Honors Program

Overview and Requirements

In the Classical Studies Department, the Honors program normally involves the writing of a thesis. Students may do honors in Classical Civilization or in Classics. Each student works closely throughout a full academic year with the faculty member(s) best able to advise on the topic. For qualified and motivated students, doing honors can be a very rewarding culmination to the Wellesley academic experience. Honors theses average around 70 pages in length, though the length varies considerably depending on subject matter. Occasionally, students have designed and completed an honors project instead of a thesis (e.g. directing a play). (See below for examples of recent theses/projects).

Classical Studies majors who are interested in undertaking senior thesis research (360/370) should consult with faculty who might serve as advisor, well before they start to prepare a proposal. The department chair can help assess options, if a student is unsure about appropriate topics or which faculty member might serve as an advisor.

Applications are normally filed in the spring of the junior year, even by students who are abroad. In exceptional circumstances, students may apply to do an honors thesis in the fall of the senior year as long as it is no later than one week before the end of the add/drop period. Even in this case, the student should be in communication with the chair or potential advisor over the summer.

College legislation sets an eligibility requirement of a minimum of 3.5 grade point average in work in the major above the 100 level. Students who fall slightly below this minimum may petition for an exemption if they present a particularly strong proposal and if they have the support of a potential thesis advisor.

Our Department requires the submission of the following application materials:

  1. A two-page prospectus of the proposed honors project,
  2. A writing sample (such as a research paper submitted for a Classical Studies course), not to exceed 15 pages in length
  3. A preliminary bibliography
  4. A transcript (official or unofficial)

The prospectus should include the student's proposed research question, relevant bibliography, and a brief review of the relevant scholarly literature. A draft of the proposal should be reviewed by the student's advisor before submission. Once approved, the final set of application materials should be submitted to the proposed advisor, who will share it with the department review committee.

Students admitted to the Honors Program will be enrolled in Classical Studies 360 for Semester I. Requirements for admission to Classical Studies 370 for Semester II, as well as other procedures and requirements are listed below. All honors candidates have a one-hour oral exam on their work shortly after they have handed in their theses in the late spring. 

Please do not hesitate to consult the Chair or any member of the department for advice and help as you consider admission to the Honors Program.

Deadlines and Procedures

  1. Students are required to submit the application material by email to their project advisor by the last day of classes of the spring term of their junior year. 
  2. Selection to the Honors program and admission to 360 (Senior thesis research) is by application and vote of the departmental committee, normally upon the recommendation of an advisor.
  3. The advisor and the honors candidate shall meet on a regular basis (normally every week or second week at regularly scheduled meetings).
  4. Admission to the 370 (Senior Honors Thesis) for Semester II is contingent upon presentation of a thesis chapter or other substantial piece of the thesis by the end of November, and its acceptance by the advisor and the second reader.