Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

For more information, contact the lead FHA, Renata Hejduk at

Faculty Honors Advisors

Renata Hejduk

Thesis/Creative Projects: 

An honors thesis normally receives 6 semester-hours credit (this may be waived or changed in the case of special projects). The process is divided into two parts: honors directed study/proposal (XXX492, 1 credit) undertaken in the Spring of your Junior Year or the Fall of your Senior year (depending upon your discipline’s major map), and thesis (Senior Studio/ 5 credits) in the Spring of your Senior year. The two courses (492 and Senior Studio) count as courses for upper division honors credit. Because you are required to show a 5 credit design studio to graduate in your discipline from The Design School, you will register for your required senior spring studio, and the Honors College will note on your transcript that Senior Studio substitutes for their 493 required course. The thesis process concludes with an oral defense at which the student presents.
The creative project must be documented by both expository text and appropriate evidence of the work submitted for the design thesis.
In architecture, you have three options for honors thesis/creative project.
All Architecture Juniors take APH 492 Honors Thesis Prep (1 credit) in the SPRING of their JUNIOR YEAR. You must contact Molly Isbell at by email (the Curriculum Coordinator in The Design School Director’s Office) during Honors Registration in the Fall of your Junior Year to get an override to be admitted into the class. Professor Renata Hejduk your Honors Faculty Advisor must be ccd on the email so that she can reply with the OK and allow the override .
Your Options for Architecture Thesis are as follows:

OPTION 1: Independent Honors Thesis
ADE 422 Independent Honors Thesis Studio: In this option, you are basically writing your own studio course that constitutes your honors thesis. You will have a desk in the studio (normally with the independent ADE 622 students), but for this option you will no longer be in a structured studio with an instructor and classmates. You work closely and independently with a Faculty Member of The Design School. This faculty member is your Thesis Director.
In consultation, and with the approval of the Thesis Director and your Faculty Honors Advisor in Architecture (Professor Renata Hejduk), you set up a schedule of goals and deadlines for each week of the Spring Senior Semester. You are required to set up appointments to meet with your Director and advisors each week. (This is entirely YOUR responsibility and failure to do so will most likely mean that you fail the course and not graduate). Normally, ADE 422 Independent Design Thesis students present their work every month with the ADE 622 Independent Graduate MArch Final Project reviews. This is a great opportunity to have a peer community with graduate students.
You will register for ADE 422 Independent Honors Thesis Studio (this needs to be set up by the Architecture Barrett Honors Advisor (Professor Renata Hejduk), so please contact Professor Hejduk during registration to find out the line number for ADE 422. To be considered for this option you must:

  • Have excellent grades in studio (B+ or above) and show your portfolio to your intended Thesis Director for approval.
  • Bring a deeply researched topic to the project and demonstrate that your project reflects this deep research and investigation into the problem, and that it is clearly applied and demonstrated in the design studio project & written component.
  • Be ready to start design work on the first day of the spring semester, thus your fall of senior year is a crucial time to build upon what you did for APH 492 and to do enough research and evaluation to begin the design portion of your thesis.
  • Have an Honors Thesis Director and committee members (readers) lined up by the end of the Fall.
  • Be highly motivated, mature, and confident in your ability to work independently.

OPTION 2: In-Studio Option:
ADE 422 OPTION STUDIO WITH AN HONORS CONTRACT FOR THESIS: (Scholar-in-residence option). In this option you work on your thesis within the structure your spring studio. Thus, you begin by exploring ideas for your thesis in APH 492 Honors Thesis Proposal that you take with Professor Hejduk. She will work with you to find the best studio fit for your research if you decide that you do not want to do an independent thesis.
In the Studio Option, you enter into an honors contract with your Studio Instructor and The Design School Barrett Honors Faculty Advisor for Architecture to do work beyond the scope of the studio geared toward a research topic of your choosing. Thus, if you are interested in Sustainability, you will work with issues of Sustainability within the construct of the faculty led studio project. The Honors Student in this option will meet all the requirements of the studio and then, in consultation with the studio instructor and the honors advisor, propose to work on his or her design project for the studio at a much deeper and more resolved level than other non-honors members of the studio, and in relation to Sustainability. This means that: you would do the design work required for the studio while also integrating/applying your research interests into the project. It is expected that the Honors Student is a thought leader in their studio. You are considered the SCHOLAR-IN-RESIDENCE in your studio.
At the beginning of the spring senior studio ADE 422 you must fill out an honors contract form online and list the Studio Instructor as the Instructor for the course. Your honors contract should clearly outline each of the issues that you and your instructor and/or Thesis Director agree will be met in the studio. This should include methodology, research, timeline, deliverables, and anything else that your Director asks for in the contract. This must be agreed upon in writing and by email before you fill out your contract. You and your instructor must have an email exchange to prove that they agreed upon the final draft of the honors contract. The draft language must be approved by the Architecture Faculty Honors Advisor in consultation with your Studio instructor before you send to your Studio instructor via Barrett’s online system.
At the start of the Spring semester you meet with the Studio Instructor (who will act as your Thesis Director) and The Design School Barrett Honors Faculty Advisor to plan your course of study, deadlines, and deliverables for the Honors Thesis.
The written portion of your Honors Thesis is a document that illustrates an understanding of the research topic and current debates and issues surrounding it within your discipline, your methodology for integrating and applying the topic within your studio project, a conclusion as to the result of the application of the research in the design project, case-studies, a review of literature, a bibliography, and illustrations. It is normally no less than 25 pages of text, not including literature review, bibliography, and illustrations. The text can integrate your design solutions into the document as support for the argument of your thesis. Example of these are available from the Architecture Honors Faculty Advisor.
Failure to complete the honors thesis at a high level within the studio means that you will graduate with the Architecture degree, but not with honors.
*Your Thesis Director is normally the design studio instructor and the 2nd reader is usually the Design School Architecture Barrett Faculty Honors Advisor. If the Studio Instructor is not a Faculty Member (i.e. they are a Faculty Associate), your Director must be either another Architecture Faculty Member, or the Barrett Faculty Honors Advisor, who will monitor and advise you to make sure that you are meeting both the criteria of the Honors Thesis and the Final Studio.
Some of our best students opt to do their applied honors thesis project within the structure of the faculty led studios. Often, the studio topic will be an absolutely perfect match with your research interests.
Note: You may be planning on doing an independent design project during your APH 492 semester and then change your mind once you see what the studio options are for 4th year. Give yourself the room to see what fits best.

OPTION 3: APH 493 Written or Other Research Option
Written or Other Research Option. This is for students who have decided that they want to do a deeply researched project, but they do not want to do it within the studio or do a studio based independent project. Sometimes this is a good option for students who have decided not to continue on in architectural design, yet want to do a comprehensive research project and graduate with honors with an investigation that deals with as aspect of design. In this option, you will take a regular ADE 422 studio in the spring and you will do a separate APH 493 Honors Thesis course with a Thesis Director. They are totally separate. This needs to be decided with your Architectural Faculty Advisor by the Fall of your Senior year.

Academic Preparation: 

3.5 years of our BS in Architecture. The thesis is done in the spring of the senior year

Other Honors Opportunities: 
Honors contracts are on a case by case basis with individual instructors.