Honors Program


Students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 to commence honors work. The candidate should also have a 3.25 average in all Russian Area Studies (RAS) courses, including first- and second-year Russian. In special cases, the RAS Committee may admit candidates into the honors program if their GPA in RAS courses is less than, but close to, 3.25. If during the senior year, the candidate's cumulative GPA drops below 3.0 or the candidate's RAS average falls below 3.25, the honors committee may drop the candidate from the honors program.

Application Process and Formation of the Honors Committee

Candidates for honors work must apply in writing to the Director of the RAS Program no later than May 15 of their junior year. The application should describe the student's reasons for wanting to write an honors thesis, the student's background in the area of the topic, and the project itself.

The honors committee should normally consist of three faculty members, at least two of whom are RAS faculty members. The head of the committee is the thesis advisor and must come from the RAS faculty. During the spring term of the candidate's junior year, the honors candidate and thesis advisor will invite the other prospective members of the committee to serve on it. Candidates should know that the press of other obligations may preclude a faculty member from accepting an invitation to participate.

The Honors Thesis

Before honors candidates begin thesis work, they will already have undertaken appropriate background study sufficient to establish the topic and scope of the project and to select the intended approaches for the study.

The candidate will work on the thesis under the supervision of the thesis advisor during the fall and winter terms of the senior year and, if progress is satisfactory, receive three credits of RAS honors (493) for each term's work. A reasonable schedule is to conduct research during the fall term and use the winter term for writing and revising. The candidate and committee will work out a schedule for submission of drafts of the thesis. The thesis must be based at least in part on primary-source materials.

The text of the finished thesis shall be no more than seventy-five pages, including notes, bibliography, and any appendixes. The document must be double-spaced with normal margins. It is due no later than May 1.

The candidate will provide finished copies of the thesis to each member of the honors committee who requests one. The candidate is also responsible for providing an approved copy to the Leyburn Library. The candidate will consult with library personnel to determine the form and binding necessary for the library copy.

Oral examination

If the thesis warrants proceeding to an oral examination, the honors committee will conduct such an examination of the candidate in defense of the thesis. The thesis director will schedule the examination and invite all RAS faculty members to participate in it. Following successful completion of the examination, the members of the honors committee will determine the grade for the six hours of honors work (493).

Termination of honors candidacy

Honors candidacy may be terminated at any time if a majority of the members of the honors committee deem that the candidate's progress is unsatisfactory or if the candidate fails the oral examination. If candidacy is terminated, the thesis director will decide on the amount of credit to award the candidate for independent work in Russian Studies (401-403, up to six credits total) and the grade. If the thesis is completed but deemed not to be of honors quality, it may qualify for credit as a senior thesis (RAS 473).