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Academic Distinction in the Department of the Major is earned by completing a scholarly
paper or special project under the supervision of a committee of at least three (3)
degreed faculty and/or staff members. The project may not be used to earn any other
form of honor, and the steps detailed below must be followed, including deadlines. Failure
to meet criteria and/or deadlines will disqualify the student from earning this honor.
The student making application shall at the time of application have a minimum of
75 semester hours of credit, a 3.25 grade point average in the department of the major,
and a 3.0 overall grade point average, as verified by the Office of the Registrar.
- The student must first read the information in this handbook about Academic Distinction
in the Department of the Major. When the student has a tentative topic, he or she
will identify a member of the faculty in the major to serve as the proposed chair
of the project.
- The student completes the form “Application for Academic Distinction in the Department
of the Major” available in the Registrar’s Office.
- The Registrar’s Office determines whether the student meets minimum qualifications:
- Completion of a minimum of 75 degree hours
- Minimum grade point average of 3.25 in the major
- Minimum overall grade point average of 3.0
- The student must apply and complete steps 1-8 prior to the first day of classes in
the student’s graduation or commencement semester, whichever is first. After evaluation
of the student’s eligibility, the Registrar’s Office will forward a completed copy
of the form to the proposed committee chair.
- If the student meets the minimum qualifications, he or she, in consultation with proposed
committee chair, will describe the proposed scope and nature of the project or paper,
with a tentative thesis statement and the plan for completion. The proposal will
be forwarded to the chair of the department of the student’s major.
- Upon the chair’s approval, the student, committee chair, and department chair will
develop a proposed committee member list numbering not less than two (2) faculty or
staff members, in addition to the committee chair.
- If the project proposed is of an interdisciplinary nature, the committee shall include
representative(s) from all disciplines.
- At least one member of the committee must not serve in the department of the major.
- Members who fulfill the requirements of Item a may also fulfill the requirements of
Item b. For example: If the study involves effects of primitive cultures on pre-school
age children, and the student’s major is Child Development, a member of the Anthropology
faculty could serve both as a representative of one of the disciplines and also as
a member not in the department of the major.
- The Chair of the student’s department of major shall serve as an ex-officio member
of the committee, and shall not be considered one of the three required committee
- Using the “Proposed Committee” form available in the Registrar’s Office, the proposed
project and committee composition will be forwarded to the dean of the college housing
the student’s major. The dean may:
- Approve the committee and project
- Disapprove the committee or the project or both
- Return the proposal for clarification The dean’s office shall notify the student,
department chair, committee chair, and Office of the Registrar of his or her decision,
using copies of the “Proposed Committee” form. The Registrar’s Office shall review
the composition of the committee to verify all criteria are met and notify the committee
chair of the outcome.
- Upon approval of the project and committee, the committee chair convenes a meeting
of the committee. The chair of the department, as an ex-officio member, shall be
invited, but not required, to attend.
- The committee may choose any one of three actions:
- Approve the project as described
- Suggest amendments to the project
- Disqualify the project entirely If the committee disqualifies the project, the rationale
must be stated and reported to the dean of the college and the Registrar’s Office.
Normal reasons for disqualification would include plagiarism or a project that does
not require scholarly activity above and beyond normal classroom requirements. If
the committee accepts the project, notification is provided to the department chair,
dean of the college and the Registrar’s Office using the “Committee Action Report”
form available in the Registrar’s Office.
- The student will complete the project, distribute copies of written material associated
with the project for review to all committee members, and meet again with the committee
to provide an oral defense of the project. The department chair is invited, but not
required, to attend the oral defense. Deadlines for completion and distribution of
the finished project are: one calendar year after the committee’s initial meeting,
or, if the student is graduating, as listed below:
||End, 8th week of the spring semester
|Summer & participating in Spring Commencement
||End, 8th week of the spring semester
|Summer & not participating in Spring Commencement
||Eight weeks before end of summer semester
||End, 8th week of the fall semester
- Upon completion of oral defense, the committee may choose one of three actions:
- Accept project
- Reject project
- Return project to the student for revisions, which must be completed within two weeks.
The committee shall inform the department chair and dean of its actions, using the
“Acceptance Page for Completion of Academic Distinction” available in the Registrar’s
- The department chair and dean will review the project and either reject it or accept
it as completed. If accepted, the department chair and dean complete their portion
of the “Acceptance Page for Completion of Academic Distinction” and forward copies
of the form to the student, committee chair, and Registrar’s Office no later than
six (6) weeks prior to commencement or end of the student’s last term of study, whichever
- Upon acceptance of the project at all levels, the student shall provide final copies
of the project, including the acceptance page noted above, to each member of the committee
and the department chair, in either printed or electronic form. The student shall
also present to the Collections Librarian in Kent Library a copy of the project in
electronic form. The deadline to accomplish this is six (6) weeks prior to commencement
or end of the student’s last term of study, whichever is earlier.