Defense and Levels

Honors Thesis Defense

  • Students may not invite guests to the defense.
  • Students should not bring food or drinks to the defense.
  • The student may be asked to give an overview of their defense.  This should last no more than 10 minutes. 
  • The committee will ask the student questions and engage in dialogue about the defense.  The student presentation and discussion session should last around 45 minutes.

The student will be asked to leave the room, while the committee determines if the student has passed and should graduate with honors. The committee does not decide what distinction the student will receive, only that he/she should graduate with honors.

The Honors Candidate Thesis Report (Salmon Sheet) is filled out by the committee to score the defense. Votes may not be adjusted after the sheet is submitted to the Fulbright Honors Office and the form must be returned to the Honors Studies Office at 525 Main within 24 hours of defense date.

Levels of Distinction

To graduate with honors from Fulbright College, students must complete the requirements of either College Scholar or Departmental Scholar honors curriculum, maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.50, and research, write/create, and orally defend an honors thesis/project. Only students who complete the Honors Program will be assigned a level of honors distinction: cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude.


A committee member is satisfied that the project is of the highest level of research, analysis, writing, or performance, when applicable, and is of the caliber to be presented at a regional or national conference; or submitted to a journal in the field; or performed or displayed in the venue appropriate to the specific artistic discipline.


A committee member is satisfied that the project is a carefully researched, well-written, analytical (not simply descriptive) or presented/preformed project that assesses the significance of the research and or artistic discipline involved.


A committee member is satisfied that the project is worthy of honors and that corrections that need to be made are minor.

Note: the cumulative GPA from the semester before the student’s final semester (semester of graduation) will be used in determining the student’s GPA. For example, the GPA at the close of the Fall semester will be used for Spring graduates, since the Honors Council must determine the student’s distinction before final grades have been submitted in the Spring.

** A student must meet the minimum criteria in each area—grade point average, number of honors hours, and thesis defense score—to receive a respective level.



Honors Hours

Thesis Defense Score (out of possible 9.00)

Summa Cum Laude




Magna Cum Laude




Cum Laude