All students who graduate in Honors are required to complete an Honors project. In addition to being a graduation requirement your project should do the following:

Enhance your future

  • Your project can be a special facet of your application to graduate or professional school.
  • Your project can show a future employer your ability to design and execute a project.

Enrich your academic experience

  • Your project can add a dimension to your program of study that non-honors students do not have.
  • Your project can synthesize your major(s) and minor(s).
  • Your project can build an added dimension to your degree-required capstone/senior design project.
  • Your project should contribute to the body of knowledge about your subject.

At the end of your project you will share your findings at one of bi-annual Honors Poster symposia. Poster presentations are evaluated by members of the EHP committee, and the student with the top-rated presentation will receive a $250 scholarship.

Honors Project Proposal Process

How to start the project proposal

  • Your honors project topic should be in an area in which you have some background or expertise. It does not need to be in your major. The project should provide you with an intellectual challenge above and beyond what a regular student would have.
  • You must identify a faculty mentor to to advise you in your project. You and your project advisor develop your project proposal together. Your project advisor must be an ISU faculty member. He/she should be someone you will enjoy collaborating with as your project evolves.
  • The EHP Committee must approve your project proposal before you begin your research.

When to submit your project proposal

  • Project proposals should be submitted at least two semesters before you graduate (deadline is Sept. 21 and Feb. 21 for fall/spring semesters respectively).
  • You are welcome to submit earlier than the specified deadline. If you are planning to study abroad or do an internship during your last year, you should consider submitting and presenting earlier. Also keep in mind that your final semester of an engineering program is often pretty hectic.

Honors Project Proposal Form can be found here.

  • Complete the proposal form and submit it as an email attachment to
  • Your proposal will be evaluated by the EHP, and it may be approved, rejected, or returned with a request for additional information or clarification prior to approval.

When you are ready to begin your project

  • You must register for a minimum of 2 credits of independent study (490H).
  • The 490H will be administered by your faculty mentor’s teaching department (for example, if your project advisor is in Mechanical Engineering, you register for ME 490H). Your faculty mentor and your academic advisor can help you register for this.
  • 490H credits beyond the 2 credit minimum may be applied toward your degree, such as technical electives, if your curriculum allows.

When your project is wrapping up

  • Let the UHP know that you are ready to present your work at the next poster symposium. See website for details.
  • Work with your project advisor to develop your poster. There is no proscribed format for the poster symposium, but many research groups have a standard poster template they use for presentations. If you are struggling with format, the EHP can share some with you.
  • Provide a written project report or any other required data or analysis to your project mentor.

Suggested Honors Project Timeline

Sophomore Year:

  • Attend the fall and spring Honors Project Poster Sessions. Talk to students about their research. Begin to gather ideas about possible research topics.
  • Note professors that you enjoy or ideas in class or lab that you would like to pursue.
  • Talk to your academic advisor about how your Honors Project can enhance your program of study.

Junior Year:

  • Identify a project mentor/advisor.
  • Talk with your project advisor about your project idea(s) and narrowing the topic to a reasonable research project.
  • Begin background research on your topic so that you can describe the novel intellectual/scholarly contribution you will make through your project.
  • Consider submitting your proposal early if you will be off-campus during your final semester or want some breathing room during your final term.

Senior Year:

  • Submit your project proposal at least two semesters before graduation.
  • Conduct your research.
  • Present your research findings at an Honors Project Poster Session.