Apply for Honors
The Department of Classics recognizes excellent work by undergraduates by conferring Honors in Classics on eligible students who complete a senior thesis. Students interested in pursuing work that may lead to nomination for department honors must apply with the Director of Undergraduate Studies using the online form.
- General Requirements
Majors with outstanding records may be nominated for graduation with department honors. To be eligible for such nomination, a student needs to:
- have a cumulative Grade Point Average of at least 3.3 and a Classics major Grade Point Average of at least 3.5 by the start of the senior year (all language classes are counted, including prerequisites);
- complete the Research Seminar, Classics 395;
- submit an application to the Director of Undergraduate Studies containing a topic and preliminary bibliography approved by a proposed adviser;
- submit a research proposal;
- complete two quarters of independent study (Classics 399). (Two quarters of independent study does not guarantee honors, but if students receive a passing grade in both they will receive course credit even if their thesis does not meet honors standards.)
- The Honors Thesis
An honors thesis is a substantial and original work of classical scholarship demonstrating the student's ability to use both primary sources and relevant scholarly literature, and to develop ideas, judgments and conclusions based upon this material. The thesis will be an essay of ca. 6,000 - 7,500 words (including bibliography and footnotes); works typically do not exceed 10,000 words.
The Department encourages students to apply for NU programs that fund undergraduate research, especially those that support summer study following the junior year. Summer study programs can be used for projects that require the consultation of archaeological evidence in e.g. Greece or Italy or other resources not available on campus (e.g. in a non-University library or museum).
- The Honors Adviser & Course Credit
A student's work toward an honors thesis shall be supervised by a faculty member of the Classics department (“the adviser"), who helps the student frame the project and who provides necessary guidance and motivation. A student must take the initiative to seek out an appropriate adviser. Please consult faculty as early in the junior year as possible. The student may seek the assistance of the Department's Honors Coordinator if necessary. Course credit for work on the thesis is obtained by enrollment for independent study credit (Classics 399) with the adviser.
- Procedural Matters
Students interested in pursuing department honors must consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies and complete the application form by the WCAS reading week of the Spring Quarter of the junior year. A one-page research proposal approved by the adviser is then due at the end of the first week of the Fall Quarter of the senior year. The Honors Committee, consisting of the Director of Undergraduate Studies, the Honors Coordinator and a third Classics faculty member, will evaluate the proposal and vote on approval. It will contact the student with its decision before the Fall Quarter drop deadline.
During the Fall and Winter quarters of the senior year, students enroll in Classics 399 and work independently under supervision of the adviser. Students should be in residence and available to meet in person with their adviser for the duration of their two quarters of independent study. Should a student have concerns about the supervision he or she is receiving, the student should speak with the Department Honors Coordinator, unless the adviser is the department’s Honors Coordinator, in which case the student should speak with either the Director of Undergraduate Studies or the Department Chair.
The thesis writer submits at least one substantial portion of the thesis draft by the end of the Fall Quarter of the senior year, and a full draft before spring break. The deadline for submission of the final thesis manuscript to the Honors Committee is the end of the third week of April. Senior honors theses are evaluated on the originality and scope of the research they present, as well as the clarity of the manner in which they are written, organized and argued.
All honors theses are evaluated as passing or not-passing by the departmental Honors Committee. This committee forwards its recommendations to the Weinberg Committee on Undergraduate Academic Excellence, which makes the final decision regarding the award of honors.
The finished thesis should be double-spaced and paginated. One electronic copy is submitted to the department office. Preceding the manuscript must be:
- a title page with the author's name, the title of the thesis, the date, the adviser's name, and the phrase "A Senior Honors Thesis Submitted to the Department of Classics, Northwestern University, in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Honors Degree in Classics";
- a brief abstract (no more than one page);
- a table of contents;
- a list of illustrations, tables and graphs (if any).
Following the manuscript must be:
- full footnotes and bibliography, preferably following the format of The Chicago Manual of Style (footnotes may be in endnote or footnote form);
- any necessary or relevant appendices.