Directors of the Honors Committee
Art History: Frazer Ward
Studio Art: A. Lee Burns
Departmental Honors: 430d Thesis (8 credits)
The college's official requirements, guidelines and deadlines are available on the Class Dean's Office website.
The department organizes an informational meeting about honors every academic year and strongly encourages interested students to attend. At this meeting important deadlines and an appropriate timeline will be specified so that students may begin planning their application process.
Requirements and Presentation
ARH 294 is recommended for art history majors. All candidates will present their work in a public presentationto the art department, in late in April or early May.
Who Qualifies for Honors?
Students wishing to apply must have:
- At least a 3.4 grade point average (GPA) through the junior year in all courses in the major
- At least a 3.3 GPA through the junior year in all courses outside the major
Only Smith College courses (including Picker and Smithsonian), Five College and Smith College Junior Year Abroad (Florence, Geneva, Hamburg, Paris) are counted in the GPA. Smith College grades from the first year are counted in the GPAs outside and inside the major.
To be considered for art department honors, you must have a strong academic background both in general and in your art major. You must be able to work independently, and you must have thought long and hard about your project. By the time you submit your application, the proposal needs to be clearly, fully and specifically developed.
The 8 credits of the honor thesis "count" as art department credits (i.e., they constitute part of the 64 credits in the major). This is one of the reasons why many ambitious and accomplished students choose not to do honors; they find they would rather take other classes—either in art or other departments—to broaden their background.
The Tomlinson Memorial Fund offers financial support to offset some of the expenses related to the honors thesis project. Your request for funding needs to be included with the application.
Thesis & Presentation
The thesis will count for 50 percent of the honors designation. For ARH, the expected length of the thesis is about 60-80 pages (excluding bibliography). For ARS/ARU students this will be based on work through the year and final exhibition. The final Jannotta Gallery exhibition must consist of work that comprehensively addresses and resolves the thesis topic. It must be installed in a manner that demonstrates best professional practices. In the case of site-specific work outside the gallery, there must be a Jannotta Gallery exhibition component comprising of appropriate documentation materials.
The oral component will count for 30 percent of the honors designation. This is comprised of a public presentation and a defense. Usually scheduled on the Monday of the last week of classes, honors students are required to give a formal presentation of their work and field questions on their project. This event is public, members of the department will attend and students are encouraged to invite friends and family. The directors of honors and advisers will rehearse the presentation with you during the spring semester. During the examination period, students are required to participate in a defense. For ARH, students are asked to briefly summarize the findings of their thesis and field questions from the members of the thesis committee as well as any other member of the art department who has read the thesis. For ARS/ARU, this will consist of a critique of the final exhibition with the members of the thesis committee.
Your thesis adviser and second reader each provide an honors designation (highest honors, high honors, honors, pass, or fail). If they substantially disagree, a third/fourth reader is assigned by the director of honors in consultation with the department.
The final honors designation is voted upon by the department in its last meeting of the year (early May), and then conveyed to SHIP.
The breakdown for the department's evaluations is as follows:
Thesis: 50 percent
GPA in the major: 20 percent
Presentation/defense: 30 percent
Consultation and Advice
Copies of recent, successful proposals are on file in the art department office for consultation. These may be read in the office, even consulted several times, but not copied.
The directors of honors for the department are available to meet students at the initial stages of the process -- when the application is being assembled -- as well as throughout the year when the honors project is underway.