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Khoury College of Computer Sciences is pleased to offer opportunities for eligible students to earn Honors in their Discipline in Computer Science, Cybersecurity, or Data Science by performing an approved work of original scholarship under the mentorship of a full-time faculty member in the College.

What is Honors in the Discipline?

The Honors in the Discipline initiative provides opportunities to students who wish to delve deeply into their area(s) of study and perform advanced levels of inquiry, creative endeavors, or other forms of scholarship under faculty mentorship. Upon successful completion of an approved project and any other stated requirements, students earn Honors in the Discipline upon graduation.  This distinction is noted in a student’s transcript.

Honors in the Discipline is distinct from the University Honors Program. Students do not need to be members of the University Honors Program to propose an Honors in the Discipline project. However, University Honors students may apply if they meet eligibility requirements.

Who is eligible to Earn Honors in the Discipline in Khoury?

  • Students may propose a project for Honors in the Discipline if they: have completed CS 3500 – Object Oriented Design, and one of the following research-based courses:
    • CS 2991; CS 2992; CS 3950; CS 4950; CS 4991
    • CY 2991; CY 4940
    • DS 2990; DS 4991
  • are majors in Khoury College or are in a combined major that includes the Khoury College majors
  • have a GPA of 3.5 or higher
  • have junior or senior standing (64 or more earned semester hours)
  • have secured a full-time faculty member who has agreed to serve as mentor

What forms can an Honors in the Discipline project take?

Honors in the Discipline projects are expected to make an original contribution to their field of inquiry or scholarship. The form of the project is determined by the student in consultation with the supervising faculty mentor and approved by the Khoury College Academic Standing Committee, which will ensure that the project has appropriate scope and distinction.

Possible projects include:

  • An original research project
  • A significant software development project
  • A significant data project
  • A computing project with a significant social impact

Most projects that would offer a satisfactorily-significant impact, and be worthy of an honors distinction, would last two semesters.  Students whose projects are approved will enroll in two semesters of the sequence CS, CY, or DS 4970/4971 Junior/Senior Honors Seminar 1/2.  Both semesters of this course are offered for variable credit of 0-4 credits and may be declared Pass/Fail.  Students should speak with their academic advisor to see how this course may fit into their academic plan.

How do I apply?

The Khoury Honors in the Discipline Project Proposal and Approval form (PDF) must be submitted by the deadline shown below. Proposals must be approved by the Khoury College Academic Standing Committee before work can begin.

Identifying a mentor

Interested students should identify a faculty mentor well before the application deadline. Your mentor should be a full-time faculty member, based in Khoury or one of the colleges of your combined major. To identify faculty members who may have interest in the project you’d like to propose, consult the faculty profiles that are listed on the Khoury webpage. Contact faculty who have interests that are compatible with yours and ask if they would be willing to meet with you to discuss a project idea. Be sure to come to that meeting well versed in that faculty member’s scholarship, for example, by having read some of their articles. Remember that faculty have many responsibilities and will be most excited about devoting their time to students who are conscientious, energized, and creative. Faculty also welcome students’ questions and creative ideas, which may serve as a foundation for an excellent Honors in the Discipline project.

Proposal development

With faculty guidance, students should prepare a proposal that contains a narrative description of the proposed project that indicates the form that the finished product will take; timeline; and expected outcomes. More specifically, the narrative should include the thesis or question that is motivating the work along with a clear statement of the rationale and goals of the project; a discussion of background materials and relevant theoretical or conceptual frameworks (citing primary references); the approach and/or methodology of the project; expected outcomes and the projected significance of the contribution; and a statement about how the findings of the project will be disseminated.

Your proposal should also address the following considerations:

  • Collaborative projects: In the spirit of promoting collaborative and interdisciplinary scholarship, Northeastern encourages students to work in teams as appropriate. Proposals for collaborative projects must include the following elements in addition to the above information:
    • Rationale for why it is appropriate to approach this topic as a collaborative rather than an individual project. How will the project, as a collaborative effort, to lead to more significant outcomes than if it were conducted as a single individual’s project?
    • Statement of prior experience with collaborative projects, if any
    • Statement of the expected individual responsibilities and contributions to the project and how tasks will be divided
    • Please note that each student involved in the project must be eligible for Honors in the Discipline
  • Seeking IRB, IACOC, or other institutional approvals: Students whose projects include the inclusion of human subjects, animals, or use of materials that require institutional approvals should be sure to include in their proposals a plan of how they will seek relevant approvals. Please refer to the IRB website to determine how to submit a proposal to include human subjects or to request verification that the project is considered to be “exempt.” Please note that the IRB review process can take considerable time, and so early submissions are recommended. Additionally, please indicate how you will obtain training or certifications in any techniques you will use in your project, such as Human Subjects Training, Laboratory Safety Training, and Radiation Safety Training.
  • Seeking cooperative agreements: Any plans to request to use data or products from a co-op placement or other external organization should be described, and a letter of support or agreement from that organization should be submitted.
  • Timeline: Please provide a timeline by which the individual stages of your project will be completed, including seeking any necessary institutional approvals or cooperative agreements, mindful of departmental and college deadlines for final project submission and presentations.

Proposal submission instructions

The Project Proposal Approval Form (PDF) should be submitted via email to Ali Ressing, Associate Director – Academic Advising. The application can be accessed here. Please carefully review the instructions presented on this page and ensure that you provide your faculty mentor sufficient time to provide input and approval for you to submit your proposal.

Proposal submission deadline

  • Students seeking to begin their project during the Spring semester must submit their proposal by November 1.
  • Students seeking to begin their project during Fall must submit their approval by March 15.

Proposal review process

The determination of whether a proposal has been approved will be made by members of the Khoury Undergraduate Committee and will be communicated to students by the first day of the following semester.  Projects may not commence until such approval is granted.

What responsibilities do I have once my proposal is accepted?

Course Enrollment

Students whose projects have been approved should enroll in the following courses: CS, CY, or CS 4970/4971 Junior/Senior Honors Seminar 1/2, one per semester in which the work will be conducted. These courses may be taken as zero or variable credit, up to 4 credit hours per each of the two semesters. Although you are required to enroll in two semesters of this course, the semesters do not need to be sequential thereby allowing you to begin your project at one point in time, leave campus for co-op or global study, and return later to complete your projects by the stated deadline. Students are able to register for this course via the Individual Instruction Form (PDF) on myNortheastern.

Expectations for Final Submission of Projects and Evaluation Criteria

Students must submit their final report to the college for review by the Academic Standing Committee, Associate Dean of Students, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs, and the student’s faculty mentor. This must include an abstract of the report. Students will also be required to present their project on the Reading Day of the semester the project is completed.

Dissemination of Results

Students will be required to give a minimum of 30 minute presentation with 15 minutes for questions on their project.  The presentation will be open to the public.  The abstract of the project will be published on the college website.  This would not preclude a student from publishing their work elsewhere.

What types of support are available to help me conduct my project?

Students are encouraged to consult with their academic advisor about how performing Honors in the Discipline can fit into their curricular and professional plans. Students are also encouraged to consult the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships for assistance in conceptualizing their projects and preparing their proposals as well as for any financial resources that may be available to support their projects such as through the Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavor Awards or the Summer Scholars Independent Research Fellowship.

How is Honors in the Discipline recognized?

Completed projects and any related requirements must be approved by the Khoury Academic Standing Committee. The academic unit will forward the names of successful Khoury Honors in the Discipline candidates to the Registrar and the University Honors Program. The designation, “Honors in [Major]” will appear on your final official transcript.

If the appointed review committee finds that the project does not merit conferral of Honors in the Discipline, that finding will not in itself affect grades for any related coursework, GPA, eligibility for graduation, or any other recognition for which the student may otherwise be eligible.  Students will be recognized at the Khoury end of year event each May.

Who can I contact if I have questions?

Ali Ressing, Associate Director – Academic Advising
301 Meserve Hall

Additional Resources