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Honors Program Scholarly Projects

At Purdue, the mission of the Honors College is to create and foster well-rounded, well-educated global leaders. Sounds great, right? What we do at the Daniels School is target that experience to building the business case. The business case for what you ask? The business case for the areas that interest you.

For one student, it was comparing Islamic and U.S. banking law after a study abroad experience in Malaysia. For another student it was taking a data dive experience from a class and expanding it to applications for the business setting. The business case can be anything that intrigues and challenges you.

Scholarly Project Pathways


Here are examples from recent graduates that will give you an idea of what a scholarly project can cover:

This Scholarly Project Pathway has been designed for flexibility within the many majors inside the Daniels School. It allows you as the Honors student to collaborate with top faculty on a project that is tailored to your unique interests.

  • Economics will look different from Marketing which will look different from Accounting.
  • The project will take an integrated, business interdisciplinary approach.
  • You will look across coursework and determine how diverse subjects come together to address specific business questions. When done well, this will become a signature, capstone project for your Daniels School experience.

Specifically, students would take the following steps:

  • Sophomore year: students declare preliminary topic in the spring after participating in brown bag seminars to help the student understand the requirements.

  • Junior year: students take higher-level courses that build toward their question. With a stated research issue in sophomore year, advisors and students can better pair to ensure courses are taken junior year that prepare students to research.

  • Senior year: students would take ECON 499 H or the management equivalent in the fall semester and participate in the Senior Showcase in the spring. This provides the students with seven months to work on and complete the scholarly project, providing a framework for success.

Students can begin and complete the project earlier, if they desire. There could be a portfolio option that shows the progress of projects and learnings over the course of their time at the Daniels School. This could include case competitions, in class research projects, etc., but must be directed toward: Making the business case for ___________. 

8 Steps to Making the Business Case for _______________ .

The following is a template that can be adapted by Daniels School Honors students in conjunction with their faculty mentor to create a Scholarly Project that fits the requirements of the Daniels School's Honors program. That said, there is recognition that there will be projects that don’t fit definitively into this formula. That’s fine. Consider this a framework to aid in the completion of a successful Scholarly Project.

Crafting a Business Case allows Honors students to create a project that fits their individual interests and career needs. While a project of this kind will be a helpful step on graduate school applications, it will also provide students with a significant project they can discuss with prospective employers. During the course of the project, students should exercise skills and utilize tools they’ve gained through their coursework. Just remember that at its core, a business case is a justification for a course of action.

Step One: A clear articulation of the problem or challenge you are exploring. Distill the question into a sentence or two that helps you and those reviewing your project to understand the problem you want to solve and the importance of that challenge.

Step Two: List options. What are the possible solutions that you considered? Again, this can be a paragraph or two, but it should demonstrate creativity in problem solving. By reading this, the review team should be able to determine that you didn’t lock on to one answer from the beginning, but instead were curious and explored options.

Step Three: Develop advantages both qualitative and quantitative. What outcomes do you expect that present advantages for the case?

Step Four: Predict the scope of the project. What needs to be done? How long will it or did it take? What are the obvious risks? What are the opportunity costs of the approach you’re recommending over another? What’s the benefit of those recommended actions?

Step Five: Budget. What will your proposal cost? Examine the cost/benefits of the proposed action. This step will look different for each project, but should demonstrate an understanding of the costs associated with your proposal.

Step Six: Outline the project plan. This is where project management kicks in. What are the goals? The scope of the project? The steps that will need to be implemented for an effective conclusion? How do those steps fit on the calendar? How will you communicate the needs and who would be brought in as resources? Again this will fluctuate. If you are doing a legal analysis, this section would look very different from a data mining or block chain project. There needs to be an understanding and explanation of the steps taken, why those were the right ones, any outstanding steps, and the results. Finally, what is your ultimate deliverable?

Step Seven: Summarize your plan and results. Think of this as the executive summary.

Step Eight: Polish the project until it shines. This is the time to clean up grammatical errors.