BSN Program

Honors College Considerations

Students who enter the Honors College at the freshman or sophomore level, and who declare nursing as a major, should become familiar with the JMU Honors College guidelines, along with the following special considerations:

  • Students who enter the nursing program will have a full semester load of nursing courses each semester. For this reason, it is wise to complete all Honors General Education and Seminar courses prior to entering the junior level of the nursing program. Please meet with Jared Diener, the Honors College Academic adviser ( to confirm that you have either met or have a realistic plan for meeting all Honors General Education and Seminar courses prior to entering the junior level of the nursing program. For students who wish to complete an Honors Capstone Project as a Track III student, please see Honors College Track III guidelines.
  • In the nursing program, students enroll in laboratory and practicum courses in clinical settings which are time-intensive. This is a second reason why it is wise to complete all Honors General Education courses and Seminar requirements prior to entering the nursing program.

Nursing Honors Project

Please review the general JMU guidelines for all Honors Capstone Projects. The following guidelines include special considerations for completing an Honors Project in the Nursing Program.

Who Should Consider an Honors Project?

In addition to meeting JMU qualifications for the Honors College, you should determine that you have the following characteristics to successfully complete an Honors Project in the Nursing major: you are motivated and self-directed; you organize and manage time well; you have a strong desire for independent in-depth scholarly inquiry into a specific area of relevance to health care and to your own professional interests and goals; and you are a competent writer. If you bring these qualities, completing the Honors Project can be a realistic and highly rewarding goal for nursing students.

The Honors Project is not for everyone. Nursing is a rigorous and time-intensive major that includes learning a large body of knowledge and skills in the classroom and laboratory settings and applying those to patient care in varied clinical settings. Because students engage in a clinical “capstone” – 8 weeks of full time practice with a nurse preceptor – during the final semester (4th nursing semester), an Honors Project should be largely completed by the end of the first semester of the senior year (3rd nursing semester). It is wise to seek advising and to begin planning for the Honors Project in the Sophomore year, as soon as you receive a guarantee of admission to the junior level of the Nursing program. In order to best plan your Honors Project, and to fully understand the process prior to entering the junior level of the nursing program, schedule a meeting with the Nursing Honors Liaison, Bridget Houlahan, to discuss your options.

How do I Begin to Plan for an Honors Project in Nursing?

First, read the capstone project information on the Honors College website. Every nursing honors student must meet with the Nursing Honors College Liaison. The Nursing Honors Liaison will assist you in exploring project ideas and possibilities, considering a realistic time frame for your project, and identifying faculty resource persons who might assist you to refine and frame your ideas. You will continue to work with the Nursing Honors Liaison until you have identified and obtained an agreement with a faculty Project Advisor and one faculty reader.

There are many ways to approach an Honors Project in nursing. First, identify an area of interest, and then think about what you would like to learn. Then you can discuss with the Nursing Honors Liaison and your faculty Project adviser the best method to use for your project. Examples of past Nursing Honors Projects include: 1) An analysis of stereotypes of nurses in several fictional novels; 2) An integrated review of literature about spiritual needs and spiritual care in nursing; and 3) Using Social Narratives to Improve the Healthcare Experiences of Children Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

NOTE: If your project involves working with human subjects in any way, you may need to submit a proposal and receive approval from the JMU IRB Institutional Review Board (IRB) on the Use of Human Subjects in Research. For example, you will need IRB approval if you conduct interviews with people and then analyze their responses. Discuss this possibility with the Nursing Honors Liaison and/or your Faculty adviser.

Honors Project Advisory Committee

Your Project Advisory Committee is made up of your Project Advisor and one Project Reader. They will supervise your Honors Project and provide you with guidance and feedback as your project progresses. These faculty should have professional interests and expertise in the topic and substance of your project. While the Nursing Honors Liaison may assist you in identifying appropriate nursing faculty for your committee, it will be your responsibility to discuss your project ideas with potential faculty committee members and to request their participation on the committee. Identify your Project Advisor as early as possible, as this person can help you to begin important planning activities prior to enrollment in NSG 499A. The Project Advisor, who will provide most of your supervision, should be a member of the Nursing Faculty and this person will assist you to identify one additional potential faculty committee member from inside or outside the School of Nursing to take on the role of Project Reader. Participation as a committee member is voluntary on the part of the faculty member.

Special Considerations for Nursing Majors

The Honor’s Project involves 6 credits of guided work across four semesters. Nursing is a time-intensive major because it includes clinical practice, so early planning for the Honors Project is important. Although there may be variations, students should plan to use the following timeline:

Freshman Year or First Semester Transfer: Before entering the nursing program you may consider enrolling in NSG 300H, 1st Year Nursing Student Seminar. This course will introduce you to the nursing curriculum and electives in other disciplines that relate to the goals and objectives of the nursing program. As an honors elective (1 credit) the course will assist you in developing a plan for completing the honors college requirements to graduation.

Upon admission into the nursing program: Contact the Nursing Honors Liaison prior to entry into Semester 1 of the nursing program. The Honors Advisor will be your academic advisor for your junior and senior years while you complete your Honors Capstone Project, although you will also have a specific Honors Project Advisor.


For Students Admitted to the School of Nursing Prior to Fall 2023

For Students Admitted to the School of Nursing Fall of 2023 and Beyond (PDF)