In order to graduate with University Honors, a student must maintain a 3.5 cumulative GPA, complete two honors courses from HONR 300 (Honors Seminar) or HONR 301 (Honors Contract) at least one of which must be an Honors Seminar, and complete and successfully defend an Honors Thesis in the department of their major area of study.
Based on faculty availability and areas of interest, one or more Honors seminars are available for Honors students each semester with a limited enrollment of 15 students. Honors Program members in good standing (minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA) can register for an Honors seminar through the regular online registration portal. Enrollment in the Honors seminars follows the usual priority system based on number of credit hours completed so it is not unusual for Honors seminars to fill early in the registration period.
Recent Honors Seminar course titles include: Monstrous Mirrors, From Birth to Conception, Renewal of the Demoralized Schoolhouse, Hitchcock’s Cinema, Nanking Massacre: Film & Fiction, Germans & Jews and many others.
For students who are double (or triple!) majors or who plan to complete a semester of study elsewhere (Washington DC semester, International semester, student teaching, etc.) completion of an Honors Contract may be a good option. The Honors Contract may be substituted for one of the required Honors seminars for students with an already packed academic schedule.
The Honors Contract (HONR 301) allows Honors students to combine Honors Credit with an upper level class already included on their schedule, assuming distinctive work above and beyond existing course requirements is completed. The additional work must be agreed upon in consultation with the faculty member offering the course and should amount to additional work of at least 10 pages (or a suitably equivalent project for non-writing-based courses). The additional project will be recorded in a contractual document (the "Honors Contract") to be signed by all parties (student, faculty member, and Honors Director) and used to register the student for the additional credit within the first week of class. If students fail to complete the additional work, they still get regular course credit but do not receive Honors Credit. Completion of Honors 301 would satisfy only one of the course requirements needed to graduate with University Honors.
Students with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher may apply to their major department for permission to undertake an Honors thesis/project. Once the student's proposal has been reviewed and permission for the project granted, the student may register for credit towards graduation.
The requirements for the thesis/project are as follows:
- The subject and methodology of the project must come from the major field, but each student identifies and develops his or her own topic.
- Each project must be a unified, scholarly project - a thoroughly researched and documented thesis in the humanities, arts, history, social and natural sciences, or performance or portfolio projects in the performing and creative arts.
- The students will be required to explain and defend the project to a faculty committee comprised of at least three members, one of whom must be from outside the student's major department.
- Each project is the product of the independent work of the student but is supervised by a faculty member in the major discipline and reviewed by a faculty committee.
An archive of recently completed senior theses/projects can be found on the library website.