A student wishing to pursue honors in French must:
- Be a French major (minors can seek a General Honors Thesis through Arts & Sciences and may contact their major advisor for more information).
- File an application with the French & Italian Department two semesters before the thesis is to be filed (application located at the bottom of this page).
- Have a grade point average of at least 3.0, both in the major and cumulatively.
- Meet all of the regular requirements for the major PLUS the following:
- FRENCH 3200 Introduction to Literary Theory (3 semester hours). NOTE: French 3200 is taught in English and presupposes no knowledge of French.
- FREN 4980 Honors Thesis Guidance (3 semester hours). This course involves one semester of independent study with a faculty advisor during the semester in which the thesis is to be filed. Registration Form located here.
- Write a thesis (see guidelines below).
- Provide a copy of the completed thesis (together with an abstract) to the Honors Office by the announced deadline for the semester in question.
- Defend the thesis orally before a committee of three regular members of the faculty. One of the members must be from another department, and one must sit on the Honors Council.
Guidelines for the Preparation of an Honors Thesis in French
The thesis generally will (but need not) be an extension and development of course work initiated in a senior seminar (courses numbered 4100 or above) or an independent study course in the semester preceding the one in which the student plans to graduate. Students who successfully complete an Honors Thesis will be deemed to have met the Senior Essay requirement. However, like the Senior Essay, the Honors Thesis must be written in French. The Honors thesis will be defended in a separate, one-hour examination before the student’s Honors Committee. This examination may be conducted in the foreign language or English or a combination of the two.
- Before the project is undertaken, consent must be received from the faculty member in whose field of specialization the proposed topic falls. Normally this is the instructor in the senior seminar or independent study course in French in which research on the topic is began. It is expected that the student will work closely with the faculty member in the definition and execution of the research project. This faculty member will exercise major responsibility for the final evaluation of the completed thesis.
- Once approval from the faculty director is received, the student must file an application with the Honors Program in M400-M Norlin Library. (This application process is separate from the initial application with the French & Italian Department). The application deadline is generally the sixth week of the first semester of the senior year.
- It is expected that the core of the paper will consist of research based on primary sources.
- The thesis should demonstrate familiarity with the most important secondary sources relevant to the topic, and an ability to place the discussion in the overall context of French culture and criticism.
- The thesis must include the normal scholarly apparatus, e.g. footnotes and bibliography listing primary and secondary sources used, and follow the format and usage suggested in the most recent edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.
- The length of the thesis will be determined primarily by the nature of the topic selected; that is, it must be long enough to identify and explain the significant scholarly issues pertinent to the works or topics selected for study. Normally papers may be expected to fall in the range of approximately 40-45 pages (typed, double-spaced), but so long as they justify that length, longer essays are acceptable.