Your Honors Project

The Honors project may be the most valuable component of your Honors education. Your project is an opportunity to synthesize your experience at Iowa State with a research project or creative work that is uniquely yours.

Honors students have designed projects around a wide variety of subjects. Most Honors students choose to do their projects in their area of study, but some design projects that combine their major with other interests or pursue a topic unrelated to their major. Past Honors students have analyzed the structure of beaver dams, designed and constructed a stained glass window, choreographed, performed an original dance, and developed complex computer interfaces.


Christian Vandehaar

Christian Vandehaar created portraits based on classical themes for his Honors Project.

Kelly Wagner

Kelly Wagner, a junior in dietetics, created a cookbook that provides nutritious and kid-friendly recipes for children battling cancer. Read more about her project here. Photo by Kara Cipolloni.

Students usually begin planning their Honors projects early in their junior year, starting by determining a project topic and finding a project advisor. Once you have decided upon a project and as found a project advisor, your next step is to complete a project proposal form and submit it to your College Honors Committee for approval. This should be done at least one semester before beginning the project. You may also apply for Honors Grants to help support costs related to your Honors Project. You will present your completed Honors Project at an Honors Poster Presentation, held near the end of each semester. Most students present as seniors, but may present earlier.

Each college has its own forms and deadlines for the Honors Project, which are described on the College Honors Requirements pages. Some colleges require Honors Projects be registered for credit, for some it is optional. This credit is registered as a departmental 490H, a departmental 490 contracted as Honors, or – if an appropriate number is not otherwise available -- as an Hon 490H. Students registering for Hon 490H must submit a completed Hon 490 form before to registering for the credit.

Beginning in Fall 2015, Honors Project abstracts and posters are included in Iowa State University’s Digital Repository, providing Honors graduates a globally accessible archive.