Goals Benefits Current Students Requirements Admission Overview Withdrawal FAQs



The objective of the HESP Honors program is to encourage and recognize superior academic achievement and scholarship by providing opportunities for interested, capable, and energetic undergraduates to engage in independent study. A research project will be conducted under the supervision of a faculty mentor and will result in an Honors thesis.

The goals of the HESP Honors program are as follows:

  • Educate students to think independently on a broad range of ideas and issues related to the study of Hearing and Speech Sciences.
  • Provide opportunities for indepth, scholarly and scientific analysis of significant and current topics in the Hearing and Speech Sciences.
  • Provide students with the experience of undertaking a research project.



Honors students get the opportunity to work closely with faculty and participate in outside-the-classroom learning experiences. This includes hands-on experience with research, publication of research findings, and exploration of academic career options.

Students enrolled in a department or college Honors program are automatically part of the University Honors Program. Benefits of the University Honors Program include, but are not limited to:

  • eligibility for Honors scholarships
  • Honors housing
  • priority registration in departmental courses
  • participation in Honors student activities and organizations

Graduating from the Honors program is an excellent way to stand out as an exceptional candidate for graduate school, and thesis-writing experience will help you once you get there!


Current Students


Nicole Balassone

Girl standing in cherry blossomsMy name is Nicole and I joined the departmental honors program in Fall 2019. I plan to graduate in Fall 2020 and pursue my doctoral degree in Clinical Audioglogy upon graduation. My research interests include neural plasticity and aural processing. Outside of the honors program, I am a member of Delta Phi Epsilon, NSSLHA, and SAA.  













Danielle Zukerman


Marina Cox

marina cox biopic

My name is Marina and I joined the departmental honors program in Fall 2019. My research interests include; cochlear implants, vocoded speech,  speech perception, and spectral shift. Outside of the honors program, I work as a Community Assistant and a Continuing Education Assistant. I'm also a member of NSSLHA, SAA, Phi Alpha Delta, and I'm a BSOS Ambassador! 










Rebecca Higgins







  • The HESP Honors program is a three semester sequence, typically spanning from the Fall of Junior year until the Fall of Senior year.
  • Interested students must apply to be considered for the HESP Honors Program by the deadline posted for each year (typically June 1 preceding the Fall of Junior year).
  • Students must complete 9 credits of HONR seminars. One of the required HONR seminars towards these 9 credits is HESP499H (3 credits).
  • Students will be expected to complete an Honors Thesis with the assistance of a thesis advisor. The thesis culminates in an oral defense. Students must complete 6 credits of HESP Honors research (HESP 469A and B) for the thesis. Three of the HESP Honors research credits may be used to fulfill the CORE Advanced Studies requirement upon successful completion of the thesis defense.

Please meet with the Undergraduate Advisor or Directors of the Honors program (Dr. Jared Novick and Dr. Matt Goupell) for more information.



Students may apply if they meet the following pre-requisite criteria:

  • a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher and a GPA of 3.5 or higher in HESP courses
  • declaration of HESP major by the time of application
  • completion of HESP202 with a grade of A and,
  • evidence of satisfactory writing

Meeting the above criteria does not guarantee admission into the HESP Honors program. The decision of the Honors admissions committee depends on numerous factors including the availability of a faculty mentor.

Interested students who meet the above eligibility criteria may discuss the honors option by contacting the Undergraduate Advisor.

In order to apply for the HESP Honors program, students must submit an online application and email the following documents in a single pdf to the Directors of the Honors program, Dr. Jared Novick and Dr. Matt Goupell.

  • Updated UMD transcript
  • A one-page (double spaced) personal statement that should focus on why you want to participate in the Honors program, indicate your future goals, broadly define your topics of interest within the field of hearing and speech sciences, and indicate any specific faculty that you may be interested in as potential mentors.
  • The writing sample should be no longer than two to three pages in length (double spaced) and could be on any academic topic, such as a term paper or other assignment from a prior course.

The application deadline is January 1 and June 1 of every year. 



The Directors of the HESP Honors program serve as the academic advisors for HESP Honors students and help the student identify

  • appropriate coursework
  • the selection of an appropriate thesis advisor, and
  • track progress through completion of the honors program.

I. Coursework

HESP Honors invovles 15 credits: nine credits of HONR seminars, one of which is HESP499H, and six credits of research registration that culminates in a thesis (HESP469A and HESP469B). Additionally,

  • All honors coursework must be approved in advance by the Undergraduate Director or Directors of the Honors program (Dr. Jared Novick and Dr. Matt Goupell)  or Honors Thesis advisor;
  • The courses may include up to two Honors seminar courses; and
  • The seminar courses may include a graduate course, provided the student first gains permission of the course instructor and the Assistant Dean of the College offering the course before enrolling.

Three of the HESP Honors research credits may be used to fulfill the CORE Advanced Studies requirement upon successful completion of the thesis defense.

Students should also complete an approved course in statistics (PSYC 200, SOCY 201, EDMS 451 or BIOM 301)

Honors Course Descriptions

These descriptions are similar (but not identical) to those in the current Undergraduate Catalog:

  • HESP499H (Grade): Independent Study. Topics in the Hearing and Speech Sciences (1-3 credits). This is an individual instruction course. Students will take this to gain hands on research experience in a research lab and for honors thesis research. If a student has not yet identified an area of interest, the student may request lab rotations, pending faculty approval. In addition to hands on research exposure, the HESP499H option includes independent scholarly reading and analysis.
  • HESP469A (Grade): Honors Thesis Proposal (1-3 credits). This is an individual instruction course with the thesis advisor. Students will use this course to write their proposal for Honors thesis research. The proposal will include a review of relevant literature, rationale for the study, research questions, methods for data collection and analysis. To receive a grade for this course, the student will submit the proposal at least 10 days prior to the last day of classes for that semester.
  • HESP469B (Grade): Honors Thesis Writing (1-3 credits). This is an individual instruction course with the thesis advisor and may not be taken concurrently with HESP469A. Students will use this course to write their Honors thesis upon completion of their research. The thesis will include a review of relevant literature, justification for the study, research questions, methods for data collection and analysis, results and discussion. To receive a grade for this course, the student will submit the proposal at least 10 days prior to the last day of classes for that semester.
  • HESP498H: Honors Seminar in Hearing and Speech Sciences: HESP 498 is used by the department to periodically offer current topics in the field. Normally there will be a one letter suffix. Topics and scheduling for this course varies. This course may not be offered every semester.

II. Honors Thesis

The thesis forms a significant part of the student's Honors work. The Honors thesis is an original research project carried out independently under the guidance of a HESP faculty advisor. The thesis usually describes original research for which hypotheses have been formulated and tested. Whatever the research, it must have the approval of the University’s Institutional Review Board. The honors thesis is taken for six credits, which must be spread over at least two semesters of registration (HESP 469 A and B, Honors Thesis Proposal and Writing). The data collection and writing of thesis may only be initiated after the completion of : (i) the first 6 credits of the required honors coursework, and (ii) an approved course in statistics (PSYC 200, SOCY 201, EDMS 451 or BIOM 301 or equivalent) with a grade of B or better. The written document as well as an oral defense will be evaluated by the Thesis Committee.

Thesis committee

With the help of the Directors of Honors program, the student must identify and secure the approval of a thesis advisor within the department. This should be done prior to registration for HESP469A. The thesis advisor must be selected from the department’s full-time faculty holding the doctoral degree. The student and advisor will assemble an honors thesis committee for approval of the thesis following its oral defense. All full-time instructional faculty, regardless of terminal degree, and all part-time faculty holding the doctoral degree are eligible to serve on the thesis approval committee. The committee must consist of no fewer than two faculty members, including the advisor.

The Thesis Committee weighs the written thesis and oral presentation based on (a) how well the student places the research into the context of the relevant literature; (b) the clarity and originality of the experimental design; (c) the relevance of the statistical design and analysis; and (d) the student's interpretation and integration of findings within the research and theoretical literature in hearing and speech sciences.


The written proposal will include a review of relevant literature, rationale for the study, research questions, methods for data collection and analysis. Please be aware that a student may go through multiple revisions of the proposal before it is deemed suitable for honors thesis initiation.

The thesis may be written in two possible formats. 1) in the style of a journal article outlined in the current manual of the American Psychological Association, 2) in the format of a Master’s thesis with separate chapters for review of literature, rationale, methods, results and discussion and a table of contents.

The oral defense will include an oral presentation by the student (approximately 30 minutes long), in which the student will present background, rationale, specific objectives of the study, experimental methods, results and implications. This oral presentation is open to all members of the deparment (students, faculty) and community. Depending on schedule availability, this defense will be part of the HESP seminar series.This will be followed by time for the audience to ask questions. Finally, the open oral defense will be followed by a question and answer session with the thesis committee members only. During this second half of the defense, the committee will provide comments and ask questions pertaining to the thesis research.

III. Completion of the Program

To complete the Honors program, students must:

  • maintain a 3.5 GPA both overall and in the HESP major;
  • sucessfully complete and defend the Honors thesis; and
  • have a majority vote of Honors (or High Honors) from the thesis committee.



The student may voluntarily withdraw from the HESP Honors program at any time prior to his or her last semester. Students who withdraw will be required to fulfill such departmental major requirements as the Honors Committee, in concert with the Director of Undergraduate Studies, prescribe.

Note that the Honors Program in its breadth conforms fairly closely to the Hearing and Speech Sciences major requirements. Students who withdraw must notify the Directors of the HESP Honors program in writing. The withdrawal is not official until a letter designating the student's requirements for the degree is entered into the student's undergraduate folder.

Students may also be asked to withdraw from the HESP Honors program. There are five reasons for such recommendations: (a) the student’s GPA (overall and HESP major) falls sufficiently below 3.5; (b) the student fails to complete the Honors thesis proposal by the end of third semester of enrollment (typically Fall of senior year); (c) the proposal is of such low quality that it seems unlikely the student’s level of performance will meet Honors standards; (d) evaluations of performance in Honors seminars are below B level, and (e) the student does not maintain active participation in research. Each case will be reviewed by the Undergraduate Honors Committee. It is our expectation that such circumstances rarely occur.

IV. Recommended timeline



Relevant course registrations

Sophomore, Spring or earlier

meet with Undergraduate advisor and Director of Honors Program to discuss eligibility and options


Sophomore, Summer

Advising with Honors Director and Honors Advisor, discuss course registrations


Junior, Fall

Develop idea for research project with guidance from Honors thesis advisor, Write thesis proposal (for HESP469A) and give to committee for approval

HESP469A: Honors Thesis Proposal

HESP499H:Independent Study. Topics in the Hearing and Speech Sciences OR

Honors Seminar (if available)

Junior, Spring

Collect data for honors project


Honors Seminar (if available)

Senior, Fall OR Spring

Write up honors thesis, defend honors thesis, submit final thesis to committee


Honors Seminar (if needed)


Frequently Asked Questions


No. The two programs are separate. However, those students accepted into the HESP Departmental Honors program become part of the University Honors College. UHC membership comes with many advantages, as can be viewed here.

As mentioned above, automatic admission into the University Honors College comes with many advantages. Additionally, completion of the Honors program will greatly set students apart when it comes time for the competitive process of applying to graduate school.

Participating students will also have the opportunity to become more familiar with their thesis director, who will be a faculty member in the HESP department.

Furthermore, it is invaluable preparatory experience for students who will decide to go on to write a Masters thesis!

Yes. Students who complete the Departmental HESP Honors program requirements are recognized at the HESP graduation (both when they receive their diploma and in the pamphlet).

NOTE: These students are the only ones who graduate with departmental honors.

Yes. A research project idea is not a pre-requisite for requirement for admission into the HESP Honors program. During the course of the two semesters in the program, the student will participate in experiences that are geared towards the eventual creation of a research project.

Unfortunately, if your overall GPA falls below 3.5 or your major (HESP) GPA falls below 3.5, you will have to withdraw from the program. Satisfactory completion and oral defense of the Honors thesis is also a requirement of the HESP Honors program.

If you meet all the credit requirements for graduation and the graduate class is essentially "extra" credit, you may apply for this course to count as graduate credit. Whether graduate schools accept this credit towards their respective program requirements is their discretion. Given the national reputation of our graduate program, however, there is a good probability they will do so.

Please contact the Directors of the program:

Dr. Jared Novick, at 301.405.1288 or jnovick1 [at] umd.edu.

Dr. Matt Goupell, at 301.405.8552 or goupell [at] umd.edu.

Last modified
03/09/2020 - 7:12 pm