About honors in the major

Honors designation shows employers and graduate admissions committees that you were both successful in your coursework and interested in going above and beyond usual graduation requirements to distinguish yourself. It is evidence of an ability to research, write, work collaboratively with a faculty member, present research and findings to the public, and achieve a goal. It gives you talking points in an interview and gives you the chance to work closely with a faculty member, which can lead to a letter of reference that provides detail on your strengths and abilities.

How it works

We recommend that you have at least two semesters remaining to complete your honors thesis. It is generally not advisable to try to complete the project in one semester. Honors in the Major is administered by each College. To graduate with Honors Enterprise Leadership, you must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Students must earn a minimum of 49 s.h. of work for the major
  • Students must maintain a University of Iowa cumulative GPA of 3.5 and a of at least 3.5 in all course work for the major
  • Complete an honors thesis while enrolled in three hours of thesis credit ENTR:4999 Honors Thesis in Entrepreneurial Studies by creating original research in partnership with a full-time faculty member. In addition, students must complete the capstone experience required for the major. You must also present your preliminary or complete findings on a poster at the Undergraduate Research Festival in the spring or fall.


There are no eligibility criteria to begin pursuing Honors in the Major. You should have an interest in research in your field of study and the willingness to dedicate time to working with a faculty member to complete a significant project, usually in your final year of undergraduate study.

To graduate with Honors in the Major, you do need to achieve a cumulative and major GPA of 3.5, in addition to completing the thesis and presenting it at the Honors Program Undergraduate Research Festival in the spring or fall.

Your thesis and presentation

The look of a thesis varies greatly, depending on the field of study, type of research, and question being answered. In your final semester of the project, you will enroll in a three hour course in Enterprise Leadership, numbered ENTR:4999 in which you will earn credit for working on your thesis. Your thesis is due on the Wednesday of finals week in the semester in which you are enrolled in ENTR:4999. In general, your thesis should range from 12–40 pages and usually includes components such as the following:

  • Abstract or introduction
  • Background to the issue
  • Literature review
  • Explanation of data being used
  • Method of research
  • Results of the research
  • Conclusion/Opportunities for further research
  • Tables/charts
  • Bibliography

To graduate with Honors in Enterprise Leadership, you will prepare a poster that summarizes your project and will display that poster at the Undergraduate Research Festival and the Hawkeye Innovation Expo. The Festival is held in the fall and spring, and you will participate in the Festival closest to the completion of your thesis. The Hawkeye Innovation Expo is held in the spring. At the Festival and Innovation Expo, you will have the chance to discuss your research with visitors, and you will be judged by a faculty member or graduate student (the judge’s results will not have a bearing on your ability to graduate with Honors but can provide helpful feedback in making any final amendments to the thesis). If you complete your honors thesis in the fall AND graduate in the fall, you will only need to present at the Undergraduate Research Festival.To request examples of previous posters, please contact Bob Walker.

For additional information please reference the general FAQ document below.

Honors FAQ

Next Steps

To apply for Honors in the Major: Enterprise Leadership, please contact:

Robert B. Walker, Ph. D.
Lecturer, John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center and Tippie College of Business
The University of Iowa
Office: 319-335-0947
Mobile: 319-330-5326

Submit an application