Distinction Program

The Distinction Program recognizes students for excellent scholarly work in their fields of study. Students apply to the program in the spring of their junior year and then work with an advisor throughout the year to complete an independent research project or creative work. That work is then defended in the spring of their senior year before an advisory committee.

Projects completed in the context of a seminar or capstone course may be used for Distinction, given they are done at a high level, the timeline extends beyond the term of the course, and meet the guidelines and expectations of the program. Projects conducted in the Honors Program cannot also be used for Distinction.

Anyone who completes the program will be recognized as having graduated “With Distinction” on their permanent academic transcript, their diploma and in the graduation program. Students who complete the program can also apply to receive an Undergraduate Research and Creative Work Card as part of our Five Cardinal Experiences.


Undergraduate students in all disciplines with junior standing and a cumulative GPA of 3.4 or higher.

University Approval

Any projects involving human subjects or the use of animals must receive approval from the Institutional Review Board or the Animal Care and Use Committee. Approval must be received before the onset of data collection.


Proposal Due Date: Spring semester, Thursday of week 10, at 5:00 pm. Click here to apply.
Any questions can be sent to the Director of Undergraduate Research and Creative Work, Dr. Robin Grote.

Final Thesis and Defense
The defense should take place during weeks 11-13 of spring semester. Your completed final thesis must be submitted to your advisory committee at least one week prior to the defense (i.e., no later than the end of week 12). The deadline for submission of the final electronic thesis to the library is the Friday of week 14.