Departmental Honors Program

To graduate with honors in Comparative Literature, students must complete a thesis which will be evaluated by a thesis advisor and a second reader. Students will receive 3 credits each semester for independent work on the thesis. A grade of B+ or better is required.

To qualify, majors must have a cumulative grade‐point average of 3.0 or better, and a grade‐point average of 3.5 or better in the major at the end of the junior year. They must have their topic approved as adequate for an honors thesis by their chosen thesis advisor and by the undergraduate director. Such approval is usually required by the end of the spring semester of the junior year and in no case later than the end of the add/drop period of the first semester of the senior year. The committee is to be composed of the student’s thesis advisor (a full-time faculty member from among the Core or Affiliate Faculty of the Comparative Literature Program), and one other faculty member.



The Honors project should be undertaken over two semesters, totaling six (6) credits. The distribution should be three (3) in each semester. The student receives a temporary grade for the Fall semester and a final grade for both semesters in the Spring when the project is completed. The cumulative average in the senior year must be maintained at the minimum levels needed to enter the Department Honors program, namely 3.0 overall and 3.5 in the major area.

Under special circumstances (for example, conflict with student teaching, study abroad, internship, etc.) the students may petition to undertake a one-semester project. The one-semester option is the exception rather than the rule, and the student must write the undergraduate director and thesis advisor to explain the extenuating circumstances.  In the one-semester option, only three (3) credits per semester may be counted toward the major.


The Program awards three (3) levels of distinction:

With highest honors
With high honors
With honors


Departmental Honors will be awarded to a student majoring in Comparative Literature who completes the requirements for the SAS Interdisciplinary Honors Thesis, and maintains a 3.5 gpa in the major. The student may count three (3) credits received for the Interdisciplinary Honors Thesis or Project (01:090:495-496) toward completion of the major.


The student is NOT required to orally present the project.  HOWEVER, students may present their work before an audience at a student conference (with the thesis advisor in attendance).

If the student opts for the conference presentation, the advisor must be in attendance. Recently, the most convenient venue for this option is the Aresty Undergraduate Research Symposium (AURS), generally held the final week of April.


A.  Instructions for submitting an abstract are found here: http://aresty.rutgers.edu/symposium.htm.  The Aresty website has details and information about how to prepare and submit an abstract (students may attend an abstract writing workshop).

B.  The student needs to submit an abstract in late February.  The student should apply to do a poster presentation (not a panel presentation). 

C.  Students will be notified of their AURS acceptance in March. 

D.  The Aresty website has information about how to prepare the poster for the conference presentation.  Advisors should communicate to the student that it is their responsibility to prepare the poster and that they should take advantage of the guidance on how to design the poster offered by the Aresty Center.

E.  The AURS takes place in late April.  The Undergraduate Director must coordinate with the organizers to ensure that our students are placed together and scheduled to present posters during the same time period.  This will not happen automatically.  The idea is for the Comp Lit students to be grouped together so that they can serve as audience members of each other’s presentations.  Each student will speak for about 10-12 minutes about their project.  After the presentations, the students remained stationed at their posters and interacted more informally with conference participants.


1. Any student meeting the minimum gpa requirements may also self-nominate.

2. The student speaks with Undergraduate Director or other member of the faculty in order to determine interest/focus of the project.

3. The student approaches a faculty member of her/his choice to determine if said faculty member is willing to advise the student’s honors project.

4. In consultation with the advisor, the student writes a proposal which is submitted to the advisor and undergraduate director for their approval. This proposal should be by April 30 of the junior year, and in no case later than the end of the add-drop period of the first term of the senior year.

5. Upon approval the student will register for the appropriate courses (195:495 and 195:496). Students working on projects requiring Human Subject Certification and approval by the Institutional Review Board must consult with their Project Director about additional deadlines.

6. If a student registers for Honors credit but fails to make contact with the sponsoring faculty member in the first three weeks of the semester, the student will be de-registered from those credit hours.

7. The deadline for the completion of the Honors project is April 15.

8. Honors projects are approximately 50 pages in length.  Previous projects are available to students as examples of the type of work expected of them. Students must follow a standard format, either MLA or Chicago. Two copies of the thesis must be submitted to the Comparative Literature Program in black thesis binders.

9.  Please note that all SAS students who are completing a department-based honors thesis or an SAS Interdisciplinary Honors Thesis will be designated as SAS Paul Robeson Scholars. SAS Paul Robeson Scholars will be eligible for extended library borrowing privileges and for nomination for consideration for a Henry Rutgers Thesis Award.

10.  A one (1) credit course, Introduction to the Thesis (01:090:391, 392), is available to guide students in researching  and writing an honors thesis.  This course is optional and may be taken before or during the process of completing the project.

11.  Funding is available in support of research. All applications for research funds are submitted to the Aresty Research Center for Undergraduates (http://aresty.rutgers.edu/).

SAS Honors Program