Welcome to the Honors Program!

The Honors Program at Hobart and William Smith Colleges makes possible the most sustained and sophisticated work available for juniors and seniors in the Colleges’ curriculum. An Honors Project consists of two semesters of high-quality independent coursework. Honors Candidates must complete three components to earn the academic distinction of Honors: a written exam, a project (research paper or its counterpart in the creative arts), and an oral exam which covers the written exam and the project. Honors Candidates work with an Honors Faculty Adviser from the academic field of the Honors Project. An Individual Honors Examination Committee consisting of a Field Examiner and Faculty Examiner from HWS and an Outside Examiner who is a specialist in the field evaluate the Honors Project through the Oral Honors Examination.

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 self-knowledge as their project develops.

Honors Candidates who successfully complete an Honors Project will receive the academic distinction of Honors for their work, which is recorded on their transcripts. Students earning Honors are listed in the Commencement Program together with the Faculty Adviser and the title of the Honors Project. Honors Projects are catalogued and kept in the Archives of the Warren Hunting Smith Library.

The Honors Program has maintained itself for 80 years with only minor adjustments despite curricular changes, some of them radical. The rationale behind this simple pattern is that sustained work on a project of a student’s own choosing, with consistently available advice and support from a faculty specialist, has educational benefits and personal gratifications which cannot be duplicated in regular, semester-length courses, however enterprising the student. High among the values sought, in addition to the ability to work independently and reliably, are creativity in scholarly projects as well as in the arts; a superior academic and operational command of an academic field; a recognition of the significance of specialization in relation to larger contexts; and ease in communicating insights coherently, in written and spoken language, correct and free from jargon. 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. The provisions of the Honors Program are flexible but not shapeless; and its inclusion of Outside Examiners reinforces standards of academic professionalism.


Honors Overview

Honors Deadlines Spring 2021 - Spring 2022


Instructions for online Honors forms

Online portal for submission

Oral Exam and Committee Info Form


Kristy Kenyon
Rosenberg 208
(315) 781-3598

Dot Vogt
Smith 211
(315) 781-3793


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

Josh Hylkema
Hobart Representative

Julia Stockwin
William Smith Representative

Past Honors Projects

Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.