Departmental Honors Program

Admission to the Departmental Honors Program in French or Italian is based on the following criteria:

  • the intellectual viability and originality of the Honors Project
  • the feasibility of completing the Project during the student's senior year
  • the student's linguistic proficiency in French or Italian, as the thesis must be written in the target language
  • the intellectual promise of the candidate based on previous coursework in the Department
  • the approval of the Honors advisor and of one faculty member who is familiar with the student's intellectual and linguistic performance. Honors students must maintain through graduation a 3.33 overall GPA and a 3.5 Departmental GPA.

In order to graduate with Departmental Honors, the applicant must:

1. Satisfy all course requirements for the track in which he or she chooses to enroll (Culture/Civilization, Language, Literature, Teaching, Interdisciplinary Studies) or for the major in Italian.

2. Designate one course numbered above FREN:4000 in French or ITAL:4000 in Italian as an Honors course in which s/he will pursue work specially agreed upon with the course professor. ITAL:2550, if taken for 4 s.h., can also be designated as an Honors course in Italian.  The course designated for Honors typically involves doing an additional or substitute project for the course—e.g., reading independently and/or applying critical perspectives from a supplementary area or writing longer research papers or translation projects.

3. Complete an Honors Thesis in the target language of at least thirty typed pages (in the format recommended for a research paper by the MLA Handbook ). To do this, the student must enroll for FREN:4995 or ITAL:4998 (Honors Research and Thesis in French or in Italian) with the professor who agrees to direct the Honors Thesis. Together the student and thesis director establish a list of appropriate readings and a timetable for course meetings and completion of the thesis. The candidate must receive Bs or higher in both the designated Honors course and in Honors Research and Thesis in order to maintain Honors candidacy.

4. Successfully defend the thesis in an oral examination conducted by a Departmental committee consisting of at least three professors (two for honors in Italian), one of whom will be the Honors Director. The success of the defense will be judged according to the quality of the thesis and the candidate's response to questions during the oral defense. The candidate will form the examination committee in consultation with the thesis director and is responsible for consulting as appropriate with members of the committee.

Interested students should contact the French Honors Director (Michel Laronde) or the Italian Honors Director (Cinzia Blum) by the beginning of the first semester of their senior year at the latest.