Juniors with a cumulative average of at least 3.0, and 3.4 or above in French courses, become eligible to apply for the Departmental Honors Program. The Departmental Honors Program is a unique opportunity for in-depth, challenging, and self-directed work in an area of one's own interest. Honors is not only a distinction awarded at graduation and an excellent preparation for graduate and professional work, it serves as the intellectual and personal capstone to undergraduate studies.
The Honors project
The Honors project will be an in-depth study of a literary or cultural problem of interest to the student. It can be conducted entirely within the French Department or be interdisciplinary in nature. Students double majoring may work in collaboration with their other department or program. The student does background reading and research, writes a substantial paper, and discusses the work done in an oral defense with their Honors committee (consisting of the Director and two other professors). Each Honors student works closely with a faculty member of their own choosing to develop and pursue a project for which 6 hours of credit are earned, counting towards major requirements.
Spring semester of Junior year: The student begins by consulting the chair, the undergraduate director, or the Honors coordinator about potential topics and the selection of a director and an Honors committee, in the spring of the junior year. The student consults with their director to define the topic and develop a reading list of primary and secondary readings related to the topic and to begin preparing the formal proposal. As the student needs to work closely with the director, the choice of the best professor for the project is extremely important. Understanding and communication (along with hard work) are the key to a successful honors project. Once the student has found a director, they register for 420:495 Honors project for the fall semester (or equivalent credit in the other department in the case of an interdisciplinary thesis). If possible, the student begins reading and develops preliminary drafts of the topic proposal during the summer. If possible, the student begins reading and develops preliminary drafts of the topic proposal during the summer.
|Confirm registration with Honors coordinator.|
|A description and justification of the topic (2-3 pp.) and the reading list (or program of research) are submitted to the Honors coordinator and to each member of the Honors committee for approval. During the fall semester the student must demonstrate to the director significant progress. In most cases this means doing most or all of the necessary reading or other research, and submitting a draft of a portion of the essay. The kind of writing to be appropriately submitted at this point will vary from project to project, and should be determined in consultation with the director. Regular meetings during the fall semester between student and director to keep track of progress and to evaluate the development of research are very important. Students making satisfactory progress register for 420:496 for the spring (or 420:498 in the case of an interdisciplinary thesis).|
|A full draft of the paper should be submitted to the director. Often it is when the whole argument has been put into place that both problems and strengths become fully apparent, and the director may be able to give the student particularly valuable advice at this point in time. The student and the advisor should also come to a clear understanding about formatting of the final submission (particularly the system to be used for citations and references) at this time.|
|The completed paper is submitted, in four copies, or electronically, if committee members agree to it. Normally the paper will be 30 or more pages, in French.|
|The candidate takes the defense with the director and the Honors committee on the Honors paper. The director and the Honors committee determine the level of Departmental Honors: Highest Honors, High Honors, Honors, or credit, with no Honors. Course grade is assigned by the director. Credit is contingent upon completion of both semesters of work.|
The French Department Honors Program provides a variety of options for students in special circumstances or with differing interests, and encourages them to participate in Honors. These are some of the most frequent cases:
Students graduating in January; students doing student teaching; part-time students. Students following non-traditional degree paths are encouraged to participate in Honors if eligible. They should consult the Honors coordinator well in advance in order to establish a calendar like the one above, usually covering the last two semesters of residence.
Junior Year Abroad
Eligible students participating in Study Abroad programs during their Junior year should consult the Director there about their interest in developing an Honors project. They should notify the Honors coordinator of their interest and, if possible, contact a potential director and advisors by mail or phone. They should also plan to consult with the Honors coordinator or their director immediately upon return to the U.S., if possible before the start of the fall semester.
Students who are double majors and who are eligible for Honors in two departments, or who for other reasons wish to undertake an Honors project with an interdisciplinary focus, should consult the Honors coordinator well in advance to define how their project may be arranged to meet Departmental Major and Honors requirements.