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Engineering Honors Program

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Engineering Honors Program Application

Additional information can be obtained by contacting the Director:

Dr. Richard H. McCuen
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Room 1170 Martin Hall
(301) 405-1949

Honors in Print

Two books composed of EHP seminar papers have been published, with the students listed as authors of the various chapters. It is uncommon for undergraduates to have papers published, so it can be an especially impressive part of a resume.

Benefits of Participation

After completion of the Honors research project and the two seminars, students have the notation of Engineering Honors noted on both their diplomas and transcripts, with an announcement at the Engineering graduation.

Research apprenticeships are often available to students in the EHP. This may include the opportunity to perform research as part of summer employment. In such cases, the student often is able to work on the research that is used for meeting the EHP research requirement.

Students who have participated in the Engineering Honors Program have received a number of awards for their EHP work, as well as the national or regional recognition that goes along with the awards. A paper completed as part of one of the EHP seminars received the Daniel Mead Award, which is a national award given by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Another Engineering Honors Seminar paper won first place in the Cosmos Club Student Paper Contest, which carried a $3000 award. Numerous papers based on the EHP research have received cash awards from the Washington Society of Engineers.

EHP research results have been published in many of the leading professional journals. It is uncommon for undergraduates to have papers published in professional society journals, so when students from the EHP have a paper published, it can be an especially impressive part of a resume. In addition to research papers, two books composed of EHP seminar papers have been published, one by ASCE Press and one by Prentice Hall, Inc., with the students listed as authors of the various chapters.

The A. James Clark School of Engineering is proud to offer its outstanding students the opportunity to participate in the Engineering Honors Program (EHP).


studentsThe EHP was developed to provide an atmosphere conducive to creating passion in learning through student involvement and faculty interaction. Experience has shown that it is this close interaction between faculty and student that helps the student develop leadership skills, a creative attitude, and self-confidence; these are the characteristics of the leaders in the field of engineering and management.

The EHP was established in 1982 to broaden the academic program for the most outstanding students in the School of Engineering. The student's own involvement in the learning process is its single most important component. A corollary of this process and one that produces the greatest satisfaction for faculty is the development of significant, intellectual contact between themselves and the students.

Because of the demands of the existing engineering curricula and the limited resources available, the EHP was formulated to achieve an environment of excellence and excitement, while not placing an excessive burden on the students who elect to participate. The program that has evolved is modest in terms of the effort required of the participating students, but one designed to have a significant impact on both the student's knowledge of the engineering profession and his or her potential for success.


Engineering students meeting all of the following criteria are eligible to apply:

  • Upper fourth of engineering juniors and seniors
  • Junior standing or 60 applicable credits
  • Completion of at least one semester at UMCP

Graduation Requirements

The requirements for completing the program are as follows:

  • An Honors Research Project, which often can be used as a technical elective, a written report, and an oral presentation to a faculty panel of the EHP
  • Successful completion of both Engineering Honors Seminars (ENES 480 and ENES 481, 1 credit hour each)
  • Maintenance of a G.P.A. to remain in the upper-fourth of the class.

A one-hour seminar is offered each semester: ENES 480 in the Fall semester and ENES 481 in the Spring semester. Topics of recent seminars include: Creativity in Engineering; Leadership in Engineering; and Engineering Ethics. A brief written report and an oral presentation are required in each seminar. At least one seminar should be taken in the junior year, if possible, to avoid scheduling conflicts in the senior year.

Research Requirement

researchThe research requirement is one of the most important elements of the EHP. It gives you the opportunity to work with a faculty member, who can then serve as a reference when you apply to graduate school or for employment. Graduate schools give significant weight to the completion of research. Thus, completing research can be to your advantage when you are being considered for graduate research assistantships.

Research is a scholarly, original investigation of an engineering problem. The research requirement is an important part of the EHP. It serves to introduce the student to the process of research, which provides preparation for research as part of graduate study or in an industrial environment.

While the EHP seminars do not replace other graduation requirements, the research project can be taken as a departmental graduation requirement. The EHP student should enroll in the appropriate departmental course:

  • ENAE 499 Research
  • ENCE 489 Special Problems in Civil Engineering
  • ENCH 468 Research
  • ENEE 499 Projects in Electrical Engineering
  • ENFP 489 Honors Research Project
  • ENMA 499 Senior Laboratory Project
  • ENME 488 Special Problems
  • ENME 489 Special Topics in Mechanical Engineering

studentsIt is usually best to start the research well before your final semester and enroll in the course during the last semester. The student is responsible for selecting the research advisor. The student may approach any faculty member in their department. Information about the research interests of all faculty members may be obtained from lists of faculty research interests or the departmental annual reports, both of which should be available in departmental offices. The Electrical and Mechanical Engineering departments require the completion of a form when enrolling in the courses listed above (i.e., ENEE 418 or ENME 488, 489); copies of the forms can be obtained from the departmental undergraduate advisor. In some cases, students may elect to fulfill their EHP research requirement with an advisor from outside the department; in such cases, approval must be obtained from both the department advisor and the EHP director prior to enrolling in the course.

A double-spaced written report that summarizes the research is completed and submitted to the research advisor for approval. After approval of the student's advisor, four copies should be submitted to Dr. McCuen, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Room 1170. This must be submitted to Dr. McCuen at least one week prior to the end of classes during the semester in which the student intends to graduate.

In addition to the written report, EHP students are required to present a summary of their research at the EHP Research Seminar, which is held at the end of the Fall and Spring semesters on the day before final examinations begin (i.e., the study day). Those graduating in the summer must complete and defend their research in the Spring semester.

It is university policy that dual credit cannot be given for one research activity. Therefore, research completed as part of another academic activity cannot be used as the EHP research requirement.  Additionally, the project must be an individual project that is not part of a group/team activity.