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Honors Program

The Engineering Honors program is designed to meet the needs of students with superior academic ability and to promote scholarly development throughout their college careers. The program's objectives are to challenge superior students by offering them access to more advanced levels of study, to merit the fullest possible use of their creative abilities, and to encourage a sustaining interest in advanced education and research.

First-year students participate in the Honors Program through membership in the University Honors & Scholars Center.

Enrolled students beyond the freshman year must maintain a cumulative point-hour ratio of at least 3.4, reviewed each semester by the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Services, Dave Tomasko, at, in order to retain honors status. Students interested in participating in the honors program should contact their academic adviser or the College of Engineering Honors Coordinator, Michael Knisley, for enrollment procedures.


Honors students are eligible to receive scheduling priority and to enroll in honors courses.

First-year engineering students have the option to participate in the Fundamentals of Engineering for Honors program. This rigorous first-year curriculum covers computer-aided design, computer usage and programming, hands-on labs and reports, and a robot design project.

Honors students are eligible to participate in undergraduate research. If you are pursuing Research with Distinction you can take 4999 or 4999H. If you are not pursuing Distinction you should take 4998.

University Honors are awarded to students who have distinguished themselves both by point-hour ratio and by a particularly challenging curriculum.

Honors students who complete a senior research thesis with successful oral defense are eligible to graduate "with distinction" in their major area of study.

A variety of honorary societies are also available to qualified engineering students.

Honors Courses

Honors versions of courses are offered in both engineering-related and liberal arts areas. The College of Arts and Sciences offers a variety of approved honors courses.

Students are encouraged to challenge themselves by attempting these courses. Popular pre-engineering choices include honors calculus, honors physics or chemistry, and honors graphics. Honors versions of social and physical science courses are also offered. Honors courses are elective, not mandatory. A student who chooses not to enroll in honors courses will not jeopardize his or her honors status as long as a 3.4 cumulative point-hour ratio is maintained.

ECE Honors

There are two primary mechanisms to perform undergraduate honors work in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering: Graduation with Distinction in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Graduation with Honors in Engineering. These two can be combined, because performing a distinction (senior honors thesis) project satisfies some of the requirements for the Graduation with Honors in Engineering program, and students who combine these mechanisms graduate both with distinction in Electrical & Computer Engineering and with honors in engineering.

Graduation with Distinction in Electrical and Computer Engineering

This mechanism recognizes senior honors thesis research performed over multiple semesters, usually during the graduation year of the student. Students who maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.4 can perform a research project during their senior year under the supervision of a faculty advisor. Students who complete the requirements for the thesis project receive diplomas at graduation that include the phrase "with distinction in Electrical and Computer Engineering" to denote that they have successfully completed a thesis project.

In many cases, the senior thesis research project can also substitute for the senior design project required for all BSECE students. In this case, students enroll in ECE 4900H instead of ECE 4900. For details of how to make your project meet both purposes, contact Prof. Bradley Clymer at

The proposals to perform a Senior Honors Thesis (distinction) project should be submitted to the College of Engineering on or before the semester when you submit your application to graduate.

There is an annual competition for scholarships and internships among students pursuing senior honors thesis research projects in the College of Engineering. Students who wish to compete for these financial aid packages from the College of Engineering must submit a proposal package to 122 Hitchcock Hall by the second Friday of spring semester the year before expected graduation. For details, inquire at Hitchcock Hall, Room 122 for a senior honors thesis package.

Finding an Advisor

To find an advisor, we recommend that you:

  • Check the ECE faculty directory and individual faculty members' websites to see the areas of research of each professor in the department; and
  • See faculty whom you have had in classes for recommendations about projects.

Prof. Clymer has recorded a September 2011 seminar that discusses senior honors thesis projects and undergraduate research, including how to find projects and advisors. The CD recording of this seminar may be checked out at the ECE main office in DL 205. Slides used for the recorded seminar can be downloaded here. View some example abstracts of senior honors thesis projects.

Graduation with Honors in Engineering

This is a comprehensive multiple year undergraduate honors program that began in autumn 2003. In this program, students plan an individualized honors plan that includes an honors coursework component, an investigational component and a leadership component. Students generally initiate a plan in consultation with a College of Engineering honors advisor, the departmental honors coordinator, Prof. Bradley Clymer at, or the student’s undergraduate ECE advisor. Senior honors thesis research projects can be used to help satisfy the investigational component of this program.