The Honors program in French and Italian gives outstanding students the opportunity to carry out a course of independent study on a topic of their choice under the supervision of a faculty member.
Juniors who have a grade point average of 3.4 or higher in the major are invited by the Director of Undergraduate Studies or any other faculty member of the department to consider writing an honors thesis in their senior year. If they decide to do so, they should declare their intention of doing honors work no later than the spring quarter of their junior year by contacting the DUS and submitting a brief proposal on the topic they wish to investigate. Based on this description and in conversation with the student, the DUS will assist the student in finding a thesis director. Often students already have someone in mind for this work. In this case, a formal request by the DUS and the student will be made to the particular faculty member. After these preliminary processes are completed, the student may register for a 399 with his/her thesis director.
The honors project is produced through two quarters of 399 which will count towards the 15 required credits for the major in Italian. It can build on but must not duplicate previous work done abroad or in a 300-level course.
Guidelines for students and thesis directors
The honors thesis should be at least 25-30 pages long. It cannot be a simple collection of data or summary of primary or secondary sources, but must show strong evidence of significant research, interpretation, analysis, and original thought. It must be written in correct Italian.
The Student must get in contact with his/her thesis adviser before the end of the spring quarter of the Junior year in order to discuss his/her idea with the advisor and receive instructions for preliminary reading and research. At the beginning the following fall quarter, the student should have a clear idea of the problem he/she wishes to explore and have a two page preliminary proposal ready for the thesis advisor.
By the end of fall quarter, students are required to have a bibliography and a 10 page paper reporting on their preliminary findings and their argument. This paper must elaborate on the original proposal and show progress in the ways in which the student has conceptualized the
problem under study. At this time, an evaluation will be made as to whether the paper can be expanded into an honors thesis. If it is judged not to be of honors caliber, the student will receive one credit for the work done in the fall quarter
By the beginning of winter quarter, the student must determine who will be the second reader of the thesis. The second reader must be a member of the French and Italian department and will be chosen in consultation between the student and his/her advisor. It is the responsibility of the student to approach this faculty member in a timely fashion and ask him/her to read the thesis for the final report. Students may have a third reader on their committee, especially if the thesis is highly interdisciplinary. This third member can be from outside the French and Italian department.
By the end of winter quarter, students are required to have completed the first draft of the thesis. The spring quarter will be dedicated to revisions of the thesis for final submission to the Honors Committee for evaluation. As soon as the DUS receives the deadlines for submission from WCAS, he/she will communicate them to the thesis director.