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Honors Plan

Applications for the 2023-24 academic year are due by 12:00 PM, Friday, August 25, 2023

The Program in International and Comparative Studies (PICS) offers an Honors plan for International Studies majors with an overall GPA of 3.4 and with a grade of B+ or better in INTLSTD 101. Students elect INTLSTD 498 in the fall and INTLSTD 499 in the winter (the senior Honors proseminars) during their senior year and write a major research paper under the direction of a faculty advisor and the instructor of INTLSTD 498-499.

  • By mid-July, INTLSTD 498.001 will be open to all students who have expressed an interest in the plan. Students will be granted an override and should register for the course if they want to be in the plan.
  • Not all students who want to be in the Honors Plan will be accepted. If not accepted, students will have to drop INTLSTD 498.001. As an alternative, the student can design an Independent Study via INTLSTD 491 to pursue a longer term paper for the Fall or Winter Semester. 
  • Applications are due usually at the end of August/beginning of September and students will be notified of their status (accepted or not accepted) before the first class meeting.
  • Students are required to write an Honors thesis and will be responsible for obtaining a faculty member to serve as a thesis advisor. Both the thesis topic and the thesis advisor must be approved by the PICS director or the INTLSTD 498-499 instructor prior to beginning work on the thesis.
  • Students planning to conduct interviews with human subjects the summer prior to joining the International Studies Honors plan should contact Anthony Marcum, PhD, PICS Honors instructor, first. All students will need to complete an application with the U-M Institutional Review Board (IRB). Anthony Marcum, PhD, can help students navigate this process.
  • Students graduating at the end of the fall semester are not eligible for the Honors Plan. Students must complete INTLSTD 498.001 in the fall semester and INTSLTD 499.001 in the winter semester to complete the Honors Plan.

What are INTLSTD 498 and 499 like? What can you expect from these courses?

Both courses are 3 credit seminars to develop your thesis, pitch arguments to your peers, and share pieces of your writings for review and critiques. Your thesis advisor will help you format your questions and choose an appropriate research methodology for your thesis.

Students interested in the International Studies Honors plan should also review the LSA Honors plan page for a Senior Honors thesis.

The College of Literature, Science, and the Arts has its own requirements and will trump the Program in International and Comparative Studies policies relating to Honors.  

Students will receive a “Y” grade for INTLSTD 498 (fall term) which simply means “extended course” or “work in progress”. At the completion of the thesis, one letter grade will be assigned for INTLSTD 499 (winter term). 

Program in International and Comparative Studies will also submit four possible recommendations to the LSA Honors office: “No Honors”, “Honors”, “High Honors”, or “Highest Honors” for each student. 

“No Honors” is given for work that does not meet the INTLSTD 499 standards and for students with GPAs under 3.4.

Beware of complications that can arise. Examples: GPA falls below a 3.4, advisor is not a good fit, possibly not being able to study abroad during your senior year because of the required INTLSTD 498 and 499 courses (requires a case-by-case approval).

Steps to apply for the International Studies Honors Plan:

  1. Make a decision that you really want to do it.
  2. Find a tenure-track faculty advisor willing to oversee your project, start now!
  3. Submit an application to by 12 PM on Friday, August 25, 2023 and include a brief letter of support from your faculty advisor.

Consider applying for LSA Honors grants for research, travel, and special projects. Applicants will typically be third-year students advancing to their senior year.

The application must include the following:

  •  A brief letter of support from a faculty advisor who will advise the student on the Honors thesis. This person should be a tenure-track faculty member at the University of Michigan (exceptions rarely will be granted and must be approved) and clearly indicate that he or she is willing to counsel the student on the thesis.  
  •  A description of the project that addresses what research question the student is trying to answer and how he or she will go about answering it, as well as what research has been completed thus far. The description should be no more than two pages, single-spaced, or 1000 words maximum.
  • An official or unofficial transcript.

View a list of past International Studies Honors Theses.

INTLSTD 498.001 deadlines for the 2023-24 academic year

  • By July 1, 2023, INTLSTD 498.001 will be open to all students who have expressed an interest in the Honors plan.
  • Applications are due by 12:00 PM, Friday, August 25, 2023 and should be sent electronically to
  • By Thursday, August 31, 2023, students will be notified of their status (accepted or not accepted) before the first class meeting.
  • The first class will meet on Friday, September 1, 2023.