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My Honors College

  • Undergraduate research

Undergraduate Research

Student Research is one of the four primary branches of Beyond the Classroom activities at the Honors College. The Honors College offers funding for undergraduate research across disciplines in order to promote intellectual growth and to encourage excellence in scholarship. 

Please check back in August 2020 for updates about fall research grant workshops and 2020-21 funding. 


Honors students may fulfill the Beyond the Classroom requirement by engaging in approved research courses and activities. Students should talk to their Honors advisor and professors to learn about current faculty-led research opportunities or check out our full list of current research opportunities. To fulfill the BTC requirement, students must complete a 3-credit research course or another approved research program that includes at least 150 hours of research.

Honors Independent Research Course (SCHC 497)

Honors students may enroll in an Honors independent research course (SCHC 497), which fulfills the Beyond the Classroom requirement and may count for major or minor course credit. The course also fulfills an Honors elective if a student has previously fulfilled the BTC requirement.

To apply, students must submit a Research Course Contract application. Upon approval of the contract, students will be registered for SCHC 497.

At the end of the semester, the faculty instructor will assign the student’s grade. When the course is reflected on the student’s transcript and passed with a grade of ‘C’ or better, the Honors Advisor will note completion of the BTC requirement on the student’s Honors Advising Form.

To find current research opportunities, click here.

Departmental Independent Research Courses

Another way to fulfill the Honors Beyond the Classroom requirement with research is to enroll in a departmental independent research course through a student’s major department (for example, BMEN 499, BIOL 399, PSYC 399, 598 and PSYC 599 are Independent Research; PSYC 498 is Independent Study). These courses involve working with a faculty member addressing various research questions. Students should talk to their major advisor to see if their major offers a departmental independent research course. A departmental independent research course also fulfills an Honors elective if a student has previously fulfilled the BTC requirement.

Honors College and the Office of Undergraduate Research Grants

SURF and Exploration research grants, administered through the Honors College, and the Magellan Scholar Award, administered through the UofSC Office of Undergraduate Research, can fulfill the Honors Beyond the Classroom requirement. Full guidelines are available on the Honors College and OUR websites.

To fulfill the BTC requirement through SURF, Exploration or Magellan, students must complete at least 150 hours of research. Upon completion of these hours, the research supervisor, who must be a faculty member, should send an email or write a letter to the student’s advisor briefly describing the nature of the work and indicating that the student completed at least 150 hours of research activities. The advisor will upload this letter in EAB Navigate and submit an exception request in DegreeWorks to update the honors requirements. There is no pre-approval required to have a SURF, Exploration or Magellan grant fulfill the BTC requirement.

Because SURF, Exploration, and Magellan grants are not credit-bearing activities, a student may not receive Honors elective credit by participating in one of these programs. These programs only fulfill the Honors BTC requirement.

Other Research Experiences

There are other research opportunities that fulfill the BTC requirement. These approved programs have been vetted by the Honors College and are structured research programs in which a student works with a mentor or supervisor, receives regular feedback, and takes part in structured reflection about the experience. To receive BTC credit for these approved research programs, students must complete at least 150 hours of research. However, because these experiences are not credit-bearing activities, a student may not receive Honors elective credit by participating in one of these programs, and these activities will only be considered to fulfill the BTC requirement.

Upon completion of the 150+ hours, the research supervisor, which must be a faculty member, will send an email or write a letter to the student’s advisor briefly describing the nature of the work and indicating that the student completed at least 150 hours of research activities. The advisor will upload this letter in EAB Navigate and submit an exception request in DegreeWorks to update honors requirements. There is no pre-approval required to have the approved programs below fulfill the BTC requirement.

Research programs that fulfill the BTC requirement include:

National Science Foundation, NASA, and National Institutes of Health research experiences for undergraduates (REU) programs, and the DAAD Rise Fellowship.

Students who participate in other forms of structured research (i.e., being hired by a professor to work on a grant) should talk with their academic advisor about the possibility of the experience fulfilling the BTC requirement. An Alternative Beyond the Classroom Application must be completed and approved before beginning such a research experience in order to be considered for BTC. Since the experience is not credit-bearing, if approved it may only be used to fulfill the BTC requirement, not an Honors elective.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can find a list of undergraduate research opportunities here.

Yes, as long as ONE of those activities is a credit-bearing activity. Here’s an example:

A student receives a SURF grant and completes at least 150 hours. This fulfills the BTC requirement – but generates NO course credit.

A year later, the same student completes a departmental independent research course with a professor in Engineering. Since the research course is credit-bearing and an approved Honors BTC course, the student can use this course to fulfill an Honors elective since she has already fulfilled the BTC requirement with a non-credit bearing activity.

However, if the student had a paid position in the professor’s lab on campus and completed 150 hours, she would not receive Honors elective credit. This is because the BTC requirement was previously completed with a non-credit bearing activity. You cannot fulfill an Honors elective with a non-credit bearing activity.

No, Honors elective credit would not be given for additional hours since an Honors elective cannot be fulfilled with a non-credit bearing activity. However, if a student is enrolled in 6 credit hours for an independent research course, the student would receive credit for the Honors BTC requirement and a three-hour Honors elective.

Visit our SURF and Exploration grants website to learn about funding opportunities.


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