The Bulletin: School of Arts and Sciences: BA/BS

The School of Arts and Sciences offers three baccalaureate degrees: the Bachelor of Arts, the  Bachelor of Science, and the Bachelor of Fine Arts. Undergraduate students admitted to the School of Arts and Sciences are admitted specifically into the Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree program or the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program. This section will describe the degree requirements and academic policies for the Bachelor of Arts (or Bachelor of Science) degree, while the degree requirements and academic policies for the Bachelor of Fine Arts will be described in a separate section.

Degree Requirements

Requirements for Degrees

For students entering pursuing the degree of Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science the degree is awarded after four years eight semesters) of full-time study and with successful completion of 120 semester hours. A cumulative average of C- (1.67) or higher is required for graduation. No more than two courses, of no more than 8 semester hours total, may consist of fieldwork or internships. No more than 15 semester hours may consist of online courses. Up to two semesters of full-time study after matriculation at Tufts may be spent at other approved four-year institutions or on approved foreign study programs. The exception to this is students who transfer to Tufts as juniors. (See Residence Requirement in the General Information section of the Bulletin for details.)

Three-fourths of all semester hours (equivalent to 90 semester hours) taken at Tufts with standard grading must be completed with a grade of C- or better. There is no rigid program of courses that must be taken by every student. Students are regarded as individuals, and each student is encouraged to pursue a course of study appropriate to his or her training, experience, aptitudes, and plans for the future. Within a framework designed to ensure both breadth and depth in intellectual development, there is a broad range of choice. Students work with their advisors to select those courses best suited to their particular needs and interests.

Each student selects courses to fulfill the foundation and distribution requirements. All courses used to fulfill these requirements must be taken for a letter grade, not pass/fail. A grade of D- or above is passing. Also, a grade of D- or above will fulfill foundation and distribution requirements.

Foundation Requirements: Overview

The faculty recognizes the following elements as basic to any program leading to a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts, whatever a student’s particular interests may be. First, an educated person in our society must be able to write coherent English and must be able to apply that writing ability to the critical analysis of information and ideas in any field. Second, the study of another language and of foreign cultures is indispensable to a liberal education; such study provides a basis for locating oneself within a larger cultural and international context. Courses in college writing, foreign language and culture, and world civilizations constitute the foundation of a liberal arts education at Tufts.

The foundation requirements should be met early in a student’s college career, so that these courses may serve as a foundation for later work. In some cases, a single course may be used toward fulfillment of both a foundation and a distribution requirement, or two different foundation requirements (e.g., culture and world civilization), but not all three.

Foundation Requirement 1: Writing

Two semesters of college writing are normally required for graduation in liberal arts. In general, students should begin this requirement in the first year. Many students take English 1 (Expository Writing) in the first semester and, in the second semester, English 2 (College Writing Seminar) or Philosophy 2. Students for whom English is a second language may take English 3 with consent of the instructor. A Philosophy 2 class transferred from another college will not count for English 2 or 4. Students may not count Philosophy 2 as English 2 if taken before or at the same time as English 1.

Courses taken toward fulfillment of this requirement must be taken for letter grades, except English 3, which is pass/fail. 

There are also other alternatives for satisfying the college writing requirement. In summary, the requirement may be satisfied in any of the following ways:

  • Exemption from the entire requirement by attaining a score of five on the Advanced Placement Test in English Language and Composition or English Literature and Composition; a score of seven on the Higher-Level International Baccalaureate Language A Language and Literature or Language A Literature or; or an A on the A-Level or AS-Level exams in Language, Language and Literature, or General Paper.
  • Exemption from the first half of the requirement by attaining one of the following: a score of four on the Advanced Placement Test in English Language and Composition or English Literature and Composition, a score of six on the Higher-Level International Baccalaureate Language A Language and Literature or Language A Literature or, or a B on the A-Level or AS-Level exams in Language, Language and Literature, or General Paper. Students so exempted from the first half of the requirement must complete English 2 or Philosophy 2.
  • Satisfactory completion of English 1 or 3 and of English 2, English 4, or Philosophy 2.
  • Completion of English 1 with a grade of A or A- (resulting in exemption from the second half of the requirement). This exemption does not apply to writing courses equivalent to English 1 that were taken at another college.

Foundation Requirement 2: Foreign Language/Culture Option

This foundation requirement has two parts. First, every student must satisfy a basic language requirement, demonstrating knowledge of a language other than English through the third-semester college level. The second part of the requirement may be satisfied in several different ways. Students may take advanced courses in the same foreign language or they may undertake study of a second language. Students are offered the alternative of studying a foreign culture through courses taught in English.

Part I. Basic Language Requirement

Every student must demonstrate competence in a second language through the third-semester college level. Language competence may be determined on the basis of a placement examination taken at Tufts, or test scores specified on the equivalency chart on page 42. Entering students who do not demonstrate the required level of competence must take college language courses until that level is reached. All courses used to fulfill these requirements must be taken for a letter grade, not pass/fail. A grade of D- or above is passing. American Sign Language may be used to fulfill this option.

Part II. Continued Language Study/Culture Option

After the basic language requirement has been satisfied, the student has four options:

  1. To continue study in the foreign language used to fulfill Part I through the sixth semester level (e.g. French 22).
  2. To complete courses through the third college semester level (e.g., Spanish 1, 2, and 3) in a language different from the one used to satisfy Part I.
  3. To complete three courses, at least 9 semester hours, dealing with a single culture or designated cultural area, either the same as or different from the language used to fulfill Part I. All three courses must deal with the same culture area. For purposes of this requirement, a foreign culture is defined as having non-English speaking origins. Anglo-American, English, Anglo-Irish, and Anglo-Australian cultures do not qualify, but Aboriginal Australian, Celtic, and African-American, Latino/a, and Asian American, for example, do to the degree that they are discrete from the Anglo-American tradition. At least one of the three culture courses, adding up to at least 3 semester hours, must focus on the region of origin. For instance, a student choosing the East Asian and Diasporas culture area must take at least one course rooted in East Asia.
  4. To continue studying the language used to fulfill Part I for one or two semesters, then culture courses in that same culture area. For example, a student who has completed four semesters of foreign language study may choose to complete Part II by taking two culture courses (at least 6 semester hours) in the same culture area as that of the language studied. Travel or residence in another country, while admittedly educational, may not be applied toward fulfillment of the culture option. Courses accepted for transfer from other colleges or universities may be used upon approval. Students wishing to submit courses that are not pre-approved must petition the Academic Review Board; forms are available the Registrar's Forms page.

Option for students fluent in a language not taught at Tufts:

  • Students who attended a school through grade ten where all instruction was in a language other than English may be exempted from both parts of the foreign language requirement. Students who attended a school through grade twelve where all instruction was in a language other than English may be exempted through the eighth semester level required for the International Relations major. These students should contact their Advising Dean. No credit is awarded for these options.
  • Students who can speak, read, and write proficiently in a language other than English that is not taught at Tufts, but who attended high school with English as the language of instruction, will receive information prior to the start of each semester about the opportunity to be evaluated through the University of Pennsylvania Language Center. No credit is awarded for this option. TOEFL and IELTS exam scores cannot be used in fulfillment of the foreign language requirement.

Foundation Requirement 3: World Civilizations

The world civilizations requirement is at least 3 semester hours, normally a single course, focusing on an in-depth study of a non-Western civilization or civilizations, or the interaction of non-Western and Western civilizations with equal attention given to both. The definition of the non-Western world is includes Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Caribbean, Latin America, and selected indigenous cultures of Oceania and North America. The course or courses taken in fulfillment of the world civilizations requirement may be used to fulfill the culture option or that distribution requirement for which the course would normally be appropriate, but not both.

For courses that are not pre-approved, a petition form is available the Registrar's Forms page.

Distribution Requirements

The faculty holds that a student enrolled in any program leading to a liberal arts degree must demonstrate a reasonable acquaintance with each of the following five areas of inquiry: the humanities, the arts, the social sciences, the natural sciences, and the mathematical sciences.

  • A student must take at least six semester hours in each area.
  • No more than 3 courses, of any number of semester hours, may be from the same department or program.
  • At least 3 semester hours in each area must come from credits earned after matriculation.
  • No single course may be used in more than one distribution area. For example, a history course may be counted as either a humanities or a social science requirement, but not both.
  • Courses used in the foundation requirement or as part of the concentration (major) may also be used to fulfill distribution requirements (with some exceptions noted below).
  • Students who began the BA/BFA program, but chose not to complete the BFA can use Studio Art courses graded with CR to fulfill Arts distribution requirements.

Several Tufts departments offer courses in statistics. Students may take more than one statistics course for academic credit. Students majoring in fields that require statistics should check with their department to find out which are acceptable for the major.

Special restrictions apply to ExCollege courses. Approval of the Academic Review Board must be obtained in all cases. Only one ExCollege course, no matter how many semester hours, may be used to fulfill a distribution requirement. Those courses graded pass/fail may not be used to satisfy any distribution requirement.

Summary Sheet of Requirements

A grade of D- or above will fulfill foundation and distribution requirements.

Download a Summary Sheet of Requirements

Concentration (Major) Requirement

The object of the concentration (or major) requirement is to provide the student with an integrated and thorough program of study in a well-developed field of learning. Most students satisfy the concentration requirement within established academic departments and programs, selected from among those listed below. An alternative program, called the Interdisciplinary Studies major, is available to students with unique academic interests not clearly encompassed by the established fields of concentration. All courses used toward fulfillment of the concentration requirement must be taken for letter grades. 

Students are expected to choose their major and to have a faculty advisor in the major field during the second semester of the sophomore year. With the assistance of the faculty advisor, the student plans a concentration program of ten or more courses as specified by the major department. In some cases, the student must complete prerequisite courses in addition to those that constitute the concentration program.

A major is a coherent group of at least 10 courses, amounting to at least 30 semester hours, defined by a department or program. For students with more than one major, no more than 5 courses, and no more than 15 semester hours, used to fulfill the requirements for one major may be used to satisfy the requirements for any other major. For courses taught in a foreign language beyond the third-year level of instruction, however, up to 80 percent of the semester hours used to fulfill the requirements for one major may also be used to satisfy the requirements for another major. Departments and programs may further restrict the amount of overlap between majors. Students who wish to complete two sets of major requirements are urged to continue to design such programs with minimal course overlap.

Certain majors are only available as co-majors. All co-majors must be accompanied by a primary, stand-alone major. Students may not have a second co-major in place of a primary, stand-alone major.  Students in the BA/BFA Combined Degree program are allowed to declare a co-major as their primary, stand-alone major for their BA/BS degree, when paired with their BFA degree.

Interdisciplinary Studies Major (See also Center for Interdisciplinary Studies)

The Interdisciplinary Studies major offers students the opportunity to create a self-designed, individual concentration that draws on courses from at least two of the following six areas of study: humanities, arts, social sciences, natural sciences, mathematics (quantitative), and engineering.

Students proposing an Interdisciplinary Studies major must have a high degree of initiative and self-discipline. The Interdisciplinary Studies major consists of an integrated program of at least ten courses, adding up to at least 30 semester hours. The program requires a two-semester thesis or honors thesis (for eligible students) or a substantial project comparable in scope to a thesis, including a written component. A student who wishes to pursue an Interdisciplinary Studies major must submit a detailed application by the spring of their sophomore year describing the planned program of study. The student selects an advisory committee of three faculty members who support the application, including representatives from three departments in at least two of the six areas listed above. At least two of the committee members must be full-time members of the Arts and Sciences faculty with the rank of lecturer or above; at least one of the committee members must be a tenured or tenure-track member of the Arts and Sciences faculty. In consultation with this advisory committee, the student develops a rationale for the major, selects courses, and outlines the thesis plan. The proposal is reviewed for approval by the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies (CIS) Board or its designated subcommittee.

Note: No more than 6 semester hours used to fulfill another major may be used toward the Interdisciplinary Studies major; students may not triple major if one major is in Interdisciplinary Studies.

For specific information and application guidelines, visit the CIS website.

Departmental, Interdepartmental, and Program Concentrations

  • Applied/Environmental Studies
  • Africana Studies
  • American Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Applied Physics
  • Arabic
  • Archaeology
  • Architectural Studies
  • Astrophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Biopsychology
  • Biotechnology
  • Chemical Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Child Study & Human Development
  • Chinese
  • Civics
  • Classics
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Cognitive and Brain Sciences
  • Community Health
  • Computer Science
  • Earth and Ocean Sciences
  • Economics
  • Economics/Quantitative
  • Education
  • Engineering Psychology
  • English
  • Film and Media Studies
  • French
  • German Language and Literature
  • German Studies
  • Greek
  • Greek and Latin Studies
  • History
  • History of Art
  • Interdisciplinary Studies
  • International Literary and Visual Studies
  • International Relations
  • Italian Studies
  • Japanese
  • Judaic Studies
  • Latin
  • Latin American Studies
  • Mathematics
  • Middle Eastern Studies
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora Studies
  • Religion
  • Russian
  • Russian and East European Studies
  • Science Technology, and Society Sociology
  • Spanish
  • Theatre and Performance
  • Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS)

The degree of Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science is conferred on all students who complete this program. Students whose major concentration is applied mathematics, applied physics, astrophysics, biochemistry, biology, biopsychology, chemical physics, chemistry, cognitive and brain sciences, computer science, engineering psychology, environmental studies, geological sciences, geology, mathematics, physics, psychology, psychology/clinical, and quantitative economics are eligible to receive a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree. Students in all other majors will receive a Bachelor of Arts degree. Students whose multiple majors make them eligible for either a Bachelor of Arts degree or a Bachelor of Science degree may choose between the two when completing their graduation packet. With the exception of students in the BA/BFA program, students with multiple majors will only earn one degree. A student’s degree is determined by their primary major. If the primary major only awards a Bachelor of Arts degree but the secondary major offers a Bachelor of Science degree, then the student would need to switch their primary and secondary majors if they wanted to earn a Bachelor of Science.

Additional Graduation Requirements

Other courses to complete the 120 semester hours required for graduation may be selected without restriction. Students should be guided in their choice by the purpose of promoting breadth as well as depth in intellectual development. In planning their programs of study, students should keep in mind that a good general education in the humanities, the arts, the sciences, mathematics, and the social sciences is a distinguishing characteristic of members of all the established professions. Faculty advisors are ready at all times to aid and counsel in making decisions.

Seniors must file a graduation packet the semester prior to their expected date of graduation.

Undergraduate Minor Programs

A minor is a coherent group of four or more courses, carrying 15 or more semester hours. Minors are optional and in no way replace the field of concentration. The object of a minor program is to present students with the basic concepts in a single scholarly discipline or interdisciplinary area, including an introduction to appropriate methodologies and ways of thinking about the subject. There is a wide variety of minors offered within Arts and Sciences. Not all departments and programs have minors, so students should consult department and program websites for additional information.

A student may have any number of majors and minors. All courses used in fulfillment of a minor must be taken for a grade (not pass/fail). No more than two courses used for any minor, regardless of the number of semester hours they carry, may be used toward a foundation or distribution requirement, or toward a major or another minor. Students may not complete a major and a minor, or two majors, or two minors from the same department or program unless the department or program explicitly permits it.

Academic Policies

Pass/Fail Option

Within the limits stated below, students may elect to have their grades in certain courses recorded simply as pass or fail. The purpose of this option is to encourage students to extend their academic interests; it is not designed as a safety valve to permit students to carry unrealistic academic loads. The instructor is not aware if the student has elected to take the course with pass/fail grading. A student will be graded as usual throughout the course, with final grades transcribed by the registrar into pass (if D- or better) or fail. A pass does not affect the grade point average; a failing grade is averaged into the grade point average. A course that has been taken using the pass/fail grading option and for which the student earned a pass may not be repeated for credit. If a class that has been taken pass/fail is later needed for a major that was not anticipated, the student may submit a petition request to his or her Advising Dean to have the originally assigned grade restored.

In a program of 120 semester hours, students are normally required to take at least 90 semester hours under standard grading; the pass/fail option may be applied to any courses in excess of 90 semester hours, with the exceptions stated elsewhere in this section.

Transfer students and those students who transfer credit to Tufts from programs at other institutions must complete three-fourths of the semester hours they take at Tufts under standard grading subject to the stated quality requirement. The pass/fail option may be applied to courses in the remaining one-fourth of the program, with the exceptions stated below.

No distinction is made between regular courses that a student elects to take under pass/fail grading and those courses that may only be taken pass/fail.

All decisions with respect to the pass/fail option must be made within the first ten weeks of any term. After ten weeks, the student must complete a course under the grading system then in force or withdraw from the course. Once a course grading method is changed to pass/fail it cannot be reverted to standard grading. For liberal arts students, only electives may be taken pass/fail; courses taken to fulfill the foundation, distribution, concentration, and minor requirements may not be taken pass/fail.

Auditing

Tufts undergraduates may audit a class only with permission of the instructor. The student will not be registered for the class, no credit will be received, and there will be no record of the audit on the student’s transcript. Only students currently enrolled at Tufts in the semester may audit. The student is expected to attend class regularly, but the exact character of each audit must be determined by the instructor at the beginning of the semester. The student may not submit papers, take exams, or participate in any form of evaluation of performance. Auditing for credit is possible through the ExCollege. (See the ExCollege website for Auditing for Breadth.)

Cross-Registration

Tufts undergraduate students may enroll in each of the following institutions during the fall and spring semesters: Boston College, Brandeis University, and Boston University. Online classes may not be cross-registered. Qualifying students must be enrolled full time and be in good academic standing in their home institution. The course must be taken for credit and may not be taken pass/fail. There is no exchange of fees, and both semester hours and grades are recorded at the home institution. Only one cross-registered course at the above institutions may be taken per semester. Cross-registration is not allowed during Summer Session. Normally, Tufts students are limited to a total of two courses taken in departments for which there is no Tufts equivalent (e.g., business). Tufts students are subject to the requirements of the course taken at the host institution, including attendance.

Any student from the above institutions wishing to take a course at Tufts University is subject to the same rules as the resident Tufts University students. One course per fall and spring semester for up to twenty enrollments per institution may be taken at the Tufts University Medford, Boston, and Grafton campuses. This does not include classes being held at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.

Tufts students may also cross-register for courses at certain schools within the university, with permission of the course instructor and the registrar of the relevant school.

For questions and forms, contact Student Services at 617-627-2000 or email studentservices@tufts.edu. Additional information regarding Cross Registering is available on the Registrar's website

Dean’s List

Each semester, students who have been enrolled in a minimum of 12 semester hours, received letter grades in at least 12 semester hours, with no work incomplete, and earned a minimum grade point average of 3.40 and pursuing a BA/BS in the School of Arts and Sciences will be placed on the Dean’s List in recognition of their academic achievement. An indication of Dean’s List status will be placed on their permanent record. Students in the combined-degrees program with the New England Conservatory of Music whose total course load equals 12 semester hours or more will be awarded Dean’s List honors at both institutions if they meet Dean’s List GPA requirements for the course work taken at each institution. Students in the BFA/BA combined-degrees program with Tufts/School of the Museum of Fine Arts whose total course load equals 12 semester or more will be awarded Dean’s List honors if they meet Dean’s List GPA requirements at Tufts.

Degrees with Honors

For determination of eligibility for Latin Honors, a student's cumulative grade point average (GPA) will mean the cumulative average of all grades earned at Tufts. Grades in courses taken at institutions other than Tufts shall not be used to calculate GPA, nor shall they be used to satisfy Latin Honors requirements for the number of A’s earned in a major. Exceptions to this rule are: courses taken through cross-registration, Tufts domestic exchange programs, and Tufts programs abroad. (See also: Thesis Honors Program below.) Advanced placement scores are not interpreted as grades.

Distinction (cum laude) is conferred at commencement on liberal arts students who achieve a record of at least 5 grades of A or A-, in courses adding up to at least 15 semester hours, in satisfying their concentration requirements for one of their majors, including related fields, and whose cumulative GPA is 3.50 or higher.

High distinction (magna cum laude) may be conferred at commencement on liberal arts students who achieve a record of at least 6 grades of A or A-, in courses adding up to at least 18 semester hours, in satisfying their concentration requirements, including related fields, and whose cumulative GPA is 3.65 or higher. The department must vote to confirm high distinction.

Highest distinction (summa cum laude) may be conferred at commencement on liberal arts students who achieve a record of at least six grades of A or A-, in courses adding up to at least 18 semester hours, in satisfying their concentration requirements, including related fields, and whose cumulative GPA is 3.80 or better. Students must further satisfy any requirements stated by their major department or program for highest distinction, which will be confirmed by a vote of that faculty. Finally, summa cum laude is awarded only by special vote of the entire faculty, recognizing extraordinary achievement in the breadth, as well as the depth, of the student’s intellectual development. Students whose record includes a serious disciplinary infraction will not normally be eligible for summa cum laude honors. Exceptions to this policy can be made only after disclosure by the Dean of Student Affairs of the details of the infraction and subsequent vote by the faculty.

Domestic Exchange and Off-Campus Programs

Tufts offers one-semester student exchanges with Swarthmore College. Juniors in good standing may participate. For the Swarthmore exchange program, students pay all charges to their home institution; there is no exchange of fees. The semester hours and grades earned in the exchange program by Tufts students are recorded on the Tufts transcript.

Internship Programs

Internships provide juniors, seniors, and in some cases sophomores with the opportunity to apply various types of knowledge and skills in a field-based situation. Two internship programs are available: internships for academic credit and internships that award transcript notation but no academic credit.

Internships for academic credit in a wide range of fields are offered by some departments and programs. Students granted internships for academic credit must register for a relevant course and have a faculty advisor on campus as well as professional supervision at their workplace. They also complete and submit an internship agreement at the time they register for the course. All agreements must be signed no later than the add deadline of the semester. Participants are expected to demonstrate in a written project the learning that has taken place on the job by placing the work experience in an academic context. A minimum of twelve hours of work each week or 150 hours for the semester is required, and only two internship courses, adding up to no more than 8 semester hours, are normally accepted toward a degree. No credit is granted retroactively for these activities, and the two internships may not be done in the same semester. Students may develop their own field placement programs, but, all new proposals must be submitted to the appropriate department for approval. Tufts does not accept transfer credits for internships. Students may also participate in the All-College Internship Program, which awards transcript notation but no academic credit. A faculty advisor is not needed to participate in this program because there is no academic component, but students do receive official recognition of their work on their transcript. Students register for the internship in the Career Center by the second week of classes, spend a minimum of 100 hours over the course of the semester at the site, and complete an evaluation form at the close of the semester. Internships cannot be filed retroactively, and students may receive no more than two notations on their transcript.

Phi Beta Kappa

Founded at the College of William and Mary in Virginia on December 5, 1776, Phi Beta Kappa is the highest national academic honor for students in the liberal arts. There are chapters of Phi Beta Kappa at 283 colleges and universities. Delta Chapter of Massachusetts at Tufts University was established on September 7, 1892, and women became eligible from the time of their acceptance at Tufts. Although second-semester juniors and all seniors will be considered without any action on their part, students can be recommended for election to Phi Beta Kappa by their major departments or programs or by individual professors. Election is determined by the student’s cumulative average together with his or her program: the courses selected in the field(s) of concentration and in fulfilling the foundation and distribution requirements, the general nature and difficulty of the program, its breadth and depth, the student’s progress in the program, and the use of the pass/fail option.

Thesis Honors Program

The Thesis Honors Program allows students to pursue a program of independent study leading to a senior thesis, counting as two courses normally within the major. A student may only write one thesis; a student in a dual-degree program may write one thesis for each bachelor’s degree, normally not in the same year. In some fields, the thesis may take the form of a creative project or research experience. The principal purpose of the program is to give special impetus to the development of self-reliance, individual initiative, habits of critical analysis, and correlation of knowledge. Departments and programs are responsible for establishing specific guidelines for senior theses. Intensive specialization in a field of knowledge may be considered an appropriate corollary in some cases, depending on the student’s individual approach and the particular area of investigation. Students pursuing a major in Interdisciplinary Studies or a CIS thesis are eligible for thesis honors.

Since this is an honors program, the opportunity to write a thesis is normally restricted to students whose names have appeared on the Dean’s List at least two times before their senior year. Students may take on an honors thesis with one semester on the Dean’s List if they have transferred to Tufts or have received special permission from their major department or program. Application should be made no later than the end of the junior year. The student is responsible for finding an advisory committee. While three members are recommended, the committee may have two members, one of whom may be outside the student’s major department. The advisory committee is normally chaired by a member of the student’s major department or by the primary faculty advisor in the case of a major in Interdisciplinary Studies. The committee will direct the student’s reading and research or other creative work and will guide the student in preparing for a qualifying examination in the area of investigation. All such programs will include two one-semester courses for the thesis. Students who would like to be recommended for degrees with honors by departments or programs that require a thesis should be aware that a thesis within their own department or program is required and a CIS thesis will not usually count as a substitute.

A student who plans to write a thesis must submit a Senior Honors Thesis Candidate form by the first week in October of the senior year. The form is located under Student Forms on the student services home page.

The thesis may be of a creative, critical, or historical nature, or may embody critical analysis of the results of experiments carried out by the student under supervision. Its subject and scope will be agreed upon in advance by the student and sponsor and approved by the committee. The completed thesis will be presented for consideration no later than two weeks before the last day of classes of the student’s final semester.

Each candidate for a degree with thesis honors is required to undergo examination on the thesis and on the principal area of investigation (or major concentration). The specific character of the examination is determined by each department or advisory committee and may be oral, written, or both. The department or advisory committee is empowered to determine the level of thesis honors to be awarded, basing its recommendation on an evaluation of the thesis. Degrees are designated Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science, with highest thesis honors, with high thesis honors, or with thesis honors. (Thesis honors will be indicated on the student’s transcript, but not on the diploma.) Students who, in the judgment of the department or advisory committee, have not attained the standards required for a thesis honors designation, but whose work is worthy of a degree, are recommended for the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree subject to the general regulations. Students who, in the judgment of the department or advisory committee, have attained the standards required for a thesis honors designation may also receive the degree summa cum laude, magna cum laude, or cum laude, in accordance with the procedures governing degrees with distinction.

For answers to frequently asked questions and a style sheet, visit the Senior Honors Thesis website.