Black Studies Departmental Honors Program

In Black Studies we seek to facilitate student academic excellence and distinction through our courses, and through offering our students deeper mentoring and engagement through a dedicated departmental honors program.

We allow majors to pursue honors within our department as a way to ensure access and expand our students’ academic capital.

Our departmental honors program offers two pathways to greater recognition and distinction:

  1. Completion of a major project (internship or capstone project)
  2. Departmental Honors designation (recognized at a departmental Awards and Celebration event, at Arts &Science commencement, and on official transcripts)

The primary value of earning Departmental Honors in Black Studies is the opportunity to contribute to the larger conversations in scholarship, community building, social change, and advocacy. As an individual you will benefit from honing your problem-solving skills, research analysis, collaboration, and building your network.

During your time as a student in the Black Studies Honors Program, you will receive special invitations to lectures or events that will be of interest to scholars (including those that are limited to Departmental Honors Scholars), additional consideration for awards (departmental, college, and university levels), and further accolades through various media and academic channels.

Once completed, you will receive a certificate from the Black Studies Department, special recognition at our departmental awards event (held on Reading Day, each semester), and your Black Studies Departmental Honors will appear on your official MU transcripts upon graduation.

Requirements for Black Studies Departmental Honors Program

To graduate with departmental honors, you must be an undergraduate majoring (including double majors) in Black Studies, have a 3.5 GPA or above in Black Studies coursework, have a 3.3 GPA overall, and complete the Black Studies Departmental Honors Program's three-course sequence:

  1. REQUIRED | BL_STU 2975 Traditions & Concepts in Black Studies
  2. REQUIRED | BL_STU 3977 Black Studies Methodologies
  3. REQUIRED | CHOICE one of the following, depending on your goals and track:
    1. BL_STU 4975 Black Studies Internship
    2. BL_STU 4977 Black Studies Capstone
  4. REQUIRED | Complete a presentation of your project or experience at a venue approved by your faculty advisor and/or the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

We also offer minors the opportunity to earn a Certificate of Distinction by completing all minor requirements in addition to doing one of the following courses:

  1. BL_STU 4975 Black Studies Internship
  2. BL_STU 4977 Black Studies Capstone

Departmental Honors in Black Studies CHECKLIST

You may begin the sequence at any time, but before applying for Black Studies Departmental Honors, you must have completed or be currently enrolled in at least 12 credit hours in Black Studies.

The Capstone project may be creative or analytical in design and draw upon any number of the interdisciplinary fields (or the field itself) comprising Black Studies.

Please note: some of the courses required for Black Studies Departmental Honors (4975 and 4977) are in addition to courses required for the major.

All students who undertake and complete the Black Studies Departmental Honors Program must present their findings or recount their experiences at a research symposium (Mizzou's list of research presentation opportunities) or another forum approved by the department. Our goal is to spread awareness of the achievements in knowledge and outcomes as far as possible, while simultaneously recognizing your exceptional work.

A printable version of the checklist is also available.

Application Black Studies Departmental Honors Program

If you wish to pursue Black Studies Departmental Honors, you must submit a request electronically to the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Spring semester prior to your senior year.

Black Studies Departmental Honors Application due date: February 1.

The application packet should contain the following:

  1. Option: indicate the choice of which program you wish to complete – Capstone Project or Internship.
  2. Explanation and Description.
    1. Capstone Project: A description of the topic or topics that you are interested in pursuing in your project, the proposed format (research paper, creative writing, data analysis, etc.), and the steps you have taken to prepare for the project.
    2. Internship: Indicate the name of the company or organization with whom you will (or wish to) intern, the nature of the experience, how it applies existing knowledge and skills learned through Black Studies and how it will advance the same to new levels, and the name of your supervisor.
  3. Justification: A 500-word rationale for the project or experience that speaks to your current academic, pre-professional, and personal focuses, as well as a detailed explanation of the intended outcomes and goals post-graduation. 
    1. If your project entails any use of human subjects, you will also need to provide an additional statement regarding you awareness of institutional requirements on Human Subjects Research Protections (HRPP) and Institutional Review Board (IRB) requirements.
  4. Advisor: a ranked list of at least three faculty members who would be suitable advisors for this project. These faculty should be selected from the list of professors available on the department website (including Department and Affiliated faculty). Other advisors may be approved with permission from the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
  5. Unofficial transcript of courses: A PDF of your academic profile from MyZou.

The Director of Undergraduate Studies will route applications to the faculty for review and selection. If and once approved, you will be notified of your Advisor and given a permission number to enroll in either 4975 or 4977.

The Director of Undergraduate Studies will do everything possible to make sure all qualified students are aware of, and given an opportunity to, complete an honors experience, but unfortunately can offer no guarantees.