Undergraduate Honors Program


Undergraduate majors with exceptional academic records have the opportunity to participate in the Speech & Hearing Sciences Department (SPHSC) Honors Program. The SPHSC Honors Program is a year-long experience for students who have demonstrated outstanding scholarly potential and who wish to further their studies in this field through independent research activities, under the mentorship of a faculty advisor.

During this experience, students complete at least six (6) Undergraduate Honors Research credits (SPHSC 498), write an Honors thesis, and present their research findings at the Department's Spring Honor’s Colloquium. Those who successfully complete the SPHSC Honors Program will receive a Bachelor of Science degree "With Honors in Speech and Hearing Sciences".


In order to apply, students must:

  • Be a Junior SPHSC major
  • Have least 3 quarters remaining in the undergraduate program (Autumn, Winter, Spring)
  • Have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5*
    • An applicant presenting fewer than 30 UW credits should compute their cumulative GPA using total college credits (UW and transfer credits).
    • Those with 30 or more UW credits may use the cumulative UW GPA as computed on grade reports or transcripts.

In order to remain enrolled in the Honors Program, students must:

  • Maintain a 3.3 cumulative GPA in all UW coursework
  • Maintain a 3.5 quarterly GPA in all SPHSC coursework; this includes Spring quarter of the Junior year.

*Students may apply to the program, and attach a petition, if their cumulative GPA is less than 3.5 but their SPHSC GPA is 3.5 or higher.

Selection Criteria

The following criteria are used to evaluate and select students for the Honors Program:

  • Strength of the student’s academic record
  • Written and oral communication abilities
  • Promise in the area of study
  • Availability of a faculty mentor

Application Process & Materials

Potential applicants apply to the Honors Program in Spring quarter of their Junior year. The first week of Spring quarter is “Honors Applicant Interview Week”. SPHSC faculty make themselves available to students interested in discussing a potential Honors Program project. A directory of department faculty, their research areas, and links to their research lab web pages is available on the department website at http://depts.washington.edu/sphsc/directory/.

During Spring quarter, all applicants will:

  1. Identify and arrange interviews with prospective faculty mentors, during the first week of Spring quarter, to discuss research areas of interest and the possibility of working together on an honors project.
  2. Provide an application packet to each prospective faculty mentor with whom they interview. The application packets must include:
    • The SPHSC Honors Program Application
    • A personal statement of 500 words describing the applicant’s interest in Speech and Hearing Sciences and the Honors Program, career goals, and research areas of interest
    • Two writing samples (in English) one of which must be from an SPHSC or related class
    • An unofficial UW Transcript
    • In addition, if an application has a cumulative GPA lower than 3.5, he/she must also include a separate personal statement/petition requesting an exception.

  3. After the interviews, email the Undergraduate Advisor (UA) with the names of their first, second, and third choices of faculty mentor. (Faculty members will also email the UA of their first, second, and third choices of mentee).

Decisions & Acceptance

All applicants will be notified of decisions by the UA during Spring quarter. Successful applicants will also be informed of their assigned faculty mentors at that time. All students who wish to accept their Honors Program offer must submit a letter of acceptance to the UA at shugadv@uw.edu. This acceptance indicates the student’s agreement to complete all Honors Program requirements. Students must notify the UA and faculty mentor in writing if at any time during the Honors Program they become ineligible to continue or decide to discontinue their participation in the program.

Appeals Procedure

Any student denied acceptance may request reconsideration of his/her application by submitting a formal written appeal to the UA at shugadv@uw.edu. Included with any formal request for review must be additional, substantive information in support of the student’s appeal or such other information which the student considers relevant.

Honors Program Enrollment & Requirements

Registration, Credits & Grading

While in the Honors Program, students will enroll in Undergraduate Honors Research credits using a SPHSC 498 registration. The UA will provide each student with the appropriate Honors registration code for their faculty member that will be used for the duration of the program. Students must register for a minimum of six credits of 498 and will register for a grade; the credit/no-credit option is not available for the Honors Program.

The standard Honors Program plan requires students to register for two (2) credits in the Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters of their final/senior year. That being said, students may vary this plan as long as a minimum of six credits is completed (e.g., register in Summer or distribute the credits differently across quarters). A maximum total of 15 credits of SPHSC 498 can be applied towards graduation requirements.

The number of credits for which a student registers each quarter should reflect the amount of work dedicated to the Honors research activity. One credit is equivalent to approximately three hours of work per week in a ten week quarter (or 30 hours in a ten-week quarter). Grades for 498 will not be given without satisfactory completion of requirements for the quarter. Students will discuss their program plans with faculty mentors before making a final decision.

Research Paper/Honors Thesis

Each Honors Program student will submit two copies of a written thesis by the end of Spring quarter of his/her senior year; one copy goes to the faculty mentor and one to the UA. The appropriate length of the thesis will be left to the discretion of the faculty mentor and will be related to the number of 498 credits, the research topic, and other relevant criteria.

Students may co-author a thesis so long as it is acceptable to the faculty mentor and is appropriate in length, quality, and content to the total number of 498 credits taken by all students involved in writing the thesis.

Research Presentation/ Honors Colloquium

Each Honors student will present his/her research at the SPHSC Honors Colloquium in May of their senior year. The UA will provide students with more detailed Honors Colloquium information and logistics as the date approaches. In addition, students may – but are not required to – present their research at the UW Undergraduate Research Symposium that is also held in May. To present at the UW Undergraduate Symposium, students will submit an abstract. For more information and to apply, visit http://exp.washington.edu/urp/symp/.

Faculty Mentor Role

A faculty mentor is defined as an Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences. Other SPHSC faculty appointments such as Lecturer, Acting Assistant Professor or research faculty (i.e., Research Assistant Professors, Research Associate Professors or Research Professors) are also eligible, with department approval.

Faculty mentors will assist and guide students in planning and conducting research, writing the thesis paper, and preparing for and presenting at the Spring Honors Colloquium. Faculty mentors and honors students will meet regularly and faculty will submit 498 grades each quarter. Mentors may elect to submit one grade at the end of the experience when all requirements have been met. In this case, an “N” will be submitted in intervening quarters.

Other Information

  • Admission to and participation in the Honors Program does not guarantee admission to any of the Speech and Hearing Sciences Graduate Programs (M.S., Au.D., Ph.D.).
  • Questions about the Honors Program should be directed to the UA at shugadv@uw.edu.