Honors Guidelines


Within the first six weeks of the two semester period (the two semesters of the senior year) in which the student is eligible for such candidacy, an application for Honors in Major Study must be signed by the supervising professor and submitted to the department (or departments for combined majors, or major committee for individually planned majors).  Following departmental approval, a copy of this form must be filed with the Registrar’s Office prior to November 1 for Spring semester theses or April 1 for Fall semester theses.  No student will be registered for honors thesis unless this form is on file with the Registrar.  Check with individual departments for specific requirements.  See the "Calendar" in the online "Senior Handbook" for specific due dates.

To be eligible to apply for candidacy, a student must have completed at least 87 semester credits before the senior year, have completed at least two semesters of residence at Whitman College and have attained a GPA of at least 3.100.

To be eligible to receive Honors in Major Study, the following requirements must be met at the completion of all degree requirements (as per Faculty Code, see below):

  • a cumulative (combined) GPA of at least 3.300
  • a major GPA of at least 3.500
  • receive a grade of A- or better for the thesis
  • earn the grade of "Passed with Distinction" on the senior assessment
  • file two acceptable copies of the thesis in the college library no later than the published deadline

If at some time during the semester of registration in Honors Thesis, the student decides not to pursue this option, or perhaps does not satisfy the requirements, registration will be changed to the regular thesis or independent study course depending upon departmental options.  If you have questions regarding the Honors process, please contact the Registrar's Office at x5983.  See the Penrose Library web site for additional information.

Honors in Major Study Application (PDF form)


The Faculty Code

Article VII. Academic Honors

Section 1. Honors in Major

a.      A student who shows unusual ability in the field of his or her major may be granted permission to work for honors in major during the last two semesters in residence before his or her graduation and with the privilege of doing preliminary planning on the project or thesis during the junior year.

b.       Honors shall be awarded to students at the time of their graduation.

  1. The proposal, bearing the approval of the department (or departments, or combined majors, or major committee, for individually planned majors) must be filed with the Registrar within the first 6 weeks of the 2-semester period in which a student is eligible for such candidacy.

  2. The application must include a brief description of the student's honors thesis project. [This will be retained by the department.]

c.       To be eligible for such candidacy the student shall have completed not fewer than 87 semester credits, shall have completed at least 2 semesters of residence in Whitman College, and shall have attained a grade point average of at least 3.100.

d.      In order to be eligible to receive honors in major the candidate shall meet the following requirements:

  1. He or she shall have attained at the time of the student's graduation a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.300 and a grade point average of at least 3.500 in the major;

  2. He or she shall have completed and have earned a grade of at least A- on a written thesis or research project prepared exclusively for the satisfaction of this program;

  3. He or she shall file two acceptable copies of this thesis or report of the research project in the college library not later than reading day prior to the final examination period in his or her last semester (except that the student may be required to comply with departmental regulations for earlier filing);

  4. The student shall earn the grade of "Passed with Distinction" on the senior assessments in his or her major and he or she shall earn a grade of at least A- (3.700) in the honors thesis course.

e.      The major adviser shall attest the satisfactory completion of requirements for the awarding of honors in major.

  1. A candidate for honors in major who fails to attain such honors shall be permitted to graduate without honors, providing that all college requirements for graduation have been satisfactorily met.

  2. Students enrolled in senior honors thesis who fail to attain honors will receive credit for senior thesis (or, if their department does not offers a senior thesis, independent study), provided they have completed the thesis with a passing grade.