss two deadlines or ask for frequent, disruptive changes to the work plan, mentors should notify the Honors Program immediately.
  • Require several drafts of the project and give the student prompt, detailed feedback. Final mentor-approved draft is due to committee no later than one week before the last day of classes in final term.

Public Presentation

  • Discuss with the student possible venues for public presentation and encourage application, as appropriate, for Honors, university, and departmental travel funding. Public presentation or defense must be completed and documented by the last day of classes in the student’s completion/graduation term.

Final Product

  • Ensure that the student has made all of the committee’s required revisions and that the final product represents high-quality Honors work in the discipline. Insist on proofreading and editing.
  • Communicate with student about final deadlines and requirements: students must submit carefully proofread and formatted final products, reflections, bios, and forms (see p. 16 of the Honors Capstone Handbook) to Honors no later than one week after the last day of classes in the term of graduation. Sign only once read/approved

Departmental Honors Advisor/Committee Member Responsibilities

Committees may consist of 2-3 faculty members, depending on student and project needs. DHAs from the student’s or mentor’s home department typically serve as a second committee member, although some departments share this work among a select group of Honors faculty. If the mentor is the DHA, the student must add an additional committee member. While secondary committee members should have detailed knowledge of Honors, students and mentors may add tertiary members who bring additional expertise.    

Courses

  • DHAs are responsible for meeting with students enrolled in (or auditing) HONR 3900 and helping them to identify suitable faculty mentors, finalize committee membership, and review capstone project requirements in this handbook and on the Honors website.
  • Students enroll in HONR 4900 or another approved course (ENGR Senior Design) for Honors Capstone credit in their term of completion/graduation; substitutions require the entire committee’s (and Honors) approval.

Proposal

  • Read proposal promptly once mentor and student complete it; a signature indicates approval, so committee members may offer feedback and should sign only once required changes are made.
  • Support student in meeting proposal deadlines: students must upload proposals to the Honors Canvas course and secure Honors approval early in the term before capstone completion/graduation.
  • In rare cases, if project changes in fundamental ways, students may need to submit and secure approval for a new proposal, at the discretion of the faculty mentor. No major project changes may be made after the second week of the student’s final term.

Work Plan

  • Verify that work plan includes a timeline for regular updates to committee members on project progress and all key dates, particularly submission of mentor-approved final draft to committee (one week before last day of classes), public presentation/defense (by last day of classes), and final deadline to Honors (one week after last day of classes).
  • Suggest changes and sign/approve plan; students should upload to the Honors Canvas course soon after proposal approval, as early as possible in the term before capstone completion/graduation.
  • DHAs/committee members may choose to require students to submit a draft or drafts to them; please build due dates into the work plan.

 Project Oversight

  • Meet with the student as requested and indicated in the work plan. DHAs and committee members are not responsible for initiating meetings.
  • DHAs/committee members who require drafts are responsible for returning prompt, detailed feedback, as indicated in the work plan.
  • Expect to receive the mentor-approved final draft of project one week before the last day of classes.

Public Presentation

  • Discuss with the student and mentor venues for public presentation and encourage application for appropriate funding from Honors, USU, and department/college. Public presentation or defense must be completed and documented by the last day of classes in the student’s completion/graduation term.

Final Product

  • Ensure that the student has made all of the committee’s revisions and that the final product represents high-quality Honors work in the discipline. Insist on proofreading and editing.
  • Communicate with the student about deadlines and requirements for final product, which must be proofread, formatted, and submitted to Honors with all forms one week after the last day of classes. Sign only once read/approved.

University Honors Program Responsibilities

The Honors Program takes an active role in preparing students for capstone work but does not then oversee each project. Instead, required Honors Program approval ensures that all projects meet Honors standards.

Courses and Advising

  • Each term, Honors offers HONR 3900, a one-credit (or auditable) pass/fail course that requires students to read completed Honors Capstone Proposals, projects, and reflections; decide on a topic; find a faculty mentor; finalize committee membership; and submit an Honors Capstone Proposal.
  • Students enroll in either HONR 4900 or another approved course (ENGR Senior Design) for Honors Capstone credit in their final completion/graduation term; Honors advises students to take any required non-Honors Capstone course in the major before enrolling for Honors Capstone credit.
  • Hold an Honors Graduation Audit with the student by the third week of the term before graduation to assess Honors points and map a path toward graduation with Honors.

Proposal

  • The Executive Director gives final approval of the Honors Capstone proposal; all proposals must be submitted as the final assignment of HONR 3900 and then resubmitted, if necessary, to earn Honors approval by the beginning of the term before capstone completion/graduation (fall or summer).

Work Plan

  • Honors archives capstone work plans and shares them with students and faculty.
  • Honors staff members ensure that work plans are submitted soon after proposal approval (early in the term before graduation) and notify students and mentors if deadlines are missed.
  • Once work plans are submitted, Honors verifies that they include key dates for submission of mentor-approved final draft to the committee (one week before the last day of classes), public presentation or defense (by the last day of classes), and submission of revised final project to Honors (one week after the last day of classes).

Project Oversight

  • Honors staff members are available for individual consultations to answer questions about the capstone process and to provide support, as requested, to Honors students, faculty mentors, DHAs, and committee members.
  • Honors guarantees timely review of applications to the Honors Research and Study Abroad Fund and supports students in applying for other funding.
  • Honors staff members communicate with students about upcoming or missed deadlines, as appropriate.

Public Presentation

  • Upon request, Honors can assist students in finding appropriate venues for public presentation and funding travel to off-campus presentation locations through the Honors Research Fund. Public presentation or defense must be completed and documented by the last day of classes in the student’s completion/graduation term.

Final Product

  • The Honors Writing Tutor can help students to edit, proofread, and format the final project. Honors staff members ensure that students submit a high-quality project by the deadline (one week after last day of classes) and include with the project the signed Honors Cover Page (indicating that mentor and committee members have read and approved the project), reflection and author bio, Verification of Honors Capstone Public Presentation, and Electronic Capstone Approval (see Honors Capstone Submission Instructions).
  • The Honors Program Executive Director reads all capstone projects to ensure that they meet or exceed program standards and signs the cover page to indicate final program approval.

Download the Honors Capstone Handbook