Honors Senior Project

HNR 401

All students must enroll in HNR 401, a 1-credit senior project preparation course, prior to submitting your HNR 499 proposal.

Please note: This requirement may be fulfilled through substitution of a study abroad/away course. Find more information here.


Ready to register for HNR 499?

Submit your proposal here

You will NOT be able to register for HNR 499 until AFTER your proposal has been approved. Please do not submit an override request. You will receive an email after the proposal has been approved by our Director.

Please note: This requirement may be fulfilled through substitution of a study abroad/away course. Find more information here.

You may not begin a project without the approval of your project advisor and the Frederik Meijer Honors College. 

Frederik Meijer Honors College students at commencement

What is the senior project?

The Honors Senior Project is an individually designed project offering an opportunity for you to do intensive study, writing, and research connected to your major, a principal cognate field or minor, a campus or community organization you have served, or your future career. The project can be a significant original research or creative project, or you may build upon a project 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. The final project may take the form of a research paper, a slideshow, a poster, a portfolio of art, a collection of creative writing, a podcast, a website, a computer program, or any number of other formats.

Senior Project Substitutions

The following courses automatically satisfy HNR 401 and HNR 499:

  • CIS 462 (Information Technology Project)
  • CIS 463 (Information Systems Project)
  • CIS 467 (Computer Science Project) 
  • CIS 468 (Cybersecurity Project)
  • EGR 485 + EGR 486 (Senior Engineering Project I and II)
  • ENS 491 (Practicum) (must be for 2 credits or more)
  • MTH 496 (Senior Thesis) 
  • OSH 440 (Safety and Health Program Development) 

Study abroad: Students can substitute any course completed during study abroad to fulfill HNR 401 and HNR 499. This substitution requires submission of a final reflective paper. For more information, and to request this substitution, visit our Study Abroad page.

How could my senior project benefit me?

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!

The Proposal Process

Preliminary Research

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). It is advisable to work with your project advisor to do this preliminary work. To see previous examples of completed senior projects, visit Scholar Works using the link below.

Scholar Works

Proposal Details

Once the initial steps have been completed then you will collaborate with your project advisor to develop a detailed proposal.*

*Students must take HNR 401 (1 credit) at least one semester before HNR 499 to prepare their proposal.                                                                 

Proposal Details

Senior Project FAQs

You should complete your Honors senior project about topics that truly interest you. Your senior project does not need to be related to your major(s) or minor(s), but you may choose to do so. Use the senior project as an opportunity to explore a topic that you are passionate about, while utilizing the skills you have gained during your career at GVSU.

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.). They 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. Gilles, Director of the Meijer Honors College, at [email protected] or (616) 331-3219. Once you have a project advisor who is interested in supervising your project, ask them to read these guidelines.

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. Work with your project advisor to determine if your project will require IRB approval from either of these committees. 

Once you have completed your proposal, 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 project advisor for approval and then forwarded to the Honors College Director for final review. You and your project advisor will be e-mailed once the proposal is reviewed by the Honors Director. Upon approval, you will be notified that you have been given permission (an override) to register for HNR 499. Please do not submit an override request for HNR 499, you will receive an email after the proposal is approved by our Director. 

Your final senior project should be commensurate with a major assignment in a course. Traditionally, this final project is the result of at least 90-120 hours of work over the course of the semester for a 2-credit project. That equates to approximately 6-8 hours per week for a 2-credit project. The time spent working on your senior project will be a combination of library and research time, meetings with your faculty advisor, and execution of the senior project itself. 

Work on the project as you outlined it in the proposal, and try to hold to the schedule that you put in your proposal. It takes discipline to do an independent project, so work closely with your project advisor in the process. If you find that your project is not doable as you had outlined it in your proposal, that is not a disaster. Research often ends up going in a different direction than you expect. You should not need to submit a revised proposal if your project veers in a different direction as long as your project advisor agrees with the new approach.

At the end of the semester your project advisor will assess and grade your project. They will email your grade, along with a digital copy of your completed project, to the Honors College Office.

It is highly advisable that you plan to turn in a digital copy of your completed project to your project 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.

No. This is optional, and further instructions will be provided upon completion of your project. 

Page last modified May 8, 2024