Guidance – Applying to Continue in Honors

Below are some answers to common questions we have received about applying to continue in Honors:

Question: What happens if a student signs up for an Honors course and then is removed from Honors?

Answer: This question has been raised by several first-year students who have asked what will happen if they sign up for an Honors class for the fall semester, apply to continue in Honors at the end of the spring semester, and then don’t get into the Honors Program. To date, this has only happened one time. When it did happen, we let the student stay in the Honors course.

Typically, students who show enough interest to apply to continue in Honors and who put the time and effort into putting together a compelling application are going to be accepted into the Honors Program. As a result, it is unlikely that this will happen.

We strongly encourage students ending their first year at UT to enroll in Honors courses for the subsequent fall semester.

Question: When are decisions on applications to continue in Honors made?

Answer: We start reading applications as early as we can and make decisions as quickly as possible. There are two factors that delay this process.

First, letters of recommendation don’t always arrive by the deadline (which is okay; we don’t hold that against students as we know faculty are busy).

Second, we typically have over 100 applications to read and evaluate. That simply takes time.

The deadline for first-year students to apply to continue in Honors is the Friday before finals. We will start reviewing any applications that are submitted before the deadline as soon as they are submitted but it may take us until the end of May to evaluate all the applications. As noted above, just because you haven’t received a decision on your application doesn’t mean you shouldn’t register for Honors courses in the fall.

Guidance – The Washington Center

The Washington Center (TWC) is an educational organization in Washington DC that provides internships, training, and courses for college students. Students from across the country intern in DC through The Washington Center. At UT, this opportunity is available only to Honors students in good standing, ideally Honors students who are entering the second semester of their Junior year or during their Senior year.

How You Apply

As with many of the opportunities in the Honors Program, there is a two-stage application process. First, you must apply through submittable.com (here) to the UT Honors Program. That application will be evaluated by the Honors Program Directors and potentially your department chair. If your application is deemed meritorious, you will then apply through TWC’s website. Because we pre-screen our Honors students before they apply to TWC, students are typically accepted at The Washington Center; we don’t know of any Honors students being rejected, but that is a possibility.

Once students complete the online application to TWC, the Honors Program Director will receive an email notifying them that the application has been submitted. The Director will then have the chance to review the application before recommending changes or approving it. Once the Director approves the application, it is submitted for review at TWC. Applicants can expect to hear back from TWC within a few weeks as to whether or not they were accepted.

When You Can Go

The Honors Program can send up to 3 students to TWC per semester, including over the summer. Honors students can intern at TWC during the fall or spring semesters at UT and can also intern during the summer.

How Credits Work

While at TWC, students will take two courses. One is a subject matter course (e.g., Political Psychology, Middle East Politics, etc.) and is referred to as the “Evening Course.” The other course is the LEAD colloquium, which focuses on professional development and internship success.

Of course, students will also be completing an internship. The internships vary widely and are tied to students’ interests and majors.

While all of this work (the two courses and the internship) is done at TWC, Honors students have to sign up for courses here at UT in order for the credit to transfer back to UT. Precisely what courses and credits students sign up for at UT has varied in the past. Here are some examples of what students have done in the past:

  • One student who interned at TWC during the spring semester signed up for 8 internship credit hours in their department (PSC 440) and also signed up for two sections of the independent study course in their department (PSC 450). That meant the student received 16 credits for the semester spent at TWC.
  • A student who interned through TWC during the summer signed up for 10 credit hours of internship in their major (CRM 401) and nothing else.
  • A student who interned through TWC during a different spring semester signed up for just 8 internship credits and one independent study course.

In short, there is some variability in how students sign up for courses at UT and how much credit transfers back as a result. However, students must sign up for at least 10 credit hours at UT. Regardless of precisely how students transfer the credit back, they must work with their faculty advisor and the chair of their department to sign up for courses at UT before they head to DC for their internship and courses at TWC.

At the end of the internship, students at TWC will receive grades for their Evening Course, for the LEAD Colloquium, and for their internship. Those grades are sent to the Honors Program Director who forwards them to the students’ department chair. The department chair will determine what grades the students should receive for the courses they signed up for at UT.

How The Finances Work

Interning through The Washington Center is not free. Below is an explanation of what students will pay and what UT’s Honors Program pays.

  • Students will still pay their UT tuition since the credit hours will transfer back to UT.
  • If students want TWC to arrange their housing, TWC will send UT a bill. The student will be informed about the expense and will pay UT that amount and UT will pay the bill.
  • Finally, the Program Fee at TWC varies by semester but is between $6,900 and $8,420 (as of 2018; see here for the most current information). The Honors Program pays that fee.

Thus, students will pay only their regular UT tuition and the housing fee if they will be using TWC housing (students have the option of finding their own housing) while the program fee is covered by UT.

It is also important to note that students typically do not pay any money directly to TWC. Students will pay UT tuition and the housing fee and UT will pay all of the TWC expenses and fees. If students receive a bill from TWC, they should take the bill to the Bursar’s Office (or the Honors Program Office).

Guidance – Honors Conferences

The Honors Program at UT is a member of three Honors Councils. At the national level, there is the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC). At the regional level, there is the Southern Regional Honors Council (SRHC). And at the state level, there is the Florida Collegiate Honors Council (FCHC). Each of these Honors Councils holds annual conferences (typically in the fall for NCHC and in the spring for SRHC and FCHC).

The current Honors Program Directors have decided to prioritize students attending disciplinary conferences with faculty members at UT where they can present their research and make contacts that will be helpful as they consider graduate school (like this and this). However, there are some benefits from attending the various Honors Conferences. The primary benefit is that Honors Conferences often have a focus on Honors education and have a number of sessions that can help Honors Program Directors and Honors Councils improve the Honors Program at UT. Additionally, presenting scholarship at an Honors Conference can also provide experience in how to present scholarship to a scholarly audience.

UT Honors Program students who would like to attend an Honors Conference have to do the following:

  1. Complete an application that details the scholarly work they would like to present at the conference.
  2. The Honors Program Directors will evaluate the application. Only high-quality applications will be accepted by the Honors Program Directors.
  3. If the application is accepted, the student will then have to apply to the appropriate Honors conference (i.e., NCHC, SRHC, or FCHC) through their website.
  4. If the application is accepted, the student will notify the Honors Program Directors so appropriate travel arrangements can be made.
  5. Prior to attending the conference, the student must present their research to the Honors Program Directors so they can provide feedback on the presentation.

Students who are selected to attend an Honors conference will be expected to professionally represent UT’s Honors Program when presenting their work.

Additionally, it is the expectation of the Honors Program Directors that the student will attend other sessions at the conference both in the interest of learning and also to find ways to improve UT’s Honors Program. 

Guidance – Making a Course an Honors Tutorial

In order to help students complete their 5 required Honors Courses, the Honors Program allows students to convert some non-Honors courses into Honors Tutorials. This is detailed in the Honors Handbook (p. 8). The process for converting a non-Honors course into an Honors Tutorials is as follows:

  1. Make sure the course meets the requirements for converting it into an Honors Tutorial. These requirements are detailed in the Honors Handbook and include the following. The course must be taught by a full-time UT faculty member. Tutorials can only be done in courses that assign a letter grade. Tutorials can also only be taken in courses that are 3 or 4 (or more) credit hours.
  2. Approach the faculty member teaching the course and ask them if they would be willing to supervise your Honors Tutorial. This requires extra commitment on the part of the faculty member (they are paid for this extra time from the Honors Program), so it is vital that you discuss this with them with plenty of advanced warning. It is strongly encouraged that you do this before the semester starts, not once the semester starts, as professors need time to make these arrangements.
  3. If the faculty member is amenable to making the course a tutorial, you’ll then need to develop the tutorial itself. Doing more of the same work that other students in the class are doing is not the ideal Honors Tutorial. The aim of the tutorial should be to enhance the class in a way that: (a) the course content is made more relevant to the student’s interests and (b) the course content is extended beyond that which is covered in the course. When evaluating whether to approve an Honors Tutorial, the Honors Program Director uses those two criteria (i.e., “How is this different from what everyone else is doing?” and “How does this enhance the class in a way that is worthy of Honors credit?”) Here are some examples of innovative Honors Tutorials:”I will be doing a project connecting my major (Biochemistry) with my minor (Cybersecurity). This makes my project different from what others in the course are doing because I am tying networking concepts learned in class to a different field altogether, healthcare. I want to research the pros and cons of cloud computing in electronic medical records, with a special emphasis in security of the digital infrastructure. Cloud computing is covered in the course, but only in a general overview sense. This way, I will be able to learn about a specific sector of this new and upcoming technology. I plan on completing this research project in the form of a lecture/presentation. With the way my project is formatted, I am able to practice my public speaking skills and apply an important computing topic to a broader audience, such as other professors here at UT or healthcare officials in the Tampa Bay area. I also hope that this provides a unique experience for my professor, who has never had a student that is studying the natural sciences and cybersecurity.” (Maya Patel)”This will be an original model created incorporating all three sections of the course into one creative model. I will present this model as if presenting a final project to an employer. The other students in my class will do three noncumulative exams approaching some conditions given by the professor to create respective models. I will be putting all the concepts we learned together and make my own assumptions and conditions into “simulating” a real modeling job. It will be a great experience to create this huge model because I am doing an academic internship for credit this semester where I need to create new creative models in order to simulate and forecast next year’s numbers. So it will be of a great help to keep practicing and learning new stuff relating to financial models.” (Camilo Gonzalez)”This project will involve running an untested experiment on how the protein content of crab claws change in response to fluctuations in temperature. This is an aspect of physiology that other students will not be learning about and an experiment that other students are not doing. This will involve designing the experiment, running the experiment, collecting data, and writing a paper on the results. This will improve my understanding of the underlying theories and literature of the given subject matter, of the laboratory techniques relevant to the class, of physiology focused experimental design, and of physiology focused scientific writing.” (Kelly Fryar)

    “The Tutorial Enrichment project is a collaboration with Dr. Miller towards the publication of an academic research paper that aims to identify patterns between the FED minutes’ language and market responses. The project will require the student to collect, clean, and analyze nearly eight decades of data, and then run regression analysis as well as building models that would attempt to predict market reactions after the FED’s minutes are published and made public. This Tutorial Enrichment project will take a different approach to what the other students in the course will be doing by looking beyond the textbook content and regular assignments, while enhancing the student’s understanding of the FED’s impact on the financial markets.” (Victor Philaire)

  4. Once you and the professor have agreed to the project, you’ll need to submit the application via Submittable (here). Honors Tutorial applications are due by 5:00 pm on the third Friday of the semester.
  5. The Honors Program Director will evaluate each application, confirm with the professor that they have approved it, and then either approve the Tutorial or request modifications to improve it.
  6. At the conclusion of the Tutorial, the faculty member will evaluate the Tutorial, which will include submitting any deliverables from the Tutorial. Note that not every Tutorial is considered meritorious based on the evaluations from the professors who oversee them. Evaluations of Tutorials by overseeing faculty members can be completed here.