The Honors program provides an opportunity for Kenyon art history majors of exceptional academic achievement to work on a research project with a member of the art history faculty. The project must be chosen in consultation with a permanent member of the art history faculty, and it must be related to the professor's research interests and expertise.

Most students accepted for Honors choose to undertake a research paper, but other options such as a catalogue raisonée, a gallery exhibition and catalogue, or a similar project involving independent field work, may also be of interest. Admission to the honors program is dependent on meeting specific academic criteria (see below), agreement of a thesis advisor in the project area and the approval of the Art History Department.

Qualifications for the Honors Program in Art History

A minimum 3.3 cumulative GPA for all courses, and a minimum 3.5 GPA for all art history courses is required. Completion of a Junior Honors project is not a prerequisite for undertaking Senior Honors. Previous completion of a research paper in any area of art history (preferably in the area of honors’ specialization) is essential. It is required that students undertaking an Honors thesis have had at least one (and preferably two) intermediate or advanced courses at Kenyon in the topic area. Endorsement of the proposed project by the thesis advisor is mandatory before the submission of an application for Honors.

Meeting the minimum GPA does not automatically qualify a student for the Honors program. Typically, if a student has written an exceptionally well-researched and well-written art history paper, and meets the other criteria for acceptance in Honors, a professor might suggest that the student undertake a related topic as an Honor's thesis. Alternately, students can discuss pursuing an Honor's thesis with their academic advisor and a potential thesis advisor. The project must be supervised by an art history professor whose interests and expertise coincide with the proposed project, and they must agree, and be available, to serve as the Honors thesis advisor.

In either case, the student then works closely with the thesis advisor to develop a project proposal to be submitted to the Art History Department. (See due dates below.) Departmental approval must be attained before beginning work on the thesis.

Application Procedures

A member of the permanent art history faculty must agree to supervise your proposed thesis. A written Proposal must be prepared in consultation with the thesis advisor. Compiled in a single packet, the Proposal should include:

  • A written prospectus of 2-3 pages, outlining the goals of the project and the method of investigation (the steps to achieve those goals). Explain your qualifications to undertake the proposed project, listing courses you have taken in that area and any other research projects.
  • Attach a preliminary bibliography to your statement.
  • Provide a transcript (this can be printed from the Registrar's website).
  • Submit a previous research paper from an intermediate or advanced art history course. See requirements below.

Incomplete Proposals will not be considered. The department will review your completed Proposal and decide on its acceptance before the end of the semester.

Senior Honors (ARHS 497, 498)

Senior honors must be elected for the entire year and must focus on producing a research project. Senior Honors projects are undertaken in addition to the art history major requirements (refer to the brochure for "Major/Disciplinary Minor in Art History"). Senior Honors proposals must be submitted to the Art History Department in the second semester of the Junior year, by the Friday of the week following spring break.

To receive the designation "Honors," the project must meet the standards set by the thesis advisor and it must also be judged to merit Honors by an outside examiner. Until that point, it is understood that a student is working on an Independent Study project which will eventually be considered for Honors. The project remains an Independent Study until it is accepted as Honors-quality work by the advisor, outside examiner and the Art History Department.

Students studying off-campus during the spring semester who are interested in pursuing Senior Honors, must discuss Senior Honors with their academic advisor in person the semester before attending their program abroad. Students studying abroad must follow procedures similar to those required of on-campus candidates. (See below for off-campus candidates.)

Senior Honors  for Off-Campus Candidates

In application for Senior Honors, off-campus candidates may submit the proposal via email attachment, using Microsoft Word or Google Docs for the prospectus and bibliography. If submitting a paper from a class taken abroad. A representative research paper completed at Kenyon before leaving for study abroad should be left with the thesis advisor as well. The deadline for application is the same as that for on-campus students: Completed proposals must be submitted in mid-March, no later than the Friday following spring break. If planning a spring semester program abroad, application procedures can begin in the fall semester.

If the proposal is approved by the department, the candidate will be informed via email. If you are accepted for the honors program, plan to stay in close touch with your thesis advisor to clarify the initial steps to be taken on your honors project.

Requirements for Submitting a Qualifying Paper for Honors

  • The qualifying paper must be a research paper at least 10-15 pages in length and include footnotes, bibliography, and photocopied illustrations (clearly labeled). As an art-historical study, the paper should reflect the student's in-depth knowledge of a specific topic and exhibit an understanding of research materials and techniques.
  • The qualifying paper should be a polished and refined version of a term paper. Students are encouraged to seek guidance from their advisor (or off-campus instructor) during the preparation of the paper.