What is the Honors Thesis in Global Health Studies?

The Honors Thesis in Global Health Studies is an academically rigorous research project undertaken under the direct supervision of a University of Iowa faculty mentor. Every GHS Honors Thesis must be approved by a faculty mentor and the Global Health Studies Program, and it must include research, discussion, and documentation of sources. Students should register for GHS:4991 - Honors Thesis in Global Health Studies when registering for the semester in which the thesis will be completed (this is an independent research experience with meeting times arranged by student and faculty mentor). Students earn 3 s.h. of graded credit for completing GHS:4991 - Honors Thesis in Global Health Studies. Students also enroll in GHS:4992 - Global Health Studies Honors Cohort with the Global Health Studies Honors Advisor (for 0 s.h.) during the semester in which GHS:4991 will be completed.

  • GHS:3010 - Identifying/ Developing a Global Health Project is a pre-requisite for GHS:4991 - Honors Thesis in Global Health Studies.
  • GHS:4992 - Global Health Studies Honors Cohort is a co-requisite for GHS:4991 - Honors Thesis in Global Health Studies.
  • The Honors Thesis may either be a 30-50 page thesis paper or a creative research project. Creative projects must be approved by the Global Health Studies Program prior to registration.
  • Students may NOT enroll in the Honors Thesis during the summer session.
  • Students may combine their GHS Honors Thesis with another thesis or senior project for a second major.

How Do I Find a Topic and a Faculty Mentor for my Honors Thesis?

Students should plan to find a topic and a faculty mentor in the semester prior to registration in GHS:4991 - Honors Thesis in Global Health Studies. If you would like to discuss finding a topic or faculty mentor, make an appointment with the Global Health Studies Academic Advisor and/or the Global Health Studies Honors Advisor.

Suggestions for finding a topic include:

  • Gauge your interest in global health events/debates/issues by reading coverage found in the national and international media.
  • Refer to notes, readings, and bibliographies from your Global Health Studies major coursework.
  • Schedule a research consultation at the UI Main Library.
  • Complete the required course, GHS:3010 - Identifying/Developing a Global Health Project, during which you will complete a draft of your honors thesis research proposal.
  • Enroll in the optional course, GHS:3011 - Global Research:  Strategies and Skills.

Suggestions for finding a faculty mentor include:

Faculty eligible to supervise GHS:4991 - Honors Thesis in Global Health Studies include tenured, tenure-track, clinical, or visiting or adjunct faculty at the rank of lecturer, assistant professor, associate professor, or professor.

  • Consider faculty with whom you’ve taken classes—they already know how great you are!
  • Peruse Global Health Studies faculty listed on the GHS website, and faculty who are affiliated with the International Programs Academic Centers and Programs.
  • Read faculty bios on their home department's website. Learn more about their current research interests to see if they are an appropriate mentor for your topic.
  • Contact faculty members by email, providing a brief description of yourself, the Global Health Studies Honors Thesis requirement, and your specific research project. Let them know that you plan to visit them during their upcoming office hours to discuss things further in person. (If you don’t know their office hours, contact the faculty's department to find out when their office hours are BEFORE writing the email).
  • Meet with your potential faculty mentor. Take a preliminary Honors Thesis Research Proposal and be prepared to discuss initial ideas for your research project. Be prepared to tell the faculty member how your topic relates to their work. Ask her or him to scan your list of references and give you suggestions on other resources to consult to further define your research question. Expect that your research question will continue to evolve as you delve deeper into your topic.

NOTE:  Any research which involves "human subjects" must be reviewed by the University of Iowa Institutional Review Board (IRB) prior to the initiation of the project.  Proof of the determination/review process must also be submitted to the Global Health Studies Program before the honors thesis proposal can be approved. Read a summary of the IRB process on the International Programs website.  For all questions contact the IRB at 319-335-6564; or complete the IRB Determination Form to find out if your research meets the definition of human subjects research.

What are the deadlines for my Honors Thesis?

Download semester-specific deadlines: AY 2023-24 deadlines for GHS:4991 Honors Thesis in Global Health Studies

honors thesis requirements Deadline

- Enroll in GHS:4991 and GHS:4992

Semester prior to thesis:
     Monday of Week 12*: Early Registration
Semester during thesis:
     Monday of Week 3*: Last day to add without Dean's signature

*Typical deadline. Confirm deadlines on Academic Calendar.

- (OPTIONAL) Register for Fall or Spring Undergraduate Research Festival (FURF/SURF)

Check deadlines on FURF/SURF website

- Add "Honors in the GHS Major" to degree application on MyUI

Friday of Week 6 at 11:59pm*

*Typical deadline. Confirm deadlines on Academic Calendar.

- (OPTIONAL) If presenting a research poster, email final PDF of poster to globalhealthstudies@uiowa.edu to request printing 

3 weeks before presentation date

- Email rough draft of Honors Thesis to globalhealthstudies@uiowa.edu

Friday of Week 13 by 4:30pm

- Email final draft of Honors Thesis to globalhealthstudies@uiowa.edu


  • Faculty mentor signature on GHS Honors Thesis Cover Sheet
  • Title page, abstract, and citations/bibliography
Friday of Week 14 by 4:30pm

- Receive email confirmation that Honors Thesis either has been approved by GHSP or requires edits

Tuesday of Finals Week by 4:30pm

- (OPTIONAL) Upload final thesis to Iowa Research Online Repository

Friday of Finals Week by 11:59pm

How Do I Enroll in GHS:4991 Honors Thesis in Global Health Studies?

  • Complete and sign the Honors Thesis Registration Preapproval Form then forward it to your faculty mentor to review and sign.
  • Email your honors thesis registration preapproval form, and your honors thesis research proposal (completed during GHS:3010 - Identifying/Developing A Global Health Project) to globalhealthstudies@uiowa.edu.
  • Receive an email from the Global Health Studies Program that you now have permission to enroll. Enroll in GHS:4991 - Honors Thesis in Global Health Studies on MyUI by choosing your faculty mentor from the list. If your faculty mentor is not on the list, contact the Global Health Studies Academic Advisor.

NOTE:  The final add deadline for the fall or spring semester is 4:30 pm on the 10th day of the session. Honors GHS students must submit the "Honors Thesis Registration Preapproval Form," and honors thesis research proposal to the GHSP before this deadline, then wait for an email that it has been approved. Detailed instructions for adding courses can be found on the Registrar's website.  

Are There Additional Requirements for Completing GHS:4991 Honors Thesis in Global Health Studies?  

Honors GHS student with her research poster

If you plan to graduate the semester in which you are completing your honors thesis, carefully read "Graduation and Commencement Information."   All graduating students must submit an Application for Degree in MyUI / Student Information (the deadline to avoid a late fee, and to ensure that the student will be identified as graduating with Honors in the Major for commencement is the Friday of week six in the fall and spring semester). Students graduating with Honors in the GHS major must verify on the online form that they plan to complete Honors in the Major requirements. Contact registrar-degree-applications@uiowa.edu with questions about applying for a degree, and UI-commencement@uiowa.edu about commencement ceremonies.

Discuss with your Faculty Mentor the best formatting style for your thesis (i.e. discipline-specfic formatting styles). Your thesis must include a title page, an abstract (400 words or less), careful citation (footnotes or in-text citation), and a bibliography.

You are encouraged (but not required) to give an oral or poster presentation of your Global Health Studies honors research findings.

How Do I Submit My Completed GHS:4991 Honors Thesis in Global Health Studies?

Global health studies students are advised to keep a copy of all honors thesis materials for their own records.

Faculty mentor: Turn in one copy of your honors thesis to your faculty mentor for grading. Be sure to communicate with your mentor about an appropriate deadline that will give him/her time to review your final draft so that he/she can then sign your honors thesis cover sheet

Global Health Studies Program: Prior to 4:30 pm on the Friday before finals week, email to globalhealthstudies@uiowa.edu a final draft of your 30-50 page Honors Thesis along with the following materials:

  • an honors thesis cover sheet signed by your faculty mentor,
  • a title page,
  • a one to three paragraph abstract (400 words or less),
  • a careful citation of quoted or summarized material (discuss the appropriate format with your faculty mentor), and
  • a required bibliography.

Iowa Research Online: All students completing Honors in the GHS major have the option of submitting their thesis materials to the Iowa Research Online (IRO) repository. Please refer to the CLAS "Honors Thesis or Project Submission" website for detailed instructions.

Submission requires a Submission Agreement Form completed online by the Faculty Mentor (the faculty person with whom you worked on your thesis), and the GHSP Honors Advisor (Dr. Kristine Muñoz).  Once the form is completed online, the thesis can be uploaded to the repository. The deadline to submit thesis materials to the repository is 11:59 p.m. on the Friday of Final Examination Week. Contact clasps@uiowa.edu with questions.