About the Program
The Smith Scholars Program provides a framework for highly motivated and talented students to spend one or two years working on projects of their own devising, freed (in varying degrees) from normal college requirements.
A student may apply to be admitted to the program at any time after the first semester of her sophomore year. If the subcommittee on Honors and Independent Programs (SHIP) believes a personal discussion is necessary for the purpose of clarification, it may request an interview with the applicant. Students who are not initially accepted may also request an interview.
The proportion of study in departmental courses versus Smith Scholars courses (which are devised by the student and designated as SMS on the transcript) will be decided jointly by the student, her adviser(s), and the Subcommittee. Normally, the largest proportion of the student’s credit load designated for the Smith Scholars project will take place in the senior year.
Normally, a student may apply to be a Smith Scholar in addition to a departmental major not instead of a departmental major.
Any major changes to the student’s program must be approved by the Subcommittee on Honors and Independent Programs. The student can notify SHIP of such changes by writing to the Senior Class Dean.
Adviser(s) will be expected to submit a written evaluation of the student’s progress in her Smith Scholars project every semester to SHIP in addition to submitting a grade for each semester’s SMS course credit. (Grades are submitted on Banner, as for any other course.) Students who do not seem to be making adequate progress in their Smith Scholars project may be asked to withdraw from the program. A student who is required to withdraw from the Smith Scholars program will not be allowed more semesters to complete her degree.
Students and advisers must meet at regular intervals so that advisers are well informed about the progress of the work.
When there is more than one adviser, one faculty member should be designated as the Director, who will be responsible for coordinating advising and submitting interim evaluations and final grades.
A student who successfully completes her program will be confirmed as a Smith Scholar at graduation and will be eligible for a Latin Honors designation based on her course work. Her record as a Smith Scholar consists of all the courses that were denominated as part of her program of study when she was accepted as a Smith Scholar (whether they are departmental or SMS courses) and her faculty evaluation. Smith Scholars are not eligible for honors in their Smith Scholars program.
In considering projects involving work and study off-campus, students and advisers are reminded that all students must satisfy the residence requirement.
Preparing a Smith Scholars Proposal
A Smith Scholar’s Project is essentially the equivalent of a major or a minor that includes more independent work. A successful proposal will include:
1. A Title and a Statement of Purpose
- uses 1,000 words or less;
- details the methodological approach you will use for your project and what your final project will be;
- explains why this project cannot be accomplished through departmental courses, special studies, a student-designed major or minor or an honors thesis in the departmental honors program;
- describes what preparation you have, in terms of your background and other courses at Smith, to undertake the project;
- sets out a time schedule for your program of study using the Smith Scholars Plan of Study. The plan will articulate the total number of credits that are to be part of the program and whether they are Smith or Five College courses, special studies, or SMS courses;
- names who will evaluate the work, on what basis, and how frequently. If you have more than one adviser, indicate which faculty member will serve as Director.
Please note that substantial changes to the course program outlined in the proposal must be approved by SHIP.
2. Evaluation(s) of the Proposal by the Faculty Adviser(s)
Every faculty member involved with the project should evaluate both the proposal and the student’s capacity to complete it. The committee will want to know that the student has the necessary background and sufficient discipline to pursue a long-term project of this nature.
3. Two Letters of Recommendation Written by Faculty
These should be written by faculty not involved in the project who have taught the student in one or more classes. They should address the student’s preparation for her project, the faulty member’s evaluation of the project itself, and an assessment of the student’s ability to complete an independent project that may stretch over several semesters.
All applications, evaluation, and letters of support should be sent to the Dean of the Senior Class, who serves as chair of SHIP, by October 15 for spring admission and March 15 for students beginning their projects the following Fall.
The student should keep a copy of her application.
Inquiries should be addressed to the Dean of the Senior Class, College Hall 101, ext. 4930 or email to the Dean of the Senior Class.
The deadlines for applications for the Smith Scholars Program are October 15 and March 15.
- You may not propose a Smith Scholars Project for purely negative reasons, such as not wishing to complete the requirements for a major.
- You may not apply to become a Smith Scholar in your senior year, as you will not have enough time to accomplish the amount of work that justifies this designation.
- Your adviser will be asked to submit a progress report each semester. If your adviser feels that you are not making adequate progress SHIP will evaluate the amount of credit to be awarded for the work completed in your SMS courses. You should be aware that if you are withdrawn from the Smith Scholars Program you may be short of credit to graduate and may have either to earn more credit at Smith or elsewhere in summer school.
- You must keep a copy of your application.