Honors

THE HONORS PROGRAM

The Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies offers qualified seniors the opportunity to participate in its Honors Program. Students selected for this program will take a graduate seminar in Women's Studies or a related field, will complete an honors thesis, and will defend that thesis in an oral examination.  Successful Honors candidates are awarded the degree with honors, high honors, or highest honors. Fourrageres signifying honors are presented to qualifying graduating seniors to be worn at Commencement.  

Rules and Application Forms

 1) Application Deadline. 
Interested students with a 3.5 cumulative GPA must apply for admission to the WGS Honors Program by February 15 of their junior year. At this point, students are not required to have a fully developed proposal or a thesis advisor, but must submit a writing sample (preferably a research paper) and a 1 paragraph description of their proposed topic. Students without a 3.5 GPA may still apply to the WGS Honors Program, but must obtain a faculty sponsor who has agreed to serve as their Honors Advisor in order to do so.  Click here to download the Honors Program application.

2) Faculty Evaluations. 
Once students have applied to the program, the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) will solicit evaluations from at least two of the WGS faculty (core and associated) who have had the student in class. These brief evaluations will assess whether the student is ready for independent research and participation in graduate level coursework. In the unlikely event that the student has taken no courses with WS faculty, then s/he must obtain a faculty sponsor in order to apply to the WGS Honors program. The DUS will assess the quality of the writing sample, with assistance from other faculty members as needed.

3) Acceptance into the Honors Program.
If all of the Faculty Evaluations are positive and the writing sample indicates adequate preparedness for honors level work, the DUS will inform the applicant in writing of her/his acceptance into the WGS Honors Program. If the Faculty Evaluations raise concerns about a student's abilities, the DUS will take the information to the faculty of the Undergraduate Committee for discussion. The Undergraduate Committee may accept the applicant, reject the applicant, or require the student to obtain a letter of sponsorship from a faculty member who agrees to be the student's thesis advisor. Students will receive a decision by March 15 about whether they have been accepted into the program. Accepted students without the required 3.5 GPA will be admitted provisionally and must successfully petition the College Honors Committee for a waiver of this requirement.

4) Thesis Advisor and Project Proposal deadline.
 Accepted students will be required to identify their thesis advisor and submit a project proposal by May 1 of their junior year. This will facilitate progress on the thesis over the summer. (See the WGS Honors Thesis Advisor Form). The thesis advisor must be a WGS core or associated faculty member. Students who do not meet the May 1 deadline will be dropped from the program. In the case of extenuating circumstances, students may petition the DUS for an extension.

5) Human Subjects Research and IRB Applications.
Students whose research projects involve human subjects must obtain IRB approval for their project before beginning their research. The IRB application must be submitted by your faculty advisor, and must be submitted two months prior to the start date for your research to ensure adequate time for IRB processing. (The department recommends that IRB applications be submitted by October 15 or two months prior to contacting the research subjects, whichever comes first).

 6) Thesis.
In keeping with the spirit of WGS, the honors work must both display interdisciplinary scholarship on gender, sexuality and/or women, and engage the themes, texts, principles, approaches, or methods of an additional discipline.

7) Satisfactory Progress. 
Students must register for WGS 495 (Honors Research) both semesters of their senior year (WGS 495A in the Fall, and WGS 495B in the Spring), and must make satisfactory progress as judged by their thesis advisor. Students must also maintain a 3.5 overall GPA to remain in the Honors Program.

8) Committee Formation. 
In consultation with the advisor who approves the honors project, students will choose two additional faculty members to serve on their Honors committee no later than November 1 of their senior year (see Honors Thesis Committee Form. The additional members should include a member of the WGS core or associated faculty who is not a member of the advisor's department, and one other member of the faculty. This committee will guide the student's independent research on a topic of the student's choosing and will judge the quality of the completed Honors Thesis and the student's defense of the thesis in an oral examination.

9) Oral Thesis Defense. 
Students must submit their completed thesis to their thesis committee no later than April 1, and must successfully defend their thesis in an oral examination before their thesis committee no later than April 15 (see the Oral Defense Schedule Form. Successful Honors candidates are awarded the degree with honors, high honors, or highest honors. The degree of Honors is awarded for satisfactory completion of the Honors Program. High Honors represents completion of the program with outstanding performance and a thesis of quality sufficient for oral presentation to scholars in the candidate's field. Highest honors represents completion of the program with exceptional performance and a thesis of a quality suitable for publication. Fourrageres signifying honors are presented to qualifying graduating seniors to be worn at Commencement.

10) Graduate Course Requirement. 
All WGS Honors Students must take one 500-level graduate course during their senior year. This graduate course may be offered by any department, though we especially urge students to seek admittance to WGS and WGS cross-listed courses. Honors Students should consult with the DUS about appropriate courses during course registration periods. The DUS will provide (or will ask other WGS faculty to provide) introductions and recommendations for the Honors students to graduate course instructors.

Recommendations for Senior Year:

Please see link for departmental recommendations for the senior year.

Summary of important WGS Honors Program Departmental Deadlines

Feb 15 (Junior Year): Applications for WGS Honors Program due

May 1 (Junior Year): Thesis Advisor and Project Proposal Form due

May 15 (Junior Year): Discuss with advisor a plan for reading & research over summer

Nov 1 (Senior Year): Honors Thesis Committee Form due

Apr 1 (Senior Year): Completed Thesis due to Committee

Apr 1 (Senior Year): Oral Defense Schedule Form due

Apr 15 (Senior Year): Oral Defense Completed

N.B. - There are also mandatory College requirements in the Fall and Spring semesters, including meetings, deadlines for degree applications, and the electronic submission of the thesis.