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Hutton Honors College

 — Indiana University

Carolyn Lipson-Walker
Assistant Director
Borns Jewish Studies Program
Global & International Studies Building
355 N. Jordan Avenue
4-E, Room 4023

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 is the honors advisor. The first step is for a student to meet with the honors advisor, Carolyn Lipson-Walker, Assistant Director to discuss interest in the honors thesis. The current Director of Undergraduate Studies is also a central resource for the honors degree program. If the student is eligible, the student should obtain the "Procedures for Jewish Studies Honors Student and Thesis Director" from the honors advisor. The next step is for the student to meet with/choose a Jewish Studies faculty member as the thesis director and with the thesis director fill out the "Approval Form for Jewish Studies Honors Thesis Reading Course JSTU-H 399," (see #4 for details). The form is then returned to the honors thesis advisor who may permit the student to register for JSTU-H 399. During JSTU-H 399, the student, in consultation with the thesis director, selects two 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 themselves?

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. 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 honors advisor and/or the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

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 the student's 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 courses?

Honors students enroll and complete both JSTU-H 399 Readings for Honors in 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.or graduate school 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 that represents 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 made with the 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 JSTU-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 summer reading. During JSTU-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 JSTU-H 399, the candidate must complete a brief (2-3 page) prospectus which should be accompanied by a bibliography of completed and projected reading.

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. Students may also apply for conference funding to attend a conference related to their honors thesis topic.

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 graduate 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 for most primary research, and the thesis writing process--with its drafts, corrections, and exchanges with faculty--is tremendously advantageous for serious students.

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