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Academics: Honors Requirements

Honors Program

The advisors for the honors program are Dr. Jolene Vos-Camy (fall) and Dr. Vicki De Vries (spring).

French Department Honors Requirements

  1. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 and a minimum of six honors courses (18 hours minimum), including at least three honors courses in the major and two outside the major;
  2. A minimum GPA in French of at least 3.5;
  3. The completion of an honors component in at least three courses in the French Department from the following: 301 or 302, 351, 361, 362, 363, 372, 373, 374, 375, 381, 394, 395, 396. (Note: a student may complete an honors component in the core-level courses to fulfill the general college honors requirement).
  4. The satisfactory completion of a senior honors thesis, to be completed when taking a course from the French Literature cluster (394, 395, 396) for capstone credit and presented orally to members of the department faculty.

Notes regarding the completion of courses for honors:

As regards to the completion of an honors component in at least three courses in the French Department from the following:  FRE 301 or 302, 351, 361, 362, 363, 372, 373, 374, 375, 381, 394, 395, 396:

  • Students wishing to complete a course for honors must make that intention known no later than two weeks after the first day the course meets.  The honors paper or project is due one week prior to the last day the class meets for the semester.
  • Students will complete one paper of 8 to 12 pages, or a project of a similar length.  Students may be required to present their work orally in class.
  • Students who wish to complete a course from the French literature cluster (394, 395, 396) for honors but who do not wish to write the senior honors thesis in conjunction with that particular course may complete the course for honors with a paper of 8-12 pages or a project of similar length.

As regards to the completion of an honors component in core-level courses (101, 102, 131, 201, 202) to fulfill the general college honors requirement, but not the department honors requirement:

  • Students wishing to complete a course for honors must make that intention known no later than two weeks after the first day the course meets.  The honors work is due one week prior to the last day the class meets for the semester.
  • The honors component for these courses varies from course to course.  It may consist of additional work conducted independently by the student or additional meeting times of the professor and the student to discuss readings or writing projects.  For each of these courses taken for honors credit, an honor’s contract must be completed.  The website for the Honors program at Calvin houses a sample contract.

Notes regarding a Senior Honors thesis:

The senior honors thesis in French offers the student an opportunity to work under the guidance of a faculty member in the department in order to do original research on a topic of special interest, to acquire in-depth knowledge of a specific subject, to carry through to completion a substantial piece of research in literary and/or cultural studies, and to acquire a sense of scholarly discipline. The senior honors thesis should exhibit the candidate’s knowledge of the subject, and scholarly and critical judgment. It should not merely collect and present the conclusions of others, but should also show that the student grasped and explored the subject independently and has independent conclusions about it.

The senior honors thesis normally will be written during one of the semesters a student has senior status (usually the spring semester). The paper will be written in French, and will range from 25-30 pages (Times New Roman, font size 12, double-spaced).  The subject of the thesis typically falls within the topic of the course from the French Literature cluster in which the student is enrolled. The project is typically directed by the faculty member teaching that particular French Literature course. One additional faculty member of the department serves as a second reader. Following completion of the thesis, the student makes an oral presentation of the senior honors thesis at a meeting of the department faculty and interested students.

The student who writes a senior honors thesis while enrolled in a particular French Literature course does not need to write an additional honors paper to receive honors credit for that course. Thus, while the thesis is a requirement for graduation with honors, it also fulfills the requirements for honors for that particular course and as such, it will receive a grade for the purposes of the course.

Students writing a senior honors thesis must adhere to this timetable

Timeline
  • Week 1: Students are strongly encouraged to seek advice from the French department faculty member teaching the upcoming course from the French Literature cluster. Prior to the beginning of the semester students should explore possible topics and research possible sources of information.
  • Week 3: A formal summary and substantial bibliography are due at the end of week three of the semester in which the student undertakes the project.
  • Week 8: The student must submit the honors thesis and final bibliography no later than the end of week eight of the semester. Students must meet this deadline in order to have their names included in the program for Honors Convocation.
  • Week 12: Any revisions to the honors thesis must be completed and approved by both faculty readers by week twelve of the semester. At this point the student will make an oral presentation of the senior honors thesis before the members of the department faculty and interested students.