Do I need to apply to Honors Program before my junior year of College?

No. Nomination to the Bucknell University Honors Program is based on your academic performance at Bucknell and your potential to independently complete research within your major.

May I complete two Honors theses in two different disciplines?

Yes, if the projects are distinctly different. There would need to be two separate proposals, two separate Honors theses, and two separate thesis defenses.

May I get Honors in two different disciplines based on a single thesis? (e.g., could I do an Honors thesis in a language major and a humanities major under the same cover?)

No, Honors is awarded in a single major for a single thesis.

Under what circumstances might my proposal require approval by the Institutional Review Board (IRB)?

If your research involves human subjects. Some examples that some students or faculty might not think of include surveys and interviews. Usually, approval is straightforward for such projects. Many students in psychology, sociology, or education are working with human subjects, and their work often needs more extensive review and approval by the IRB.

Contact Matthew Slater, IRB Chair, at 570.577.2767 or for more information.

If my proposal involves experimentation on animals, does it require approval by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)?

No, but your research and actual experimentation will require IACUC approval, typically completed by your Advisor — the "Principal Investigator" (PI) on the research. All research completed on animals should conform to the ethical treatment as dictated by the IACUC and the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS).

How is the defense committee formed?

The honors committee consists of

  1. research advisor (Bucknell faculty member or qualified Bucknell-affiliated staff)
  2. the second reader who is chosen by the research advisor (often with input from the student) and is usually a member of the advisor's department.
  3. an Honors Council representative who is chosen by the Honors Council (often with input from the research advisor). This representative may or may not be a member of the Honors Council, but must be from outside the advisor's department.

What is the format of the thesis defense?

The format of the thesis defense is up to the advisor (often with input from the student). Many defenses follow this general format:

  1. Introduction by advisor
  2. Student presentation
  3. Questions from the general audience
  4. General audience asked to leave
  5. Questions from the defense committee
  6. Student excused while committee deliberates

The advisor in consultation with the student should decide in advance whether the presentation will be open to the public.

Can students complete an Honor thesis and defense "early?"

December graduates submit proposals in the spring, and defend in the fall. Please contact the Honors Council chair in the fall semester (one year before graduation) to arrange a time for submission of the proposal.

Are there special library privileges for Honors candidates?

Yes. The library supports those students doing an honors thesis by giving them a more liberal borrowing period (semester loan on regular books rather than a three-week loan). The Honors Council will forward the names of students who had their proposals accepted to the library. The student must then ask the library staff for these privileges.

Who schedules a defense?

The student contacts their thesis defense committee to find an agreeable time when all can meet for 60-90 minutes. The departmental academic assistant can help schedule the room and post notification about the defense.