I'm a Student - What Do I Have To Do?

As a student contemplating an Honors Project, the most important thing you need to do is focus your energy on the completion of the project and second, pay very close attention to the Summary of Deadlines.

Students are encouraged early on in the process to look at past Honors projects in their disciplines. These can be found in the University Archives (paper copies) or on microfiche, both in the Seeley G. Mudd Library. Projects from 2011 to the present (with a small number of older projects) can be accessed digitally in Lux, Lawrence University's institutional repository. Keep in mind some digital projects may be embargoed or available on-campus only.

Students must choose an Honors project advisor. Often the advisor is chosen while a student is still trying to narrow down his/her topic. The advisor must be a member of the Lawrence faculty, full or part-time, tenure track or non-tenure track. The only faculty not eligible to be Honors project advisors are Fellows and Visiting Professors although exceptions have been made.  Contact Prof. Powell if you have any questions.

Your Honors project advisor should be someone very familiar with your subject. This person must also be someone you are comfortable working closely with. It is a good idea to talk to many faculty about your proposed project. There may be a faculty member on campus with whom you are not familiar who is an expert in your field.

  1. Questions?
    Anyone who is planning to defend an Honors project is encouraged to contact Professor Antoinette Powell, Chair of the Committee on Honors (antoinette.powell@lawrence.edu) with any questions.
  2. Statement of Intent
    A student who expects to submit a project for Honors in Independent Study must file a written Statement of Intent form which can also be picked up at the Mudd Library reference desk. The form must be signed by the student and the faculty member who will serve as the student's project advisor and submitted to the Chair of the Committee, Prof. Powell, in the Mudd Library, by 3 p.m. on the Friday of the first week of classes. No project will be considered for honors in independent study unless this statement of intent is filed, though filing the statement does not obligate the student to submit a project.
  3. On-line Summaries of Projects-in-Progress
    Students who are working on Honors projects are asked to email to Prof. Powell a brief description of their project (100-200 words) to post on the Honors website. Posting a description of the project on the website does not in any way commit a student to completing a project. Please note also that this brief description does not take the place of the official statement of intent to file an Honors project. That statement of intent must still be submitted to Prof. Powell in paper at the latest by the start of the term in which you will be defending your project.
  4. Finishing and Distributing Your Project
    The final version of your project is due on the date listed on the Summary of Deadlines. This final version is loaded into the Honors Canvas course. Advisors and members of the examining committees will have access to these projects to download/print them.
  5. Oral Exam
    The oral exam takes place during a two-week period in each term, usually in the 7th and 8th weeks. The student's Honors project advisor is responsible for asking faculty to serve on the examining committee, although students are welcome to make suggestions. Also on the examining committee is a representative from the Honors Committee chosen by the Honors Committee.

    The oral exam is an opportunity for you, the student, to defend your project and demonstrate your familiarity with the subject. At the beginning of the exam you may, but are not required to, make brief opening remarks. These remarks must not be more than 10 or 15 minutes and must not be in the form of a presentation. The bulk of the exam, usually an hour to an hour and a half, is taken up with questions from the examining committee. You and your Honors project advisor should decide ahead of time if you will be making opening remarks.

    After the exam is completed you will be excused and the Committee will determine whether Honors should be awarded. Your Honors project advisor will then tell you the Committee's recommendation: Honors or no Honors. The final decision on Honors is made by the Honors Committee and is passed on to your advisor.

The Frequently Asked Questions page may answer any additional questions you may have. If you need more information please contact Prof. Powell.