Senior Honors Guidelines and Forms

Senior Honors Guidelines

To be eligible to write a senior thesis, a student must maintain a grade-point average of 3.65 through the sixth semester. Senior thesis writers should sign up for an appropriate 3-credit course during both the fall and spring semesters. (Students majoring in JIMES must take a capstone course even if they are writing an honors thesis. The 6 credits from the thesis courses can be applied to the primary area of study.)

The senior honors thesis is a research project that is significantly larger than the usual term paper. It is usually around 50-60 pages long. In writing this thesis, candidates are expected to make use of both primary and secondary sources and to demonstrate critical and analytic skills. Candidates are also encouraged to make use of any foreign language skills they may possess for the research. Proper citation of sources and a clear and consistent stylistic format will be expected.

Candidates, in consultation with their advisors, should choose their area of interest and find an appropriate faculty member to serve as their thesis supervisor in the spring semester of their junior year. They then need to apply for the honors program to the Director of Undergraduate Studies of Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies by May 1. The written application should contain a tentative description of the project, the supervisor's endorsement of the candidacy, and the candidate's unofficial transcript with the latest GPA clearly indicated. This early planning allows candidates to use the summer months to conduct preliminary research. Candidates must enroll in Arabic 488 and 489, Hebrew 488 and 489, or JIMES 499, "Independent Work for Senior Honors,” in both the fall and spring semesters of their senior year (normally for a total of 6 credit hours).

The responsibilities of the thesis supervisor include:

  • setting up regular meetings with the candidate
  • helping the candidate design a research and writing plan
  • monitoring the candidate's progress through meetings and periodic written drafts
  • offering feedback in a timely fashion

The responsibilities of the candidate include:

  • setting up regular meetings with the thesis supervisor
  • meet with a subject librarian who can assist the research project
  • adhering to the research and writing plan jointly developed by the candidate and the supervisor
  • seeking out the supervisor for help when needed; meeting agreed-upon deadlines
  • abiding by the guidelines outlined in the Statement of Student Academic Integrity

By October 15, the candidate must submit a three-page report about the progress made with the research as well as a bibliography (separate from the research report).

The candidate needs to write a substantial progress report (a 20-30 outline of the thesis or thesis chapter with a separate schedule of completion and a bibliography) by the last day of the fall semester or another day designated by the thesis supervisor. No candidate will be allowed to continue in the program unless this report is submitted on time and is accepted as satisfactory by the supervisor.

By February 15, the candidate and the thesis supervisor must submit the name of the second professor on the committee evaluating the thesis to the Director of Undergraduate Studies of Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies.

By the first week of March, candidates should submit a final draft of their thesis to their supervisor. The thesis will be evaluated by a committee of 2 faculty members, including the supervisor. It is extremely important that this draft is submitted on time: late submission will be sufficient cause for candidates to lose their chance to receive honors.

Committee members may suggest revisions to the thesis. They will also decide whether or not to forward their recommendation to the Director of Undergraduate Studies of Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies that the candidate be awarded Honors. The committee members will complete the Honors Thesis Evaluation Form and return it to the Director of Undergraduate Studies by the date set in the third week in March by the director of undergraduate studies. Copies of the Evaluation Form will be given to the student.

By or before April 15th, the candidate should submit the completed thesis, with revisions if necessary, to the Department office. The final draft should be typed (in 12 point font), double-spaced, with 1" margins all around. It should either be bound or placed in a notebook, so that it may be shelved in the department office along with other theses and dissertations. The title page of the thesis must include: the title of the honors thesis; the line “A Thesis Presented to the Department of Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies in Partial Fulfillment of the Degree of Bachelor of Arts with Honors”; the student’s name; the semester and year of the submission of the thesis; and the name of the thesis advisor. The supervisor will then submit the grade for the spring semester of the thesis course.

Upon certification by the department that the Honors program has been satisfactorily completed, the student may be awarded, by the College of Arts & Sciences, the A.B. cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude according to the following proportions: the top 15 percent in overall grade point average of Latin honors candidates who complete the necessary requirements of their major departments will graduate summa cum laude; the next 35 percent magna cum laude; the next 50 percent cum laude. Grade point average is calculated based on the student’s complete body of undergraduate scholarship, including the final semester’s coursework. Thus the level awarded at graduation may be the same or lower than what was given by the departmental committee.