What are Specialized Honors?

Specialized Honors are awarded at graduation and noted on the diploma as “With Honors in (a specific field, fields, or interdisciplinary area).” This award indicates that you have:

  1. Written and successfully defended orally a substantive thesis on a topic within an academic discipline, disciplines, or interdisciplinary area.
  2. Submitted the completed thesis in proper form to the Library @ http://walter.drew.edu/ETD/
  3. Achieved an overall cumulative average of 3.4 or higher, and a cumulative average of 3.5 or higher in the courses included in the major or area.

Eligibility for Specialized Honors

Each spring semester those students with junior-class standing (48 credit hours or more earned at Drew), who have spent four semesters at Drew, and who have maintained a 3.1 grade point average overall, will receive a letter of invitation and an application form for Specialized Honors from the Director of the Specialized Honors Program. (Students who transferred after the beginning of sophomore year may need to petition the Honors Committee for permission to pursue Specialized Honors.) You may do Specialized Honors work only in your last two semesters at Drew. To receive honors at graduation your grade point average must have reached 3.4 overall. You must also have a 3.5 grade point average in courses included in the major or area. If you do not meet the GPA or Drew credit hours eligibility requirements to begin an honors project, you may, with the strong support of your major department or program, petition the Honors Committee for permission to pursue Specialized Honors. However, if your petition is granted, you must meet the GPA requirements by graduation in order for honors to be awarded.

Procedures for Eligible Candidates: Now what do I do?

If you are eligible for Specialized Honors and are interested in writing a thesis, you should speak immediately to your adviser and/or to your department/program chair and discuss doing honors in your field. Your adviser or department/program chair will also inform you if your department or program has any additional requirements for students wishing to proceed with specialized honors. You should then discuss your proposed thesis topic with the faculty member you wish to ask to be your thesis adviser. Have your honors application form signed by both the department/program chair and by your thesis adviser.

Application Form: What do I do with the signed form?

The application form should be submitted to the Director of the Specialized Honors Program no later than the end of the fall drop/add period of your senior year. The completed application, once signed by both your department/program chair and your thesis adviser, represents your nomination to participate in the Specialized Honors Program. A copy of the Application Form is available here and can also be picked up from the Director of the Specialized Honors Program.

410/411: How can I get credit for this project?

Most students doing Specialized Honors enroll in 410 (fall) and 411 (spring), except in a few departments where a departmental research course is preferred. Enrolling in 410/411 allows you four or eight credit hours for the research and writing of your thesis. You may write an honors thesis without enrolling in one or both of these courses, but it is not advisable. With your fall grades, you will receive a grade of “X” for 410, which will be converted to a letter grade upon completion of the thesis in the spring. If for some reason you cannot complete your honors thesis but your adviser feels that you have completed work adequate for credit, you may still receive four or eight credits for independent study. You may also receive independent study credit and a grade for your honors work if it is completed but judged not worthy of honors by your committee.

Selecting a Topic: What shall I write about?

You will be proposing a topic when you submit your application form to the Honors Committee. Discuss with your thesis adviser the topic which interests you as well as the scope, breadth, and depth appropriate for a thesis in your field. This proposed topic may be revised if you and your adviser consider it necessary as the work progresses. Included at the end of this guide is a listing of thesis topics to give you some idea of the variety of topics undertaken in the past. Thesis topics often develop from course or seminar papers or from independent study projects.

A thesis will not necessarily be expected to contain original research or a fresh contribution to knowledge. In your thesis, you will be expected, however, either to give fresh statement to a subject of intellectual importance in your field or to pursue an investigation of some magnitude and to report the significance of the findings to general knowledge in the area of investigation. A thesis may also be a creative project. Your thesis adviser can help you decide whether or not the topic/project you wish to propose is appropriate.

Writing the Thesis: How do I proceed?

Each discipline approaches research differently, so the most important part of beginning work on your thesis is to plan carefully in close consultation with your adviser. As your work proceeds, stay in regular touch with your adviser. You may want to arrange weekly or bi-weekly appointments with him/her to report on your progress, ask questions, or get feedback. Before you begin to write, discuss your outline or overall plan with your adviser and then, as you begin working on a draft, give your adviser sections for comment as you complete them. Also ask your adviser to recommend the style manual most commonly used in your discipline and use it as a guide for writing and documentation.

Your adviser can help you identify the major bibliographic and research tools in your field. The reference division of the University Library is also prepared to address the special research needs of honors candidates. You may want to make an appointment with a reference librarian for assistance when you are compiling a bibliography or research materials. The Interlibrary loan Office can secure materials for you from other libraries if they are not available in our library. In addition, many large research libraries are within easy commuting distance of Drew.

Selecting a Thesis Committee: Who will read my thesis? What will they be looking for?

Your thesis committee reads your thesis and serves as the examining board at your oral defense. The committee consists of four members, three members chosen by you:

  1. Your adviser
  2. A faculty reader from your department/program
  3. A faculty reader from a different department but not necessarily a different division.
  4. One member from a department not in your division, who is appointed by the Honors Committee and who will serve as the chair of your oral defense. For interdisciplinary theses, the committee may be expanded by one or two members.

Early in the year, discuss the composition of your committee with your adviser. When you have decided on the committee and the faculty members have agreed to serve, have them sign the Honors Committee Form. Return the completed form to the Director of the Specialized Honors Program no later than September 25.

Completing the Thesis: When is my thesis due?

There are a series of preliminary drafts that are due during the fall and spring semesters (please consult the Honors Calendar). After committee members have had time to look at the thesis, check with them for comments and then consult with your adviser about how to incorporate their comments and suggestions in the final draft.

The final draft of the thesis is due to your committee members by April 15. On April 15, deliver the final draft to all your readers. This is the draft on which your defense will be based.

Evaluation of the Thesis: What will my readers be looking for?

In evaluating your thesis, the committee will consider:

  1. the importance of the topic;
  2. the quality of the content;
  3. evidence of use of appropriate sources and reference materials;
  4. the cogency of argument;
  5. the validity of procedures;
  6. the quality of organization;
  7. the quality of writing;
  8. evidence of careful thought and creativity;
  9. the competence of the oral defense.

Oral Defense: When will it be? What will it be like?

  1. Making the arrangements
    The oral defense takes place between April 18 and April 29. It is your responsibility to schedule your defense, in consultation with the Honors Committee member assigned to chair the defense. After checking the time with all of your committee members, you should arrange a place for your oral defense by phoning the Scheduling Office at ext. 3308. The defense is a public event and must be announced to the University community. The Defense Announcement Form – including your name, the final title of your thesis, and the time and place of the defense – must be emailed to the Director of Specialized Honors (krhodes@drew.edu) two weeks before the defense. She will announce defenses by e-mail each week. You may make the arrangements to schedule your defense before you turn in your final draft.
  2. The Defense
    All members of your committee will attend the defense. The Honors Committee member acts as chair of the oral defense. Since this is a public event, you may invite family and friends. The defense lasts about an hour. Usually, the defense begins with a brief presentation by the honors candidate. In this presentation, you might discuss: your choice of topic, your approach to the topic, your research process, your findings, and the implications of your findings. You should plan this presentation in consultation with your thesis adviser. During the defense, the members of your committee will ask questions focusing on the content and method of the thesis and on its broader implications. At the end of the defense, you and everyone else who is not a member of your committee will be asked to leave the room while your committee discusses the defense and the thesis. The members of the committee then vote on whether the thesis is worthy of honors. The committee members make their evaluation on the basis of the thesis submitted, the year’s work of research, and the defense. Three of the four members of the committee must support the committee’s evaluation. The committee will come to one of the four following evaluations:

    a. the thesis is worthy of honors without revision
    b. the thesis is worthy of honors with minor revisions;
    c. the thesis may be worthy of honors after major revisions;
    d. the thesis is not worthy of honors.

    After the committee deliberates and votes, the chair will invite you back into the room and inform you of the result. If revisions are required, the committee will give you specific instructions about how to revise and will agree that either the adviser only should review the revised draft (usually the case for minor revisions) or that the whole committee must approve the revised draft (usually the case for major revisions).

The defense must be scheduled no sooner than 1 week after the date on which a final draft of the thesis is received by the Committee.

Submitting the Completed Thesis: When? Where? In what format?

After the defense, make any revisions or corrections requested and have the final draft reviewed by your adviser or committee. The Director of the Specialized Honors Program will inform you of the date, about two weeks before commencement, on which you must upload the PDF to the Library @ http://walter.drew.edu/ETD.

  1. Instructions for uploading the PDF online are here: http://walter.drew.edu/ETD/CLA_Checklist.pdf
  2. Include a 200-500 word abstract of the thesis;

Once you have submitted the thesis, your advisor will receive an email asking whether it is “OK to publish,” to which the advisor will reply CCing you and the Director of Specialized Honors. You have not completed the requirements for Specialized Honors until this step has been completed. Only then will your Honors will be included in the commencement program and conferred at graduation.

Dropping Specialized Honors: What do I do if I can not or do not wish to finish my project?

If it becomes necessary for you to drop out of the Specialized Honors Program, the following deadlines must be observed:

  1. During Fall Drop/Add Period:
    Fill out a drop/add form to drop 410. Have the form signed by both the Director of the Specialized Honors Program and your honors thesis adviser.
  2. After the Fall Drop/Add Period:
    You may petition the Committee on Academic Standing to convert specialized honors to an independent study or drop the thesis with a “W”. (Petitions to convert to an independent study are routinely approved). Obtain a petition form from the Registrar’s Office. Have the form signed by your major adviser and by the Director of the Specialized Honors Program, then return the form to the Registrar’s Office. If you are converting the thesis work to independent study, you will need to determine with your thesis adviser the number of credits (four or eight) of independent study you will complete.

Honors Calendar and Deadlines

This Year’s Calendar

Senior Year

September 2015: By the end of the Fall Drop/Add Period, your application must be delivered to the Chair of the Honors Committee. No reminders will be sent to you. Work with your thesis adviser to develop a schedule and plan for the year’s work. You must complete and email the Honors Committee form to the Director of Specialized Honors (ebaring@drew.edu), no later than September 25.

October 8, 2015: Honors Colloquium and Reception in Crawford Hall, Ehinger Center at 6:00 pm. Your presence at the Colloquium is mandatory. At this event, you will present your project to the other Honors Candidates and faculty advisers. This is an opportunity for you to get to know the other candidates and to share your research with them. Members of the Honors Committee and your adviser will also attend. During this month you will be assigned an Honors Chair for your thesis committee.

December 2015: By mid-November you should have met with your entire committee to discuss your thesis plan and determine how each committee member would like to be involved with your work over the course of the year. Plan with your adviser how you will proceed with your thesis work during the break between semesters. You should complete one chapter or the equivalent by the Fall reading days.

End of Fall Semester, 2015: You will receive an “X” in Honors 410, which will be changed to a grade upon completion of the thesis. If you have enrolled in both Honors 410 and 411, you will then receive the same grade for both courses at the end of the spring term.

January 2016: January Term presents an opportunity for research and writing. Plan your January work with your thesis adviser, so that you make the best use of this time.

January 19, 2016: Draft or detailed progress report due to your adviser (nature to be determined with your adviser prior to the end of the fall semester).

February 19, 2016: A first draft of your thesis should be presented to your committee for critical reading, corrections, and suggestions.

No later than March 25, 2016: The full draft of your thesis is due to all members of your committee. Make arrangements for the thesis defense two weeks before the date of the defense, so that it may be announced by campus-wide e-mail. You must consult with your thesis committee members so that a convenient day and time may be found. It will be easier to find a time convenient for everyone if you schedule your defense before the last week of classes.

April 15, 2015: Your thesis in a draft ready for the defense must be presented to your adviser and other committee members.

May 3, 2015: Honors Banquet, Founders Room, Mead Hall, 6:00-8:00 pm. The annual Honors Banquet is held in honor of all candidates. The thesis advisers and faculty members of the Honors Committee will also be invited.

No later than May 6, 2015: One PDF of the thesis with proper title page and format must be uploaded to the Library. With your thesis, also turn in: an abstract of 200-500 words as part of the PDF as well as a signed copy of the ETD Release Form.

Honors Thesis Format

PDF: Save your thesis in PDF format and upload it to the library @ http://walter.drew.edu/ETD

Type-face: Theses must be double-spaced in 12 pt. font, ideally Times Roman.

Margins: There must be a left-hand margin of 1 1/2 inches and a 1-inch right-hand margin. The top margin should be 1 inch, excluding the page number, and the bottom margin should be 1 1/2 inches from the end of the text or footnotes. Margins are to be maintained throughout the text of your thesis.

Page Numbering: Number pages throughout the text in Arabic numerals in the upper right-hand corner. Numbering begins with the first page of your text and continues through the bibliography and appendices. Pages for front matter (title page, dedication, abstract and table of contents) should not be numbered.

Footnotes: Footnotes may appear at the bottom of the page, the end of each chapter, or at the end of the text according to the style manual or specifications of your department or area.

Quotations: Quotations should follow the style manual or specifications of the department/program.

Bibliography: The bibliography should follow the style manual or specifications of the department/program.

Special Formatting: Art works, musical compositions, photographs, etc. may require special accommodations which should be decided on early in your work in consultation with your thesis adviser and the Systems Librarian.

The Abstract: A summary or abstract of 200-500 words must accompany the copy of the thesis which is deposited with the Reference Counter of the Library. This abstract should be included in the PDF immediately following the title page.

ETD Release Form: This form gives the library permission to post the PDF of your thesis on the library’s web site. Please print and sign the form (http://walter.drew.edu/ETD/ETDRelease.pdf) and deliver it to the library.

Contents: The thesis should contain the following sections:

  1. Dedication and/or Introduction (if desired)
  2. Title Page
  3. Un-numbered Abstract
  4. Table of Contents
  5. Text of the Thesis
  6. Bibliography
  7. Appendices (if appropriate)

Sample Title Page:

Drew University
College of Liberal Arts

The Spirit of the Nation:
The Young Ireland Movement

A Thesis in History


Brian Boardingham

Submitted in Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements
for the Degree of
Bachelor in Arts
With Specialized Honors in History

May 1985

Past Thesis Titles: A Selection

The Significance of the Masses of Dufay to the History of Renaissance and Sacred Music

The Role of Black Americans in the American Foreign Policy Apparatus

The Snake in Ancient Art

The Vietnam Film in Popular Culture

Future of the Intelligence Agencies in the Post-Cold War Period

Behavioral and Physiological Effects of a Vitamin E Deficiency in Rats

The New York Legal Aid Strike: A Multi-Disciplinary Strike

Jung’s Image of God

An Economic Analysis of Canadian Health Insurance

Karl Marx and the Paris Commune

Preparation of Imidazole, Benzodioxane, and Cyclic Guanidine Derivatives and Examination of Their Biological Activity

La técnica narrativa en dos novelas de Mario Vargas Llosa: La tía tula y el escribidor y Pantaleón y los visitadores

Rimbaud, La naissance d’un nouveau langage poètique

Mazinodol Analogs as Potential Inhibitors of the Cocaine Binding Sites

The Attribution of Guilt in Rape Cases

Europe’s Role in the Post-Cold War Transatlantic Security Relationship

Kinship and the State: An African-American Family 1880-1994