Communication Honors Research Program

Proposal and Thesis Submission

The research honors program in communication offers outstanding undergraduate students the opportunity to work with a member of the communication faculty to pursue supervised independent research in the areas of media, technology, science, environment, health, persuasion, social influence, collaboration, intercultural communication, and other communication topics. The subject matter and nature of the research experience may be quite varied. Students participating should find the experience intellectually stimulating and rewarding, whether or not they intend to pursue a research career. It is expected that the research will require significant effort by the student in its design and execution, and in reporting of the results. The Bachelor of Science degree with “distinction in research” is conferred to students who successfully complete an honors thesis in communication.

The guidance and supervision of a faculty member with substantial interest and expertise is essential to the success of the research honors project. Students are strongly encouraged to meet with faculty during their junior year in order to identify someone to serve as their honors thesis advisor. Honors thesis faculty advisors must be members of the graduate field of communication. Students should enroll in COMM 4990 their senior year to receive course credit for their honors research work.


  • Junior year: contact communication faculty to talk about research ideas and identify thesis advisor
  • For Spring Graduates: 
    • The proposal is due the 4th Thursday of the fall semester.
    • The thesis is due the 3rd Friday of April the spring semester.
  • For Fall Graduates: 
    • The proposal is due the 4th Thursday of the spring semester.
    • The thesis is due the 3rd Friday of November the fall semester.

Spring Graduates

Academic Year 2021-2022

  • Proposals due October 1, 2021
  • Final theses due April 15, 2022

Academic Year 2022-2023

  • Proposals due September 15, 2022
  • Final theses due April 21, 2023

Academic Year 2023-2024

  • Proposals due September 14, 2023
  • Final theses due April 19, 2024


Fall Graduates

Academic Year 2021-2022

  • Proposals due February 17, 2022
  • Final theses due November 18, 2022

Academic Year 2022-2023

  • Proposals due February 16, 2023
  • Final theses due November 17, 2023

Academic Year 2023-2024

  • Proposals due February 15, 2024
  • Final theses due November 15, 2024

Thesis Proposals

Students should work closely with their honors thesis advisor in developing their thesis proposals. The purpose of the proposal is twofold. First, it formalizes a plan of study and establishes a set of expectations between the student and the faculty advisor. Second, the Communication Undergraduate Curriculum Committee will facilitate a formal review of the proposal to determine whether it is consistent with honors thesis requirements and, in some cases, to make suggestions for improvement.

The proposal should be 5 to 10 typed, double-spaced pages and include the following:

  1. Abstract: 150 word abstract summarizing the entire thesis and 4-5 keywords. 
  2. Research Topic: State the problem to be studied or the topic of interest. Review the basic literature and the background of the problem or topic; include a more extensive bibliography to be consulted.
  3. Research Questions/Empirical Hypotheses: Specify the proposed questions to be answered or hypotheses to be tested empirically via collection of data and a mode of analysis accepted in the field of communication research.
  4. Research Methods: Discuss the models to be constructed (if any), sampling procedures, data collection procedures (including measurement instruments and survey or experimental designs, if appropriate), and proposed methods of analysis.
  5. Expected Significance: State what new knowledge or information is likely to be forthcoming and why it is important. State any practical applications expected as a result of the research.
  6. References


After the April/November deadline, the thesis will be independently reviewed typically by two faculty committee members within about two weeks. If further revisions are required, students will be informed and a revised draft will be requested. Students who successfully complete a communication  honors theses are often invited to present their research to the communication department in late April - early May or late November - early December.

Each year, in recognition of student honors research achievements, CALS prints a booklet of honors theses abstracts (CALS Research Honors Abstracts). Students are responsible for submitting their formatted abstracts in accordance with abstract publication instructions.


Contact the Communication Director of Undergraduate Studies: dm658 [at] (subject: Honors%20Research%20Program) (Associate Professor Drew Margolin).