Students concentrating either in Classical languages, Classical studies, or Hellenic Studies may apply to complete the major with honors; the expectations for students applying for honors are extremely high and the department will approve only excellent, clearly developed proposals from students with the requisite training. The department may stipulate completion of certain courses in the senior year in conjunction with the thesis.
The honors component requires the completion of either a year-long thesis or directed reading, advised by a faculty member in the department. Students enroll in the senior year in an honors course, each semester of which carries three credits. Honors are awarded at the discretion of the faculty, taking into account the quality of the thesis or exams completed by the student, and are separate from the grade received in the honors course each semester. Permission to enroll in the second semester is contingent on satisfactory progress in the first semester as determined by the faculty.
The honors program is intended only for highly-motivated and academically well-prepared students. In most cases, preparation for the program will include appropriate training in the Classical languages. Application to it requires a GPA in the major of 3.6 or higher, as well as a written statement, to be submitted by 1 April of the junior year, outlining the proposed project (see further below) and indicating the faculty member who has agreed to serve as advisor. The full departmental faculty vets the proposals.
Students will write and research a 40-50 page thesis that aims to be an original contribution to classical scholarship. As such, it must use primary evidence and also engage with the relevant secondary literature. By the end of the fall semester, students must have completed twenty pages in draft. The final draft is due on or around 15 April of the senior year and will be graded by two faculty members (one of whom is the advisor). The grade assigned is the major component of the spring semester grade.
Proposals for the thesis should describe the questions being asked in the research, and how answers to them will contribute to scholarship. They must include a discussion of the primary sources on which the research will rest, as well as a preliminary bibliography of relevant secondary studies. They also must include a rough timetable indicating in what stages the work will be completed. It is expected that before submitting their proposals students will have conferred with a faculty member who has agreed to serve as advisor.
This option is intended primarily for those concentrating in ancient languages and who wish to read extensively in Latin and/or Greek authors. Students might focus on an author (e.g., Homer, Livy), or a genre (e.g., Greek and Latin epic, Attic oratory), or a period (e.g., the age of Augustus). As a rule of thumb, those completing this option should expect to read 500-600 pages in the Oxford Classical Text or the equivalent-though in certain cases (e.g., with a particularly difficult author) this could be less. Students cannot count works read in previous Latin and Greek classes toward this total. Significant works of secondary literature relevant to the subject must be read also. On or around 15 April of the senior year the candidate will take a written exam, covering translation and interpretation of passages drawn from the student's reading list; and an oral exam, covering major themes in the author(s) examined. The advisor and at least one other faculty member will administer these exams. The grade on them is the major component of the spring semester grade.
Proposals for the reading should list the literature to be read with page counts (generally in the Oxford or Teubner editions) and a bibliography of major articles and books on this literature. The proposal must also discuss the issues to be explored in this body of work. A rough timetable indicating a schedule of how the readings will be completed is also required. It is expected that before submitting their proposals students will have conferred with a faculty member who has agreed to serve as an advisor.