Completing Honors at the University of Iowa, provides a student with an opportunity to examine topics of interest at a deeper level and conduct an original research study with faculty. Students may choose to complete honors through the department with either the B.A. or B.S. degree.

The honors advisor for the Department of Sociology and Criminology is Jenn Haylett.

Honors in the Major

Honors in Sociology/Criminology (“Honors in the Major”)

Within CLAS, each major develops its own requirements to achieve “Honors in the Major.”  Below are the requirements needed to complete Honors in Sociology and Criminology.

  1. Cumulative University of Iowa GPA of at least 3.33 and a GPA of at least 3.33 in all major courses (Sociology or Criminology, Law, and Justice).
  2. Take at least one upper-level undergraduate course as honors (courses numbered SOC:3000/CRIM:3000 or higher) or a Sociology graduate course (SOC:5xxx or higher).
  3. Write an Honors Thesis
    • Complete the Honors Seminar (SOC: 4997) in the Spring of their junior year.  This is a 1 semester hour class.
    • Complete 3 semester hours of Honors Research (SOC: 4998, CRIM: 4998) in their senior year.  A student does NOT need to do all 3 hours in the SAME semester (e.g., the student may do 1 hour in the Fall, and 2 hours in the Spring).
    • Have a final thesis defense meeting with their committee (their advisor and a reader).  During this meeting, the student will do a short presentation of his/her work and answer questions from the committee.  At this time, the committee may develop a list of revisions/modifications they would like the student to implement before submitting the final thesis.  Ideally, the meeting should be held at least 1 week before the final thesis is due to the Honors Program.
    • Submit the final thesis to the advisor. (Students *may* submit their thesis to Iowa Research Online (Due date: Wednesday of finals week at 11:59 pm).  See more details

Past honors thesis topics:

  • Family structure, poverty and mental health
  • Relationship satisfaction in intimate relationships
  • Immigrants and identity
  • Pre-marital cohabitation and divorce
  • Police legitimacy
  • Partner violence

Fall 2021 – Undergraduate Honors Theses

Department of Sociology and Criminology

Student title advisor
Isaac Bills Connectivity and Recovery in the Wake of Widespread Job Loss: A Case Study of Waterloo, Iowa Freda Lynn
Cassandra Calkins Differences in Security/Safety Reform in Response to School Shootings in America James Wo
Cecilia Cornejo Captured by Crime: Representation of Women in True Crim Media Jennifer Haylett
Elizabeth Lovell More Than Just Books: The Impact Public Libraries Have on the Changing Roles of Librarians Jennifer Haylett
Michaela Messier The Relationship Between Black Lives Matter Protests and Police Reform Bodi Vasi
Sophia Shubatt Best Practices for Teaching Higher Education in Iowa Prisons

Stephanie DiPietro

Regan Smock Examining the Effectiveness of Sexual Assault Prevention Education Programs at College Mary Noonan


Graduation Details

  • When applying to graduate, students need to indicate that they are “Pursuing Honors in the Major” on their degree application.
  • Students who have earned Honors in the Major will see this achievement added to the Commencement Program and announced at the graduation ceremony; the designation is also noted on the transcript and diploma. Students who have earned Honors in the Major also have this achievement signified by a white cord worn at the commencement ceremony. CLAS students may request the cord in 120 Schaeffer Hall once their Honors in the Major status has been finalized.

Honors AdvisorJenn Haylett

University Honors

The University of Iowa Honors Program provides a stimulating and integrative educational experience for undergraduate majors who perform at a high level. Membership in the honors program requires that students maintain a cumulative University of Iowa GPA of at least 3.33.


Student Awards

Outstanding Senior Award

Annual award for seniors majoring in sociology or criminology who demonstrate academic excellence, leadership and extra-curricular involvement in the community. Candidates are nominated and selected by the faculty. Awards are given at the end of the school year.

  • 2023Amelia Watson and Marissa Good
    • Amelia Watson is graduating with a BA in Criminology and Marissa Good is graduating with a BA in Sociology.
  • 2022Brianna Perez and Regan Smock
    • Brianna Perez is graduating with a BA in Criminology and Regan Smock is graduating with a BS in Sociology. Brianna will pursue a JD at the University of Arizona's James E. Rogers College of Law, while Regan will continue on in our department as a PhD candidate.
  • 2021Natalie Grodnitzky
    • Natalie Grodnitzky is graduating with a BA in Criminology (Honors) and with two minors in Sociology and Rhetoric. Natalie was an active member of our department, as well as of the University community. During her senior year, she worked as a research assistant for the Crime and Justice Policy Research Program at the Universitiy’s Public Policy Center. She also served as an undergraduate teaching assistant for two Criminology classes and volunteered with Hawkeyes for Humanity, a club that raises money for natural disaster relief. In her honors thesis, she examined the formation of legal cynicism among privileged groups.  Natalie is headed to the University of California-Irvine to pursue a PhD in Criminology.
  • 2020Sidney Martinez
    • Sidney Martinez is currently serving as a Project Assistant for Berger Schatz.
  • 2019 - Alessandra Sabra and Emma Fenstermaker
    • Alessandra is currently serving as a Law Clerk for the Dakota County Attorney's Office 
    • Emma Fenstermaker is currently serving as a Research Assistant for Carnegie Mellon University.
  • 2018 - Diggy Digiovanni
    • Diggy Digiovanni is serving as a Resident Manager at Our House, a nonprofit residential home for children in foster care who are transitioning into adulthood.