Honors in the Major
Honors in the Major provides students with exciting opportunities to explore their major discipline in depth, beyond their capstone work, by completing a substantial research or creative project. As their project goes through several stages—from preliminary idea to multiple drafts and onto the final result—they develop as thoughtful, steadfast scholars and artists. They demonstrate their capacity to think and work independently on an advanced level. Moreover, they benefit from a close, working relationship with their faculty mentor, from whom they can gain an even deeper understanding of their field. For all of these reasons, Honors in the Major advances a student’s preparation for exciting careers and graduate work.
Qualifying for Honors in the Major
To qualify for Honors in the Major, a student must have completed at least 75 credits at MMC. The student must also have received an A or A- in their capstone course and an overall GPA of at least 3.5.
When to pursue Honors in the Major: As the capstone course is generally taken in the Fall semester of the Senior year, Honors in the Major is therefore generally pursued in the Spring semester of the Senior year.
Honors in the Major is entirely independent of the College Honors Program. It is also distinct from Latin Honors, which are awarded at graduation on the basis of a student’s overall GPA: cum laude (GPA 3.50-3.69), magna cum laude (GPA 3.70-3.89), or summa cum laude (GPA 3.90-4.0).
How to Pursue Honors in the Major
Procedures: To pursue Honors in the Major, the student creates an Independent Study Project (ISP). They work under the mentorship of a full-time faculty member in the major and, in consultation with that mentor, complete the Independent Study Certification and Contract. The paperwork is submitted electronically to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for approval.
Credits: Honors in the Major Independent Study Projects can be done for one, two, or three credits, though the work of a one- or two-credit HIM ISP is expected to be as rigorous as an HIM ISP done for three credits. They cannot be done for no credit.
Nature of the Honors in the Major Project: An Honors in the Major project is generally a substantial essay that entails original research. In the Art concentrations, it primarily takes the form of a body of artwork and exhibition, though there will be additional requirements. Students in all majors give an oral presentation, open to the public, on their work at the end of the semester.
Recognition at Graduation: If the student completes or exceeds the terms of the HIM ISP contract, Honors in the Major will be awarded. The receipt of Honors in the Major is noted on the student’s transcript and in the Commencement Bulletin.
Art or Art History
Students majoring in Art or Art History who have achieved an A or A- in their capstone course, offered in the Fall semester of their Senior year, and who have maintained an overall GPA of 3.5+ and a GPA in their major of 3.5+ are invited to pursue an HIM ISP in the Spring semester of their Senior year. This option is generally designed for students who wish to pursue graduate work in the field. Students who earn an A or A- in this HIM ISP will graduate with Honors in Art or Art History. The HIM ISP is coded ART 49X-01.
English and World Literatures Majors
English and World Literatures majors who have maintained a GPA in the major of 3.5+ are invited to apply for an Honors Independent Study (EWL 49X-01), which they would conduct in their final semester. Students who earn an A or A- in this HIM ISP will graduate with Honors in the EWL Major.
Advanced Psychology majors who have obtained a 3.5+ GPA overall and a 3.5+ GPA in Psychology may pursue a Senior Honors Thesis (PSYCH 492-01) in place of a capstone course. This option is designed for students intending to go to graduate school. These students will complete an honors project, an advanced-level paper that is either a sophisticated, original empirical research project or a comprehensive, in-depth literature review. If the project meets the requirements of the program, the student will graduate with Honors in Psychology. Students who wish to participate in this option must meet with the Chair of the Department Honors Committee at least one semester in advance of the planned participation.
Biology and Biomedical Sciences
Students in Biology and Biomedical Sciences may elect to pursue a Thesis Track, which involves three consecutive semesters of Natural Sciences research. Learn more here.
Example of an Honors in the Major Project
In Spring 2019, Psychology major Amanda Anzovino, ’19, worked on an Honors project that compared female police officer representation in U.S. municipal police departments in 1998 versus 2018. A Jeanette K. Watson Fellow, Amanda did original research for her project while completing a Watson-sponsored internship at the National Center for Women and Policing in Washington, DC. She later spoke about her research at the 31 st Annual Greater New York Conference on Behavioral Research, winning an award for best presentation on forensic/applied psychology. She also presented a poster of her research at the Eastern Psychological Association Convention in June 2020.
Students who completed Honors in the Major in 2021
- Avalon Alexander: Honors in Art (Studio Art concentration)
- Caroline Bodan: Honors in English and World Literatures
- Melissa Bracci: Honors in Art (Studio Art concentration)
- Hannah (HG) Davis-Russell: Honors in Art (Studio Art concentration)
- Kellie Diodato: Honors in English and World Literatures (Creative Writing)
- Jayna Simpson: Honors in Art (Photography concentration)
- Juliette Slattery Art: Honors in Art (Photography concentration)
- Kaitlyn Snyder: Honors in Psychology
- Courtney Walsh: Honors in Art (Photography concentration)