Communication Students Build Research and Creative Skills with Honors in the Major Program

This article was written by Jenny Ralph, a senior media communication studies student and School of Communication Director’s Ambassador.

With each and every semester, more and more students within the School of Communication are opting to complete an Honors in the Major Thesis.

By choosing to earn Honors in the Major (HITM), students complete a research thesis or creative project in their major area of study under the guidance of a faculty committee. The committees help the students in the process of selecting a topic, developing a prospectus, completing a written document based on their research or creative project. Students then defend their thesis orally before their committee.

“I think Honors in the Major is just such a wonderful opportunity to study a topic of the student’s interest with the guidance of a faculty member who’s also interested in that topic,” said Dr. Jennifer Proffitt, Honors Liaison for the School of Communication. “Graduate schools and employers love to see students complete Honors in the Major because it gives students the skills they are seeking through designing a project, synthesizing and organizing large amounts of information into a clear and concise project, and being able to discuss your experience and your findings.”

Twelve students within the School of Communication are currently completing HITM, the largest number the school has seen do so at one time. The process normally takes two to three semesters and students register for six to nine hours of 4000-level thesis credit. FSU developed the HITM Program to encourage students to explore their major disciplines in greater depth by completing a research or creative project, and the program is open to all qualified FSU students.

Rheannah Wynter, a digital media production major, is developing a creative project with Malia Bruker as her mentor. In the spring of 2020, Wynter began brainstorming ideas for a short documentary project, but experienced many barriers as the COVID-19 pandemic played out. Adapting quickly and with the help of her mentor, she chose a new format for her project that was more plausible given a global pandemic.

After attending a virtual gallery where she saw his work, Wynter developed an animated documentary and conducted remote interviews with artist Bryce Speed, a painter of abstractions of water for almost ten years whose work is motivated by the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

“I pursued completing an Honors in the Major project because I wanted to be involved in every aspect of filmmaking, rather than just the few roles I normally fulfill,” said Wynter.

“I think it’s the best way to build a relationship with the mentors you’ve admired, especially during the pandemic. It’s great to have that one-on-one work with your professors. It can be challenging to pursue a project of your own, but you don’t quite know yourself until you do which can be very rewarding.”

After successfully defending their project before their committees, students who complete the HITM Program graduate “with honors” in their major and the distinction is announced during graduation and designated on the student’s transcript.

The application deadline for students who plan to begin work on their thesis in the summer or fall 2021 semesters is April 2, 2021. All students are encouraged to submit their Honors in the Major application through the online portal ahead of April 2 so as to allow enough time for approval and registration before the semester’s end. Only after students have been approved to begin the Honors in the Major thesis can they register for the required honors thesis credits.

To learn more about Honors in the Major and the program’s admission and application requirements, visit