Honors / Opportunities
Honors in Sociology and/or Justice Studies
The departmental honors programs in Sociology and in Justice Studies are designed to challenge the intellectual curiosity of the superior student. They provide an opportunity for the student to exercise greater self-reliance, creativity, and responsibility though independent study and research.
Sociology majors with a 3.25 GPA in Sociology-required courses and a 3.0 cumulative GPA and Justice Studies majors with a 3.25 GPA in Justice Studies-required courses and a 3.0 cumulative GPA are both eligible to submit a proposal for a six semester hours honors project to be supervised by a faculty member. Transfer students without established GPAs at Rhode Island College may be considered for honors eligibility on the basis of their transcripts from their previous institutions.
Click here to see examples of previous Honors projects in Sociology and Justice Studies listed in the Adams Library Catalog.
Requirements of the Honors Programs in Sociology and in Justice Studies
- Application should be made to the Sociology Department Chairperson for Sociology Honors and to the Director of Justice Studies for Justice Studies Honors. The Chair/Director will work with the student to find a faculty member to serve as a mentor for the study. The student will be responsible for completing and submitting the independent study form.
- The project proposed must be different from the paper or project that the student will complete in Sociology 460--Senior Seminar in Sociology and/or Justice Studies 466--Seminar in Justice Studies.
- The project will require approximately 180 hours of work over two semesters, including at least two meetings per month with the faculty member, over both semesters. The student will enroll in Sociology 491/492 or Justice Studies 491/492, as appropriate.
- If the project is in the form of a paper, the paper will be approximately 40 pages in length and use and approved departmental format.
- Students are required to provide progress reports and final papers/projects to the Honors Committee as follows
- An outline of the project, describing the activities to be accomplished over the two semesters, must be given to the faculty mentor by the middle of the first semester.
- A first semester report which includes an overview of the project and a tentative bibliography, and if the project is a paper, also includes the introduction and review of the literature, must be given to the mentor by the end of the first semester.
- A progress report detailing recent progress must be given to the faculty mentor by the fourth week of the second semester.
- The completed paper/project must be given to the faculty mentor by the eighth week of the second semester.
- Once the paper/project is completed, the following schedule is used:
- The mentor will grade the paper and return it to the student by the ninth week of the second semester.
- The student can make corrections/revisions and present the paper/project to the Honors Committee by the tenth week of the second semester.
- An oral presentation and discussion of the paper/project is made to the Honors Committee and interested students and faculty in the eleventh week of the second semester. The Honors Committee notifies the mentor and student as to their approval of the paper/project as Honors work by the twelfth week of the second semester
Students interested in learning more about the Honors process, the composition of the Honors Committee, the appeal process, or other details, as well as those interested in pursuing an Honors project, should see the Sociology Department Chair or the Director of Justice Studies as soon as possible and no later than three semesters before they will graduate from Rhode Island College. Students who will require funding to complete their independent Honors research may be eligible for a Destefano Undergraduate Research/Creativity Award. For more information, see
Students may earn Honors in Sociology or Justice Studies on their transcript by applying to, enrolling in and completing a two-semester independent study (Sociology or Justice Studies Honors 491/492) under the direction of a faculty member selected by the student with approval of the department chair. The course will involve writing a major research paper and defending it before a committee of faculty. Contact: Department Chair (ext. 8026) or a faculty member with whom one would like to study.
Alpha Kappa Delta
An International Honor Society in Sociology. To be admitted a student must be an officially declared sociology major/minor, justice studies major/minor, gerontology minor or certificate candidate; have completed at least 60 credit hours, have an overall GPA of at least 3.0 (B); and have a GPA of 3.33 in at least four regular sociology courses (two of which must have been taken at Rhode Island College) and two of which must be at the 300/400 level (exclusive of pass/fail). Apply in Spring semester when notice is circulated in classes or contact Department Chair, ext. 8026.
Lauris B. Whitman Award in Sociology
This award honors an outstanding sociology major who will graduate in May or who has graduated the previous January. The award is bestowed at the Annual Cap & Gown Ceremony in early May. To qualify a student must have an overall GPA of 3.25 or above and a 3.25 or above in sociology courses. In addition, the student must "have made concrete contributions which demonstrate leadership, dedication, and commitment through service to the Department of Sociology, the College, and/or the Community." A committee of faculty will choose from among those eligible for consideration. Apply to the Faculty Committee on Whitman Award or contact Department Chair, ext. 8026.
Mary Ann Hawkes Award in Justice Studies
This award honors an outstanding justice studies major who has graduated the previous January or the following May. The award is bestowed at the Annual Cap & Gown Ceremony in early May. To qualify a student must have an overall GPA of 3.0 (B) or above and a 3.33 GPA or above in courses included in the Justice Studies program. In addition, the student must "have demonstrated recognition of and concern for national, regional or local problems of justice and their solutions. Active involvement during the undergraduate years is expected. A committee of faculty will choose from among those eligible for consideration. Apply to the Director of Justice Studies, ext. 8026.
Harold Sweet Award in Gerontology
The award is given annually to an outstanding gerontology student who has maintained a 3.0 average and demonstrated excellence in the Gerontology Program. Eligible students submit written statements to outline their academic achievements, employment activities, volunteer services, and/or service to the College that pertain to gerontology and to describe the impact of the Gerontology Program on their involvement with and attitudes towards older adults. Apply to the Coordinator of Gerontology, Dr. Rachel Filinson, x8732.