Honors in the Major Overview

Honors in the Major is an individualized program of study that provides students who maintain a 3.750 GPA (or higher) an opportunity to engage in their own research activity or creative work with the support of a faculty committee. Students from the College of Motion Picture Arts have created a wide array of Honors projects, ranging from research to creative work, including:

  • Feature screenplays;
  • Pitch bibles;
  • Story reels for animated films;
  • Documentary projects;
  • Research papers on topics such as cinematography in video games, the role of documentaries in environmental activism, and techniques for deep compositing;
  • Research demos on topics such as cinematic language in Virtual Reality, methods of 3D printing, and techniques for drone photography.


Honors in the Major for students in the College of Motion Picture Arts typically follows a four-semester cycle: a preparatory semester (BFA2 Spring) to get ready for admission into the Honors in the Major program, followed by three semesters (BFA2 Summer, BFA3 Fall, BFA3 Spring) of work on the Honors project.

BFA2 Spring:

  • Students must attend an info session with the Honors Liaison (Dr. Lisa Tripp) in order to be eligible to apply.
  • Students decide on an Honors topic and enlist a Thesis Director from the College of Motion Picture Arts faculty.
  • By Week 12, students must submit an action plan to the College’s Honors Liaison in order to earn approval to pursue an Honors thesis.
  • By Week 13, students must have their committees fully formed, including the outside member.
  • By Week 14, students must submit an application form to the College’s Honors Liaison to be admitted into Honors in the Major.

BFA2 Summer:

  • Students enroll in 2 credit hours of FIL4975 Undergraduate Honors Thesis, which may be taken as one of the summer electives. This translates into an average of about 10 hours of work per week.
  • By Week 4, students submit a written prospectus to their committee for approval.
  • By Week 7, students submit a committee-approved prospectus to the Honors Program.

BFA3 Fall:

  • Students enroll in 1 credit hour of FIL4975 Undergraduate Honors Thesis. This translates into an average of about 3.5 hours of work per week, which the student must schedule alongside their work on thesis films.

BFA3 Spring:

  • Students may enroll in 3 or 6 credit hours of FIL4975 Undergraduate Honors Thesis. This translates into an average of about 10 or 20 hours of work per week.
  • By Week 15 of the Spring semester, students must hold a defense of the project in front of their faculty committee.


Students work with the College Liaison and their Thesis Director to develop a set of milestones for their Honors work. These milestones are designed to help the student make steady progress towards the completion of their project over the course of the year and to make sure that all requirements for the Honors Program are met.

Students may be removed from the Honors in the Major program if they miss milestones, fail the defense, or fail to maintain a 3.750 GPA. Students do, however, have the right to appeal removal from the program if they believe the decision was unfair.

  • Participants must complete the Appeal Form stating the details and reason for reconsideration.
  • Appeal Form must be submitted within two weeks (including holidays and weekends) of the missed deadline in question or notification of removal from the program.
  • The Program Administrator will contact the student with the decision within two weeks of the appeal request.
  • No additional edits to the submission is allowed and a blind reviewer will evaluate the submission on the student’s behalf.
  • Only one appeal request may be submitted per student.

Restrictions on the use of Film School equipment

Students are not permitted to use any equipment from the Film School Equipment Room for Honors projects. No exceptions.

School computing equipment may be available to support Honors projects, but the allocation of workstations to film school productions always takes priority. Requests for a workstation for an Honors project must be made to the Associate Dean, ideally before the student turns in their application form at the end of the BFA2 Spring semester.