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For Interested Students

If you’re considering writing an honors thesis but don’t know where to begin, we recommend you take at look at these resources:

 SON Honors Program Guidelines in Student Handbook
 Writing Center’s Honors Thesis Handout
Honors abstracts and posters by SON graduates

What is the honors program?

The honors program is a way for motivated students to undertake additional studies in an area of interest under the advisement of a faculty member. The student completes an honors project and graduates with a diploma and transcript that states“With Honors” or “With Highest Honors.” The UNC-CH University Honors Office determines official university policies and makes the final award of honors on your diploma; however specific School of Nursing (SON) policies are developed and approved by the faculty.

Am I eligible to participate?

Students who are eligible and interested in participating are cleared by the SON registrar. You must have earned a 3.3 cumulative university grade point average. Students must also have earned a GPA of 3.4 in all required upper division nursing courses.

When/How do I apply if I want to participate?

Information seminars are held for interested students each semester. The decision to participate is usually made prior to or at the beginning of the last two semesters of study, though other timing is possible. Honors involves two semesters of work. Once you have decided to participate, you should see the SON Registrar, in the Office of Student Affairs to register for N691H in the first semester, and N692H in the second semester.

In addition, the Intent to Participate Form form must be completed and signed by the student’s advisor. The form contains a brief statement of what you tentatively plan to do for your project. This form should be turned in to the Undergraduate Program Office, room 107B, within the first two weeks of your enrollment in N691H. Complete information is available on the School of Nursing Honors website.

How do I choose an advisor?

Your advisor is a faculty member you may have worked closely with in the past or one who shares an interest in the topic you wish to develop. If you are not sure whom to ask, you have several resources:

  • Review previous honors abstracts on the website
  • Talk with Beverly Foster, Honors Program Coordinator, who will help refer you based on your area of interest
  • Ask friends and other faculty members for suggestions
  • Visit this page to explore SON faculty areas of concentration.
  • You will need to approach the faculty member and talk about your ideas. If faculty need more information about honors program requirements, you can refer them to the website. Once the faculty member agrees to be your advisor, have them sign your Intent to Participate Form.
What is the advisor’s responsibility?

The advisor will guide you through the development and completion of your project. This process involves regular office meetings and feedback to guide and evaluate your work. Grades for N691H/N692H are assigned by the advisor, and determination of satisfactory completion of the project and/or highest honors recommendations will be his/her responsibility in collaboration with the Honors Program Coordinator. A Learning Contract must be completed for both N691H and N692H, and filed with the Honors Program Coordinator.

When do I complete the honors work?

Honors work is begun and completed in the last two semesters of study in the SON. Typically, the first semester is used for deciding on a topic & advisor, gathering materials & data and seeking Institutional Review Board approval where required. The second semester is usually used to complete the final project and prepare for the presentations. At the presentation, scheduled at the end of the semester, honors students present their work to peers, faculty, family and friends in a poster presentation format. Any additional awards are noted/given out at that time, and refreshments may be served.

See the undergraduate program website for important due dates. Watch email and bulletin board postings for final date confirmations.

What additional awards am I eligible for?

Highest Honors is awarded to students who have completed exceptional work at a level beyond the usual high expectations. The student’s work must be nominated by his/her advisor to the Honors Program Coordinator by the posted deadline. Projects submitted for highest honors will be reviewed blind by a panel of undergraduate faculty familiar with the Honors process but not currently advising a student. Evaluation criteria used are that the paper demonstrates evidence of independent, creative, abstract, analytical and critical thinking at the highest level. Recommendations of the review panel are final.

Other awards may be available, including monetary awards to support the Honors projects. The Honors Program Coordinator will notify you of any other opportunities for awards.

Do I have to write a research paper?

University requirements state that “Senior Honors Thesis students must complete an original and substantial research, performance or creative project under the direct supervision of a faculty member”. Your project can be whatever you and your advisor agree is an acceptable project to meet the criteria, approved by the Honors Program Coordinator. You can browse through honors projects completed in May 2014 and beyond in the CDR or review SON abstracts here. All honors projects submitted prior to May 2014 are archived in the North Carolina Collection at Wilson Library. School of Nursing guidelines require that the project “show evidence of independent, creative, abstract, analytical, and critical thinking.”

What do I have to do if I am writing a research paper?

University and SON guidelines for research projects are available in the Student Handbook under “Research Regulations and Policies.”

Where can I get help with research, writing and presentation skills?

Please see resources available below.

Who/Where can I get help with statistical analysis of my data?

Honors students needing help with research data and statistics beyond what their adviser can provide should contact the Honors Program Coordinator for referral to possible resources within the SON Research Support Center.

What Websites are available for honor participants?
  1. The Carolina Digital Repository
  2. University Honors Office
  3. Office of Academic Affairs
  4. Undergraduate Research Office
  5. Writing Center 
What are the guidelines for the Honors presentation?

Honors students will present their work through poster presentations scheduled near the time of graduation. Students will be available by their poster presentation to explain their work and respond to questions. Web-based resources will provide assistance with the production of the poster presentations.

Who can I talk to if I have questions?

Dr. Beverly Foster, Honors Program Coordinator, will be able to answer your questions about honors. Dr. Foster’s office is located in Room 506 of Carrington Hall; the phone number is 919-966-4995. Email is useful for quick questions. Dr. Foster can be reached at

Please submit the Intent to Participate Form by September 16, 2019 to the Honors Program Coordinator, Bev Foster, Office 506

For Current Honors Students

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Resources and Requirements

 IRB Online Submission Guide
 IRB Online Submission FAQs
 Navigating the IRB Process: Steps for Students
 IRB Education and Resources

Agency or Clinical Site Permission

If you are considering an educational intervention or a quality improvement or research project at a health care agency, school, or industrial site it is important to discuss your project with administrators at the site.  At some locations a review and approval process may be required. For projects at UNC Healthcare, request information, the review calendar, and an application via email at   For other locations contact the Honors Program Coordinator for assistance.

Library Resources

  Guide to Health Sciences Library

Visit this site to schedule an appointment with the School of Nursing Librarian, Jamie Conklin. You can also contact her directly at or (919) 966-1855.

Statistical Support

Limited statistical consultation is available for Honor Students who are planning quantitative data-based projects.  The limited consultation can include discussion of how the student might collect and organize data as well as guidance for the analytic approach and interpretation. Referrals may also be made to outside campus resources such as the Odum Institute.  Interested students should check first with their advisor and may request a consultation here. 

 APA Format Guide
  Writing Center

  For individual guidance, see your faculty advisor or schedule an appointment with Bev Foster, the Honors Program Coordinator.

Guidelines for Submission of Final Projects

  • Students will submit electronic copies of their senior honors thesis for archiving. You must submit an electronic copy of the project and a signed title page to the Carolina Digital Repository (CDR) using your Onyen. Both documents must be submitted by the published university deadline. The deadlines can be found on the Important Dates for Honors Participants located below. The University Library will catalog the electronic theses and make them available to the public.
  • Candidates who do not submit their thesis to the CDR by the reporting deadline will not be allowed to graduate with honors or highest honors, even if their academic unit has reported their candidacy to Honors Carolina. Students whose names are reported to the Honors Carolina office after the reporting deadline will not receive recognition in the Commencement program.
  • Honors Carolina: Senior Honors Thesis Guidelines for Academic Units, Faculty (See “Electronic Submission of Senior Honors Theses”, page 5)


  • All projects must have a title page with: project title, student name, advisor name (typed & signed), and date of completion. See example title page here.
  • Honors papers should conform to current APA formatting (Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition, 2009.
  • An abstract, following APA guidelines, should be included in the paper. A separate electronic copy of this abstract should be submitted to Beverly Foster, Honors Coordinator, at for publication on the School of Nursing website. This should be submitted at the time the final project is electronically submitted to the CDR.

updated 1/2/2018

Guidelines for Submission of Highest Honors Projects for Review

Review Process

The first step in Highest Honors review is for the Honors candidate and their adviser to determine together if they feel the quality of the work meets the criteria for Honors at the Highest Level. The criteria is that a student’s project must show evidence of independent, abstract, analytical and critical thinking. You will find this information in the honors section of the Student Handbook.

If the project is of a quality to be reviewed for Highest Honors, the faculty adviser should send an email requesting Highest Honors review to the Honors Coordinator, Bev Foster, at prior to the submission deadline.

A panel of undergraduate faculty will review and score each paper anonymously and independently using the published School of Nursing Honors criteria. Review scores will be tallied by the Honors Coordinator to determine Highest Honors awardees. Students can contact the Honors Coordinator to request their individual scores and any comments noted by the reviewers. The decision of the review process is final.

Submission Process

For Highest Honors, you must submit an electronic copy of your project to the Undergraduate Division Manager, Solomon Valentine, at about two weeks prior to the final project submission deadline. Specific deadlines can be found on the Important Dates for Honors Participants document located below.

To assure anonymous review, please delete your name/advisor’s name throughout your paper except for the title page. These papers may be unsigned and in a near-final form. Final formatting requirements do not apply to this submission.

updated 1/2/2018

You will present your work by creating a 36 x 42″ poster, which you are responsible for designing. If you need design assistance, there are several resources available to you. You may contact the Health Sciences Library to schedule a consultation — they detail their services and contact information here. They can help guide you through the process from design to printing.

Visit this site to schedule an appointment with the School of Nursing Librarian, Jamie Conklin. You can also contact her directly at or (919) 966-1855.

 Additional online resources for designing effective posters and presentations can be found here.

The School of Nursing has its own templates for posters, which can be downloaded here.

Important Honors Dates

December 2020 Graduates

Summer DateSpring Date 


Last date to register for N691H or N692H in the Office of Student Affairs. (Students must complete both N691H and N692H in their last two semesters of study)
5/13/2020TBDIntent to Participate Form forms signed by advisor to Solomon Valentine,
6/22/2020TBDLast date to turn in Independent Study Learning Contract (ISLC) to the Honors Program Coordinator, Bev Foster, in Carrington 506
7/28/2020TBDLast date for advisors to notify the SON Undergraduate Program Office of projects to be considered for Highest Honors (1 digital Word document of project must accompany request. Final stage drafts will work).

Digital abstracts for all projects are also due to the Undergraduate Program Office in APA format in fewer than 250 words.
7/28/2020TBDDeadline for submission of your prepared poster presentation. (Materials must be approved by your adviser and submitted via email to Solomon Valentine at

Please note that the guidelines posted on the Honors web must be followed for size and content.
TBDTBDEnd of Program Poster Presentations and Celebration | SON Portal ( |
7/28/2020TBDLast date to submit completed project and cover page to the Carolina Digital Repository (CDR).

Updated 5/28/2020

Honors Abstracts and Posters by SON Graduates

Abstracts of projects by previous honors students are available for your review. Copies of completed projects prior to May 2014 are available at Wilson Library.  You can also browse through projects completed in May 2014 and beyond at the Carolina Digital Repository.


For Faculty

These suggestions are the result of faculty and student feedback during the annual Honors evaluation process. Your additional ideas are welcome.

Read through this short list of IRB FAQs compiled by Directors of Undergraduate Studies, together with IRB Chairs, for you and faculty in your department who are teaching undergraduates and mentoring student research.

Meet regularly with your Honors student in the first semester to help them develop, refine and narrow their project or research idea. Meetings every week or two seem to help during the initial phase. The student may need your leadership to get things rolling. This is the most common time for students to get discouraged and quit.

Encourage realistic expectations. The development of a comprehensive survey instrument is probably beyond their scope of time and expertise. Projects that seem to work the best explore a focused topic of their interest using existing instruments or simple survey tools. Other successful approaches have involved the analysis of a data set which is part of a larger SON project. Projects that have floundered are often too comprehensive or broad in scope to finish within the timeframe, or beyond the expertise of a senior student.

Help the student break the project into manageable steps, and work with the student to establish a timeline for completion of these steps.

Encourage students to attend all Honors seminars, to use the knowledge available to them in their nursing research course (N371 and N377) and to arrange for any editing or statistical assistance through SON or campus resources.

Encourage students to seek funding opportunities as they become available.

Stay in touch regularly with your advisee. Email can work well for quick questions. Have regular meetings planned with a specific agenda for each meeting based on the time line objectives. Return materials submitted for feedback as quickly as you can.

Provide lots of positive support and encouragement. Students are choosing to do this in addition to their regular work load, and can easily feel overloaded. A discussion of time management strategies can be helpful.

If a student is simply unable to complete the work, encourage them to accept their withdrawal from the program as the “best decision” under their unique circumstances. Agree upon a fair letter grade for work completed.

Attend the Honors presentation reception to provide support. Tips for preparing their work for presentation are useful.

Encourage publication of their work when it seems appropriate.

Thanks for working with an Honors advisee. I hope it is a wonderful year for both of you. Don’t hesitate to contact Bev Foster at 919-966-4995 or with your questions.