You are here

Option for Honors in LSJ

2016-2017 LSJ Group Honors Students
2016-2017 LSJ group honors students present their report to officials at the King County Juvenile Detention Center. Access their report in the research tab.
The 2014-2015 group honors team at Convocation. Access their report under the Research tab.
2014-2015 LSJ group honors students at Convocation. Access their report in the Research tab.

LSJ students interested in graduating with Honors have three options:

1. Interdisciplinary Honors–Requires completion of the UW Honors core curriculum
2. Departmental Honors–Requires completion of LSJ Departmental Honors requirements
3. College Honors–Requires completion of UW Honors core curriculum and LSJ departmental honors requirements

If you are interested in graduating with Interdisciplinary Honors or College Honors, please refer to the UW Honors Program Website.

LSJ Honors

The individual LSJ Honors option enables a student to pursue a research question in significant depth, with the assistance of a faculty mentor. This option is best for those students who wish to focus on a particular topic and who are strongly self-motivated.

Students interested in LSJ Honors must have and maintain a minimum 3.5 cumulative grade point average, and must receive faculty approval to participate. In addition, students must complete a second LSJ Departmental Seminar (beyond the one already required for the major).

To pursue the individualized option, a qualified student must propose and complete a two-quarter honors thesis (5 credits each quarter), to be supervised by an LSJ faculty supervisor and a faculty reader (the reader can come from a department other than LSJ). Successful Honors Thesis proposals are often developments of topics studied in one or more LSJ classes taken previously. Relating a thesis topic to previous classes helps in getting a faculty supervisor for the project, but it also means that a student is more likely to have read some of the foundational academic materials related to the topic.

Honors Student Eligibility Requirements
  • Major in LSJ
  • Minimum 3.75 LSJ GPA
  • Minimum 3.5 UW GPA
Honors Faculty Supervisor Options
  • Katherine Beckett
  • Rachel Cichowski
  • Ann Frost
  • Angelina Godoy
  • Steve Herbert
  • George Lovell
  • Jamie Mayerfeld
  • Michael McCann
  • Stephen Meyers
  • Arzoo Osanloo
  • Megan Ming Francis
Honors Faculty Reader

May be any UW Professor from any department or program


The LSJ Honors Thesis is completed over two quarters, with 5 credits of LSJ 488 in the first quarter and 5 credits of LSJ 489 in the second quarter. The two quarters must be consecutive. These two classes are graded with decimal grades (not CR/NC), but the grade for both quarters is only assigned after completion of the second quarter, at which time the student receives the same grade for both quarters.

Deadline and Registration

An LSJ Adviser will register the student in LSJ 488 after receiving the completed application via the google form. Applications are due no later than Friday of Week 10 in the quarter prior to registering for LSJ 488 (ex. Students wishing to enroll in LSJ 488 during winter quarter must submit their application by the Friday of Final Week in Autumn quarter). Exceptions will not be made for students who fail to submit their honors application by the deadline.

Application Components

Project Proposal

No more than two pages in length. This proposal should include a discussion of the research question you hope to answer and the data you envision gathering to answer that question. Please also explain how you became interested in the question and why you think it is important. This proposal is not intended to be a fully-developed research proposal, but a preliminary outline of what you anticipate trying to accomplish.

In deciding whether to supervise your honors thesis, faculty will look at whether you have taken classes that support your research. The project proposal is meant to demonstrate to your prospective faculty supervisor that you are ready to do independent research of this caliber.

Questions the faculty may consider when decided whether or not to supervise your project:

  • Does the topic relate well enough to LSJ as a whole and to the courses you’ve taken?
  • Does the student have a strong enough grasp of the material to take this project to fruition?
  • Is the scope of the research question too broad? Too narrow?
  • Is there enough usable data to do this research?
  • Can the research project be completed in two quarters by this student?
  • Will the faculty be available for consultation during the two quarters you have selected?
  • Can the suggested faculty member support a student with this particular project/topic?
  • Based on the faculty knowledge of the student’s abilities, can the student complete this project successfully and in the given amount of time?

Writing Sample

As part of your Honors Application, you will select a copy of a research or analytical paper that you think best represents your writing, research and analytical skills. This paper will help the faculty determine your readiness to take on a project of this scope.

UW Transcripts

In deciding whether to supervise your honors thesis, faculty will look at whether you have taken classes that support your research and your academic history.

Application Process

A student should think of the LSJ Honors Process as three quarters long. In your first quarter, you are talking with the LSJ Advisers and prospective faculty supervisors about your plans. You are using this first quarter to construct your proposal and submit all required Honors application materials.

Your second and third quarters are spent enrolled in LSJ 488 and LSJ 489.

Application Steps
  1. Student meets with LSJ Adviser to determine how Honors might fit into their academic plan.
  2. Student contacts LSJ faculty member whom they hope to be their Honors supervisor and sets a time to discuss the Honors option.
  3. Student presents the LSJ faculty member with their honors proposal, writing sample, and transcripts.
  4. If the LSJ faculty agrees to supervise the honors project, they and the student complete the Honors Faculty Agreement.
  5. The students uploads their proposal, writing sample, transcripts, and Honors Faculty Agreement to the Honors Application Form found on the LSJ website. Everything must be submitted no later than Friday of Week 10 in the quarter prior to registering for LSJ 488.
Final Honors Product

Students in LSJ Honors earn 5 credits each quarter.  That means that they should be devoting an average of 15 hours of work per week on their Honors project.  Honors projects vary in length, based upon the focus of the work. That said, Honors project are usually in the 40 – 60 page range. Each Honors project should engage a clearly stated question that is relevant to socio-legal studies, and that is an outgrowth of the LSJ curriculum.  Each Honors student should compile an original body of data, and should strive to make an original contribution to knowledge. The ultimate paper should be clearly-argued, well-organized, well-supported with data, and situated within a relevant body of literature.

Honors Application

Before completing this application, talk with the faculty supervisor you'd like to work with and LSJ adviser to determine if Honors is a good option.