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Applying for Honors

The art department expects students to submit their proposals at the end of the second semester of the junior year, so that it may consider the projects during its last meeting in early May.

The department may approve, provisionally approve, or not approve the proposal. If the approval is provisional, students will be asked to revise the proposal and resubmit it for final approval; if not approved, students may still present a new proposal the following fall (however, without the benefit of time for revision).

At the latest, your application must be submitted one week before the first Department meeting of the fall semester (usually this meeting takes place before or close to September 15). Once approved, proposals are sent to the College Subcommittee on Honors and Independent Programs (SHIP) for final approval (mid to late September). The final decision regarding admission to the honors program rests with that committee.

All applications must include:

  • 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
  • In the case of ARS and ARU students, discussion of the expected end project: its form, scale and scope, and examples of relevant art work
  • 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.)

You do not need to register for the honors course: If admitted, the registrar will automatically add that to your roster of courses. However, you do need to register for the honors course for second semester.


It is your responsibility to find a full-time faculty member in the art department who will work with you for the year as your thesis adviser and who has the relevant expertise. In consultation with you, the director of honors will appoint a second or third reader (for ARS/ARU students, the committee usually consists of two studio members and one art historian; for ARH students, a committee of two members is usually the norm but if the nature of the project requires further expertise it might include an additional member). The committee members do not all have to be from the art department and might include faculty from the other institutions in the Five College consortium. The committee needs to be in place by October 15.

Honors students must carry a minimum course load of 12 credits in each semester of the senior year.

During the fall semester of your thesis, you will be meeting regularly (typically every other week) with your adviser.

You are also expected to schedule an appointment with the art librarian early in the fall (see college requirements for honors). In December, you are required to schedule a meeting with your director of honors to report on your progress.

All art department honors students must complete draft (whether written or visual*) of the thesis to their thesis adviser by February 15 (or the following Monday, should it fall on a weekend). Failure to do so will result in the conversion of the 8-credit Honors Thesis to two distinct 4-credit Special Studies. Your adviser and the second reader will offer extensive comments on this draft; on the basis of these comments, honors students work independently to revise their theses. The final version of the thesis is due mid-April (as set by college requirements for honors).

*The first draft for ARS and ARU students should consist of an exhibition plan detailing number, sizes and nature of work to be installed.