Honors Program

Students of exceptional caliber with an academic record that evidences their potential to succeed in a highly rigorous program will be invited to join the Honors Program at Saint Michael's.

The Honors Core Courses, the Honors Colloquium and the Senior Honors Project in the Major are at the heart of the program. Our Honors students demand more of themselves, each other, their instructors, and their respective disciplines.

In the Honors Program, students complete at least five special Honors courses, work with small groups of peers and professors, conduct research, often with the chance to present and publish, and enjoy unique curricular and extracurricular opportunities that can open the doors to highly competitive graduate schools and careers. Students may also choose to live in Honors housing.

The Honors Program aims to enhance the college experience of each member; to promote the intellectual growth of every student at Saint Michael's College; and to encourage active involvement in service to the community and the world.

And of all the opportunities, we take the final one the most seriously. As we see it, world-changing work isn't simply an expectation. It's an honor.

Eligibility

Students whose high school records and standardized tests indicated that they are likely to maintain a grade point average sufficient to graduate in the Honors Program are invited to join the program. Students who earn a grade point average of 3.6 or above in their first semester or by the end of their first year become eligible and enter at the beginning of their sophomore year.

To complete the Honors Program, students need to maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.6 or higher, complete five designated honors courses and complete an Honors Senior Project (which is a more challenging version of what is usually part of the Senior Capstone course that is required of every graduation student). Those who complete the requirements receive special recognition at graduation.

For more information, see the Honors Program Handbook or contact:

Nick Clary
Honors Program Coordinator

Saint Edmund's Hall 361
Campus Mail Box 353
802.654.2390

To graduate from Saint Michael's College Honors Program, a student must complete at least five Honors courses, as follows:

  • The Honors Colloquium. This half course offers opportunities to explore a wide variety of cultural and intellectual topics through attendance at public lectures, artistic performances and other events on and off-campus, as well as in weekly discussions of topics and readings. One unifying text is usually required reading. Students write response papers for attended events and discussions, lead class discussions, and submit a final essay or alternative project.
  • A Senior Capstone Project in the student's major. Graduating Honors students usually develop and complete their capstone project in the context of their departmental senior seminar.
    Double majors must complete only one Honors Senior Capstone Project. The proposal form as well as the application form for Senior Capstone Project funding can be downloaded at the Senior Project tab.
  • Three additional Honors courses.

Honors course offerings vary from semester to semester and include sections of the First-Year Seminar. Enrollment in these courses is limited to 15 students and they are taught in seminar style. In addition to Honors Program requirements, these courses fulfill Liberal Studies Curriculum requirements and often major or minor requirements as well. Honors students take two or three of these in their first two years.

In place of one Honors course offering, an Honors student may develop components in consultation with the instructor to adapt a single non-Honors course in his or her major to Honors level. As agreed in advance by the student, the instructor, and the Coordinator of the Honors Program, the student completes an additional course component to bring the course in line with the Honors course criteria listed below. Click on this link to the proposal form for adapting a non-Honors course to Honors level.

Only one of these three additional Honors courses may be taken in a student's major. Therefore, if a student chooses to adapt a course, the two other Honors course offerings must be in other departments. (Students with double majors may adapt one course in each of their majors.)

Honors courses are intended to take the student beyond the efficient consumption of knowledge toward the production of and creative application of knowledge. They should develop systematic intellectual investigation, creativity, and effective written and spoken articulation of questions and ideas. To this end, both Honors course offerings and adapted non-Honors courses must contain the following components:

  1. An individual research project or the equivalent, appropriate to the subject and course level
  2. Class discussions or formal presentations of new course material led by the student before the rest of the class
  3. Individual attention from the instructor including regular discussions of student progress and an end-of-semester summation of what has been accomplished
  4. Honors course offerings (but not necessarily adapted courses) should also include opportunities for students to work collaboratively

The Honors Colloquium

The Honors Colloquium is the only course that is required in the Saint Michael's College Honors Program. It is offered each semester, usually in multiple sections. The course is a half-course for two academic credits. Students who take the course are typically in their Junior or Senior year and have already completed a portion of their Honors coursework.

The purpose of the Colloquium is not to produce mastery of any particular branch of knowledge. It seeks instead to develop broader cultural, social, and political awareness, and to expand the capacity of students to express their ideas and to interact with individuals who hold differing views. The course instructor acts as the coordinator for the development and execution of a series of presentation and discussion activities, which are designed by students themselves. Typically students consult with the instructor to identify a pre-semester reading assignment, which informs initial discussion. Presentations, which serve as topics for discussion, may be based on research previously conducted and developed in connection with some prior course in the student's major or minor. Alternatively, presentations may derive from new research based on a topic of personal interest, which may not have led to a study in an earlier course but may be stimulated by the pre-semester reading assignment or some other intellectual or academic experience.

Class activities are complemented by student attendance at public events offered at the College and in the surrounding area. The content of these events is open but may include the performing and dramatic arts, academic lectures and panel discussions, workshops, demonstrations and displays, and films. Students will attend eight events during the semester. The events, some of which are selected by the instructor and attended by all students, form the focus for student writing in a personal and reflective vein. This writing is made available to other members of the Colloquium. Events attended in common will become the focus of some discussions during the semester. A key goal of this facet of the Colloquium is a shared experience in the wide-ranging set of intellectual stimuli that the College years can provide.

The Honors Colloquium has a series of core objectives which involve preparation, presentation, analysis, reflection, and discussion. In fulfilling these objectives:

  • Students will identify, appraise, and organize intellectual materials to support a stimulating and intellectually rewarding class discussion.
  • Students will, in writing and in discussion, demonstrate a capability to assess, examine, and analyze diverse, and sometimes opposing, perspectives on a variety of themes and topics which cross traditional disciplinary and curricular boundaries.
  • Students will recognize the characteristics of an effective learning community: attentiveness, commitment, respect, and mutual-support.
  • Students will recognize the contribution of the liberal arts and sciences to their intellectual development as participants in personal and shared learning processes.

Senior Honors Project in the Major

All students at Saint Michael's College complete a capstone project in their major during the senior year, either a thesis or paper, a research project, or some other requirement, usually completed within the context of a senior seminar.

Students in the Honors Program undertake projects of greater substance and academic significance, developed with, and approved by, a faculty mentor in their major. Honors Program members may apply for research funds to help with expenses incurred in the pursuit of their senior honors projects.

At the top of your proposal, please copy and paste the Departmental Guidelines for the major for which the project is being prepared.

Download the Senior Capstone Project Proposal for Honors Program Students

Download the Application for Honors Program Capstone Project Funding


Departmental Guidelines for Senior Honors Program Capstone Projects

Unless otherwise stated, the departments endorse the Honors Program Handbook's Guidelines for Honors Capstone Courses:

Capstone courses are opportunities for students to display their mastery of a particular set of standards established for their majors. An honors capstone course should aim, in addition, for the creation of original work of graduate-level quality in the particular discipline. Evidence that such aims have been achieved includes:

  • an intellectual/creative project of some significance,
  • a relatively sophisticated understanding of the materials involved and the relevant research and artistic methodologies, and
  • a high level of clarity and organization, as well as felicity of presentation, in the finished work.

Completed projects should be the source of talks/demonstrations/exhibits to a public audience, in such forums as those sponsored by the Committee on Undergraduate Research, the Social Science Research Council, the Lake Champlain Research Consortium, the Vermont Genetics Network, or other disciplinary conferences.

Each Department has specified further guidelines for their Honors Program majors.  The sets of guidelines below were submitted by the chairpersons.


American Studies

Lorrie Smith, Director

  • Generally, the student should produce a longer paper than for the regular capstone, more thoroughly researched and sourced, that situates the project in the context of the standard scholarship on the topic.  Alternatives to this requirement, if they are comparably demanding, are open to consideration. The nature of the paper must be approved by the AM coordinator. In preparation for the finished project, the student will produce a topic essay, a bibliographic essay/annotated bibliography, and a discussion of the thesis/argument during the course of the semester. By reading and consulting about these preliminary works, the faculty supervisor will monitor the student's progress.
  • A presentation of the paper in an end-of-the-semester forum such as EN 410 or HI 410 or one of the Student Research Day panels.
  • An optional oral exam (depending on the judgment of the supervisor) involving the student, the supervisor, and one other faculty member so that the student can provide a knowledgeable defense of his/her paper. This can be especially useful for students wishing to go on to graduate school. 

Arts (Art/Music/Theatre)

Peter Harrigan, Chair

Art

All Senior Art majors create a series of multiple Art works for a Gallery exhibition that they plan, execute, publicize, hang, and later remove. In addition to their exhibition, Senior Art majors graduating with Honors write a thesis paper describing, critically analyzing and contextualizing their work.

Music

Our seniors work out their projects in the senior seminar. Most of the students, working with their professor in the seminar and with their private music instructor, design and present a performance or composition recital.

All seniors are required to write informative and brief program notes for their presentations.

In the case of Honors Program students, we offer one of two options:

Option one is to write a research-based paper on a topic that is not related to their performance, but one that paves the way for future, graduate study in music. In the recent past, Ben Miller wrote a 90+ page paper on piping traditions in Scotland and the New World. He also presented a full-length recital.

Option two is to write a series of shorter research-based papers on all or most of the music that the student will present in a recital. The work includes stylistic and theoretical analysis of the music. Performance practice problems are addressed with historical, primary documents. Such in-depth, analytical writing is not appropriate for program notes; it reflects the student's knowledge of historical style and practice as a scholar of performance traditions.

Theatre

All Senior Theatre majors design and execute a substantial project in one of the applied aspects of Theatre, in close connection with the Faculty. These areas might include but are not limited to:

  • Acting in a major role in a Mainstage or student-directed production
  • Designing and executing an aspect (scenery, lights, props, costumes, sound) of a Mainstage or full-scale student-directed production
  • Directing a full-scale production
  • Writing an original play
  • Designing and teaching an afterschool program, or teaching/directing primary or high school students in workshops and/or a production

This is in addition to weekly coursework, common readings, regular journal entries, and a 30 minute in-class presentation teaching their classmates on an area of the student's expertise.

Students hoping to complete an Honors Program capstone in Theatre would need to supplement their project in one of the following ways:

  • Writing an original play and performing an additional function such as directing or acting in it
  • Designing more than one aspect (scenery, lights, props, costumes, sound) of a Mainstage or full-scale student-directed production
  • Presenting their research, process and/or results at the annual Academic Symposium
  • Completing another enhancement agreed upon by the instructor and student

In addition, Honors Program students will teach a 60 minute in-class lesson.


Biochemistry

Malcom Lippert, Director

  • Successful completion of CH 410, Senior Seminar. This includes:
    • Submission of a written thesis.
    • Poster an oral presentation of work to peers and chemistry faculty.
  • An Honors Program student taking the department's senior seminar should, at the beginning of the course sequence in the fall, inform the seminar's instructor of his/her intent to have their thesis accepted as an Honors Program Capstone Project. This will allow, i) a proper mentoring relation to be established, and ii) agreement on the expectations for the project.
  • Since a written thesis and an oral presentation are already part of the general requirements for this course, it is expected that the Honor's student will present their topic in much greater depth and breadth than the regular students (written work approximately 1.5 times longer).
  • At the end of the second semester, both the written work and feedback from faculty will be used by the course instructor to determine whether the project merits Honors Program status.

Biology

Declan McCabe, Chair

Students wishing to complete an Honors Program Capstone Project in the Biology major must complete at least one full course (4 credits) of BI 420, Senior (Honors Program) Research. Projects typically will fall into one of two categories: (1) independent lab or field research projects that involve the student gathering original data, analyzing results, and presenting the outcomes in a written paper in scientific journal format; or (2) a detailed review article based on primary research sources exploring a topic of interest to the student. Honors Program students completing projects in either of these formats are also expected to orally present their results to their peers and the biology faculty. Additional presentations, in oral or poster format, at appropriate professional conferences may also be expected by the faculty advisor. Before a student will be permitted to enroll in BI 420, he/she must first find a faculty advisor/mentor for the project and come to an agreement with that faculty advisor/mentor on the expectations for the project.


Business Administration and Accounting

Robert Letovsky, Chair

  • The Department endorses the general guidelines in the Honors Program Handbook.
  • Typically, the Honors Program capstone project will be done in the context of the senior seminar (AC 450 Capstone Seminar in Accounting or BU 461 Business Strategy). The student will work on a standalone project that meets the guidelines of an Honors Program Project and is equivalent to the work of a first year graduate student. The project is to be focused on an issue and/or problem and/or situation beyond the normal topics covered in the course, and will require extensive primary and/or secondary research at an advanced level. The project could take the form of a traditional research paper or a comprehensive case study and typically will consist of a 20-30 page final version. Alternatives that are comparably demanding are open to consideration. 
  • At the beginning of the semester, an Honors Program student majoring in Accounting and/or Business should discuss the expectations for the capstone project with the professor, and inform the Honors program of his/her plans. The department chair will signify his or her approval of the project by signing a letter addressed to the Honors Committee of the Faculty Assembly. 
  • During the semester, the professor supervising the project will be expected to hold mentoring sessions with the student, including a review of the first draft, offering comments for revision and assisting with the public presentation venue. These sessions will generally be approximately 30 minutes a week every 2-3 weeks. 
  • At the end of the semester, the student will submit his/her work to a department sub-committee to determine whether it merits Honors Program status. (The committee can require revisions and allow a second submission.) The sub-committee will consist of a supervising faculty member and the department chairperson.
  • The student is also required to make some type of public presentation of their work in a formal event, such as the Dean's reception, the Undergraduate Research Symposium, or the SSRC, as part of another class where the student will be expected to lead the session, or at a meeting of a local business or nonprofit group or association, professional or academic.

Chemistry

Bret Findley, Chair

Successful completion of CH 410, Senior Seminar. This includes:

  • Submission of a written thesis
  • Oral presentation of work to peers and physics faculty

An Honors Program student taking the department's senior seminar should, at the beginning of the course sequence in the fall, inform the seminar's instructor of his/her intent to have their thesis accepted as an Honors Program Capstone Project. This will allow, i) a proper mentoring relation to be established, and ii) agreement on the expectations for the project.

Since a written thesis and an oral presentation are already part of the general requirements for this course, it is expected that the Honor's student will present their topic in much greater depth and breadth than the regular students.

At the end of the second semester, both the written work and feedback from faculty will be used by the course instructor to determine whether the project merits Honors Program status.


Classics

Ronald Begley, Chair

  • Honors Program students in Classics can write a short essay which goes through several drafts. We encourage Honors Program students in Classics to present this as a talk at the Vermont Academy of the Arts and Sciences or at the College's Research Symposium Day and to submit it for publication or for competitions (e.g. the Phyllis B. Katz Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research awarded by the Classical Association of New England). If a student is planning to apply to graduate programs in Classics, this kind of project can help him/her prepare a writing sample.
  • Honors Program students in Classics can take on a reading project which involves substantially more reading of the ancient languages than the amount expected of non-Honors students in the seminar. In the Classics capstone seminar, all students read at least one hundred pages of Latin and Greek texts in the original on their own. The amount of reading that an Honors Program student would do beyond that would depend upon the student's level of preparation and the difficulty of the author. Having done this, they must demonstrate proficiency with this body of material by undergoing a sight-examination. One part of the sight examination will be oral and that will be administered by the faculty in the Classics Department.
  • Honors Program students in Classics can produce a polished translation of a classical text. In some cases an Honors Program student might translate a work which has not been translated. We encourage Honors Program students in Classics who avail themselves of this option to submit their work for publication. If a student were to do a creative imitation of ancient poetry, for example, he or she might submit it to The New England Classical Journal, published by the Classical Association of New England, for this journal has a section devoted to creative imitations and translations of ancient poetry.

Computer Science Department & Information Systems Program

Greta Pangborn, Chair

CS and IS seniors are required to take CS407-Software Engineering during the fall of their senior year. Students are encouraged to select their Senior Honors Program Project topic during the CS407 course and begin the work with the goal of presenting a paper, poster or project during the undergraduate research symposium in April of the following semester. Students may also present an alternate plan to do research related to another core area of computing (e.g., algorithms, artificial intelligence, etc.) by making a proposal to the department chair before October 31 of the fall term. The proposal must be in writing and have the support of one of the tenure-track faculty members in CS/IS.

Process for Senior Honors Program Projects:

  • Submit a written proposal outlining a research paper or proof of concept project (typically involving software creation) by October 31. The submission must have the support of a mentoring professor who is tenured or tenure-track in CS or IS. 
  • The proposal will be reviewed by the sponsoring professor and Dept. Chair with changes presented to the student within one month of receipt. The final proposal will involve a substantial research paper or project to be supervised (with final approval of the finished product) by the sponsoring professor.
  • The final work will be presented during the spring semester at a public campus venue (preferably the undergraduate research symposium, but other venues such as the Dean's Reception or a regional conference would also suffice).

Economics

Richard Kujawa, Chair

Option I:

Honors Program students will be assigned to read three contemporary books in Economics, ones not assigned other students, and prepare formal reviews of these texts. Review essays may form a component of discussion with all students in the seminar.

Option II:

In general, the capstone project for Honors Program students in Economics will be completed in the context of the senior seminar in Economics. The Honors Program student should produce an extended paper than the ones expected of other senior seminar students. This paper might include a more comprehensive literature review and extensions of research methodologies. The goal will be to produce a paper worthy of being identified as an 'honors thesis.' The Senior thesis supervisor will meet with the Honors Program student on a regular basis to discuss and encourage the additional components of the research. The Honors Program student will be expected to present their thesis during the College's Research Symposium day. They will also be encouraged to present their research at the Vermont Academy of the Arts and Sciences or another appropriate internal or external student-oriented event.


Education

Jonathan Silverman, Chair

All Education majors have a second major. Typically, Honors students in their senior year complete an Honors Project in this other major. The Honors Project would need to take place in the alternative semester to student teaching. Education majors wishing to complete an Honors Project in Education need to meet with their Education advisor and the Department Chair to discuss if and how this would be possible.


Engineering

Zsuzsanna Kadas and Lloyd Simons, Co-Directors

In accordance with the Guidelines for Honors Program Capstone Courses as elucidated in the Honors Program Handbook, a student's "capstone project" should be in his or her field of expertise, in this case, the specific Engineering discipline. Therefore, the capstone project will usually be undertaken during the last year of study at UVM or Clarkson.

For students in the SMC-UVM Program, the Capstone Honors Program Project will normally be integrated into the "Senior Design Experience" courses that all UVM engineers are required to take in their last year of study. Students will be expected to write a comprehensive paper giving the details of the project and written for a non-expert audience. The paper should include background on the problem to be solved or element to be designed and should describe the development process, obstacles encountered, and the final result. (The length will depend upon the nature of the project, but about 20 pages would generally be appropriate.) The results of the project should also be presented in some public forum, for instance at a poster session at the SMC Student Symposium Day.

Students wishing to complete the requirements of the Honors Program in this way should proceed as follows:

  • Submit a formal proposal to their SMC Engineering Advisor by October 15 of their final year outlining the plan for their design experience, and to what extent it goes beyond what is normally expected for the successful completion of the course. The Advisor will inform the student by November 1 whether the plan has been approved. 
  • By March 15, submit to their SMC Advisor a draft or substantial outline of the paper.
  • By April 15 submit the final paper to their SMC Advisor.

Students enrolled in a comparable design experience course at Clarkson may follow this procedure as well.

Alternate Plan

Students whose engineering program does not include a design project course that can be adapted to the plan described above, or who would prefer to complete an alternate project to fulfill the capstone requirement should discuss their plan for completing the Honors Program Project with their SMC Advisors in a timely fashion, no later than the spring of Junior year. 

  • By September 1 of the last year of their program (and after discussion with and approval of their SMC advisor) students should submit to the SMC Coordinators of the Engineering Programs (currently Professors Zsu Kadas and Lloyd Simons), an alternative proposal for completing the requirements of the Honors Program. In keeping with the spirit of the Honors Program Guidelines, any successful proposal should detail: how the project will attain the expected superlative level of intellectual content; a timeline for the project and how the results of the project will be reviewed; and how the results of the project will be presented in a public forum. 
  • By March 15, submit to the SMC Advisor a draft, substantial outline, or progress report on the project.
  • By April 15, submit the final project.

English

Robert Niemi, Chair

  • The department endorses the general guidelines in the Honors Program Handbook.
  • Typically, the capstone project will be done in the context of the senior seminar with the goal of composing a thesis or a creative alternative worthy of being declared an "Honors Program Project." 
  • An Honors Program student taking the department's senior seminar should, at the beginning of the seminar, inform the seminar's director of his/her intent to have his/her senior thesis or creative alternative accepted as an Honors Program Capstone Project. This will allow a proper mentoring relation to be established. 
  • At the end of the semester, the completed project will be submitted to the instructor, who will determine whether it merits Honors Program status. 
  • If the project is approved and recommended by the mentoring instructor, the student will submit a summary abstract of the completed project (max. 2 pages in digital format) to the department chair, who will forward it with approval to the Honors Committee for inclusion in a Capstone Projects archive.
  • The student will present an abbreviated presentation on her/his Honors Program Capstone Project on the College's Research Symposium day.

Environmental Studies

Nathaniel Lewis, Director

For the Honors Program Capstone Project in the Environmental Studies major, students must complete at least one full course (4 credits) of ES 420, Senior (Honors Program) Research. In order to enroll in ES 420, students need to have demonstrated excellent academic performance, and need to find a faculty mentor, with expertise in the focal area for the project, who is willing to serve as advisor on the project and who will issue the final grade for the ES 420 work.

Environmental Studies (ES 420) thesis projects may consist of field or laboratory research that involves formulating a question, gathering original data, analyzing results, and presenting the outcomes in relation to the published scholarly literature; these projects will culminate in the student producing a major written paper. Production of an original work of art (broadly defined) related to environment may constitute an ES 420 project at the discretion of the Environmental Studies Program Director and depending upon the student identifying a willing faculty mentor with expertise related to the proposed project. Another option for an ES 420 Environmental Studies thesis would be a scholarly literature review exploring a topic of interest to the student and resulting in a written paper of substantial length. In addition to presenting the project in written form or in the appropriate medium for the project, Honors Program students completing projects are expected to orally present their results to their peers and to the Environmental Studies faculty. Additional presentations at other venues on and off-campus may be required by the faculty mentor.


Gender Studies

Patricia Delaney, Director

  • The Gender Studies program endorses all of the general guidelines in the Honors Program Handbook.
  • Under normal circumstances, the Gender Studies honors capstone project will be undertaken within the semester-long Gender Studies Capstone Seminar, GS410 (usually offered in the spring semester). No later than at the last week of the preceding semester, a student in the Senior Seminar should inform the faculty member teaching the seminar that she/he wishes to pursue honors status. Working together,  the faculty member and the student will develop a program of work and mentoring for the designated "Honors Program Project," which will minimally include:
    • the production of a longer paper (minimum of 30 double-spaced, typed pages) than for the regular seminar, one more thoroughly researched and sourced, which places the project in the context of the literature in gender studies on the topic;
    • mentoring outside of normal seminar class time with the faculty member, approximately 30 minutes a week, every 2-3 weeks;
    • a final mentoring session to review a first draft and the instructor's comments for revision;
    • the submission of a final draft to the faculty member, who will determine whether the project merits honors status;
    • and the preparation of the final paper for submission for publication.
  • Once the project is approved and is deemed having met honors status by the mentoring faculty member, the student must submit a summary abstract of the completed project (approximately two pages in digital format) to the Program Chair, who will forward it with approval to the Honors Program Committee for inclusion in a Capstone Projects archive.
  • Finally, in addition to orally presenting their project during the regular senior seminar, all Gender Studies students pursuing honors capstone projects agree to participate and deliver a presentation in a spring semester venue to be decided (either the annual Dean's reception or Undergraduate Research Symposium).

History

George Dameron, Chair

The department revised the format and the requirements for History 410 in 1997. Students will write a thesis of at least 40 pages, preferably developed from a paper previously written for an upper level seminar. Faculty rotate supervising the seminar every semester, but students choose (with faculty agreement) their topics and advisors. Among other guidelines accepted unanimously by the department are the following:

  • Beginning in the Spring of 2002 (adopted in March of 2002), the seminar leader and at least one other member of the department will interview each student individually in mid-semester regarding the progress of their research and writing (the department member with no or the fewest thesis advisees will usually be an interviewer);
  • There will be a four-student cap on the number of advisees any one advisor can assume;
  • The Chair will communicate every Spring to rising seniors that they need to identify topic and advisor by the end of their junior year;
  • If a topic is not identified and advisor contacted by the second week of the semester in which the student is enrolled in HI 410, the seminar leader should suggest the student enroll in another seminar; in the event it is the student's final semester, the leader of the seminar may have to tell the student that he or she may not be able to work on a topic that is their first choice; in that case, an advisor may simply have to be assigned;
  • Incomplete grades are unacceptable in History 410, except in the case of compelling personal reasons or serious illness;
  • In all cases, the advisor who guides and advises a student is also the one who assigns the grade;
  • It is expected that all members of the department will attend the student presentations at the end of the semester (adopted April, 2002);
  • All department members will continue to urge if not require students to use as the basis and foundation for their senior thesis a research paper previously written for an upper division seminar;
  • The department chair will signify his or her approval of an honors thesis proposal by signing a letter addressed to the Honors Committee of the Faculty Assembly. Students who write theses as part of their Honors Program requirements will defend their theses before a department committee of two faculty members (the thesis advisor and the seminar director). An Honors Program thesis will normally be more than forty (40) pages in length and rely more extensively on the critical analysis of primary sources than most non-honors theses.

Mathematics

George Ashline, Chair

  • Mathematics Honors Program students must have permission of a supervisor and submit their independent study research proposal to the department chair before preregistration for the semester in which the proposed research is to take place. This course does not count toward the major requirements; it is taken to fulfill requirements of the Honors Program. 
  • Requirements for the Thesis will depend upon the project, but all students are expected to: independently research a topic or problem of interest to them; write up the results of their research as a thesis; and orally present their results in a public forum.
  • Learning outcomes for the Thesis also will depend upon the project, but all students will (with guidance from the supervisor): find a topic and/or problem in mathematics beyond the normal mathematics curriculum; research their choice of topic at an advanced level; organize and write up the results of that research in a mathematically sophisticated manner; and present the results of that research in a public forum. This research would be in an area of mathematics new to each student, who would then be expected to work through the relevant theory, proofs, examples, etc and synthesize results, which may or may not be original. 
  • In terms of work expectations, for roughly the first 2/3 of the semester we would expect students to spend at least 8 hours/week of reading/formulating problems/trying to prove results, and 1 to 2 hours /week meeting with the supervisor; the last 1/3 of the semester students will organize their knowledge and carefully write up their results. Part of the writing-up process could include learning to use the mathematical type-setting language TeX. Possible venues for student presentation of the results include the year-end campus student symposium, the Hudson River Undergraduate Mathematics Conference (or another regional or national undergraduate mathematics forum), or at a department-sponsored mathematics colloquium.

Students can complete an Honors Program Component for a 300-level or 400-level MA full course.

  • As an alternative to writing an Honors Program Thesis, Mathematics Honors Program students must formulate a proposal to include an Honors Program component as part a 300-level or 400-level MA full course with the permission of the instructor of that course and then submit their proposal to the department chair before preregistration for the semester in which the proposed component is to take place. This component will be completed in addition to that MA course requirements; it is taken to fulfill requirements of the Honors Program.
  • Requirements for the Honors Program component will depend upon the course, but all students are expected to (with guidance from the course professor): find a topic and/or problem beyond the normal topics covered in the course; research their choice of topic at an advanced level; organize and write up the results of that research in a mathematically sophisticated manner; and if possible present the results in a public forum. This research would be in an area of mathematics new to each student, who would then be expected to work through the relevant theory, proofs, examples, etc and synthesize results, which may or may not be original. 
  • The work expectations for the component depend upon arrangements made between the student and the professor, including details for how the results should be written up. Results can be presented at the year-end campus student symposium, the Hudson River Undergraduate Mathematics Conference (or another regional or national undergraduate mathematics forum), or at a department-sponsored mathematics colloquium.

Media Studies, Journalism & Digital Arts

Traci Griffith, Chair

  • Finished form will be either a Book, Multimedia Web Site, or Documentary Film 
  • Substantive treatment of an important, socially significant topic and its related issues
    • you should be selecting and developing your own topic
    • the topic should be explored from interdisciplinary angles
    • this is an issue-based project 
  • This is an in-depth nonfiction/documentary project, investigative 
  • Professional-quality work and presentation 
  • Targeted toward a national, international, or regional audience 
  • The MJDA Senior Project is a vehicle for both interdisciplinary research and creative expression. You should work in a primary medium in which you have experience and talent; all projects should include both words and images. 
  • The senior capstone project will be done in conjunction with MJD450 Senior Research Proposal Seminar (half class, fall semester) and MJD460 Senior Seminar (full course, spring semester). It involves critical review of related literature in at least two disciplines, interviews, and ethnographic observations. 
  • The finished Book, Multimedia Web Site, or Documentary Film will be presented to diverse audiences in three arenas: 1) a formal presentation to the MJDA seniors and faculty; 2) a public presentation to the Saint Michael's College community; and 3) when completed, your project should be published, posted live, and/or screened using appropriate facilities.
  • Students seeking an Honors Program designation for their MJDA senior capstone should meet individually with the professor of MJD460 to propose and complete related work in an additional medium.

Modern Languages and Literature

Kristin Juel, Chair

  • Typically, the capstone project will be done in the context of the senior seminar (SP460 or FR460).
  • Students must inform the seminar instructor at the beginning of the course of his or her intent to make the thesis an Honors Program Capstone Project. 
  • Honors Program students are expected to do at least 25% more work (writing papers that are 25% longer and doing 25% more research) on the final thesis than other students in the senior seminar. Since students in the senior seminar are expected to write a research paper of 20-25 pages in academic French or Spanish, Honors Program students should produce papers of at least 25-31 pages in length. 
  • Honors Program students must also present their projects at the Student Research Symposium and are encouraged to present them in other venues.

Philosophy

Peter Tumulty, Chair

  • The department endorses the general guidelines in the Honors Program Handbook. 
  • Typically, the capstone project will be done in the context of the senior seminar with the goal of composing a thesis worthy of being declared an 'honors thesis'. This can be understood as a thesis that could function as the writing sample submitted as part of an application to a graduate Philosophy program or could be seen as the work of a first year graduate student. 
  • An Honors Program student taking the department's senior seminar should at the beginning of the seminar inform the seminar's director of his/her intent to have their thesis accepted as an Honors Capstone Project. This will allow a proper mentoring relation to be established. 
  • At the end of the semester, the thesis will be submitted to a department sub-committee to determine whether it merits Honors Program status. (The committee can require revisions and allow a second submission.) 
  • If approved by a majority of the committee at least two of the following will be done: 
    • the thesis or a shorter version can be submitted to an undergraduate philosophy journal for publication or submitted to an undergraduate philosophy conference for discussion among peers; 
    • the student will discuss his/her thesis at a meeting of the department; students will be invited to attend; 
    • the student will present his/her thesis or an abbreviated version on the College's Research Symposium day. 
  • In addition to completing a requirement for the Honors Program, the student's thesis will receive an Honors Program designation from the department.

Physics

Bret Findley, Chair

  • Successful completion of PY 410-411, Senior Seminar. This includes:
    • Submission of a written thesis
    • Oral presentation of work to peers and physics faculty 
  • An Honors Program student taking the department's senior seminar should, at the beginning of the course sequence in the fall, inform the seminar's instructor of his/her intent to have their thesis accepted as an Honors Program Capstone Project. This will allow, i) a proper mentoring relation to be established, and ii) agreement on the expectations for the project. 
  • Since a written thesis and an oral presentation are already part of the general requirements for this course, it is expected that the Honor's student will present their topic in much greater depth and breadth than the regular students. 
  • At the end of the second semester, both the written work and feedback from faculty will be used by the course instructor to determine whether the project merits Honors Program status.

Political Science

Trish Siplon, Chair

  • The Political Science Department endorses the general guidelines in the Honors Program Handbook.
  • Normally, the Political Science honors capstone project will be undertaken within the semester-long Political Science Senior Seminar, PO410. No later than at the beginning of the semester, a student in the Senior Seminar should inform the faculty member teaching the seminar that she/he wishes to pursue honors status, and the faculty member and the student will develop a program of work and mentoring for the designated "Honors Program Project," which will include:
    • the production of a longer paper (minimum of 30 double-spaced, typed pages) than for the regular seminar, one more thoroughly researched and sourced, which places the project in the context of the standard political science scholarship on the topic;
    • mentoring outside of normal seminar class time with the faculty member, approximately 30 minutes a week, every 2-3 weeks;
    • a final mentoring session to review a first draft and the instructor's comments for revision;
    • and the submission of a final draft to the faculty member, who will determine whether the project merits honors status.
  • Once the project is approved and is deemed having met honors status by the mentoring faculty member, the student must submit a summary abstract of the completed project (approximately two pages in digital format) to the Department Chair, who will forward it with approval to the Honors Program Committee for inclusion in a Capstone Projects archive.
  • Finally, in addition to orally presenting their project during the regular senior seminar, all Political Science students pursuing honors capstone projects agree to participate and deliver a presentation in a spring semester venue to be decided (either the annual Dean's reception or Undergraduate Research Symposium).

Psychology

Renee Carrico, Chair

Honors Program students may fulfill their capstone project in psychology by completing the department's Honors Program Independent Research option. The IRHP project spans two semesters and encourages students to engage in the independent and creative process of laboratory, field, or scholarly research in psychology. It involves working closely with a department faculty member in an area of common interest.

The project involves two phases:

Phase One - the Proposal (PS406; ½ course credit) – any interested student, working with a faculty mentor, will write a proposal that includes a relevant literature review, and a description of the actual study methodology. The IRHP proposal will be a paper written in APA style of approximately 10-15 pages, typed, double-spaced, and referenced. Once this proposal is approved the student may apply for Phase Two for the following semester.

Phase Two - the Study (PS408; ½ course credit) – working with the same faculty mentor, students will follow through to execute the study, and write-up the results and conclusions of the study in a senior honors thesis. This paper will be written in APA style, approximately 25-50 pages, typed, double-spaced, referenced, and must include elements of the original proposal. It must be completed by April 1st of your senior year, and presented at a departmental or college-wide symposium prior to graduation.

Those interested may, with the approval of the faculty member supervising the research, collaborate with one or two other students to form a research team to conduct a series of related IRHP projects. However, each student must write his or her own proposal and final paper, and there must be a clearly identifiable component to the study executed by each.

Faculty Mentor:

It will be the student's responsibility to seek out a faculty member to supervise the IRHP project. Availability of faculty to supervise such projects will vary based upon the academic obligations of the department in a given semester, and the match between a student's topic and faculty member's areas of expertise. Each faculty member will make her or his own decision, and it cannot be determined in advance whether faculty will be able to accommodate all students wishing to do such a Project in any given semester.

Types of Independent Research Papers: 

  • Empirical Study: This paper will test a hypothesis and follow traditional guidelines of literature review, methods, results, and discussion. It will be based on original research carried out by the student. 
  • Qualitative Study: This paper will present observational or interview data in a paper that answers a question and follows traditional guidelines of a literature review, methods, results, and discussion. 
  • Case Study: This paper will summarize the work the student has done in a human services setting with an individual, family, or program, and critically examine that work in the context of psychological theory and research, and other published case study accounts. Alternatively, this may be a comprehensive critical literature review of published case studies on a particular topic. 
  • Theoretical Paper: This paper will include a literature review of a theoretical issue or question in the field of psychology. It may include theoretical, empirical or clinical literature. The student will present a critical evaluation of existing theory, and suggest alternative conceptualizations of the problem.

Religious Studies

Ray Patterson, Chair

  • The department endorses the general guidelines in the Honors Program Handbook. 
  • Typically, the capstone project will be done in the context of the senior seminar with the goal of composing a thesis worthy of being declared an 'honors thesis'. Thus the thesis could function as the writing sample submitted as part of an application to a graduate Theology or Religious Studies program, or could be seen as the work of a first year graduate student. 
  • An Honors Program student taking the department's senior seminar should at the beginning of the seminar inform both the seminar's director and the student's thesis mentor of his/her intent to have their thesis accepted as an Honors Program Capstone Project. This will allow a proper mentoring s to be established. 
  • At the end of the semester, the thesis will be submitted to a department sub-committee to determine whether it merits Honors Program status. (The committee can require revisions and allow a second submission.) 
  • The student will present his/her thesis during the senior seminar presentation symposium, and will be asked to present the thesis at another public venue, such as Parent/Family Weekend in April. 
  • In addition to completing a requirement for the Honors Program, the student's thesis will receive an Honors Program designation from the department.

Sociology/Anthropology

Patricia Delaney, Chair

Because we are a single Department with two separate tracks in distinctive disciplines, the standards described consist of a blend of what either might do independently. Thus in practice, the emphasis may vary slightly in one track or the other. As a principle, the Department endorses the general guidelines in the Honors Program Handbook. In both tracks, the added Capstone project will be conducted within the context of the existing Capstone offered in each track and be on a subject related to the course work.

In keeping with the Guidelines, our students will be expected to conduct a project that would be reflect the standards and expectations appropriate for a graduate level work in our respective disciplines. The project will also meet the guidelines suggested by the CEPC for the "Oral Communications" dimension of the Liberal Studies Requirements.

There will be three components of this project:

  • The student will be expected to work closely with the professor of the Capstone course to conduct research appropriate to the discipline that will also be of relevance to the class as a whole. 
  • Still working with the professor, the student will then lead a discussion, prepare a significant lecture, project, presentation etc. that can be shared with the class so that:
    • The student conducting the class will learn well beyond what he/she would otherwise.
    • The class as a whole will learn from the content of the material as well as have the side benefit of observing a fellow student model higher standards of academic work well beyond what is normally expected of the modal undergraduate class. 
  • Completed projects should be captured in a substantial paper (perhaps 20-30 pages) and shared with other members of the Department for feedback, and comment. The project should also be the source of talks/demonstrations/exhibits to a public audience which may include the Undergraduate Research Symposium, the Social Science Research Center, disciplinary conferences, or before representative groups of the sponsoring organizations (e.g., off campus school groups, research project funders, etc.)

Honors Housing

The Honors Program at Saint Michael's College provides additional challenges and opportunities to outstanding students through group discussion, research and extracurricular activities. Students in the Honors Program may decide to live within the Honors Housing.

Honors Housing develops a strong sense of academic community among its participants by integrating topics from students' coursework. In addition, Honors Housing provides additional out-of-class opportunities for students to interact with faculty members. Honors Housing provides a community living experience that is supportive of students' academic success and interests. Finally, Honors Housing promotes students' academic and co-curricular leadership.

For First Year Honors Housing - priority is given to those incoming first year students who have been invited to join the Honors Program by the Faculty Honors Program Committee. Additional space within Honors Housing in the first-year areas will be filled by those students who have/are predicted to have a grade point average of 3.6 or higher. Designated floors and/or wings are reserved within the first-year buildings for incoming first-year students.

Honors Program Testimonials

Trevor Brown '15

Political Science and History

Trevor BrownOver the past three years, the Honors Program has unquestionably been a formative experience for me, allowing me to grow in multiple areas. Intellectually, through small classes made up of individuals who have a similar focus on academics, the Honors Program fosters an environment in which one can thoughtfully develop and articulate concepts while also considering others positions and learning from them. Honors courses in my major as well as the honors colloquium have exposed me to a wide breadth and diversity of ideas, allowing me to develop my own positions.

Socially, being a part of the Honors Program Student Committee has encouraged me to grow as a leader outside of the classroom. The Honors Program is fully integrated into the college as a whole but still allows for students to take hold of their education. I attribute, in no small way, my growth as an individual to my time in the Honors Program. The Honors Program at Saint Michael's College has been a central part of my college experience and I look forward to seeing what this coming year has to offer.


Emily Carolin '15

American Studies

For my first-year at St. Michael's College, living on an Honors floor helped me become more comfortable in my surroundings and rapidly develop friendships. Making friendships within the Honors Program through shared classes and my living arrangement made my transition into college become miles easier. I felt comfortable in the knowledge that my friends were just as academically-driven as I was Emily Carolin

The pairing of myself with an upperclassman with the same major continued this seamless transition. Emma, my mentor, helped when planning my classes, was available for any questions that I had, and gave recommendations for housing and professors. A few times throughout my first-year, we met for lunch to catch up and see how things were going.‚Äč

My wonderful experience with my mentor led me to have a vested interest in the mentoring program. For the past two years, I have been the Mentoring Coordinator and helped first-year students learn, grow, and develop through the program. I cannot recommend the Honors Program enough, as it has helped me to do the same.


Samuel Fogg '16

International Relations and Accounting

Samuel Fogg I have found the opportunities and enriched learning environment provided by the Honors Program to offer themselves asboth rewards and privileges. As an Honors student, I have been given the opportunities to join smaller and discussion-based classes, to gain a deeper insight into my studies, and to make greater connections with both my peers and mentors. It is true that students in the program are held to a higher standard and are expected to make contributions both in and out of the classroom to the higher learning taking place. Yet this means more than additional books and papers. The Honors program is comprised of deeper discussions, greater relationships with professors, the opportunity to sit on as a member of the Honors board, to attend Honors socials and panels on relevant issues, and so much more. In the end, the accumulation of these greater learning opportunities leads to a heightened learning experience and a college education which will recompense in greater rewards.

As a member of the class of 2016, I look forward to continuing my involvement in the Honors Program. My commitment to it has opened doors for me and fostered academic relationships which I will continue to enjoy. While it does demand a greater commitment to one’s studies, the Honors Program at Saint Michael’s College invites students to take advantage of its many great benefits. And if you’re lucky, Honors professors will even invite your class over for dinner.


Cory Warren '16

English

I joined the Honors Program during the first semester of my first year at Saint Michael’s. I was not invited upon Cory Warrenacceptance to the college, but expressed my interest to the Honors Program coordinator and was reconsidered, and eventually welcomed to the program’s student committee. I have served as a class representative, student liaison to the faculty committee, and now as program president. When considering my time in the Honors Program and as a student at Saint Michael’s, I often think of a line from Wordsworth: “I have felt / A presence that disturbs me with the joy / Of elevated thoughts.” Education is a disturbance: it disturbs our preconceptions, assumptions, and understandings of ourselves. But it is joyful. In Honors Program seminars, I have engaged with discourses on literature, history, philosophy, and politics alongside my peers and professors. I was initially drawn to the program for its mission: to foster an intellectual culture on campus. Through reading, writing, listening, and speaking, I have located the “elevated thoughts” Wordsworth describes. The Honors Program connects students, faculty, and the Saint Michael’s community with the world of ideas.


Alexandra Brown '17

Physics

Allie BrownI was invited into the Honors Program upon my admission to Saint Michael’s College.  Knowing that I would have the opportunity to be a part of a special community of students and faculty passionate about academic growth was part of my decision to attend SMC.  During my first year seminar on Drama and Culture, my learning extended beyond the classroom and into the local theater scene.  I was not just reading plays, but also seeing and reviewing live theater.  What I appreciate the most about the Honors Program is that the courses immerse you in the given discipline so that you are experiencing what you are learning.  The Honors Program mentor/mentee program has been another highlight of my experience.  My mentor was so supportive and involved during my freshman year that I was inspired to become a mentor myself.  The Honors Program has enriched my experience at Saint Michael’s College and I am grateful for the opportunities and experiences it affords.


Kate Gribbon '17

American Studies Major

When I was accepted to Saint Michael’s College, I was absolutely elated. As a prospective student, Saint Mike's was Kate Gribbonalways the number one school on my list. It was exceptionally rewarding to know that I would soon be attending such a wonderful school.

I was aware that Saint Mike’s had a wide variety of clubs, activities, and organizations that I had to opportunity to join. However, the Honors Program was not one initially on my radar, nor was it one I planned on joining. Then, in the first semester of my first year, I found myself working hard in the classroom, and enjoying myself outside of the classroom in activities like Intramurals and ShredMC. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my grades granted me the opportunity to accept an invitation to join the Honors Program. I enthusiastically chose to become a member of the club, and I am very happy I did so.

The Honors Program encourages all of its members to attend its weekly meetings. When I attended my first meeting, I immediately felt comfortable and at home. The committee members were so welcoming that I began to religiously attend the meetings myself, and even participate in volunteering at Accepted Student Days that spring. I will gladly recommend the program to anyone interested in joining because it encourages me to continue working hard as a student, and also provides me with a great group of friends who never fail to keep me going.

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