Honors Specialization Overview
The Honors Specialization Program is designed to provide in-depth knowledge in a specific area of a student’s academic study. It is also designed to reward RIT Croatia’s academically strong students by giving them additional research freedom and challenge during their junior and senior years. Students with a GPA of 3.4 or above (and those with a GPA of 3.0 or above who are recommended by a faculty member) are able to organize in-depth learning in a specific area of study and to take responsibility for accomplishing this specialized program of study. In recognition of the student’s extra effort and the additional learning he or she has gained, students who successfully complete the Honors Specialization Program are given a certificate attesting to this fact. This Honors Specialization Certificate helps to differentiate these students to future employers and academic institutions.
The ProcessApplication Process
- Students entering their junior year with a GPA of 3.4 or above may elect to participate in the program. A student with a GPA below 3.4 must be recommended and sponsored by a faculty member. A letter of sponsorship written by the sponsoring faculty member must accompany that student's application. The sponsoring faculty member may also be the student's specialization mentor. The minimum GPA for a sponsored specialization is 3.0.
- Applications must be submitted to Student Services by Friday of week 2 of the student's fall or spring semester of his or her junior year. The assumption is that the student has two academic semesters to complete the program (including the semester of application), allowing the student to reserve one Specialization-free semester for his or her Senior Project.
- The specialization cannot overlap with the Senior Project course, which the student is to take in his or her senior year.
- Upon application submission and no later than week 4 (semester of application), students will be invited to present their ideas and topics of interest to the Honors Specialization Committee.
- Students’ applications are reviewed by the Honors Specialization Committee and feedback is communicated by the end of week 5. If a student’s application is accepted, a mentor is assigned to the student.
The Specialization Process
The specialization process is student driven and paired with active support from a RIT Croatia mentor. Once the specialization is approved and mentor assigned, the student must contact the mentor for an appointment to discuss the goals and plans for his or her specialization. It is mandatory for the mentor and student to agree upon the best way for the student to complete his or her specialization.
The outcome of this two-semester process is a joint student-professor journal submission quality research paper. The research paper must be either submitted at an international conference or published in a journal that is highly regarded by academic and industry standards. Throughout the process, the student must be in contact with the mentor to ensure that his or her project is satisfying the requirements of the program. It is recommended for the student to be in contact with his or her mentor at least once per two weeks — so that they can discuss the progress being made towards the specialization project completion.
The student must submit the completed research paper to the Specialization Coordinator (currently Ana Maria Simundic) before the second specialization semester ends (i.e. week 15 of spring semester of the student’s junior year or week 15 of fall semester of the student’s senior year – depending on when the specialization process started).
Upon submission, the research paper will be reviewed by two faculty reviewers. The research paper will either be accepted, rejected, or accepted with the condition that certain changes are made. Once the paper has been accepted by the reviewers, the student has successfully completed the Honors Specialization Program. The paper can then be submitted for journal publishing or conference presentation. Note that journal or conference acceptance of the paper is not a condition for successful completion of the Honors Specialization Program.
Discontinuing the ProgramIf a student wishes to discontinue the program, a written letter of intent must be submitted to the mentor. At any time, if the student is not fulfilling his or her obligations to the program- i.e. meeting with the mentor on a regular basis, making continual and steady progress according to the mentor-student plan, the mentor will give a maximum of two warnings and then the student will be dropped from the program. A student who has discontinued this program may not start it up again.
Component Parts of the Honors Specialization ProgramThe Area of Specialization:
A student’s specialization research paper should represent in-depth knowledge in a specific area of study. The student has the freedom to decide which area of study is of most interest to him or her and it can be drawn from IHSM, Liberal Arts or General Education as long as the topic is connected to the hospitality or service industries. Therefore, students should select a specialization topic that falls within their main interest of study, and/or their area of concentration. This does not in any way limit them to select their senior project topic within that same area.
There are many possible areas of specialization, and students are encouraged to choose an area that they find to be particularly interesting. However, in order to maintain the highest possible academic standards, there must be at least two RIT Croatia faculty members who have extensive knowledge in that area. One will serve as the student’s mentor, and the other will serve as one of the two reviewers of the finished Honors Specialization project.
Mentors are full-time faculty members who have extensive knowledge in the student’s area of specialization and are willing to assist students with the specialization.
The finished project must follow scientific research paper style guidelines, with APA style being highly recommended. Students must work with their mentors to ensure that the paper they complete meet the requirements of the Honors Specialization Program. The two most important criteria are 1) that the project represents in-depth knowledge in the specialization area, and 2) the paper meets journal or conference criteria.
Upon the approval of a student’s specialization portfolio, the student will receive an official Honors Specialization Certificate indicating his or her area of specialization. The student’s diploma is independent of the specialization certificate. The certificate will only be issued to those students who have submitted a research paper, which was reviewed and approved by the specialization review board.
Paper Design Requirements:
APA style is required in all aspects of paper preparation.
The required sections of the research paper are as follows:
- Title Page
- Abstract (up to 120 words)
- Introduction (review/critical analysis of relevant literature relating to/setting the stage for research conducted)
- Method (detailed description of research conducted)
- Participants/Research units
- Research materials
- Results (description of conducted data analysis)
- Discussion (interpretation of the findings in context of the related/relevant literature)
- References (alphabetical listing of references)
- Tables/Figures/Appendixes (if applicable for the chosen topic/research design)/li>
- Two copies of the filled out Research Paper Review Sheet with your name, e-mail, specialization topic, mentor, and title of paper.