The departmental Honors Program is an opportunity for advanced students to conduct a year-long research project under the supervision of a professor. Each project culminates in a written thesis and oral defense. If you complete an Honors project, you will recieve a total of 6 credits: 3 for each semester of work.
Check out the completed Honors projects for ideas.
To qualify for the Honors Program, you must be in your Junior year. Your GPA must be at least 3.0 overall, and a 3.2 within your major.
During the semester before you want to start your Honors project, talk to a professor who has expertise in the topic you want to explore. Ask if they will serve as your faculty supervisor for your Honors project. Then, work with that professor to come up with a plan for your project. You will then do some preliminary research into the topic so you can prepare a prospectus and application.
The Charles Center administers W&M's Honors Program, so be sure to review their policies.
Before you apply to the Honors Program, you will write up a prospectus of your project. A prospectus is a short (1-2 page) proposal of work that includes:
- a clear statement of the research problem;
- a description of the methodology you will use;
- an approximate schedule of work; and
- a brief, critical review of scholarly literature on the research topic.
Your faculty supervisor and the program chair must approve the prospectus before you apply to the program.
Before the last day of classes in the semester before you begin your project, you will apply for admission to the Honors Program through the Charles Center.
Once You're Admitted
Once you are admitted into the Honors program, Charles Center staff will create course sections so you can register. You will meet regularly with your faculty advisor over the next two semesters as you do your research and write your thesis.
Theses are typically 50-75 pages long, excluding the bibliography and appendices. Whenever possible, include sources written in appropriate languages other than English. Evaluation of the thesis will take this into account.
At least two weeks before the last day of classes in the second semester of Honors work, you will turn in your completed honors thesis and defend your work in a comprehensive oral examination. Three professors will make up your examination committee. At least one of those professors will come from your concentration area.
Successful Honors projects will be awarded one of three levels: honors, high honors, or highest honors.
There are fellowships available for students working on their Honors projects.