The School of Human Ecology offers Special Departmental Honors within Human Development and Family Sciences, Nutritional Sciences, Public Health and Textiles and Apparel.

What: Work closely with faculty, complete independent research, write a thesis and present your work over a 1-2 semester commitment. See Honors Thesis Guidelines for more information.

Benefits: Receive a certificate and a line on your transcript stating “Special Honors in [department]”


  • Must have 3.0 GPA overall and 3.5 GPA in Human Ecology courses
  • Approval of Honors Adviser
  • Must apply Spring semester of Junior year or 2+ long semesters before graduating
  • Completed at least 60 hours of coursework before beginning thesis
  • Some faculty members require additional lab or field experience, so inquire early if interested in pursuing special honors.

Receiving Honors:

  • Maintain the GPA requirements listed above
  • Submit a Special Departmental Honors Thesis Application Form/Thesis Proposal and receive approval before registering for the 379H thesis course
  • Earn a letter grade of at least a B on the 379H thesis course
  • Present at the School of Human Ecology Honors Symposium
  • Submit a bound/ signed copy of the thesis to the School as well as a digital copy to archive in the UT Digital Repository. 


How to Apply: Special Departmental Honors

Students should apply no later than the spring semester of their Junior year or 2+ long semesters before graduating.    

  1. Set up a meeting with the faculty member you want to be your Honors Thesis Supervisor (must be a SoHE faculty member in your major). 
    At the meeting, you will discuss possible thesis projects.  You may be asked to spend a semester in the faculty member’s lab before beginning your thesis project. If the faculty member agrees to supervise your thesis project, you will need to complete the Special Departmental Honors Thesis Application Form/Thesis Proposal.  See Honors Thesis Guidelines for details.  Discuss a choice for a second reader with your supervisor before you approach your second reader (details in step 3).

  2. Write a Thesis Project Proposal.
    You will need to provide a Thesis Project Proposal when you submit your SoHe Honors Thesis Application.  Once you have completed the proposal and the faculty member has approved the proposal, obtain the faculty member's signature of approval on the application form.

  3. Set up a meeting with the faculty member you want to be your Honors Thesis Second Reader (any UT faculty member). 
    Provide the final version of your Thesis Project Proposal to the faculty member in advance of the meeting. Bring a copy of Thesis Project Proposal and the SoHE Honors Thesis Application (with all portions complete except the Second Reader signature section) to this meeting.

  1. Turn in your completed SoHE Honors Thesis Application and the most recent version of your Thesis Project Proposal to Dr. Ladia Hernandez in GEA 313B by December 1 to start in the spring semester and May 1 for fall semester. 
    **Do not be discouraged by this deadline. If you are interested in earning Special Departmental Honors, but have missed this deadline, contact Dr. Ladia Hernandez to discuss your options.

  2. Your application and proposal will be given to the Honors Faculty Adviser in your department for final approval. 
    You will be contacted if any changes need to be made to your project before beginning your work. If everything is approved, you will be allowed to register for the appropriate Honors Tutorial Course.  See Honors Course Registration page for instructions on how to register.