Graduating With Honors

Am I eligible?

Graduating “magna cum laude” or “summa cum laude” has two components:

1) An exceptional upper division GPA

  • Must be 3.50 or higher for magna cum laude (= with high honors)
  • Must be 3.80 or higher for summa cum laude (= with highest honors)

2) Completion of a thesis, research project, or some other approved body of original work, which is submitted for evaluation according to the rules of the UF Honors Office, the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering, and the student’s major department

The requirement for “cum laude” is solely based on having a 3.30 or higher upper division GPA. Therefore, a student with above a 3.5 or 3.8 upper division GPA who chooses not to undertake
a thesis may still graduate cum laude (= with honors). Note that your upper division GPA starts calculating in the semester after which you have earned 60 college credits from any mechanism
(including AP, IB, etc.). Thus, the grades you earn in the first semester where you are listed as a “3EG” on your transcripts are the first grades that go into your upper division GPA.

Although students are responsible for knowing the requirements for the various honors designations, if you’re eligible to graduate with any type of honors the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering will contact you during your junior year to help you plan ahead. Once you have committed to writing a thesis, your major department will shoulder the responsibility for reminding you about important deadlines, helping you register for research credits (if applicable), and providing you with general support.

Please note that post‐baccalaureate (2nd bachelor’s degree) students are not eligible to receive any type of honors recognition; however, exceptions to this policy are sometimes allowed. If your department supports you, they can submit a letter of exception addressed to Dr. Kevin Knudson (via Dr. Janna Underhill, Engineering Student Affairs, 208 Weil Hall) and signed by the department chair.

The letter also needs to include a space for a signature line for the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Student Affairs. Submit the letter no later than the same day departments submit preliminary degree certification online. (For this date please refer to Academic Deadlines and Calendars.) The Dean’s Office will forward the letter to the UF Honors Office.

Who should undertake an honors thesis project?

A student who:

  • Maintains an upper division GPA that meets the minimum requirement for magna or summa cum laude graduation for the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering
  • Wishes to be more competitive for graduate or professional programs, or to stand out from the crowd with prospective employers
  • Has the motivation and drive to work independently and manage her/his time well
  • Is prepared to work hard to continuously improve her/his writing and analytical skills
  • Is excited about developing positive mentoring relationships with faculty experts
  • Wants to cultivate her/his innate curiosity and passion for learning new things

What’s the general timeline for writing a thesis?

Writing an undergraduate thesis may not be as time‐consuming as writing a graduate thesis, but it still requires a great deal of planning and dedication. Be prepared for a 2‐4 semester
commitment that looks something like this:

1. ASK QUESTIONS
Discuss your interest in an honors thesis with your academic advisor and/or your department’s Undergraduate Coordinator, and listen to their valuable advice.

2. FIND A MENTOR
Research faculty members who may be willing to mentor you, and discuss project ideas with them. Where to start looking:

3. COMMIT TO A PROJECT
Select your faculty mentor (or co‐mentors), and begin to shape your project idea into reality. Note that this process may require you to do some additional training, either in the classroom or in a lab. Notify your departmental academic advisor of your decision to write a thesis.

4. PLAN AND ORGANIZE
Write a thesis proposal and turn it in to your mentor. Make adjustments and carefully improve your research design as needed, based on their guidance.

5. LOOK FOR EXTRA RESOURCES
If needed, explore funding/resources for your project. Talk to your mentor, and visit the University Scholars Program website.

6. GATHER YOUR EXPERTS
Create your undergraduate thesis committee with the help of your faculty mentor. Fill out the Appointment of Supervisory Committee Form, obtain the necessary signatures, and turn in the  completed form to your major department.

You are required to have at least three committee members, one of whom must be from outside your major program.

It’s okay to have co‐chairs for your committee. It’s also okay if one of those co-chairs is from another UF department or college; however, at least one chair must be from your own major department.

7. DIVE INTO YOUR PROJECT

  • Work on your project under the supervision of your faculty mentor.
  • Register for research credits as needed. For the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering, research credits are designated as EGN4912 “Engineering Directed Independent Research” and may be taken for 0 to 3 credits per semester (with a maximum limit of 12 credits). See your departmental advisor for assistance with the registration process.

8. ANALYZE AND WRITE

  • Summarize your data and document what you learn. For assistance with formatting, go to the Honors Program website. Make sure you work closely with your faculty mentor(s) during this critical time; their editing and constructive suggestions will help you produce an even better thesis.

9. PRESENT YOUR FINDINGS

  • Complete the Honors Thesis Submission Form, and have your mentor sign and date the form. Your department will help you get the additional signature from your department’s Honors Coordinator. Note that all information must fit on the front of the form and must be typed in the proper format, with all appropriate signatures included.
  • Present your research to your committee. Upon completion of your presentation, if the supervisory committee approves your designation as magna or summa cum laude they will sign the Final Oral Examination Form. The department chair will also sign this form, then both of these forms will be forwarded to EG Undergraduate Student Affairs.
  • Your departmental academic advisor will make sure that your graduation is certified with the appropriate honors designation.

10. ARCHIVE YOUR WORK

  • Submit a hard copy or electronic copy (as requested) of your thesis to your department, along with a copy of the completed Honors Thesis Submission Form.
  • Read and follow the Libraries’ guidance for submitting Honors theses for inclusion in the Institutional Repository. The deadline for your graduating semester will appear on that page.
  • Things you will need to complete your submission:
    • A PDF of your Honors thesis exactly as it was accepted by your department
      • The PDF must be text-searchable; scanned printouts are not acceptable
    • If any copyrighted materials in your thesis exceed fair use, a signed letter of permission to quote or copy each copyrighted piece
      • Note that many publishers will send you their own permission form if they accept your request. They are equally valid for your submission.
  • The submission form enables you to decide what level of visibility you want for your work, including an option to submit for archival purposes only.
  • If you choose not to share your work online, don’t forget to send copies of your thesis to your family!
  • Suggestions:
    • Set yourself a submission deadline that is ahead of the real one. This will help you get something done ahead of the home stretch rush and give you time to address possible problems.
    • Keep the Libraries guidance open in another browser tab while you are completing the submission form.

Summary of Required Forms/Paperwork

Departmental Requirements

You must submit all of the following items to your major department by the deadline(s) specified by that particular department (consult your departmental academic advisor):

UF Requirements

All of the items from section 10 above must be submitted to MediatedSubmissions@uflib.ufl.edu by May 4 in spring semester, August 10 in summer semester, and December 21 in fall semester (pdf is the preferred format).

What if I still have questions or concerns?

Please make an appointment to speak to your department’s faculty Undergraduate Coordinator or to your own academic advisor. A departmental advisor can walk you through the process as required by that major program, and provide you with an Honors Thesis Procedural Flow Chart.