Southwestern

Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

Feminist Studies

Honors

Students who are highly motivated to engage in an extensive independent research project may consider writing an Honors thesis in FST.

Although students must be formally invited by the FST Chair to do an Honors project, interested students may inquire about the program and discuss potential projects with FST committee members.

As noted in the student handbook, students are typically required to have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.4 and a minimum grade point average of 3.6 in the major in order to be eligible for Honors in FST.

Honors Programs are outlined in the University Catalog under the topic Special Academic Programs. Students should refer to this information for answers to many of their questions. The following is to highlight relevant and important elements of that information and to augment it by outlining the specific practices and guidelines of our program. For more information about the Honors process, please contact the chair of the FST program.

  1. Invitation

    Honors Projects in the Feminist Studies Program are by invitation only. Formal invitations from the program will be conveyed to Juniors by February 1st of their spring semester (or by October 1st for students graduating in December of the following year). Invitations will be determined by the program faculty on the basis of GPA, course performance, and an overall sense of the student's readiness and preparation for successfully and beneficially undertaking a program of study in which the student spends a year intensively investigating a set of texts, a problem or question, or a figure. In other words, the primary factor in the decision is the assessment of whether a student has developed a coherent project to a stage conducive to a year-long guided study whose aim is a significant piece of written philosophical analysis.

    The student should accept this invitation by March 1st (or by October 15th for Dec. graduates).

  2. Proposal and Approval

    A proposal of approximately 5 pages will be due by April 1st (or November 1st for December graduates) for program approval.

    While the proposal is not binding and projects do and often should undergo evolution, the proposal should have enough sense of the project for the student to undertake meaningful work during the summer. A rough outline, rough sense of texts involved and rough sense of committee should be included. Program faculty will then review and approve or decline this proposal prior to registration. As stated in the catalog, approval of the project will depend, in part, on the coherence and feasibility of the project, the student's motivation to carry out a substantial independent project, and the possibility of finding an appropriate faculty advisor with enough expertise in the general area of the honors project.

    The student will be notified of the decision of the program prior to registration.

    The student’s faculty advisor will normally be the instructor of the Feminist Studies Capstone, for the year in which the student will be enrolled in the Honors Program. The faculty advisor will then become the primary person in the program with whom the student will work, and who will assist the student in forming the larger committee. The project can replace the Capstone final paper in the program, but the student will still be required to attend the Capstone class during the fall semester.

  3. Timetable

    The Honors Project consists of two semesters of independent research, in which the student should be registered for honors course credit.

    The project should also involve a summer of research, even though not formally enrolled in the university. How the summer can best be spent will be determined between the student and the advisor, but typically, a reading list will be formed for the student to begin working through. By the second week of the fall semester, the student will submit an annotated bibliography that includes at least a one-page summary of each book read during the summer, specifying how that text will fit into the honors project.

    Late in the fall (or in the spring for students graduating in December) a review with the advisor (or in consultation with the program where appropriate) will determine whether the project is going forward toward a successful completion. If not, the student will change registration to independent study and the student and advisor together will decide how to turn the work of the semester into satisfactory work for independent study course credit.

    During the fall semester, the student will participate in the weekly writing assignments for the Capstone class. The student will then submit a draft of the entire honors thesis by the end of exam week of the fall semester.

    The outside faculty member will receive the proposal, annotated bibliography in September, and the full first draft in December along with the Feminist Studies faculty members of the committee. Faculty members will respond to the student’s submissions in a timely manner. If a faculty member does not respond in a timely manner, the student will not be held responsible for the changes that member demands.

    The student will submit the final version of the honors thesis at least two weeks before the defense. Upon completion of the project, a defense will be held with the student and the larger committee on approximately April 1st, and the decision will be made whether the project warrants Program Honors.

    After the defense, the student is strongly encouraged to present the project in an appropriate public forum. The catalog stipulates that such a presentation is expected. Exceptions can be made, but the public presentation serves as a hallmark of the student's accomplishment and as an expression of the regard conferred by Program Honors.