Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, but you must petition the Honors Faculty Advisory Committee before you begin and have achieved the 3.5 GPA in your major by the time you graduate. It is a good idea to try to estimate your senior GPA to see if it is possible to achieve the 3.5 by graduation.
The honors regulations state that students may do an honors thesis only in their last two semesters. If you plan to graduate early, you may begin work on an honors thesis in the spring of your junior year.
Students studying abroad in the fall of their senior year have taken one of two approaches to specialized honors work, both of which are acceptable to the Honors Committee.
While most students pursue honors theses in the major field or area, the Honors Faculty Advisory Committee has approved requests from students to pursue a thesis in a minor field, particularly when that is an interdisciplinary area (Jewish Studies, Latin American Studies, African-American/African Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, etc.) and the student plans to take an interdisciplinary approach in the thesis, drawing on the skills and knowledge base of both the major and minor areas. If you wish to propose such a thesis, you should write a letter petitioning the Honors Faculty Advisory Committee for permission; it should be accompanied by a letter of support from a faculty member in the area in which you are proposing to work. These documents can be conveyed to the Honors Faculty Advisory Committee by the Director of Specialized Honors (Prof. Bjorg Larson).
Honors regulations say that you may only do one honors thesis. Double majors have petitioned the Honors Committee requesting permission to do two theses. These petitions have in general been denied. The Honors Committee has usually recommended one of three alternatives:
Creative theses are permitted for majors who have focused in creative or performance areas. Creative theses must be accompanied by a substantial essay explaining the goals and process of the project. In some cases, departments have an additional process for review and approval of creative theses. If you are thinking of completing such a project, check with your department chair during the spring of your junior year. Substantial prior work in the area is generally the expectation of students completing creative theses.
Honors candidate may petition the Honors Faculty Advisory Committee for permission to proceed with a thesis in some way not directly covered by the guidelines (change of structure, schedule, or field). In most cases, a petition should include a letter from the student explaining the request and the reasons behind it and a letter of support from the thesis adviser or department. Petitions are granted only when the Committee sees compelling reasons for the change. Petitions can be conveyed to the Honors Faculty Advisory Committee by the Director of Specialized Honors (Prof. Bjorg Larson).
CLA honors students are eligible to apply for an assigned locker after October 15th.
You will not receive specialized honors at graduation, but you can still receive credit for your work as an independent study. The amount of credit you receive for your work depends on how much work you have completed and should be worked out with your thesis adviser.
No, you should choose a thesis adviser because he or she has expertise in the area you are working in and/or because you believe that you will work well with that particular faculty member.
The degree of involvement of second and third readers depends largely on your reasons for asking them to be on your committee. If you’ve asked a reader to participate because you hope to draw on her/his expertise in a particular content area or methodology, you will probably want that reader to be involved in reading and discussion of the thesis before the final draft. In other cases, you may just want to give the reader your draft on the appropriate due dates. When you ask faculty members to be on your committee, you should discuss this issue with them.
Students who have any concerns about their thesis committee can seek assistance from the Director of Specialized Honors (Prof. Bjorg Larson), who can intervene on their behalf in Thesis Committee discussions. Students also have the right to appeal Thesis Committee decisions to the Committee on Academic Standing.
The Honors Committee has some specific formatting requirements which are indicated in the Guide to Specialized Honors. The documentation style you use should be the one which is used most commonly in your discipline. Ask your thesis adviser what style that is and what style manual the department recommends that you use.