HONORS WORK IN COMPARATIVE AMERICAN STUDIES
Senior Comparative American Studies majors may conduct independent, original research or a creative project through the Honors Program. Consideration for admission to the Honors Program takes place during the second semester of the junior year, by invitation of the Comparative American Studies Faculty or by self-nomination. Faculty are encouraged to urge qualified students to consider applying for the Honors Program.
Checklist To Apply for Honors
- Students accepted for honors must normally have a 3.00 GPA in the college, and a 3.25 average in the major at the beginning of the second semester of the junior year. They also must have completed at least three Comparative American Studies program courses, or two program courses and one discipline-focused course at this time. CAST 300: Situated Research and CAST 301: Situated Research Practicum must be completed by the end of the junior year.
- Interested and qualified students should speak to prospective supervisors from the Comparative American Studies Program Committee as soon as possible. Early in the second semester of their junior year, students should identify an Honors supervisor. Students should first propose a yearlong research or creative project, then work with the supervisor to submit an honors proposal of 3-5 pages, along with a preliminary bibliography, to the Comparative American Studies Program Director by April 15 of their junior year.
- The Comparative American Studies Program Core Faculty and Director will consider applications for Honors. Students will be informed of the outcome by the end of the spring semester of the junior year.
- Those students on leave during the spring semester of their junior year should discuss the proposal with their advisor and submit it by the first day of add/drop period of the fall semester of their senior year.
Checklist for 1st Semester Honors Work
Register through the Program Director for CAST 500: Honors for up to 4 hours credits.
- First semester work concentrates on preparatory research for the writing of the honors project, or preliminary development of the creative project. This work is carried out under the guidance of the student's supervisor.
- At the end of the first semester class period, the student should turn in to the supervisor a well-developed prospectus, normally of 5-7 pages, outlining the major argument of the project and including an annotated bibliography.
- The supervisor, in consultation with the Program Core Faculty and Director, will determine whether or not the student should continue in the Honors Program. If the student is allowed to continue, the first semester grade will be deferred. If the student is unable to continue, the supervisor will submit a grade for a first-semester private reading for the student to the Director of the program.
Checklist for 2nd Semester Honors Work
Register through the Program Director for CAST 501: Honors, for up to 4 hours credits.
- Work in the second semester will concentrate on the actual writing of the project. By the end of Winter Term, the student, working in consultation with the project supervisor and the director of the Comparative American Studies Program, will identify two additional faculty members to serve with the supervisor as readers of the project. The CAS Director will issue invitations to these faculty to join the student's project committee. The student will share her/his extended prospectus, completed the previous semester, with the two other members of the project committee. The goal in forming the committee is to gain an interdisciplinary representation of faculty appropriate to the nature of the project.
- The student will submit a complete first version of the project to the three members of the project committee by the beginning of spring break. The project committee will provide feedback within a week. The student should consult with all three faculty members about incorporating this feedback into the final revisions.
- The three-person project committee will evaluate the final written project and make a recommendation to the Comparative American Studies Program Committee. The student should meet early in the second semester with the two newly appointed members of the project committee for input or suggestions. The bulk of advising responsibility remains with the primary project supervisor.
- The length of the written project in final form should be approximately 30-40 double-spaced pages. For creative projects, the student and his/her primary project supervisor will determine the final form or outcome of the project.
- The deadline for submission of the project in its final form is 3 full weeks before the last day of classes. The student must distribute the final form of the project to each of her/his three examiners. The project will be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria: 1) how effectively does the student locate this research or creative project in relationship to relevant bodies of scholarship; 2) how original was the research question and the analysis; 3) how extensive was the research; 4) the quality of the writing; and 5) the persuasiveness of the argument.
- By the time the final project is submitted, the project supervisor, in consultation with the student and director of the Program, should have set up a time and place for the honors discussion and public presentation. The honors discussion is to be held within 5 to 10 days after the submission of the project. Members of the student's honors committee take part; after the discussion they will evaluate the project based upon the following criteria: 1) how well does the student locate the project within current scholarship, lay out the problem, present data, observations, and analysis; 2) how does s/he handle questions from the committee, including drawing on secondary and primary sources in the answers; and 3) the quality of project including the level of professionalism in the style of presentation, the use of illustrations or other media, etc.
- The public presentation is an opportunity for the student to present the honors project to a wider community. It should last 20 - 30 minutes and include a period of dicussion. Students should consult with their advisors about strategies for effective communication of their work.
- After the honors discussion, the Comparative American Studies faculty will meet to decide whether honors should be recommended and at what level. At that time, student's committee will make a recommendation about the written project and honors discussion. The major advisor will also submit a class grade for work done over the period of the honors project.
- Normally, the relative weight given to the project and the honors discussion in determining the level of honors recommended will be:
Honors discussion: 1/3
Overall GPA at the end of the 7th semester will also be a factor in determining the recommendation.
- Honors students are not exempt from final exams or papers in any of their classes in their major.
Any questions concerning honors in Comparative American Studies should be addressed to the Director of Comparative American Studies.