General information

Design Honors Project Option

Students potentially eligible for high or highest honors at graduation (see College section) may petition for tentative acceptance into an honors program. Final admission will depend on the Committee’s approval of a senior thesis prospectus that has been agreed to by the student and faculty adviser. Graduation with high or highest honors will be conditional on both the maintenance of the required grade point average and the completion of the senior thesis project. Students who anticipate doing a senior honors thesis should allow up to 3 units of independent study in the program during each of two quarters in the senior year as course options.

Consult Letters and Science Dean’s Office for GPA eligibility. Minimum GPA requirements will be posted here when available.

Undergraduate Honors Program in Design

Undergraduate Design majors who meet university requirements and successfully complete the application process can complete 194HA (3 units) and 194HB (3 units) in order to be eligible for high honors or highest honors upon graduation from UC Davis. The courses are graded using deferred grading where students receive a grade only at the completion of the project after 6 units of work.

All students who meet the university criteria are eligible to apply. The enrollment cap is five students per year. Honor project proposals are due according to when the student will graduate.

  • Spring Graduates – Apply by October 31, complete honors project over winter and spring quarters.
  • Fall Graduates  – Apply by January 31, complete honors project over spring and fall quarters.
  • Winter Graduates – Apply by April 30, complete honors project over fall and winter quarters.

 Please contact Ariel Collatz for more details (acollatz@ucdavis.edu).

Submission requirements

  1. Agreement of a faculty member who will serve as the major adviser and agreement of a faculty member who will serve as a reader.
  2. Honors Proposal
  3. Portfolio of 10-15 works that show visual and conceptual skill as related to proposal

Written proposal requirements

  1. Proposed research/creative activity to be undertaken including questions to be answered in the process
  2. Methodologies employed in the process as well as a statement of available resources (archival materials, computer access) necessary for the project
  3. Tentative statement of the scope and nature of the final product

Proposals will be evaluated by the Curriculum Committee in consultation with the student’s proposed major adviser.

Proposals that are not initially approved may be revised and resubmitted to the committee; however, a student may not submit a proposal to the committee more than twice. There is no guarantee that a proposal will be approved. However, the goal of the faculty is to allow qualified students the opportunity to pursue an honors project as long as the resources are available. The faculty recognizes that changes in the scope and nature of the project may take place during the process; substantive changes must be approved by the Curriculum Committee as well as the project’s major adviser and second adviser.

Proposals will be evaluated primarily for:

  1. Significant importance of contribution to the field of knowledge
  2. Scope of project that reflects work beyond the undergraduate classroom experience
  3. Feasibility of timely completion
  4. Availability of student resources for successful completion

NOTE: All Honors Projects in Design will include a written component that contains some element of self-reflection. Each thesis will have a major adviser and a second adviser. The major adviser will be the instructor of record for both quarters of the 194H course. Upon completion of the project the major adviser and second adviser will make a recommendation to the entire faculty as to the student’s eligibility for high or highest honors at which time the faculty will take a formal vote. Typically, “A” quality work will be considered for high honors and “A+” quality work for highest honors. The awarding of either of these categories of distinction is further contingent on the student’s GPA based on the guidelines of the College of Letters and Sciences. In some cases, students may not receive honors because their overall GPA is not sufficiently high. In this instance, the student will still have the notation of completing an honors course on their transcript plus knowing all this extra creative effort is a good preparation for graduate school.

In addition, the UC Davis Department of Design requires honors students to apply to the Undergraduate Research Conference with their honors project (application in February).

Optional: Students may use the student developed Independent Study Workbook in the development of their honors thesis topic.

Course Description

DES 194HA: Special Study for Honors Students (3)

Independent study—9 hours. Prerequisite: qualification for Letters and Science Honors Program; senior standing; approval of Design Honors Program proposal by the Curriculum Committee and major adviser. Limited enrollment. Preparation and presentation of a culminating project. Supervision of an instructor in one of the creative or scholarly areas of Design. (Deferred grading only, pending completion of sequence.)—II. (II.) 

Course Description

DES 194HB: Special Study for Honors Students (3)

Independent study—9 hours. Prerequisite: course 194HA; qualification for Letters and Science Honors Program; senior standing; consent of instructor. Limited enrollment. Preparation and presentation of a culminating project. Supervision of an instructor in one of the creative or scholarly areas of Design. (Deferred grading only, pending completion of sequence.)—III. (III.)

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