Writing an honors thesis is a very formative, rewarding and intensive experience suitable for students with serious intent. If you have maintained a 3.5 average in your Italian major courses for the sophomore and junior years, you may request permission of the Italian Studies department to be admitted to Honors Study, either at the end of the junior year or by the first week of September of the senior year. You will consult with your major adviser and draft a proposal for a year-long project.

The proposal, a 10-15 page long, typewritten and double-spaced, should include:

  1. Main hypothesis and why it is important to explore it today
  2. How this new work will distinguish itself and will contribute to recent debates on the same topic
  3. Methodological approach that will be used
  4. Tentative structure of the thesis (chapters and summary of their contents)
  5. Tentative bibliography
  6. Tentative timetable for the academic year

After departmental approval of the proposal, the chair and principal adviser will choose one reader either inside or outside the department, depending on the topic of thesis. The student will enroll in ITL 497-ITL 498 for their senior year. A temporary grade of "In Progress" will be conferred at the end of the first semester.

Two weeks before the end of classes, the student will submit two copies of the thesis with the department chair or principal adviser, while following library guidelines. A third copy of the thesis will be deposited in the College library. Please note: The thesis can be submitted after a student receives permission to do so from all of the supervising professors, i.e. the thesis has been read, commented on and accepted by the professors and the student took into account the professors' comments and revised accordingly.

Honors in the major field will be awarded those who complete the Honors Study with a grade of A or A- and maintained an average of 3.5 in all major courses. A passing grade that does not meet the required level for honors will receive credits as Individual Study.

Any Honors Study project to be considered for the Oakes and Louise Ames Prize must be submitted to the Educational Planning Committee, and must include a one-page abstract of the project.

Some of our recent student honors theses:

  • Viaggi di trasgressione tra l'Italia e il Sud del mondo: L'odore dell'India di Pierpaolo Pasolini e Immigrato di Salah Methnani
  • University Students in Protest: From the Movements of the 60's to the Reforms of the Present"
  • In Hopes of a Renaissance: The Reception of Italian Film in the United States.

Independent Study

An Independent Study is usually related to undergraduate research. It is a one-semester research project on a specific topic that requires the professor's approval. Occasionally it is an individualized course based on readings on a particular topic that are chosen together with the professor. This type of course is available to qualified students and is subject to availability of staff time for supervision.

These are some of the Individual Studies in the Italian Studies department in recent years:

  • Italian Feminism in the 70s: From Theory to Practice
  • Pier Paolo Pasolini: Film and Literature
  • Representations of Masculinity in Federico Fellini
  • Imagined Italies in Popular Culture