Honors Study at Connecticut College reflects the highest academic or creative achievement of a student in his or her chosen discipline or interdisciplinary program. It challenges students to pursue original work and develop expertise in their area of study. Through Honors Study, student scholars and artists work closely with faculty scholars and artists to create knowledge, test questions, or produce artistic creations which enhance their intellectual, personal and professional growth. This provides an opportunity for those seniors who have previously demonstrated work of exceptional quality in their discipline and possess high potential for further accomplishment, as determined by the department or program.

When successfully completed, Honors Study leads to an award of Honors in the discipline, which is noted on a student's transcript. Therefore, the criteria for honors study are determined by each department or program, and more than one faculty member is involved in determining whether a student has successfully completed Honors work.

Connecticut College encourages properly qualified students to undertake Honors Study (497-498).


At the end of their junior year students may request permission of their department or program to be admitted to Honors Study. To be eligible to apply, students must have maintained, during their sophomore year and the first semester of their junior year, a 3.5 average in their major courses at or above the 200 level. Each student should check early for specific details with his/her thesis adviser or department chair. An individual request for an exception to the minimum grade point average of 3.5 should be based on criteria determined by a department/program and approved by a department chair or program director.

1) JUNIOR YEAR — Spring Semester

February-March — Students should discuss proposals with relevant faculty members and submit them to departments or programs, before the first week of May. Students who are studying away should discuss their proposals with faculty advisers and submit their proposals by email. The student should write a proposal (3-5 pages) for a senior project that outlines a yearlong research project or equivalent assignment in the creative or performing arts in terms of topic, method, and timeline.

A research proposal might include:

  1. Purpose of the study.
  2. Relevance of the study.
  3. Brief review of the literature. The identification of the main question/hypotheses in the existing literature.
  4. Main questions addressed by this study.
  5. Preliminary timetable for completing the study.
  6. Annotated bibliography with at least five sources approved by the thesis adviser.

Early May — Departments or programs determine which applications to accept for Honors Study based on criteria that each department or program has developed in accord with the standards of the discipline. The department should approve the adviser, second reader, and any additional reader.

Students should discuss their intent to pursue Honors Study with their department before the end of classes in May. Under exceptional circumstances the department/program chair and thesis adviser may jointly permit a later application, but no students may be accepted for honors study after the beginning of their senior year.

2) SENIOR YEAR — Fall Semester

COURSE REGISTRATION - Students pursuing Honors Study must register for the first half of their Honors Study (497). The form to register for 497 is available on the Registrar’s Office forms page.

By end of the first semester — Students should have submitted to their thesis adviser and reader(s) an outline of the thesis and a draft of at least one chapter (for example, the methodology chapter) plus a bibliography of the sources cited and consulted in that chapter. Students in the arts should provide an equivalent basis for evaluation as determined by their department or program. It is strongly advised that students move beyond these minimal requirements by this mid-point in their senior year.

3) SENIOR YEAR — Spring Semester

COURSE REGISTRATION - Students who will be continuing their Honors Study must register for the second half of their Honors Study (498). The form to register for 498, or to indicate that a thesis will no longer be pursued in order to convert the honors study into an independent study, is available on the Registrar’s Office forms page.

Departments and interdisciplinary programs are responsible for setting standards for submission of drafts or the equivalent in the creative arts. This includes drafts (or the equivalent) of parts of the work in progress (such as chapters or sections, or stages in an artistic creation) and the draft or equivalent of the completed work prior to the final copy.

Departments and programs are encouraged to develop a process and schedule for student work that allows adequate time for the thesis adviser and readers to evaluate and provide written feedback to the student plus sufficient time for the student to revise the work for the final bound copy. Readers who do not receive drafts by five weeks prior to the end of classes have the right to be excused from the committee. It is strongly advised that readers be involved through the year rather than just at the stage of the final draft. Advisers and readers should determine the best way to accomplish this.

One week prior to end of classes in the second semester of the senior year, the completed thesis is due. Late submissions will not be considered for Honors — the student will upload the thesis using a drop box on a Moodle site for course Honors Study students. At that time, the student will also submit their completed Honors Thesis Submission Form.

After the conclusion of the academic year, the library will post the thesis to Digital Commons, granting the thesis the level of access requested by the student and adviser. Other copies will be distributed as the department/program or thesis adviser requires. See the current academic year calendar for the date.

Public Presentations

Departments and interdisciplinary programs are encouraged to have an oral defense or a public presentation of the thesis or artistic creation.

Grading 497-498. Satisfactory progress by students enrolled in course 497 will be given a temporary mark “In Progress” by their thesis adviser at the end of the first semester. This mark will be changed to a letter grade when the Honors Study has been completed. The thesis adviser will assign the final grade after receiving evaluations from each reader.

Departments or programs should determine whether adviser/reader evaluations may be submitted orally or in writing. A or A- work is the only work that may receive Honors. It goes beyond the norm in 400-level courses and should meet the highest standards of content and presentation. Work graded B+ and below will be changed from Honors Study to Individual Study 491-492.