Honors project

In order to graduate with honors, each honors student has to complete an honors project and present it at the University Honors Poster Presentation held toward the end of each semester. This project helps you learn more about your chosen field of study, research or scholarship, and yourself. The honors project involves planning, executing, and completing a project that is, for the most part, self-directed.

Project elements:

  • Find a faculty project adviser to work with
  • Determine the project topic
  • Complete the Project Intent Statement on Canvas
  • Register for 2-4 credits of your departmental Honors designation by having your project adviser email your academic adviser with all course details including course, section, and number of credits. 
  • Complete the Project Proposal Form on Canvas
  • Complete the project
  • Present the project in poster form at a University Honors Poster Presentation held during prep week


The timing of your honors project and subsequent poster presentation is contingent on several factors. The project intent statement is due 2 semesters prior and the project proposal is due 1 semester prior to your poster presentation. The actual date is always 9/21 or 2/21 of the semester identified. If you find yourself unable to present your poster during your final semester, you will need to move your timeline up 1 semester (or more) to accommodate for that conflict.

Factors to consider:

  • Semester of your graduation
  • Applying and interviewing for graduate school
  • Off-campus student teaching or internship opportunities
  • Participation in a study abroad program

Refer to the honors program timeline for examples of how honors deadlines fit within a student's academic career.


Grants up to $750 are available for your project. Honors students can apply for the Honors Program Grant and/or the Stewart Research Award. Guidelines and applications can be found on the University Honors Program web site.

Does your research involve human subjects?

If your research involves human subjects (surveys, interviews, focus groups, research subjects), you will need to seek IRB (Institution Review Board) approval if you or your project adviser plan to publish or display your results outside the Iowa State campus. If your research is solely for your honors project and poster presentation, approval is not needed. If you have questions about the IRB role or process, talk to your faculty project adviser. Information on IRB requirements can be found on at the Office for Responsible Research website.

Credits earned

Your faculty project adviser is responsible for determining with you the number of credits to be earned. Credits assigned will depend on the scope and complexity of the project. Your faculty project adviser will be responsible for assigning 2-4 credits.