Any student with a strong academic background may apply to complete an honors project in the department or program of her major. A successfully completed thesis project leads to the awarding of the bachelor of arts degree with the notation "honors," "high honors" or "highest honors" in the student's major subject. Honors students' names and the titles of their thesis projects are listed in the Commencement program.
You may only earn honors in one major.
Eligibility for admission to the honors program is determined by each department or program. Consult the director of honors in your department or program about eligibility and deadlines.
2015-16 Directors of honors by department (Word document)
You must be in residence in Northampton for the duration of the honors thesis project.
Honor Board Sanctions
To be enrolled in departmental honors you must certify that you have not been sanctioned by the Honor Board at a serious level (one-third-step grade reduction or more) for a serious violation in your sophomore, junior or senior year.
If you receive a sanction from the Honor Board during your senior year you must convert your honors project to a special studies.
Timeline and Dates
If you are considering a thesis project, talk with the director of honors in your department or program during your junior year.
Important dates: January graduates (Word document)
Important dates: May graduates (Word document)
You will need a faculty adviser for your thesis project. Consult with the director of honors in your department if you are unsure about whom to ask.
Your primary adviser must be a member of the Smith faculty in your major; faculty at other Five College institutions may serve as second readers.
Honors students must be enrolled in at least 12 credits (which may include the thesis). Ada Comstock Scholars should consult the Ada Comstock Scholar dean about credit.
The Honors Project Course
You must be enrolled in an honors course when you undertake a thesis project. There are three options for the course:
- One-semester course (431; 8 credits)—fall semester only of the senior year
- Yearlong course (430D; 8 credits)—4 credits each semester
- Yearlong course (432D; 12 credits)—6 credits in each semester
Not all departments offer all options; ask the director of honors or consult the course catalog.
While you may enroll in the course during registration in the semester before you start your project, your proposal must be approved by your department or program and the Subcommittee on Honors and Independent Programs (SHIP) before you are officially registred in the course, usually during the third week of the semester in which you start your thesis.
Developing an Honors Thesis from a Special Studies or Senior Seminar Paper
You may, with the endorsement of your adviser, transform a successful first-semester project into an honors thesis in the second semester of your senior year. You will need to submit an honors proposal to your department by the first day of the second semester of your senior year.
Consult the 2015-16 Directors of honors by department (Word document) if you are interested in this possibility.
Library Permission Form
All thesis projects are archived electronically at the Smith Libraries. The library needs permission from you in order to catalog your thesis. You must sign the Smith College Libraries Permission Form for Honors Project (Word document). Deliver a hard copy to Mary Lou Bouley, Collection Services, Neilson Library. If you do not submit the form your thesis project cannot be catalogued.
The college-wide honors program is administered by SHIP under the Committee on Academic Priorities (CAP). Send questions to the dean of the senior class, who serves as chair of the subcommittee, at firstname.lastname@example.org.