Honors in Classics involves writing a major research paper on a topic of the student's choice, under the supervision of a departmental adviser. The paper is typically 50 to 100 pages long and should exhibit close engagement with primary sources, whether textual or material, as well as scholarship on its subject. The Honors candidate enrolls in a 0.5 unit independent study each semester of senior year. In addition, the candidate must pass the Comprehensive Examination and the Senior Seminar.
Admission to Honors
During junior year, or even earlier, a student considering Honors should approach departmental faculty to discuss potential projects and to identify potential advisers. The student should also consider taking several of the core civilization courses, which offer good preparation for the Comprehensive Examination. To be eligible for Honors, a student must have a minimum GPA of 3.50 in the Department after the fall semester of junior year.
By the last day of classes in the Honors applicant's junior year, a member of the Classics faculty must consent to supervise the project and the student must electronically submit to the Department chair a ten-page writing sample and a 1000-word proposal. The sample should consist of a research paper or part of a research paper written for a course in Classics or a closely related field. The proposal should outline the planned Honors project. It should (1) present a clear statement of purpose, (2) introduce the relevant primary sources, (3) sketch the content of the paper's chapters, and (4) demonstrate an awareness of scholarly or methodological issues concerning the paper's topic. An annotated bibliography of at least ten secondary sources should be appended. The chair will circulate the sample and proposal to other departmental faculty. As soon as possible after submission, the chair will indicate to the candidate whether the project is accepted and summarize the results of the Department's discussion of the application materials.
The Honors candidate must pass the Comprehensive Examination, which will be administered on or around September 1 of senior year. Taking the test at this time ensures that the student may concentrate on the paper during the remainder of senior year. The Examination has two parts.
1) Greek and Latin Passages (90 minutes). These consist of excerpts from texts that the student has previously studied in courses. For three of these passages the student is asked to identify the passage and discuss features characteristic of the author and/or work. (The student is not asked to translate the passages.)
2) Essay (120 minutes). By July 1 in the summer before senior year, the student must tell the Department chair on which four of the following six fields they will write essays: Greek Literature, Latin Literature, Greek History, Roman History, Greek Archaeology, Roman Archaeology. The student will have access to reading lists for each field that indicate the material the student is expected to cover. For each of the fields, the student will write one essay on a question chosen from a selection of previously unseen prompts. A failing grade on the Examination ends the student's candidacy for Honors.
Timeline for the Honors Paper
Throughout senior year, the student must communicate with the adviser at least once a week about the progress of the Honors paper, and, on or around November 1, will schedule a meeting with the entire Department to do the same. On December 1, the student must submit a rough draft of half of the paper to the adviser, who will return it with comments as soon as possible. On March 1, a full draft is due; it will be returned with comments after Spring Break. The final version is due April 1; it will be returned with comments later that month. The Department will provide the student with a list of guidelines for the paper early in senior year.
If a student does not meet these deadlines or otherwise fails to make adequate progress during the course of senior year, the student may be dropped from Honors at the Department's discretion. In this case, the student receives academic credit for an Independent Study, but not Honors.
After the final draft is submitted, the student will be given an Oral Examination on the paper by an outside examiner late in senior year. Department faculty will be present at the Oral Examination. The examiner will consider the student's paper, the Oral Examination, and the written Comprehensive Examination in order to determine, in consultation with the Department, the degree of Honors to be awarded: Honors, High Honors, or Highest Honors. It is also possible that the examiner may choose not to award Honors, in which case the project is given academic credit as an Independent Study.