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Departmental Honors

Eligibility

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. The student does background reading and research, writes a substantial paper, takes a written examination on the material covered, and discusses the work done in an oral examination with his or her Honors committee (consisting of the Director and two other professors chosen for each project). Each Honors student works closely with a faculty member of his or her own choosing to develop and pursue a project for which 6 hours of credit are earned, 3 counting towards major requirements. For further options concerning eligibility, topics, and credit, see reverse side.

Sample Calendar

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 meets with his or her 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, he or she registers for 420:495 Honors project for the fall semester.

If possible, the student begins reading and develops preliminary drafts of the topic proposal during the summer.

   
September 6, 2017
Confirm registration with Honors coordinator.
October 4, 2017
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. 
March 9, 2018
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.
March 23, 2018
The completed paper is submitted, typed, in four copies. Normally the paper will be 30 or more pages, in French.
April 2, 2018
The student completes the three-hour comprehensive written examination on the reading list.
April 6, 2018
The candidate takes the oral examination 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.  Of the 6 credits earned in 495-6, 3 may be counted towards major requirements.  Credit is contingent upon completion of both semesters of work.

Options

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.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 in Tours for Junior Year Abroad 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.

Interdisciplinary Projects

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.

Research Thesis Option

Advanced students who wish to engage in a project of exceptional depth and breadth may elect the research thesis option. Depending on the scope of the project, 8 or 12 credits are earned (determined by Sept. 3). In some cases, funding can be obtained through S.A.S. to assist with costs of conducting special research projects. For the most part, the calendar corresponds to that on the previous page:

By April 27, 2017 of the junior year, the qualified student presents to his or her director, to a second reader, and to the Honors coordinator a topic with a broad outline of the research to be done. The student registers for 420:497 for the Fall. Under the director's guidance, the student refines the topic and does background reading over the summer. During the Fall semester, the final research design and the first chapter are submitted to the director as evidence of progress and the basis of the grade for 420:497. No later than March 30, 2018 the completed thesis (50 or more pages) is presented to the director, the other two members of the Honors Committee and the Honors coordinator. An oral defense takes place before the Honors Committee during the first week of April. The examining committee then assigns the final grade for 420:498 and the level of Honors.

If you have any questions, please contact the Department of French at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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