The Senior Project

(Instructions detailed below)

The Honors Senior Project is an individually designed project offering an opportunity to do intensive study, writing, and research in the major or principal cognate field. The project thesis can be a significant original research or creative project, or you may build upon a project that you started in another course. You may study an area of interest in a sustained and in-depth exploration; learn more about your chosen field; make stronger connections with professionals in the field; do a project while studying abroad; hone research, writing, and critical thinking skills; or create a tangible, substantive accomplishment you can feel proud about and can discuss in job interviews, letters of application, and graduate school applications. You can even provide future employers or educators with online access to the project itself.

This work will make you more competitive for grants, fellowships, graduate school, or employment. In your future, you are likely to be competing for a choice job, admission to top graduate schools, or limited fellowship funding. You need to do more to distinguish yourself than just get good grades in your courses and score well on exams such as the GRE, MCAT, or LSAT. You can gain an edge on the competition if you plan your project early (if you do a project in the sciences, you may well need to begin in your junior year), do impressive work, and end your undergraduate career with a tangible accomplishment that your letter of reference writers can talk about in detail. Find something you can get excited about working on, and use your imagination in developing your plan. The sky is the limit! Permit required.

NOTE:  You may not begin a project without the approval of your project advisor and the Frederik Meijer Honors College. Please read the Thesis Guide before consulting a faculty member: HNR 499 Project/Thesis Guide


Senior Project Instructions

Please read the following instructions carefully and completely before starting on your proposal. 

Step One: Finding a Project Advisor

You are responsible for finding a faculty project advisor/mentor. The advisor does not need to be an Honors faculty member or have a particular status (such as tenure-track, Associate, etc.). He/she should, though, be qualified to supervise a project in the area you are proposing. If you have any questions about the appropriateness of a prospective advisor, contact Dr. Chamberlain, director of the Meijer Honors College, who will make the determination at or (616) 331-3219. Once you have a faculty advisor who is interested in supervising your project, ask him/her to read the Guidelines for Mentoring an Honors Senior Project.

Step Two: Preliminary Research and Preparation

You should do significant background work on your topic before you make your proposal (i.e., research the literature surrounding the topic, do preliminary lab work, and/or investigate the feasibility of your project—whatever is the foundational work for your project).  See the HNR 499 Project/Thesis Guide for more detail on preparation. It is advisable to work with your faculty mentor to do this preliminary work.  To see previous examples of completed senior projects visit Scholar Works.

Step Three: Developing Project Proposal

Once the initial steps have been completed then you will collaborate with your advisor to develop a detailed proposal. Click HERE for the proposal details to guarantee that your proposal includes the required components.

Research Projects Involving Human or Animal Subjects: Projects involving human or animal subjects (including questionnaires and surveys) may be subject to prior approval by the Human Research Review Committee or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. To determine whether or not your project requires prior approval, click HERE and review the guidelines and procedures with your advisor.

Step Four: Submission and Approval for HNR 499

Once you have completed your proposal, you will login HERE (using your Grand Valley network ID) to an online form to fill out the proposal form and attach your proposal document. (Must be in .doc or PDF format.) Your proposal will first be sent to your advisor for approval and then forwarded on to the Honors College director, Dr. Chamberlain for final review. Both student and advisor will be e-mailed once the project is approved by the Honors director, or in the case that something is lacking from the application.  Upon approval, students will be notified that they have been given permission (an override) in Banner to register for HNR 499 and the corresponding section based on credit hours.

Step Five: Grading for HNR 499

At the end of the semester, your project advisor will assess and grade your project. Your advisor will email your grade, along with a digital copy of your completed project, to the Honors Office. It is highly advisable that you plan to turn in a digital copy of your completed project to your advisor by the Friday before the next-to-last week of the semester so that you don’t scramble at the end, and so that you can be considered for Meijer Honors College project awards.