Mentoring Research

Mentoring Student Research

Faculty mentorship of undergraduate research is integral to the academic success of all Honors students. The Lewis Honors College relies on faculty partnerships to ensure that student work is of the highest caliber. Our goal is to prepare students to leverage their intellectual work for whatever path they pursue after leaving the University of Kentucky.

Honors students may reach out to faculty members to secure support for the following learning efforts:

  • Honors Capstone
  • Honors Course Agreement

Though your support of such efforts is completely voluntary, please know that by choosing to mentor undergraduate research, you contribute significantly to the call of our mission to better the University of Kentucky and the world.


Honors Capstone

The Honors Capstone is a culminating project in a student’s area of study. This project is meant to draw on the intellectual interests of the both the student and their supervising faculty member. We leave it to each potential faculty mentor to determine the appropriateness and level of your involvement. Faculty mentors should expect students to submit requests for participation on a capstone project well in advance of the proposal deadline. Faculty mentors should also anticipate a well-prepared student. As early as two semesters prior to the Capstone completion, students will work with their Honors advisor to narrow their research interests and explore how those interests align with their future faculty mentor’s work.  It is our hope that the faculty/student collaboration is as enriching for you as it is for our Honors students. We want to know that your partnership with the Honors College helps to deepen the work you do in your own academic field of study.

The proposal for Honors Capstones serve as a contract between you and the student and a mutual record of your agreement for participation; we urge you and the student each to keep a copy. The proposal is read carefully by the student’s Honors advisor and the Director of Academic Affairs before it is approved.

Capstones are considered complete when:

  • All criteria outlined in the proposal are met
  • The final project is professionally presented and,
  • The Capstone is written clearly enough for someone outside the discipline to understand its main principles and goals.

Faculty mentors will submit the grade in myUK at the end of the semester when the Capstone is complete. We encourage students to submit their completed work to undergraduate or disciplinary conferences or to peer-reviewed journals. The Honors Capstone must be completed with the grade submitted before a student can graduate with Honors and have this acknowledged on their transcript and diploma.

Honors Course Agreement

Students have the option to work with faculty and deepen the rigor of a non-Honors course through a course agreement.  Through this process, students are asked to add an independent project to an existing non-Honors course. The supervising faculty will work with the student to strategize how best to accomplish this requirement. The purpose of a course agreement is to allow more flexibility in class offerings that will count toward Honors requirements and to provide more opportunities for students to customize their work with faculty mentors.

Examples of additional work for an Honors course agreement include:

  • Researching and writing an additional scholarly paper
  • Additional lab work or an enhanced project with accompanying readings and discussion
  • Completing an additional set of challenging problems or laboratory experiments
  • Participation in additional service activities or field experience with accompanying report/analysis
  • Attendance in outside of classroom enrichment activities or special events with accompanying analysis

More information about this option can be found on our website.