Academic Honors Program offers new path to departmental honors notation

Chris Forrester • Aug. 8, 2018

The Media School’s new Academic Honors Program invites top-performing students to challenge themselves academically and earn an honors notation.

The program, which began inviting students in early 2018, extends offers to rising juniors with strong academic records.

Nicole Martins
Associate professor Nicole Martins, director of the honors program (Maggie Richards | The Media School)

In order to earn the notation, Academic Honors students must maintain an overall excellent GPA, complete two Media School honors seminars with a grade of B or better and complete a senior thesis or creative project. The completion of the thesis or creative project takes place during the student’s final semester, under the guidance of a school faculty member.

Associate professor Nicole Martins, director of the honors program, said the purpose of the project requirement is to help students find a mentor and hone a research interest.

“For one of our production students, maybe it’s a new video game or some type of film project,” she said. “For our communication science students, maybe it’s working on and developing a research study that they can do in our (Institute for Communications Research).”

Martins said the program will give a wider range of Media School students access to an honors program than the school’s highly selective Ernie Pyle Scholars and Media Scholars programs do.

Both the Ernie Pyle Scholars and Media Scholars programs are available to direct admits only. Martins said the Academic Honors Program is an important chance for non-direct admits and even late-bloomers to flourish.

“We are a popular school with a lot of popular majors, but our students, for whatever reason, might find us a little late,” she said. “This gives us an opportunity to recognize these really motivated, ambitious, intelligent students who did not come into us as freshmen.”

The school typically offers two honors seminars per semester, Martins said. The seminars are broad in focus so they will cater to and challenge Media School students of all majors and interests. For example, one honors seminar topic offered this fall is “Morality, Media and the Mind.”

“We really try to pick a seminar from across the Media School spectrum,” she said. “We try to offer honors seminars on a variety of topics that could interest whatever concentration you might pick.”