Honors Work

The Degree of Bachelor of Arts With Honor

A.  By a Thesis or Project

The following are College regulations concerning senior theses and departmental honors. Students must be aware of regulations within their own departments or programs and are strongly advised to check the appropriate websites or meet with appropriate faculty, including department or program chairs. Some departments or programs also require students to submit a proposal or prospectus in the spring semester of their junior year.

In order to be eligible for departmental honors a student must

  1. prior to their senior year, have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.00 in her college work or at least a 3.00 grade point average in her major field;
  2. have the approval of her department, major committee, or special honors committee;
  3. devote two semesters (8 credits) to a single project that culminates in a final thesis or project. Ordinarily, these 8 credits are entirely independent study (395) (4 credits in each semester of a student’s senior year). Some departments allow students to divide these 8 credits between a 2–4 credit capstone or senior seminar (at the 300-level) usually in the fall semester and an independent study (395) usually in the spring semester. Students should check with their thesis advisor or department chair to see which options are available.

Ordinarily honors work shall be undertaken in the field of the major, but it may be pursued in another field or fields with the approval of the department(s) or major committee(s) concerned and of the Dean of Studies.

The Thesis Committee. Once a student has the necessary approvals, they should convene a thesis committee, consisting of three faculty: their thesis advisor, another member of their major department or program, and a faculty member not affiliated with their department or program (the “outside reader”). The thesis advisor must be on board immediately; the second faculty member should be identified by the end of the fall semester of the senior year; the third member (outside the department or program) need not be identified until the beginning of the spring semester of the senior year. Students are advised not to wait until the end of the spring semester to identify a third reader.

A student writing a thesis in her special major must convene a special honors committee consisting of at least five faculty: their special major advisors (2) and three other faculty. Such a student should schedule a meeting with the Dean of Studies in the fall semester of their senior year to discuss the members of her special honors committee. All five members must be identified and approved by the Dean of Studies by December 1 of their senior year.

The Thesis Defense. Once the student has completed her thesis, they will submit copies to members of their committee and schedule their thesis defense usually in late April or early May.

Upon the successful completion of the project, a student shall be recommended to the Academic Administrative Board by the department, major committee, or special honors committee concerned for the appropriate honors degree. An honors thesis or project that does not culminate in a recommendation for a degree with honor shall be recorded on the student's transcript as independent study.

For information on submitting a completed thesis to the library, see Thesis Manuscript.