Honors Project in Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies
(rev. May 2009)
Application Checklist for Honors
- Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies (GSFS) majors in their senior year 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 GSFS faculty members or by self-nomination. Faculty members are encouraged to urge qualified students who are declared GSFS majors to consider applying for the Honors Program.
- Juniors applying for Honors must normally have a 3.25 GPA overall at Oberlin College, and a 3.5 GPA in courses listed in the student’s individually approved course plan for the GSFS major. The student applicant must have completed at least three Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies courses. The Feminist Research Methodologies course (SOCI or CAST 305) normally will have been completed in fall term of the junior year.
- Interested and qualified students should speak to the Director of GSFS or a faculty member teaching GSFS courses early in the second semester of junior year to identify a potential Honors Supervisor for a yearlong research or creative project. The student should work with the potential Honors Supervisor to submit an honors proposal of 3-5 pages, along with a preliminary bibliography, to the GSFS Standing Committee on Majors by April 15 of the junior year.
- The GSFS Standing Committee on Majors will consider applications for Honors and will make a recommendation. Student applicants will be informed of the outcome and any feedback in writing by the end of the junior year.
- Students on leave during the spring semester of the junior year should discuss and formulate a proposal with the guidance of an identified potential Honors Supervisor, and submit the proposal to the GSFS Standing Committee on Majors by the first day of the drop/add period in fall semester of the senior year.
1st Semester Honors Year Checklist
- Register through the GSFS Director for GSFS 500: Honors, for up to 4 credits.
- The length of the thesis project in final form is to be between 40 and 60 typed, double-spaced pages, exclusive of appendices, notes, and bibliography. This guideline should be faithfully followed. For creative projects, the Honors Supervisor, in consultation with the student, will determine the final form or outcome of the project.
- Student should approach and get a commitment from a Second Reader for the project early in 1st semester. The Second Reader should be chosen with attention to gaining inter-disciplinary representation of faculty members appropriate to the student project. Upon getting agreement, the student is required to submit the honors proposal to the Second Reader and meet with her/him once well before fall break of 1st semester. The task of the Second Reader is to provide suggestions and comments on sources, research question, methodology, and direction of the project well before it has solidified. This early intervention also allows Second Reader to provide informed commentary in the final stages of writing and presentation. The bulk of advising responsibility during the year-long project remains with the Honors Supervisor.
- First semester work concentrates on preparatory research for the writing of the honors thesis, or preliminary development of the creative project. All or most gathering of material subject to original analysis should be completed by the end of December.
- During the fall semester Final Exam period, the student is required to turn in to the Honor’s Supervisor and Second Reader (1) a well-developed prospectus, normally of 5-7 pages, outlining the major argument of the project and including an updated bibliography; (2) a portfolio of documents, other material, and analysis gathered or produced during 1st Semester; and (3) a chronological list of all work completed during 1st semester. These will be used to evaluate student performance and as bases to provide guidance for successful completion of the project, particularly by the Supervisor.
- The supervisor, in consultation with Second Reader and the GSFS Standing Committee on Majors, will determine whether 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 give a grade for a first-semester private reading.
2nd Semester Honors Year Checklist
- Register through the Director for GSFS 500: Honors, for up to 4 hours credits.
- Work in the second semester should concentrate on the actual writing or final production of the project.
- By the end of Winter Term, the student, working in consultation with the Supervisor and Second Reader, must approach a faculty member to serve as a Third Reader. The Supervisor will invite this faculty member to join the examining committee. The student should provide the extended prospectus, portfolio, and chronological list completed at the end of 1st semester to the Third Reader. The student should schedule one meeting early in spring semester to discuss the project with the Third Reader.
- The student must submit a draft of the project (in paper and by attachment) to the three members of the examining committee by the Friday before Spring Break. Members of the examining committee will provide written feedback within a week. The student should consult with the Supervisor and meet with each Reader separately in the week after Spring Break to discuss the draft and any questions about how to incorporate feedback.
- The deadline for submission of the project in its final form is three full weeks before the last day of classes in spring term of senior year. The student must distribute the final form of the project to each of her/his three examiners. If a thesis, the project should not yet be bound or reproduced in an expensive manner. The thesis or creative project will be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria: 1) how effectively the student locates the research or creative project in relationship to relevant bodies of gender, sexuality, and feminist scholarship; 2) the originality of the research project and analysis; 3) the extensiveness and thoroughness of the research; 4) the quality of the writing, analysis, and production; and 5) the persuasiveness of the argument and/or compelling nature of the creative project.
- The Supervisor, in consultation with the student and readers, will set up times and places for the oral exam and public presentation components of Honors, which will be held during the 5 to 10 day period after submission of the project:
- Public Presentation: There will be a half-hour formal presentation open to the public, followed by a question and answer period. All GSFS faculty members will be invited to attend the exam and participate in the evaluation. The student will be evaluated based upon the following criteria: 1) how effectively the student translated the project into a half-hour presentation; 2) how well the student located the project within current gender, sexuality, and feminist scholarship relevant to the topic, laid out the problem, and presented data, observations, and analysis; 3) how he or she handled questions from the audience, including drawing on secondary and primary sources in the answers; and 4) the quality of presentation, including the level of professionalism in the style of presentation.
- Oral Examination: This is an approximately half-hour session, usually held on a different day from the public presentation, during which the student answers questions from the three honors examiners.
- The three members of the student’s honors committee will meet to evaluate the thesis or creative project, the public presentation, and the oral examination.
- The Honors Supervisor will present the committee’s recommendation to the GSFS Standing Committee on Majors, who will meet to decide whether honors should be recommended and at what level.
- The Supervisor will submit a class grade for work done over the period of the honors project.
- The following is the typical relative weight of the project/thesis, oral exam, and public presentation in Honors evaluation:
- Oral exam and public presentation: 1/3
- Overall GPA at the end of the 7th semester is also a factor.
- Following evaluation and revisions, the student must provide the Supervisor with a spiral-bounded final version of the project. In addition, the student must also send an electronic copy to the GSFS Department Secretary, Linda Pardee, who will make the thesis available on Blackboard to GSFS students and faculty only. In addition, the student must also send separately an attachment that includes the title of the project, author name, date, supervisor and readers’ names and departments, and a 250 word description of the project that includes its methodology, data, and major findings. If the student wishes, s/he can arrange to have the library electronically store the honors thesis. This makes the thesis available to Ohiolink users, which creates a permanent availability on the Internet. Honors students are not exempt from final exams or papers in any of their courses.
Any questions concerning honors in GSFS should be addressed to the Director of GSFS.