College Graduation Honors
College honors are awarded to graduating students at Franklin & Marshall on the basis of their final cumulative grade point average according to the following standards:
|Summa Cum Laude||3.90 — 4.00|
|Magna Cum Laude||3.70 — 3.89|
|Cum Laude||3.50 — 3.69|
Departmental or program honors are awarded to students who successfully meet the following requirements:
1. Complete an approved outstanding Independent Study project, which entails extensive independent research or creative effort and which culminates in a thesis, a work of art, a recital, or some other performance.
2. Submit the Independent Study project to a specially constituted review board and successfully defend the project in an oral examination of the project and of related work.
3. Complete a significant body of course work of high caliber in the department or program or in related departments or programs.
The rule of thumb for a "significant body of course work" in the field or related fields is a minimum of four courses, in addition to the Independent Study project. If departments or programs wish to impose stricter guidelines or to waive this minimum, they should submit requests to the Provost and Dean of the Faculty, who may consult the Educational Policy Committee for advice in particular cases.
Departments may determine whether a "significant body of course work" is worthy of honors in either of two ways: first, they may determine a minimum grade point average for work in the department beneath which students may not be granted honors; or second, they may meet subsequent to the student’s oral defense and vote to worthy of honors.
Students usually will major or minor in a particular department or program in order to receive honors in it, but need not, provided that they: meet the above requirements; are recommended by the review board to the department or program for honors on the basis of the quality of the project and its defense; and receive the recommendation of the department or program that the supporting course work in the field is of sufficiently high caliber to support the recommendation for honors. The "significant body of course work" of students with a Joint Major will be evaluated by the home department of the adviser of the Independent Study. For students with Special Studies majors, this evaluation will be conducted by the student's primary department (typically the one in which the five courses or more are taken).
The following guidelines are to be observed in Independent Study projects considered for departmental or program honors:
1. As early as possible, the project adviser, in consultation with the advisee and department or program chairperson, should constitute a review board of at least three but no more than five persons, one of whom might well be from another department, program, or institution. Copies of the completed thesis or project should be sent to all members of the review board before the oral examination.
2. The adviser should establish procedures for the oral defense with the examiners, specifying, for example, whether the student will make a brief opening statement, how much time will be allotted to each examiner and in what manner, etc. The adviser is responsible for briefing the student on these procedures well in advance of the defense.
3. The defense should last at least one, but no more than two hours. Artistic performances will, of course, vary in length. The defense should be open to any interested observers, with the knowledge of the student, and its time and location should be published in advance of the meeting.
4. To allow the student and examiners maximum freedom, the adviser should not enter into the defense unless specifically asked to do so, and should not feel obligated to be present for all the deliberations of the review board.
5. After the oral examination, the review board members alone should, after discussion, vote by secret ballot on the thesis and its defense. They are asked to determine whether the thesis and its defense warrant a recommendation of “Honors” or “No Honors,” as one part of the department’s or program’s evaluation of candidates for honors. The chairperson of the review board should notify the department or program chairperson in writing of the board’s recommendation.
6. The recommendation of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty for departmental or program honors will consist of:
a. The written recommendation to the department or program chairperson by the chairperson of the review board concerning “Honors” or “No Honors” on the basis of the project and its defense, and;
b. The evaluation by the department or program chairperson concerning the caliber of a significant body of course work in the field.
Both recommendations must be made at the “Honors” level for students to receive departmental or program honors.
7. The project adviser alone is responsible for assigning the final grade for the Independent Study project and for reporting that grade to the Registrar.