In addition to obtaining a breadth of knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences through courses in the Honors Core, each student chooses an area of specialization. Concentrations are the equivalent of majors and are just as rigorous. The concentration allows students to obtain deep knowledge of a focused area of interest. Students may double concentrate, or have a major concentration and one or more minor concentrations. Students may concentrate in most of the traditional disciplines, or design their own interdisciplinary course of study in consultation with the faculty. Typically, disciplinary concentrations will include all requisite coursework for admission into Ph.D. or professional programs. Effective Fall 2005, students must receive a C or better in a course for it to count towards their concentration.
Students shall declare a concentration before they register for the 4th semester prior to graduation (typically this will occur in the spring of the sophomore year). Transfer students who transfer to the Honors College fewer than four semesters prior to graduation should declare their concentrations when they arrive. This is done by submitting a Declaration of Concentration/Minor form to a faculty member who is on the Advisory Board of the concentration you wish to declare. The faculty on each Concentration Advisory Board is listed on the web in the descriptions of each concentration. The declaration is subject to approval by the Advisory Board. The Advisory Board for each concentration shall assign each student to a concentration advisor, based on the needs and desires of the student and with the approval of the advisor. If students have a preference for a particular advisor, they can either submit the form to that faculty member, or make their preference known to the faculty member to whom they submit the form. Once the form is approved by the Advisory Board, students will receive a copy for their own records.
At any time, a student may change advisors, with the consent of the new advisor. The new advisor will notify the old advisor of the change. A student may also change their concentration at any time, by submitting a new Declaration of Concentration/Minor form which is approved by the Advisory Board of the new concentration. The Declaration of Concentration forms will be kept in the student's advising file. In addition, the Associate Dean will maintain a list of students with their concentrations and advisors, which will be updated whenever a change is made.
Students who wish to minor in an area in which a minor concentration is offered should fill out the Declaration of Concentration/Minor form and obtain the signature of a member of the concentration advisory board. A list of available minor concentrations is available online.
Individually Designed Concentrations
Students may choose to design their own concentration. The student must show why their needs cannot be met by any of the standard concentrations, and complete an Individually Designed Concentration Proposal Form which is submitted to the Associate Dean, who forwards it to the curriculum committee for approval. Proposals must meet the following guidelines.
Individual Concentration Guidelines (approved 3/30/07):
Students are reminded that they need at least 45 credits of upper level coursework to graduate.
(The prior approval process was as follows: The Concentration Proposal must be approved by a Concentration Committee of at least two faculty members who are willing to advise the student and oversee their program. Typically, the Concentration Proposal will be written in consultation with the Concentration Committee. The Concentration Proposal must also be approved by a third faculty member, not on the Concentration Committee, who is a member of the Curriculum Committee. This duty shall be rotated among the members of the Curriculum Committee on a schedule determined by that Committee. Any proposed concentration must include at least 15 credits of upper-division courses which directly contribute to the central goals of the concentration, in addition to a senior thesis.)
Policy on Double Concentrations
- Students who satisfy coursework in two Concentrations and who successfully complete a thesis in each will receive an Honors Concentration in each area.
- Students who satisfy coursework in two Concentrations and who successfully complete a single thesis that is approved as satisfactory for earning an honors Concentration in each of the two areas, will receive an Honors Concentration in each area. Such theses must be approved by 3 advisors, one in each of the two concentrations, as well as a third advisor in any concentration who is approved by the other two advisors and the student. In determining whether a thesis is satisfactory for earning an honors Concentration, advisors will treat theses submitted to more than one Concentration no differently than theses submitted exclusively in the one Concentration. Approval of the thesis in a concentration attests to sufficient mastery of the methods and approaches in that concentration.
- Students who satisfy all coursework (apart from thesis) in two Concentrations and who successfully complete a single thesis in one of the Concentrations will receive an Honors Concentration in the area in which they wrote a thesis, and may receive a Non-thesis concentration in the area in which they did not write a thesis if this option is approved by the advisory board of that concentration. It is up to each individual concentration advisory board to decide whether it will offer the option of a non-thesis concentration. The advisory board of a Concentration may determine that the non-thesis concentration requires more coursework than the honors concentration. All Honors college students must graduate with an Honors concentration. A non-thesis concentration can not substitute for this requirement.
- For those who double concentrate, courses may be double-counted for both concentrations only if the courses are specifically required for each concentration; also, unless specified otherwise, up to 4 credits of electives may be double-counted for both concentrations.
Approved by the faculty March 30, 2001. Updated 04-03-12.