Honors Program

Painting of books on table

What is the honors program?

The Department of the History of Art and Architecture offers an honors program to give qualified students an opportunity to do independent research under the guidance of a faculty member. A student's research results in an honors essay, a substantial paper of approximately 25 pages that demonstrates the student's knowledge of the chosen topic. A successful honors essay demonstrates the student's ability to formulate a significant research problem.

Students who complete the program receive the notation of "honors" on their degree. Students who don't complete the honors requirements on time, can still graduate with an art history major.


Why participate in it?

The honors essay allows students to develop research and writing skills and to work closely with a faculty mentor. All students writing an honors essay will be eligible to apply for departmental funding that supports research-related travel. The honors essay also makes an excellent writing sample to submit as part of graduate school applications. Graduate degree programs often consider the undergraduate honors essay as evidence of scholarly excellence.


Who is eligible for it?

Art History majors may enroll in the department’s Honors Program if they have:


  • Completed two lower-division and four upper-division art history courses (one of which must be in-residence, one of which may be ARH 300)
  • Completed ARH 300 with a grade of A- or better
  • An average GPA of 3.5 or higher in ARH courses at the time of enrollment in the honors program

If you have questions or concerns about the eligibility requirements, please contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies.


How do I know if it's right for me?

The honors program is entirely optional. You are highly encouraged to consider enrolling in the honors program if you meet the eligibility requirements. To find out if the honors program is right for you, make an appointment to meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies, who can help you find a good research topic and recommend a faculty advisor who would be able to supervise your honors work.


How do I enroll in the honors program?

Step 1: Talk to the Director of Undergraduate Studies

Contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, who will answer your questions and help you identify a potential honors essay advisor.

Step 2: Meet with a Potential Honors Essay Advisor

Make an appointment to see your potential honors essay advisor. Your honors essay advisor is a faculty member in the department who guides you in your research, helps you compile a bibliography, reads the drafts of your honors essay, and provides suggestions for revisions. Your honors essay advisor will also approve your honors essay upon completion and your award of honors in the department.

Ideally, your advisor should be a faculty member with whom you have taken a class. However, multiple faculty members in the department are available to help you develop your ideas and guide you to successful completion of the honors essay. In the case that your first-choice honors essay advisor does not work out, other faculty members in the department will be available and more than happy to work with you.

Step 3: Fill out the Honors Program Enrollment Form.


I am a Clark Honors College student and an art history major. May I also enroll in the art history honors program?

Clark Honors College students majoring in art history automatically qualify for honors in art history if they complete a CHC thesis on an art historical topic, and if there is at least one art history faculty on their thesis committee. Please speak to the Director of Undergraduate Studies for more details.


When must I complete my honors essay?

You are expected to meet regularly with your honors essay advisor and submit drafts or sections of your essay to receive comments and suggestions. You should submit a complete first draft of your honors essay to your advisor no later than Week 4 of the term in which you are graduating, and a final draft no later than Week 8. To receive the mention of honors on your transcript and diploma, the approved version of your honors essay must be completed by Monday of the finals week of the term in which you are graduating.