SENIOR HONORS THESIS and GRADUATION WITH HONORS
Students wishing to graduate with departmental honors in Art History or Urban Design and Architecture Studies must complete a Senior Honors Thesis. The process of writing a thesis requires students to master a body of existing scholarship, to conduct in-depth research, and to write a substantial text (ca. 40 pages) presenting an original analysis of a topic. The thesis should present new information and ideas of interest to specialists, while being written in clear language accessible to non-specialists. It is a challenging yet richly rewarding process, serving as a capstone to students’ undergraduate studies and as a first independent project of the rigor required in graduate or professional school.
Admission to the Senior Honors Thesis program requires a GPA of 3.65 or higher in Art History/Urban Design courses and also an overall grade point average in CAS of at least 3.65. However, the required GPA is not, by itself, sufficient for admission to the Honors Thesis program.
The Spring 2023 deadline for proposals is March 31, 2023. After this date, the Director of Undergraduate Studies (Art History) or the Director of the Urban Design and Architecture Studies Program review all applications, and they will consult with the faculty and the department chair to decide whom to admit into the senior honors thesis program. Applications will be approved only if the faculty (and the applicant's proposed thesis advisor) are convinced that students have proposed a significant topic and are capable of completing the thesis with distinction.
Students accepted into the Senior Honors Thesis program will register for a 8 credits of coursework in 2023-2024. URDS students will take a 4-point seminar during the fall semester and a 4-point Independent Study with their faculty advisor in spring. Art History students will take two 4 credit Independent Studies in successive semesters with their thesis adviser All students writing theses are expected to meet regularly with their advisor throughout the year, including when they are taking an Honors Thesis seminar.
Students will receive grades for the Honors Thesis seminar and for the Independent Study. The awarding of honors, however, is a separate process. Students must submit their completed thesis to their advisor at least four weeks before the last day of class in the spring semester. The advisor will invite two other faculty members to read and comment on the thesis. Students will then meet with all three readers to conduct an oral defense of their thesis. This should be scheduled, in consultation with the faculty advisor, to take place before the last day of spring classes.
It is only at the conclusion of the oral defense that the committee, as a whole, will decide what honors, if any, the students should be granted. To receive honors, students must have maintained a GPA of 3.65 or higher throughout senior year. The committee may award no honors, Honors, or High Honors.