Mississippi College believes that motivated students should be able to shape their own educational experience. The independent reading, research and writing project is one way honors students can do this. Students who choose to participate must have at least twelve hours of credit at Mississippi College and must have a GPA of at least 3.25 overall and a 3.50 within their major fields. Students must maintain those levels to continue in the program. In order to receive “high honors,” students must successfully complete their project and have at 3.50 overall GPA and a 3.75 within their majors. Students enroll for the project within the subject area of their choice, normally using the 361, 461, 462 course numbers in their subject area. This project is a three semester sequence.
1. During the first semester, students begin to define their project, working with a faculty member director of their choosing. Students develop a reading list and do general reading in order to define their research clearly. At the end of the first semester, students are expected to submit a proposal to their director and to the honors council that includes a clear discussion of their research area, the particular focus of their project, an understanding of how this would contribute to the field, and a specific timeline for completion. In addition, students should submit a substantial bibliography to show that resources exist for further research. This semester is one credit hour.
2. During the second semester, students focus on directed research, either by exploring completely the secondary sources discovered during the first semester, or by engaging directly in research experiments that build on secondary source material. Working closely with the faculty director, students begin to refine their research issues and move toward a clear hypothesis, assertion or thesis concerning their research area. At the end of the second semester, students will either submit a revised proposal or clearly demonstrate significant progress in research to their director and the honors council. This semester is two credit hours.
3. During the third semester, students finish their research and write their report. While the structure and format of the report will vary from discipline to discipline, it should be understood that the strongest projects will defend a clear hypothesis, assertion or conclusion based upon the research conducted in the second semester. The final written project will conform to the highest standards of academic writing within the discipline, and the best projects will include an interdisciplinary element. This semester is three credit hours.