MJ Honors Program

An honors program is available to students wishing to pursue an original and substantial research or creative project under direct supervision of a faculty adviser during their senior year.

Admission to the honors courses (MEJO 691H and 692H) requires:

  • a GPA of 3.5 or better in the major and a 3.3 GPA overall
  • commitment by a faculty member in the school to supervise the thesis
  • approval of the director of the honors program, Associate Professor Barbara Friedman

​Students must maintain a 3.3 overall GPA throughout the program. Those who complete and successfully defend their thesis at the end of the senior year will graduate with honors from the School of Media and Journalism; students who write outstanding theses will graduate with highest honors.

Access honors theses from previous years via the Park Library's catalog of honors theses.

Frequently Asked Questions

The MJ-school Honors Program is a senior-year experience offered to eligible MJ-school majors wishing to pursue an original and substantial research or creative project under direct supervision of an MJ-school faculty adviser. Students are not able to register for either MEJO 691H or 692H on their own and must instead express interest to the MJ Honors Program director for enrollment. The thesis experience is carried out within the MJ-school and governed by rules established by Honors Carolina.

In comparison, every student who is accepted for admission to Carolina is automatically considered for Honors Carolina. Students who are invited to join Honors Carolina typically receive an invitation from that program within two weeks of being admitted to the University. Students who are not invited to join as incoming students can apply to join the program by completing an online application. MJ-school majors who are enrolled in Honors Carolina may complete a senior thesis in the school, but only that portion of their honors experience is administered by the MJ-school. Learn more via the Honors Carolina website.

Fulfilling the requirements of the honors program is a mark of exceptional undergraduate academic achievement. Students interested in exploring a topic in-depth find that participation in the MJ-school Honors Program provides them with the necessary conceptual and practical knowledge for that, as well as a unique opportunity to work one-on-one with a faculty mentor to carry out the work. In addition to fostering intellectual development, completion of a senior thesis may help to distinguish you as a graduate school or job applicant.
There is no formal application process to write a senior thesis in the MJ-school. All students whose GPAs qualify them to participate in the MJ-school Honors Program are welcome, but class size is limited to 12 to provide an ideal environment for in-depth discussion and interaction. Students are not able to register for either MEJO honors class on their own and must instead express interest to the MJ Honors Program director for enrollment. Enrollment occurs on a first-come, first-served basis. Additionally, you must have the commitment of a faculty member to advise your senior honors thesis before you can be enrolled in the program. The faculty member’s consent serves as an initial endorsement of your ability to complete the thesis.
Faculty members have different preferences in this case — some will ask you to elaborate on what it is you want to do for your thesis. The more information you can provide, the more easily faculty members can decide whether they have the expertise to guide your honors thesis. It does help to have at least a topic in mind, even if you’re not yet sure how you will explore that topic in your thesis.
The thesis can be an original research study or an original project (series of articles, marketing plan, website, a branding campaign, etc.). Both have written components (although they may look different) and should result in a thesis of four to five chapters, or 50 to 80 pages total. Whether research study or project, your honors thesis should address a topic in which you are interested and enthusiastic. For a look at what previous MJ-school honors students have explored, see a searchable list of theses through the Park Library.
In the fall, students meet regularly (check the course schedule for details) in "MEJO 691H: Introductory Honors Course" to learn about concepts and methods appropriate for scholarly or applied media research. By the end of the semester, students will have produced a thesis proposal and selected an adviser and reader with expertise in the substantive area, who will approve the proposed thesis.
In the spring semester, students enroll in "MEJO 692H: Honors Essay" and work independently with their advisers, meeting regularly to execute the thesis. In early April, each student presents the completed thesis for final approval in a meeting with the adviser and reader.
Both courses count as an experiential education credit and are worth three credits each. The MEJO honors courses can count toward either the student’s immersion or MEJO elective credit hours. Students who take the fall course but do not move on to the spring honors course will still receive three credit hours for MEJO 691H provided they receive a passing grade.
Working on a senior thesis stands to be one of the most intellectually and personally rewarding experiences of your undergraduate education. Be prepared, though: The process is demanding and, at times, exasperating. You will be called upon to combine creative thinking, original research and substantive writing over a long and intense period. While some of the work is collaborative, you must be a self-starter. For your peace of mind and physical well-being, you should not schedule other classes in the spring that require an extraordinary amount of out-of-class work. And, of course, consult with the Honors director and your adviser if you find yourself having difficulty meeting deadlines in your honors coursework.
Students who complete a senior honors thesis through the MJ-school Honors Program are distinguished by gold graduation cords and a note in the MJ-school commencement bulletin. Completion of the honors program also appears on the student’s transcript.
NOTE: Distinctions for GPA-based academic honors are administered through the university, not the MJ-school.