Undergraduate Honors Program

Honors program

The University Honors Program (UHP) seeks to provide their students with a rich environment in which to pursue an enhanced undergraduate experience.


Students graduating with Latin Honors must complete a UHP First-year experience (if entering UHP in Fall 2018 and beyond), Honors courses, additional Honors experiences, a senior Honors thesis, and must meet GPA requirements mandated by University policy for the appropriate level of Latin Honors.

Honors students who are admitted to the School of Kinesiology participate in directed research and thesis writing in the physical activities sciences, designed to provide the most significant and challenging experience faculty can offer to undergraduates.

Undergraduate students who have been accepted into the University Honors Program (UHP) and who are admitted to the School of Kinesiology are eligible to complete Honors through the department. The honors curriculum follows all UHP honors requirements and requirements to the general Kinesiology, Sport Management, and Recreation Administration majors with the additional departmental course requirements listed below.

Getting started:

All Honors students are required to write a senior thesis. Prior to beginning the research and writing process, it is the student’s responsibility to thoroughly consider their topic of interest, and identify potential advisors with the help of the School of Kinesiology Honors Faculty Representative.

Once an advisor has been identified, the student must fill out both the Departmental Honors Thesis Advisor and Reader Agreement Form and the Honors Thesis Proposal Form, with assistance from their advisor.

Honors coursework:

Because the honors thesis represents a substantial commitment to research and writing, it is at minimum a year-long project. Students typically register for KIN 3993H for at least two semesters, and KIN 4001H for at least one semester. Students are advised to begin their honors thesis at least two semesters before they anticipate graduating.


KIN 3993H Directed Study in Kinesiology: Honors Thesis
(two semesters, 6 cr)

  • This is an independent research course that may be scheduled by arrangement with the faculty member serving as the student’s primary thesis advisor. A permission code from the faculty member is required to register for the course. Honors students have the opportunity to participate in and contribute to research in Kinesiology, Sport Management, and/or Recreation Administration. In general, this involves becoming acquainted with the literature and methods of a particular area by assisting with ongoing work and eventually planning and carrying out an original research study, writing an honors thesis, and presenting the project. Occasionally, an honors student completes a comprehensive literature review with a critical analysis section or a research proposal instead — typically, only at the cum- or magna-level is this permitted. The nature and scope of the project are determined in consultation with the primary thesis advisor.

    Because students must work with a KIN, SMGT, or REC faculty member, students are advised to begin working in a research lab prior to taking this course. Students may do so by registering for directed research credits in KIN 3993.


KIN 4001H Honors Seminar in Kinesiology
(one semester, 3 cr)

  • This class guides, supports, and provides accountability for students during the thesis writing process. Students create timelines for thesis completion, draft their thesis, and read about and discuss related topics (i.e., Overcoming Writer’s Block, How to Write a Lot, etc.).

    A permission code from the School of Kinesiology Honors Faculty Representative is required to register for the course.

  • Ideal enrollment is during fall term of senior year, once you have worked on your thesis research for a semester to have enough information (i.e., research topic and questions, background literature, and methods) to begin writing your thesis.



Summa Cum Laude
GPA: 3.75-4.0
Thesis Type: Original research study required. In rare cases, an original research proposal may be acceptable instead (requires approval from the School of Kinesiology Honors Faculty Representative and Honors director’s committee).
Thesis Length: 35+ pages
Public Thesis Presentation: Required
Magna Cum Laude
GPA: 3.666-3.749
Thesis Type: Original research study strongly recommended--though a comprehensive literature review with a critical analysis section or an original research proposal are also acceptable.
Thesis Length: 25-35 pages
Public Thesis Presentation: Strongly recommended, but not required
Cum Laude
GPA: 3.500-3.665
Thesis Type: Original research study strongly recommended--though a comprehensive literature review with a critical analysis section or an original research proposal are also acceptable.
Thesis Length: 20-25 pages
Public Thesis Presentation: Strongly recommended, but not required
Thesis Committee

Students must choose an honors thesis committee comprised of at last three members, including the primary faculty advisor and two readers.

  • At least one member–not necessarily the primary advisor–must be tenured/tenure-track faculty at the University of Minnesota. The other members may be tenured/tenure-track U of M faculty, or another member of the faculty with specialized knowledge relevant to the student’s research topic. In rare cases a community member, a member of a faculty elsewhere, an advanced graduate student, etc. may serve on an Honors thesis committee: such exceptional cases require that the department make a petition to be approved by the UHP Directors Committee.

  • Committee members need not belong to the same program or college.

  • Each committee will have a Chair, who will often be the primary advisor for the student during research and writing, though students will sort out on a case-by-case basis with whom they do this work, and how often they meet with them to discuss progress and to go over drafts. The Chair will determine when the thesis draft is at a final-enough state that it can be circulated to the other committee members (i.e. , the readers) for additional evaluation.

  • All committee members must sign off on the thesis itself and on the required public presentation.

Students may work with the Departmental Honors Faculty Representative to select appropriate committee members; however, students are ultimately responsible for coordinating the committee’s review.

Thesis Evaluation Criteria (all levels)

The Honors Thesis represents the culmination of the student’s scholarly work in the major field. Students are expected to demonstrate the promise of continued excellence in graduate-program or professional work in the field. The thesis should be of the highest quality and in all cases must demonstrate that the student has:

  • the ability to digest pre-existing work, present and summarize it succinctly, and, hence, articulate the context in which the student’s new work is situated;

  • the ability to propose an idea in brief (i.e., the thesis proposal), and then bring that idea to fruition within a given timeline;

  • the ability to present writing whose quality and polish are at a publishable level (even if the data, research, or ideas are still at a preliminary level);

  • the ability to present ideas clearly and compellingly to an audience of non-specialists;

  • and, the ability to go beyond programmatic or major capstone requirements for non-UHP students.

Moreover, a summa thesis must also demonstrate:

  • the ability to do original (i.e., not an extended literature review or synopsis of previous work), highest-quality work. This means conducting an original research study. In rare cases, however, it may include completing an original research proposal instead of a study (requires approval from the School of Kinesiology Honors Faculty Representative and Honors director’s committee),

For all levels of honors, students must follow the UHP Honors Thesis Guide requirements. Helpful tip: Follow the style and formatting guidelines and include the Title Page template from the beginning of writing your thesis.

For all levels of honors, an electronic copy of the thesis must be submitted to UHP upon approval by the student’s honors thesis committee.

Click here for the Honors Thesis submission instructions.

Honors Courses

There are currently three undergraduate Honors courses available in the School of Kinesiology:

  • KIN 3993H Directed Study in Kinesiology: Honors

  • KIN 4001H Honors Seminar in Kinesiology

  • SMGT 3501H: Sport in a Diverse Society (Honors Section)

Students may also arrange with the instructor of a non-Honors course to complete an honors contract in the course to receive Honors credit.

Honors Contract

An honors contract is an agreement between a student, a course instructor, and the UHP in which the student agrees to do work above and beyond the regularly required course assignments in order to make a non-Honors course count as an Honors course experience. The additional work required is determined in consultation with the course instructor. Students must complete an Honors Contract detailing the additional requirements, including obtaining a signature from the course instructor. Students then must submit the form to the UHP.

What are the roles of my Honors program (UHP) advisor, Kinesiology Honors faculty representative, and Honors thesis advisor?

  • Honors program (UHP) advisors guide Honors students throughout their undergraduate career on coursework, experiences, opportunities for research and community involvement, and preparing for graduation with Latin Honors. They advise students on UHP-related content.
  • The School of Kinesiology Honors faculty representative serves as a liaison and resource Honors students majoring in for Kinesiology, Sport Management, and Recreation Administration. They advise students on department-related content.
  • The Honors thesis advisor serves as a student’s Honors thesis project mentor. They advise and supervise the student’s Honors project research, thesis writing, and public presentation along with the additional readers on the student's thesis committee.

Can I have a primary thesis advisor from a department other than Kinesiology?

Typically students have a primary thesis advisor who is a member of the School of Kinesiology faculty. However, your primary advisor may be from another department (e.g., physiology, sociology, physical therapy, etc.) as long as the following criteria are met: 1) it has been approved by the School of Kinesiology and the department then makes a petition to be approved by the UHP Directors Committee, and 2) you have a faculty co-adviser who is a member of the School of Kinesiology faculty. The co-adviser should have an active mentoring role along with your primary advisor, and will serve as an additional reader for your thesis.

Can a non-tenured/tenure-track faculty member serve as my Primary Thesis Advisor?

Yes, a non-tenured/tenure-track faculty member can serve as your primary thesis advisor. Students are encouraged to seek out experts in the field for their thesis advisors; in the School of Kinesiology this may result in a non-tenured/tenure-track faculty member serving as the advisor. However, at least one member of the student's three-person thesis committee—not necessarily the primary advisor—must be tenured/tenure-track at the University of Minnesota.

Do I have to complete an original research study to earn honors?

Students graduating with summa-level Honors are required to conduct an original research study. In rare cases, however, they may complete an original research proposal instead of a study (requires approval from the School of Kinesiology Honors Faculty Representative and Honors director’s committee). Students graduating with cum- and magna-level Honors are strongly encouraged to conduct an original research study — though, a comprehensive critical literature review with a critical analysis section or a research proposal are also acceptable at these levels of Honors.
*The nature and scope of the Honors project are determined in consultation with the faculty honors thesis advisor.

Do I need to give a public presentation? What presentation forms are acceptable?

Students graduating with summa-level honors are required to give a public presentation. However, it is recommended and strongly encouraged that all levels of honors students give a public presentation of their honors project. Poster or platform presentations at professional organization conferences, CEHD Research Day, and/or KIN Research Day are preferred outlets for the presentation. However, if none of these are options, you may arrange another presentation opportunity with your honors thesis committee. Examples might include: a conference-style paper presentation, an oral exam, a poster session, an invited lecture in a research course offered in the major, and so forth.
Contact

Amanda Frayeh

Lecturer
Honors Faculty Representative


will3956@umn.edu

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