Honors Program

As leaders in transformative education, Boston College seeks to aid students in their formation and education to set them on a path of service to others. The Communication Department mission models this goal as it is committed to the intellectual and ethical development of analytical and creative communication skills in our students, with particular emphasis on the effective functioning of circuits of communication, the impact of technological innovation on human beings and institutions, and the power relationships that develop through this interaction.

The honors program in the Department of Communication is targeted towards exceptional communication majors, defined as those whose overall GPA is 3.70 or higher. The honors program offers smaller class sizes to allow more focused discussion and faculty-student interaction. Honors courses will also be more rigorous than non-honors courses and may include additional reading, written assignments or exams. Students in the honors program will complete a thesis in order to officially graduate with department honors. Students in the honors program are automatically eligible for membership in Lambda Pi Eta, the national Communication honors society. Questions about Lambda Pi Eta can be directed to Professor Michael Serazio, Director of the Boston College chapter of the organization. Questions about eligibility or other aspects of the department’s honors program can be directed to Professor Celeste Wells, Director of the Communication Department Honors Program or the Coordinator of the Communication Department Honors Program.

To be invited to join the honors program, a student must have an overall GPA of 3.70 or higher at the conclusion of their freshman year (summer courses will be counted if taken for BC graded credit). Students will be invited to the program in the fall semester of their sophomore year prior to spring registration.

(Only Honors classes are addressed in this timeline)

Sophomore Year:

Fall Semester: Notice of eligibility sent (notification sent prior to enrollment for spring semester courses) to students with 3.70 GPA or higher. Because of potential changes in a student’s academic status (grade changes, study abroad, transfers, etc.) notification may be received anytime between freshman summer and sophomore fall.

Spring Semester: Students will take COMM 3335 - Communication Methods: Honors (in place of COMM3330 or COMM3340).

Junior Year:

Fall or spring semester: Students will enroll in COMM 4475 - Introduction to Honors. This will count as one of the two writing seminars required for the standard major.

Study abroad caveat: Students who plan to study abroad during fall or spring semester of junior year should plan to complete COMM4475 – Introduction to Honors in the alternate semester (i.e., if a student plans to study abroad fall semester, they will take COMM4475 in spring semester upon return to BC). If a student plans to study for a full year abroad it is not possible to complete the Communication Honors Program.

Senior Year:

Fall semester: Students will take COMM 4961 - Honors Thesis. This course counts as one of the three communication electives required for the standard major.

The final deadline for submission of a thesis is the first study day of the fall semester. Faculty advisors and student writers should be in clear communication prior to this deadline so that the advisor’s exact specifications and revisions are fully incorporated by this date.

Honors Course Requirements

In addition to the GPA requirement to be invited into the program, students must complete (or take concurrently) the required introductory courses in the communication major (marked with a *) before beginning the honors program. The honors program requires the same number of courses as the standard communication major, however three courses are specific to Honors only (marked with a +) and replace standard courses. Students must earn a grade of A- or better in all Honors courses to remain in the program.

  • The Rhetorical Tradition (COMM1010)*
  • Survey of Mass Communication (COMM1020)*
  • Public Speaking (COMM1030)*
  • Interpersonal Communication (COMM1040)*
  • One Theory course of their choice
  • Communication Methods: Honors (COMM3335)+ must be taken Sophomore Spring; replaces standard methods
  • Introduction to Honors (COMM4475)+ must be taken either semester Junior year; replaces one writing intensive
  • Honors Thesis (COMM4961)+ must be taken Senior Fall; replaces one communication elective
  • One additional Writing Intensive course of their choice
  • Two additional Communication Electives of their choice

Registration in Honors Courses

To register for designated honors sections, students who have been invited to join the honors program must directly contact the Coordinator of the Communication Department Honors Program. Registration for these sections will be by department permission only. The Coordinator of the Communication Department Honors Program will verify that students enrolling in their honors seminar are on the list of eligible honors students for the coming semester.

Note: Because honors courses have limited registration, students should contact the Coordinator of the Communication Department Honors Program as soon as possible. Enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis.   

Note: It may be necessary to register for other courses before the honors section appears on a student’s schedule. Students are advised to keep the scheduled time of the honors section open once enrollment has been approved by the Coordinator of the Communication Department Honors Program. Students enrolled in conflicting courses are not guaranteed a spot in the approved honors course.

Lambda Pi Eta National Communication Honor Society

Boston College has a recognized chapter of Lambda Pi Eta, the national Communication honors society. Students who complete departmental honors will automatically be inducted into this society (unless they choose not to be). In spring of junior year, Professor Serazio, Lambda Pi Eta chairman, will organize informational meetings for this honor society. Inductees receive ribbons and a certificate of membership.

Contact Information

Please contact the Program Director, Professor Celeste Wells at celeste.wells@bc.edu, with any questions about the program. If you have questions about registration for courses, please contact Department Advisor Kristin Hartnett at kristin.hartnett@bc.edu.

Honors Program FAQ

question match your criteria

Are there awards, fellowships or prizes I should look at when thinking about doing my thesis research?
<p>Yes, check out Boston College’s website regarding all of the available <a href="http://www.bc.edu/schools/cas/services/students/awards.html">opportunities</a> for you to further expand your academic research. </p>
Can I complete a special project (i.e. a documentary) as my honors thesis?
<p>The Communication Department accepts only traditional, bound theses in a paper format. Please see “Thesis Guidelines” for further details.</p>
Can I conduct interviews or surveys as part of my honors thesis project?
<p>Federal regulations and University Policy require prospective review and approval of all human subject research conducted by faculty, staff, or students. The Boston College Institutional Review Board (IRB) should review all research proposals. More information is available <a href="http://www.bc.edu/research/oric/human.html.">here</a>.</p>
Can I study abroad and complete the Honors Program?
<p>Students can complete a semester or summer abroad program and still complete the honors program. Students who plan to study abroad during fall or spring semester of junior year should plan to complete COMM4475 – Introduction to Honors in the alternate semester (i.e., if a student plans to study abroad fall semester, they will take COMM4475 in spring semester upon return to BC). If a student plans to study for a full year abroad it is not possible to complete the Communication Honors Program.</p>
I am a double major. Can I complete honors programs in both majors?
<p>This is a decision you should make after carefully discussing the honors programs in both of your majors with your advisor and/or the directors of the honors program. Generally speaking you will not be able to “double-count” a thesis for both majors and thus you need to closely research your options and determine what will be the best choice for you.</p>
I am a junior with a 3.7 GPA. Can I enter the honors program?
<p>Unfortunately, the honors program must be started in Sophomore year in order to be completed by Senior year. As such, students who attain a 3.7 or above after Sophomore Fall cannot enter the program.</p>
I am hoping to balance two majors, an internship, study abroad, and the honors program. Do you think this is possible?
<p>Every student is different in their ability to prioritize, manage and thrive under competing requirements. As an honors student it makes sense that you feel compelled to take full advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. Prior to undertaking a significant number of time-consuming and difficult responsibilities I encourage you to seek advice from faculty and staff that you trust. Ideal individuals would be: your advisor, the director of the honors program, or any member of the BC community whose opinion you value. Try to remember that your decision should not only be based on if doing something is possible, but rather is it the best fit for your goals as they stand today given your current intellectual, psychological, social and physical abilities.</p>
I am in A&S Honors. Can I also receive Communication Department Honors?
<p>These two honors designations are separate. In other words, you may receive honors in both programs if you complete the requirements of both programs in their entirety. To graduate with A&amp;S Honors, you have two options: to graduate without a thesis or to graduate with a thesis. As the A&amp;S Honors Handbook indicates, if you choose not to write a thesis, you must take two HP Honors Seminars. Please contact the A&amp;S Honors Program with any inquiries regarding this requirement. To graduate with Communication Department Honors you must complete the requirements of departmental honors as outlined above.</p>
What if I have taken research methods before I was invited to be in the Communication Department?
<p>If you have completed research methods prior to an invitation to the program it will count as one of your electives but not as one of your required honors courses. The reason for this is that honors methods prepares you directly for taking research at the thesis-writing level. </p>
What is the point of the Communication Honors Program?
<p>The Communication Department Honors Program promotes the productive collaboration between intellectually-driven students, faculty and staff. It encourages an education in which students are challenged to think and write critically as well as develop an analytical sensibility regarding the role that ideological structures play in our ability to develop socially-just communication and, consequently, communities.</p>
What will I get out of the honors program?
<p>Completing the Honors Program will allow you to accomplish a number of things:</p> <ul><li>Develop practical, transferable skills in writing, research and analysis.</li><li>Create a tangible product represents a culmination of the intellectual work you have accomplished over your years at Boston College.</li><li>Develop productive and positive relationships similarly academically-oriented peers.</li><li>Develop close relationships with faculty.</li><li>Receive honors recognition&#39;s of your achievements that can be listed on your resume.</li></ul>