All COL majors pursue the award of Departmental Honors through the writing of a Senior Thesis (two semesters) or a Senior Essay (one semester). These Senior projects are written under the guidance of a director and offer each student the chance to conduct original and intensive research on a topic of his/her own choice. The award of Departmental Honors is determined by the COL faculty on the basis of 1) Evaluation of the Senior Thesis or Essay; 2) Overall performance in COL courses; 3) Performance on the Junior Comprehensive exams.
Procedures for Initiating the Honors Thesis/Essay
A student becomes a candidate for Departmental Honors by registering for the Honors Program through the office of the University Registrar. Questions about the procedure are to be addressed to the Honors Coordinator. Students writing an Honors Thesis must enroll in the appropriate tutorials (COL 409 in the fall semester of the senior year, COL 410 in the spring.) Students writing a Senior Essay must enroll in one such tutorial (and will have to complete an additional COL seminar credit in order to achieve the required 11 major credits required for graduation.)
The Honors Thesis/Essay
Honors projects in the COL take many forms, from research papers to the writing of fiction, poetry and translations, and from musical performance to directing, acting, choreography or other dance projects, or projects in the visual or plastic arts Students are required to find and ask a professor to direct their project, ideally in the spring semester of their junior year. After consultation with the director, preliminary research for the project is often pursued in the summer with the goal of further defining the scope of the research and identifying a strategy, reading list and schedule for completion. In the senior year, students pursue either a one-semester tutorial with their director for a senior essay or a two-semester tutorial with their director for a senior thesis.
Honors Theses or Essays are accepted only in the spring semester, even in the case of students who otherwise complete their work in December. Such students are responsible for knowing and adhering to the April deadlines and for ensuring (if they are thesis writers) that they have complied with the requirements of two tutorials.
In the case of students with double majors who present a thesis or essay to be considered by both departments, the two departments in question will make mutually independent recommendations for Honors.
Evaluation of the Honors Thesis/Essay
An Honor Thesis will require two faculty readers, one of whom must be in the COL, and the other of whom must be outside of COL. Although, the student thesis writer may discuss preferences for readers with the tutor, it is the tutor who will contact the proposed readers and make the arrangements.
Eligibility for departmental High Honors requires the completion of a Senior Thesis.
A Senior Essays or other one-semester project must be judged at the same time as Honors Theses, and Senior Essay writers will be eligible for Departmental Honors.
For Senior Honors Theses, the grading scale is High Honors, Honors, or Creditable.
For Senior Essays, it is Honors or Creditable.
Candidates for University Honors may be nominated by the COL faculty if they have received departmental High Honors for the thesis, and satisfied other criteria. If a student has written a single thesis for consideration by two departments, both departments must have arrived at a recommendation of High Honors before the student can be nominated for University Honors.