In addition to obtaining a breadth of knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences through courses in the Honors Core, each student chooses an area of specialization. Concentrations are the equivalent of majors and are just as rigorous. The concentration allows students to obtain deep knowledge of a focused area of interest. Students may double concentrate, or have a major concentration and one or more minor concentrations. Students may concentrate in most of the traditional disciplines, or design their own interdisciplinary course of study in consultation with the faculty. Typically, disciplinary concentrations will include all requisite coursework for admission into Ph.D. or professional programs. Effective Fall 2005, students must receive a C or better in a course for it to count toward their concentration.
Students shall declare a concentration before they register for the 4th semester prior to graduation (typically this will occur in the spring of the sophomore year). Transfer students who transfer to the Honors College fewer than four semesters prior to graduation should declare their concentrations when they arrive.
At any time, a student may change advisors, with the consent of the new advisor. A student may also change their concentration by submitting a new Declaration of Concentration/Minor form. The concentration form is sent to the registrar, who then indicates the concentration on the student's unofficial transcript.
Students who double concentrate or minor should ensure that when advance registering for courses they consult an advisor for their 2nd concentration or minor, in addition to their primary advisor, to ensure they are on track. When applying for the degree these students will need to have their coursework for the 2nd concentration or minor approved by a member of the advisory board for that 2nd concentration or minor.
Students who wish to minor in an area in which a minor concentration is offered should fill out the Declaration of Concentration/Minor form. A list of available minor concentrations is available online.
Individually Designed Concentrations
Students may choose to design their own concentration. The student must show why their needs cannot be met by any of the standard concentrations, and complete an Individually Designed Concentration Proposal Form which is submitted to the Associate Dean, who forwards it to the curriculum committee for approval. Proposals must meet the following guidelines.
Individual Concentration Guidelines (approved 3/30/07):
- Courses selected for the concentration should constitute a coherent course of study culminating in a thesis that brings together those studies.
- The proposal must include course work, thesis committee and thesis topic, describe how the proposed concentration concerns a coherent plan of study that is not addressed by existing concentrations, and explain how the thesis is relevant to the coherent course of study.
- The proposed concentration must have a minimum of 36 credits, 30 of which cannot be courses that the student is also counting as core courses.
- Proposals must be submitted by the end of the fall semester of the student's junior year, or three semesters before the student plans to graduate.
- Any necessary modifications to coursework after approval by the Curriculum Committee and the Faculty Assembly will need approval of the thesis advisor, Associate Dean and one Curriculum Committee member.
- Any exceptions to the above guidelines for current juniors and seniors will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Students are reminded that they need at least 45 credits of upper level coursework to graduate.
(The prior approval process was as follows: The Concentration Proposal must be approved by a Concentration Committee of at least two faculty members who are willing to advise the student and oversee their program. Typically, the Concentration Proposal will be written in consultation with the Concentration Committee. The Concentration Proposal must also be approved by a third faculty member, not on the Concentration Committee, who is a member of the Curriculum Committee. This duty shall be rotated among the members of the Curriculum Committee on a schedule determined by that Committee. Any proposed concentration must include at least 15 credits of upper-division courses which directly contribute to the central goals of the concentration, in addition to a senior thesis.)
Policy on Double Concentrations
- Students who satisfy coursework in two Concentrations and who successfully complete a thesis in each will receive an Honors Concentration in each area.
- Students who satisfy coursework in two Concentrations and who successfully complete a single thesis that is approved as satisfactory for earning an honors Concentration in each of the two areas, will receive an Honors Concentration in each area. Such theses must be approved by 3 advisors, one in each of the two concentrations, as well as a third advisor in any concentration who is approved by the other two advisors and the student. In determining whether a thesis is satisfactory for earning an honors Concentration, advisors will treat theses submitted to more than one Concentration no differently than theses submitted exclusively in the one Concentration. Approval of the thesis in a concentration attests to sufficient mastery of the methods and approaches in that concentration.
- Students who satisfy all coursework (apart from thesis) in two Concentrations and who successfully complete a single thesis in one of the Concentrations will receive an Honors Concentration in the area in which they wrote a thesis, and may receive a Non-thesis concentration in the area in which they did not write a thesis if this option is approved by the advisory board of that concentration. It is up to each individual concentration advisory board to decide whether it will offer the option of a non-thesis concentration. The advisory board of a Concentration may determine that the non-thesis concentration requires more coursework than the honors concentration. All Honors college students must graduate with an Honors concentration. A non-thesis concentration can not substitute for this requirement.
- For those who double concentrate, courses may be double-counted for both concentrations only if the courses are specifically required for each concentration; also, unless specified otherwise, up to 4 credits of electives may be double-counted for both concentrations.
Approved by the faculty March 30, 2001. Updated 04-03-12.