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Honors Policy

The Department of American Culture Honors program provides an opportunity for concentrators in AC and Latina/o Studies to complete a comprehensive, original independent project under the guidance of a faculty member as the culmination of their undergraduate studies. We recommend that students choose topics on which they have already done some academic study. The Honors thesis may take a variety of forms, for example, a research project, a critical or interpretive project, or a creative or performance piece. Creative and community‐based projects should include a substantive introductory essay that sets forth the premises, aims, and cultural/intellectual contexts of the student's undertaking. Honors requirements consist of regular AC or Latina/o Studies requirements plus the Honors requirements.

AC and Latina/o Studies majors with an overall grade‐point average of 3.5 or higher may apply for an Honors major. The Program spans three terms. Students usually apply in the fall term of their junior year. Though the Honors program occasionally accepts late applications in the Winter or Spring/Summer terms, students' chances of success are greatest if they apply in the fall of the Junior Year and if they have considered a possible focus.

The application process has three stages:

1) In the first semester of his or her junior year, the student must consult with the AC undergraduate advisor to gain permission to enroll in AMCULT 398, the Junior Honors Writing Workshop (3 credits).

2) In the second semester of the junior year, the student must successfully complete AMCULT 398, which involves preparing a thesis prospectus and bibliography and identifying a supervising faculty advisor and a second reader.  

3) At the end of the second semester of the junior year, the student will submit the prospectus and a letter of agreement from the faculty advisor. The student will then meet with the director of American Culture to discuss the prospectus and be accepted into the Honors concentration.

The application consists of a cover sheet, transcript, and prospectus.  

In both semesters of the senior year, the student will enroll in AMCULT 493 (3 credits per semester) to research and write the thesis.

In addition, effective in Fall 2010, as part of AMCULT 493, students in the Honors program will participate in three Friday colloquia. The colloquia are also open to Latina/o Studies major pursuing Honors. The colloquia will focus on peer response to work in progress, as well as on topics of particular usefulness to a given cohort of students. The series will be facilitated by the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) and is intended to provide seniors with ongoing mentoring.

Early selection of an appropriate thesis advisor is crucial to the success of the Honors thesis. Only tenure track faculty members in the Program in American Culture and the Ethnic Studies Programs may serve as Honors thesis advisors. Exceptions to this policy may be made in consultation with the DUS.  Faculty are listed on the Program's web site.

The second reader is a faculty member chosen jointly by the student and the thesis advisor by the end of the fall semester of the senior year. The second reader need not be affiliated with the Program, but her or his area of expertise should be relevant to the thesis topic. The student should consult with the second reader throughout the writing process, and the second reader should comment on thesis drafts as well as contribute to the final evaluation of the thesis.

Submission of Thesis

Students should submit one copy to their primary faculty advisor, one copy to the second reader, and one copy to the Undergraduate Program Assistant in the AC administrative office. The copy submitted to the office should include a cover sheet (providing the student's name, email, and telephone number; thesis title; and the names of the primary advisor and second reader). The primary advisor and the second reader determine the designation of Honors (Honors, High Honors, Highest Honors). Graduating seniors should also complete an Honors Major Release with the AC academic advisor, an Honors Thesis Card through Honors, an application for graduation online, and a distribution worksheet with an Honors advisor.

For Students Studying Abroad in the Junior Year

Students who plan to study abroad during winter term of their junior year may still be eligible for the Honors program, but in the fall term of their junior year they should:

1) discuss their plans with the Major Advisor;

2) establish a relationship with the faculty member who is likely to be their thesis advisor; and

3) complete an independent study course (AMCULT 389 Independent Reading) with their likely faculty advisor. The goals and content of the independent study should be similar to those of AC 398 (the Junior Honors Seminar) as described above.

Questions? Schedule an appointment with the undergraduate advisor.  (Please note: American Culture does not typically offer advising over the summer months. If you need an appointment during this time, please e‐mail the Undergraduate Program Assistant.)