Office of the Registrar Honors Programs and Courses
A. MAJOR HONORS
Students who have achieved a 3.5 cumulative grade point average (GPA) and a 3.5 average in all their their major courses in their first two and one half years of undergraduate work (at Westmont and elsewhere) are eligible to apply for Major Honors. In consultation with their faculty mentor, the Major Honors candidate will develop and execute an advanced level independent research project, produce a fully documented research paper, and pass an oral examination on the research before a three-person committee and guest examiners. Applications can be found in the Student Records office.
- The student who would like to undertake honors work in his or her major during the senior year should submit an application to the Academic Review Committee prior to April 1 of their the junior year or September 15 of their senior year. Please consult with the Student Records office on the feasibility and deadlines for Major Honors proposals with a spring-fall timeline. A letter of support from the faculty mentor of the proposed project and the project timeline should accompany the application.
- The Academic Senate Review Committee will determine whether the student is eligible for Major Honors work and whether the proposed project is appropriate for Major Honors designation.
- The faculty mentor will help the eligible student craft their Major Honors proposal and will be responsible for overseeing the project. This includes ensuring that the specified meetings are convened, that the project stays on schedule, and that mid-project reports are submitted and the final oral examination is scheduled and advertised to the college community.
- The student may choose the second member of the committee and may suggest faculty members to serve as the third member of the committee. One of the three members of the committee must be chosen from outside the major department. The Academic Senate Review Committee will be in charge of selecting the third member. The student will confirm the faculty mentor and second committee member's willingness to serve. The Academic Senate Review Committee will gain the approval of the third committee member. Permission to undertake Major Honors work is contingent upon the willingness of full-time faculty to serve on the committee.
- After approval, the honors student will submit to the faculty mentor a general outline (one side, one page) of the timeline for the project he or she would like to follow. The student will be enrolled for two credits of Major Honors coursework for the first semester of the project.
- The faculty mentor will call a meeting of the committee to outline and develop a plan for the student's reading and/or preliminary research program.
- By October 1 (for fall-spring projects) or March 1 (for spring-fall projects) the faculty mentor will convene the committee to hear an oral progress report from the student, review a more detailed project outline, and advise on procedures for rounding out reading preparation and/or preliminary research for the remainder of the semester.
- By December 1 (for fall-spring projects) or April 15th (for spring-fall projects), the faculty mentor will convene the committee at which time the student will submit a one-page progress report together with:
- An annotated bibliography of reading to be employed in the final paper and a refined outline of the paper, or
- A presentation of preliminary research.
- The committee will submit to the Student Records office a copy of the student's progress report together with a document signed by all members of the committee recommending:
- A suitable grade for the bibliographic work or preliminary research.
- Whether or not the student should continue in the program.
- The number of units for the following semester's registration (two to four).
- Upon receipt of the committee’s recommendation, the student will be enrolled for the appropriate number of units for Major Honors.
- Before April 15 (for fall-spring projects) and December 1 (for spring-fall projects) the student will submit two copies of the fully documented paper or completed project (with written summary/evaluation) to the faculty mentor. If edits are recommended by the committee, the student will submit two final copies to the faculty mentor. One copy will be for the committee and one will be sent to the college archives in the Library. The public, oral defense and presentation will then be scheduled and announced. The full committee will be in attendance.
- The full committee will determine the final grade for the honors work. A grade of " A-" (A minus) or higher will earn Major Honors designation on the permanent record and be announced at Commencement.
B . HONORS CLASSES
Each year departments offer a variety of general education honors courses. Enrollment in honors sections is by invitation from the Provost based upon selection criteria set by the Academic Senate Review Committee. Honors courses are currently open to students with a 3.50 cumulative GPA at Westmont or to new students who are Augustinian or President's Scholars. Ruth Kerr Scholars may petition to enroll in honors courses by contacting the Student Records office.
C. IN-COURSE HONORS
Students who are eligible to enroll in honors classes are also eligible for in-course honors in standard courses. Students must meet the qualifications noted above, obtain the consent of the instructor and submit an application for in-course honors to the Academic Senate Review Committee for approval (via the Student Records office) no later than the second week of the semester.
- The application must be accompanied by an honors plan developed by the instructor for the specific course. The instructor may choose to have the honors students do different assignments from the rest of the class, for example substituting more challenging readings for ones normally assigned. Or, the instructor may prefer to have the honors students complete the traditional class assignments but assign additional work for the honors students. If the latter, the plan should include qualitatively different assignments, not merely additional work and, typically, it should reflect that a student has completed 25% more work than the regular class requirements.
- If the student completes the in-course honors plan with a grade of "B+" (B plus) or higher an "Honors" designation will be applied to the course title.