Distinction in Research

Rice University Distinction in

Research and Creative Works

Distinction in Research and Creative Works is a university award for select undergraduates, granted at commencement, which appears on the transcript and diploma. Students must apply to be considered for the award, and the application must be supported by a letter from a faculty member (or Center director). The most common path of application will be to the student’s major department. A student whose research or other creative project is in a field outside of his/her major should submit an application to the academic department or program most closely associated with the subject matter of their project.

Eligibility for the award extends widely to include a variety of research, design, and other creative projects, as well as persistent dedication to research. Projects completed in part or entirely at other institutions or with community partners will be eligible for consideration.

Applicants must be in good academic standing and have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.30 in courses completed at Rice. The award will be granted only to projects that produce a concrete outcome--e.g. an essay, invention, design, musical composition--and demonstrate commitment and/or achievement above and beyond the norm. Students who complete senior theses, senior design projects or other required senior capstone projects are eligible—but do not qualify automatically--for consideration for this university distinction.

Students who wish to be considered for this award must submit an application to the academic department most closely associated with the subject matter of their project.

Responsibility for judging applications and determining those that merit the distinction award rests with the undergraduate degree programs or departments. Departments publish annually clear expectations and criteria for the research and design projects that will be considered for the award, as well as guidelines for what constitutes research or creative work above and beyond the norm within their respective fields. Departments may designate additional requirements as well, such as completion of a research seminar or oral defense.

For more details, please contact the administrative coordinator or director of undergraduate studies of your major department (or other department most closely associated with the subject matter of your project). The departments listed below also have information about the award on their Web pages.

*Note: Department deadline for selecting and reporting the names of students recommended for the award: May 8, the Friday prior to Commencement. Departments should send names of students selected, along with the title or brief description of each student’s project, to Matt Taylor (ptt@rice.edu) by 4:00pm on this date.

Department contact: Erin Baezner , ext 4947

Department’s Definition of “Above and Beyond” Standard Set by the Faculty Senate Document:

The history department presently requires that students complete two 400-level capstone seminars that each involve a significant amount of historical research. Students who go above and beyond this requirement by completing and defending a honors thesis of extraordinary quality may be considered for the honor “Distinction in Research and Creative Works.” Non-thesis students who have completed research projects of extraordinary quality beyond the major requirements may also be considered for the honor. Application is by portfolio which will include either a thesis, 2 to 3 seminar papers of 15-25 pages, or other work of similar length showing demonstrated excellence.

Department Requirements (A department may define one set of requirements or offer multiple options. Please number options.)

Option 1: By March 8, 2020, members of the department’s thesis-based honors program must declare by letter their intention of having their completed theses considered as a part of the material required for the awarding of the honor “Distinction in Research and Creative Works.” In order for a thesis to be officially considered, upon completion of the project the student’s advisor, the director of undergraduate studies, or some other faculty member must nominate the project by letter addressed to the department’s Undergraduate Committee. Nominated projects should exceed the already high expectations for history honors theses in depth of primary source research, sophistication of research design, analyses of historiography, cogency of argumentation, and quality of prose. The department’s undergraduate committee will vote concerning “Distinction in Research and Creative Works” at the same time that it determines general history honors.

Option 2: Students who are not members of the department’s thesis-based honors program may also be considered for the honor “Distinction in Research and Creative Works.” Such students will announce their intention to apply for distinction by a letter addressed to the director of undergraduate studies (due on March 8, 2020). In order to have their work officially considered for the honor, students must subsequently deliver a research portfolio to the history department office no later than March 29, 2020. The portfolio should be accompanied by a sealed letter of nomination written by the student’s advisor, the director of undergraduate studies, or some other member of the history department faculty.

The decision concerning “Distinction in Research and Creative Works” under Option 2 will be made by applying the same criteria as the thesis-based route, and work awarded distinction in this manner should be equivalent in scope and overall excellence to that of a thesis awarded distinction via Option 1.

Are students required to declare their intent to apply for Distinction? Yes

If yes, what is the deadline? March 8, 2020

What are the required application materials?

Research portfolio, along with a letter of nomination from a member of the history department faculty.

Deadline for Final Submission of Required Materials: March 8, 2020