American Studies

Honors in American Studies

Candidates for Honors in American Studies must complete and receive honors on a senior thesis. The American Studies Department encourages proposals for honors theses; thesis options include research projects, critical essays, fiction, and other artistic productions.  Honors thesis proposals are due in early May of the junior year and require the approval of the American Studies faculty. There is no required GPA for prospective thesis writers. American Studies does not require the completion of Gen Ed expectations in order to be eligible for honors.

During senior year, thesis writers enroll in an honors thesis tutorial (AMST 409 and 410) with a thesis advisor. The advisor is usually a core faculty member in American Studies (see the core faculty profiles on the AMST website), but sometimes an advisor is not a member of the American Studies Department’s core faculty (in this case the major should consult with the faculty advisor).  Joint majors may submit a thesis to both majors if the topic is appropriate for each field and the other major allows double thesis submission. The honors thesis is due in mid-April on a date specified by the Registrar’s Office, rather than at the end of the spring term.

Two faculty readers other than the honors thesis advisor evaluate the thesis; each writes a substantive review of the thesis (given to the thesis writer). The readers’ recommendations determine the honors ranking. If the evaluators’ recommendations are in conflict, the Department will arrange for a third faculty reading. If a senior receives “Honors” or “High Honors” on the honors thesis, this is printed on the Wesleyan diploma and listed in the commencement bulletin.  If the readers recommend “Credit” rather than honors for the thesis, “Honors in American Studies” is not awarded.  The advisor, however, determines the transcript grades (both terms) for the thesis tutorials.  

Semester-long senior essays or projects (AMST 403 or 404) do not qualify the major to stand for “Honors in American Studies” although they fulfill the senior capstone experience requirement. The advisor is the sole reader of the essay or project, determines the due date, and assigns the transcript grade.  Again, the advisor is usually a core faculty member in American Studies, but sometimes an advisor is not a member of the American Studies Department’s core faculty (in this case the major should consult with the faculty advisor).