Director: Patrick Coby
The honors program consists of a year-long intensive research project resulting in a thesis. The core of the program is a thesis paper, a complete draft of which is due on the first day of the second semester. Students will spend the spring semester revising their papers and will submit the final version by April 1.
- Students who have at least a 3.3 grade-point average (GPA) in courses outside of the major and 3.5 GPA in courses within the government major are eligible for the honors program.
- Students must have successfully completed six courses in their major prior to being accepted to the honors program; under normal circumstances, these six courses will have been completed in the government department at Smith College.
- Students must complete the application form and receive departmental approval to be admitted to the honors program.
- On the application form, students will be asked to identify three courses taken that are related to their specific honors project.
How to Apply
Honors Application Form (PDF)
In order to begin the application process, the student will need to request via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org a "Calculation of GPA Requirements." A personalized listing of all courses and grades that are eligible for calculation will be sent to the student's campus box to enable her to determine the gradepoint averages (GPAs) inside and outside the major.
Eligible students are encouraged to apply in the spring of their junior year, but fall applications are allowable so long as they are received before the end of the first week of classes in September. January graduates are on a different schedule.
Students may register for departmental honors when choosing courses in April if their applications have been approved. The spring deadline to submit completed applications, with departmental endorsement, is the last day of final exams. Applications to enter the departmental honors program from current second-semester juniors will be considered only after the grades for this current semester have been calculated into the GPAs.
First-semester seniors must submit completed applications, with departmental endorsement, no later than the end of the first week of classes in the fall semester.
Requirements to Fulfill Honors Program
- Students admitted to the honors program will register for a year-long, 8-credit honors course (GOV 430, 4 credits in the fall and 4 credits in the spring).
- Students in honors must successfully complete all the requirements for the major and a total of at least 11 courses in the field of government. The year-long thesis course (GOV 430) may be counted as two courses toward the 11 courses required for honors students.
- Students in honors are expected to participate in Collaborations by making a public presentation of their thesis.
Following submission of the final paper, students will take an oral examination administered by three members of the government faculty. This exam will be based on the thesis and on the field in which it was written. The field is defined by the student herself, who at the time of the exam will identify three courses which she believes bear upon the topic of her thesis.
Honors Project Description
An honors applicant must submit to the government department a thesis proposal consisting of 500 to 1,000 words (two to four pages) containing the following information:
- a description of the broader scholarly issue to be investigated;
- the specific question or hypothesis to be treated;
- an explanation of the approach to be taken and evidence of experience using this approach;
- documentation of relevant background, preparation, special facility or skills necessary to undertake the proposed thesis (e.g., previous course work related to the thesis topic, quantitative skills, foreign language ability, etc.).