A candidate for departmental Honors must write a thesis in addition to fulfilling the course requirements for the major. By the end of their third year, students wishing to do so should contact the professor with whom they intend to work, and inform her or him of their intention to write a thesis. Following an initial discussion with the professor, students should spend a substantive amount of time in the summer researching and writing a five-page thesis prospectus, and submit it to the Department by the end of the first week of classes of the fall semester.

The thesis prospectus presents in outline the subject of the thesis, its rationale, and the materials that will likely be studied. It may be formatted in a number of ways but should include the following:

  1. A two-page description of the project, including an explanation of its topic, the questions that it raises, and the principal materials (e.g. the primary and secondary texts) with which it will engage.
  2. A detailed two-page outline of the proposed work plan leading to completion of the thesis. This can, but need not, indicate the intended focus of each chapter.
  3. A one-page core bibliography on the proposed topic.

The Department will review prospectuses and, pending their approval, will grant students permission to write their thesis. The thesis may be written in French or English (Writing in French is contingent upon the French faculty’s positive evaluation of the thesis proposal’s grammatical and stylistic proficiency.) The Department will also require that the student complete a draft of one chapter by the end of the fall semester, and a rough draft of the whole thesis by the end of January interterm. Oral defenses of the completed thesis will take place in April. Candidates for Honors usually sign up for French 498 in the fall and French 499 in the spring of their senior year.