Departmental Honors Requirements

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  1. STATEMENT OF PURPOSE:

The purpose of the Computer Science Departmental Honors program is to provide advanced undergraduate students with a research experience in Computer Science.

2. COURSE AND CREDIT STRUCTURE:

A student in this program must enroll in CSCI/HNRS 489 (Honors Independent Study) and CSCI/HNRS 499 (Honors Senior Thesis) in different semesters for a total of at least 3 credits. Each of these courses may be taken more than once, for a maximum total of 4 credits each.

3. ELIGIBILITY:

The minimum eligibility requirements for CSCI/HNRS 489 are

(a) Senior status in the Computer Science major, and

(b) the recommendation of a Computer Science faculty member who is willing to act as project supervisor and thesis advisor.

4. PERMISSIBLE TYPES OF ACTIVITIES include:

(a) original research results in an area of Computer Science;

(b) creative exposition of material from the above two areas not covered in a regular Computer Science Department course offering;

The student's work must include a written thesis acceptable to the departmental honors committee and conclude with a public presentation of the results.

5. FACULTY SUPERVISION:

The quality and integrity of the program will be assured by faculty supervision in the following ways:

(a) A student wishing to participate in the program must obtain the support of a faculty member who is willing to act as their project supervisor.

(b) The student's project supervisor will 

(1) assist in preparing and submitting the appropriate application materials;

(2) advise the student in selecting a topic and preparing a plan of study for CSCI/HNRS 489, meet regularly with the student over the duration of the project, provide appropriate direction as needed, and assign a grade in CSCI/HNRS 489;

(3) act as the student's thesis advisor in CSCI/HNRS 499, and chair of their thesis committee;

(c) The thesis committee will consist of the project supervisor and two or more additional persons nominated by the student and the project supervisor, and approved by the department. If the student is fulfilling the requirements of the University honors program, the thesis committee must include a present or past member of the University honors committee and an authority outside the Computer Science Department.

6. APPLICATION PROCEDURE AND APPROVAL PROCESS:

(a) A student wishing to participate in the departmental honors program may discuss the program with any faculty member of the department. The first step is to find a faculty member willing to act as their project supervisor. Together, they select and propose a topic for approval by the department. (In some cases, such as inter-departmental projects, there may be more than one project supervisor.)

(b) The student, together with their faculty advisor and proposed project supervisor(s), prepare a proposal to take CSCI/HNRS 489 and submit it to the department. 

(c) Once the CSCI/HNRS 489 project has been approved, the project supervisor oversees the student's work and assigns the final grade in CSCI/HNRS 489.

(d) To continue in the program and into CSCI/HNRS 499, the student must earn a grade of B- or higher in CSCI/HNRS 489 and be recommended by the project supervisor.

7. THESIS REGULATIONS, DEFENSE, EVALUATION:

(a) The thesis shall be a formal written presentation of the student's results, conforming to a standard thesis format acceptable to the department.

(b) It shall contain

(1) statement of purpose;
(2) appropriate background;
(3) complete exposition of results, and how they were obtained;
(4) conclusions;
(5) bibliography (preferably annotated).

(c) A draft of the thesis shall be given to the thesis committee members no later than three weeks prior to the student's graduation date. Committee members shall return the draft, with comments, to the student no later than one week after receiving it.

(d) A revised copy of the thesis shall be given to all thesis committee members no later than two days prior to the oral defense.

(e) The oral defense of the thesis shall occur no later than one week prior to the day of graduation. The date of this defense shall be set and made public no later than one week prior to the defense date. All thesis committee members shall receive written notice of the date, time, and location of the defense. 

(f) At the conclusion of the defense, the thesis committee shall determine whether the thesis qualifies for departmental honors, and recommend a grade for CSCI/HNRS 499. A grade of B- or higher will be required for Departmental Honors.

(g) The final revised thesis shall be submitted to the project supervisor no later than one day prior to graduation.

8. EVALUATION, AND FINAL GRADE REQUIREMENTS:

To be awarded Departmental Honors in Computer Science at graduation, the student must have achieved:

(a) B- grades or higher in both CSCI/HNRS 489 and CSCI/HNRS 499;
(b) an overall Millersville QPA of 3.00 or higher;
(c) a Millersville CSCI QPA of 3.35 or higher.