Professor Eric MacPhail
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Department of French & Italian
1 How is your honors degree program administered? Is there a specific
person who acts as coordinator? Is there a faculty committee?
Students interested in honors work should contact the departmental honors
advisor. Feel free to contact the director of undergraduate studies through
email. The director of undergraduate studies coordinates the program and handles
administrative details. Students work on the honors thesis with the
faculty member of their choice. Currently, there is no honors committee.
Qualified students should talk to a faculty member in French as well as
the departmental honors advisor for additional information.
2. What are the requirements for admission into your honors program? How are
students recruited for your program? May students recommend
Students eligible for honors work normally have a cumulative GPA of 3.3
and an average of 3.5 in French courses. Faculty recommendations and
student motivation are also important. Students can find additional
information about honors course work in the Arts and Sciences Bulletin and
the Schedule of Classes for each semester. Unless they already have a
faculty advisor for their honors project, they should contact the honors
advisor who will facilitate faculty contacts. The department encourages
faculty to discuss the honors program with students capable of honors
does a student graduate with honors from your department?
Qualified and interested students should enroll in honors versions of
regular courses and complete the normal requirements for a French major.
To complete an honors degree in French, a student normally enrolls in
F399, working closely with one or more faculty members on preliminary
study leading up to the thesis. Faculty advisors may be from one or more
departments, depending on the nature of the project.
Students complete their honors project by taking F499. Each of these
courses (F399 and F499) may be taken for variable credits, depending on
the faculty member's calculation of the time and effort required to
complete the work satisfactorily. Faculty advisors determine the way to
conduct these courses, the nature of the project and the requirements for
completing it. The department has not established detailed requirements
for the program as a whole.
If a student decides in his/her senior year to pursue an honors degree in
French, the department allows students to enroll in F499 without having
taken F399 first. This arrangement requires the approval of the faculty
members directing the project. It also allows less time and requires
substantial dedication on the part of a student who intends to earn an
honors degree. Nonetheless, some students have successfully completed
their honors degree during the senior year.
4. Are there departmental resources available to support internships or
research projects related to the senior project?
At this time no departmental funds are available for this kind of support,
but students should discuss support with the departmental Honors advisor.
Funds are available through the Honors College for qualified students,
including International Experience Grants as well as Research Grants and
5. How might the work required for an honors degree be particularly
beneficial in future endeavors?
The independent study required to earn an honors degree provides valuable
training in formulating a topic, engaging in research, analysis and
synthesis, and organizing the results in a long, sustained writing
project. In addition, the mentoring given by faculty to honors students
provides experience that will enable them to perform at a higher level in
graduate or professional schools or in any position where an individual
employee must conduct research on problems or questions and must provide
reasoned arguments along with balanced and defensible judgments.
6. What are the advantages for students who pursue the honors degree
compared to a regular degree in your area?
This issue is touched upon in the previous question. Advantages include
working closely with faculty mentors; learning how to conduct thorough,
independent research; developing more sophisticated skills of reasoning
and communication; and gaining a deeper knowledge of the topic chosen.
More prestige is doubtlessly attached to honors courses and honors degrees
by graduate and professional schools as well as by some employers.