The Hobart and William Smith Honors Program makes possible some of the most sustained and sophisticated work available in the Colleges’ curriculum.

Although participating in honors greatly assists students in pursuing their professional ambitions after graduation, this is not the only objective of the program. Its more fundamental value is to afford students the opportunity to pursue skills and interests at the advanced level and grow in self-knowledge as their project develops.

The Honors norm is two semester long courses that concentrate on the same project and are under the supervision of the same faculty adviser. Honors is usually undertaken in one’s academic major; exceptions can occur if a student petitions the Honors Committee.

Again, the Honors norm is that the work is undertaken during one’s senior year. It culminates in a substantial research paper or its counterpart in the creative arts.

In addition to the Honors project, an Honors candidate takes a written examination in the Honors field as well as an oral examination that covers both the Honors project and the written examination. Each candidate has an Honors committee that consists of a field and faculty examiner from the Colleges’ faculty and an outside examiner.

The field examiner is another member of the department in which the student is doing honors. The faculty examiner from outside the division in which the student is pursuing honors. The outside examiner is an expert in the field that the student is studying and he or she has read the Honors thesis and participates in the oral examination.

The outside examiners are chosen carefully for their expertise and sometimes come from considerable distances. They keep Honors work from being too campus-bound and add excitement to the oral examination, which many Honors students regard as the high point of their academic experience.

In the event that a student decides to withdraw from the Honors program after he or she has begun the Honors project that student can receive course credit for an independent study as recommended by the advisor. The same is true for students who are not granted Honors by the Honors Committee who has examined their project.

Honors papers and their counterparts are listed in the Commencement program, together with their advisers and the titles of their projects. Their achievement is also recorded on their transcripts.

Honors papers and their counterparts are catalogued and kept for reference in the Warren Hunting Smith Library. Each year the Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ Catalogue lists the preceding year’s student Honors projects, including the advisers and outside examiners.

The many faculty members who participate in the program do so out of deep commitment to their subjects, their students, and the Colleges. They do so over and beyond their regular teaching and advising load and without any remuneration. Without them, the program could never have existed for over sixty years.

The reasons for the success of the program seem to be that its challenge is sound and realistic, its provisions are clear, and its inclusion of outside examiners reinforces faculty and student standards of professionalism.


Laura Sposato
Honors Secretary
Gulick 201
(315) 781- 3480
8:30 a.m. - noon


Professor Iva Deutchman
Political Science
Social Science Representative, Honors Chair
Stern 114, x3429

Professor Kristy Kenyon
Natural Sciences Representative
Rosenberg 208, x3598

Professor Michael Bogin
Art and Architectural Studies Representative
Houghton House 200, x3484

Professor Nicola Minott-Ahl
COAA/Humanities Representative
Demarest 108, x3362

William Smith Representative – TBA

Hobart Representative – TBA

Laura Sposato
Honors Secretary
Gulick 201 (8:30-noon), x3480


Frequently Asked Questions

Faculty Guide for Honors

Student Guide for Honors

Honors Deadlines 2015-2016

Honors Forms

Past Honors Projects