1. How is your honors degree program administered? Is there a specific
person who acts as coordinator? Is there a faculty committee?
Carolyn Lipson-Walker, academic advisor and assistant director. The
committee consists of Jeffrey Veidlinger, director, and Shaul Magid,
associate director. Each student puts together his/her own committee in
consultation with the thesis director. The committee is made up of the
thesis director (from the Jewish Studies faculty) and in consultation with the thesis director,
the student selects two additional two additional faculty members to serve as readers for the
candidate's thesis committee.
2. What are the requirements for admission into your honors program?
How are students recruited for your program? May students recommend
Enrollment in the Jewish Studies honors program requires a 3.5 GPA in
Jewish Studies and a 3.5 GPA overall. Students must be pursuing a Jewish
Studies major and all students entering the Jewish Studies major are
informed about the Honors Program option. Outstanding students are
encouraged to participate, particularly those planning an academic
career. Students may recommend themselves for the program, and in all
cases thus far have done so. They must be approved by the program
director or honors advisor.
3. How does a student graduate with honors from your department?
To receive an Honors degree in Jewish Studies, a student must present a
25-50 page thesis judged acceptable by his/her thesis committee.
Following the oral defense, the thesis committee will submit written
reports to the thesis director. Based upon these reports, the thesis
director will determine whether the candidate should graduate with Honors
in Jewish Studies. The thesis director is responsible for assigning a grade.
4. What courses do students take as juniors and before in order to
prepare for working on the senior project? How are these honors seminars
and courses typically conducted? What are the usual requirements in such
Honors students enroll and complete both JSTU-H 399 Readings for Honors
Jewish Studies (3 cr.) typically in the penultimate semester before
graduation or if planning to use the honors thesis as a writing sample
for Ph.D. application, as early as junior year (fall or spring semester)
and JSTU-H 499 Honors Thesis (3-6 cr.) in the semester following JSTU-H 399, unless the student
is studying overseas. During JSTU-H 499, the honors student completes the
thesis representing a significant proportion of original research.
Before being authorized to register for JSTU-H 399 Readings for Honors
in Jewish Studies a student fills out the Honors Thesis Contract. Filling out
the thesis contract entails a decision concerning the general focus of the
thesis, discussion with a Jewish Studies faculty member who agrees to
serve as the thesis director and approves the perspective of the project,
compilation of a bibliography of readings for H 399, the writing of a
one page description of the thesis project, and the approval of the thesis
director who signs the thesis contract. Students who plan to take
JSTU-H 399 in the fall should ask their thesis director to recommend
During H 399, the honors student, in consultation with the thesis
director should conceive a method and structure for the thesis. By the middle of
the semester of H 399, the candidate must complete a brief (2-3 page)
prospectus which should be accompanied by a bibliography of completed and
5. Are there departmental resources available to support internships or
research projects related to the senior project?
Most of our academically outstanding students apply for and
receive annual Jewish Studies scholarships.
6. How might the work required for earning an honors degree be
particularly beneficial in future endeavors?
It is quite beneficial, particularly for those students who plan to pursue
degrees, to prepare a thesis.
7. What are the advantages for students who pursue the honors degree
compared to a regular degree in your area?
Certainly, the close mentoring with a faculty member and the chance to
engage in research, some primary research, and the thesis writing
process--with its drafts, corrections, and exchanges with faculty--is
tremendously advantageous for serious students.