Starting this semester, we are implementing several procedural updates to the Honors program:

  1. All students who are currently enrolled in the first semester of Honors (course designation “495”) will need to complete an Honors Project Proposal Form and a Record of Honors Project Field Form online.

    To help you prepare for submission, please see this document: Instructions for Honors Forms - Fall 2020

    Please access the online portal for submission here.

  2. For students currently enrolled in “450” who may later wish to convert to “495” during the semester: you will need to contact the registrar’s office to change the course designation to “495” AND you will need complete the online forms by the end of the 10th week of the fall semester.

  3. The written exam MUST be completed by the end of the first semester of a “495” (last exam day).

    Faculty advisers, in consultation of the Honors field examiner, are free to determine when the written exam should be given during the first semester of “495”.

  4. Faculty advisers AND field examiners must assess the written exam by the beginning of the drop/add period of the second semester. To track completion of this requirement, the second semester of Honors coursework will be given the new designation of “496.”

    Students will not be allowed to register for the “496” course UNTIL a copy of the written exam is submitted to the Honors secretary. In addition, the faculty adviser and the field examiner will be contacted to verify (online) their assessment of the written exam. A candidate must have at least a provisional pass by both parties in order to register for the “496.”

  5. Students may not complete the first semester of “495” until the first semester of their junior year.

Please contact either Kristy Kenyon (kenyon@hws.edu), current Chair of the Honors Committee or Dot Vogt (vogt@hws.edu) with any questions.

The Hobart and William Smith Colleges' Honors Program makes possible the most sustained and sophisticated work available for juniors and seniors in the Colleges' curriculum.

Participating in the Honors Program greatly assists students in pursuing their professional ambitions after graduation, but its more fundamental value is to afford students the opportunity to pursue skills and interests at the advanced level and grow in selfknowledge as their project develops.

The Honors Project requires completion of high quality, independent academic work within a span of two semester-long courses that concentrate on the same project and are under the supervision of an Honors Faculty Adviser. Honors is usually undertaken in one's academic major; exceptions can occur if a student petitions the Honors Committee.

In addition to the Honors Project (research paper or its counterpart in the creative arts), an Honors Candidate must complete a Written Honors Examination in the Honors Field as well as an Oral Honors Examination that covers both the Honors Project and the Written Honors Examination.

Each Honors Candidate has an Individual Honors Committee that consists of a Field Examiner and a 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 is from outside the division in which the student is pursuing Honors. The Outside Examiner is an expert in the field who evaluates the Honors Project and participates in the Oral Honors 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 candidates regard as the high point of their academic experience.

Candidates who successfully complete an Honors Project will receive Honors for their work and this achievement is recorded on their transcripts. Candidates earning Honors are listed as such in the Commencement Program, together with their Faculty Advisers and the titles of their Honors Projects. Honors Projects 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 Honors Projects, including the Faculty Advisers and Outside Examiners.

In the event that a student decides to withdraw from the Honors Program after beginning the Honors Project that student can receive course credit for an Independent Study as recommended by the Faculty Adviser. The same is true for students who are not granted Honors by the Honors Committee that examined their project.

The many HWS faculty members who participate in the Honors Program do so out of deep commitment to their subjects, their students, and the Colleges. They do so above and beyond their regular teaching and advising load. Without them, the program could never have existed for 80 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.


Kristy Kenyon
Rosenberg 208
(315) 781-3598


Honors Overview

Honors Deadlines 2020-2021

Instructions for online Honors forms

Online portal for submission


Professor Kristy Kenyon
Honors Chair
Rosenberg 208, Ext. 3598

Michelle Rizzella, Associate Professor, Psychological Science, (Natural Science representative), Gulick Hall, Ext. 3465

Jeffrey Blankenship, Associate Professor, Art and Architecture (Fine Arts/Performing Arts Representative), Houghton House, Ext. 4573

Evren Damar, Associate Professor, Economics (Social Science representative and Committee of Academic Affairs representative), Stern Hall

Julia Stockwin
William Smith Representative

Dot Vogt
Honors Secretary
Smith 211 (8:30-noon), Ext. 3793

Past Honors Projects

Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.