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American Ethnic Studies Honors Program

The Honors Program is open to AES majors who excel in their academic achievements. This option is designed to allow undergraduates to conduct an original research project under the direction of a faculty adviser. Working closely with a professor on an independent study basis enables students to pursue special intellectual interests and also provides excellent preparation for graduate school. The Honors Program aims to expand and intensify academic experiences, thereby contributing to build a community of undergraduate scholars within AES and across the university. Thus, AES Honors students are encouraged to present their projects at the UW Undergraduate Research Symposium held every spring quarter. Students who complete the Honors Program graduate "With Distinction in AES," which is noted on their transcripts and diplomas.

Requirements for admission into the AES Honors Program

Students applying to complete the AES major with Honors must:

  • Be a declared major in American Ethnic Studies
  • Have a minimum of two quarters of full-time study at UW prior to applying to the Honors Program. In exceptional cases, this requirement may be waived for transfer students with the endorsement of their prospective Honors adviser
  • Maintain at least a 3.7 GPA in AES courses taken at UW
  • Maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 for all courses taken at UW
  • Have the support of a prospective faculty adviser for entry into the Honors Program

Admission to the AES Honors Program is competitive; fulfillment of minimum eligibility requirements or membership in the College Honors program does not guarantee automatic entry. All students hoping to go into the AES Honors Program (including College Honors students) must apply during the first three weeks of Winter Quarter, usually in their junior year.

The AES Honors Program Application is available from the AES Academic Adviser, or it can be downloaded, here. Fill out the form and return it to Dalia Correa, AES academic adviser, at B-509 Padelford Hall, before 1 Feb. If you have not met the requirements before the end of winter quarter, you may be admitted provisionally and then, when your winter quarter grades become available, the AES Honors Committee will reassess your application.

Requirements for completing the AES Honors Program

  • Completion of all course requirements for the B.A. degree in AES
  • Completion of AES 496 (Honors Thesis) and approval of the thesis
  • Completion of at least 10 additional credits in approved, ad-hoc AES Honors courses with a grade of 3.7 or better.
  • Maintaining a cumulative UW 3.5 overall GPA and a cumulative 3.7 GPA for all AES courses
  • Language courses and large survey courses are not acceptable as ad hoc Honors courses

What special classes do I need to take in the Honors Program?

AES 496, Honors Thesis, is the only course specifically designated for the Honors Program. The two additional courses (10 credits) students must take to comply with the Honors requirements are currently offered on an ad hoc basis.

What is an AES ad hoc Honors course?

Except for AES 496, all Honors courses are currently offered on an ad hoc basis. Most, but not all, upper-division courses in the AES concentration area constitute the list of approved courses. However, final approval must be secured from the instructor and the AES Honors adviser. Students must contract with the instructor before taking an upper-division course for Honors credit.

How should I schedule my Honors classes and research?

You should apply to the honors program in winter quarter of your junior year. Applications must be filed with the AES Academic Adviser by 1 Feb. This will give you plenty of time to choose the two additional upper-division courses (beyond the regular major requirements) you wish to apply to the Honors program. You should enroll in AES 496 in spring of your senior year. Your thesis should be finished and approved by the end of the academic year. Extensions to the normal completion of the Honors program should be unusual. If required, your petition for an extension must be endorsed in writing by your thesis director and approved by the Honors adviser.

How do I choose a topic of my Honors project?

The possibilities are endless. Most students have only a general idea about the topic they want to research when they decide to pursue this option. Usually, however, their interest is awakened in a course that introduces a given topic without exploring it in depth. A good point of departure, therefore, is to consult with the instructor of that course, or with another instructor whose expertise is on the same general area. In turn, the instructor may or may not become the prospective thesis adviser. The key is to choose a theme that you find exciting, one that will motivate you to explore the subject in depth and with intensity.

How do I select a thesis adviser?

The adviser must be a full-time, research AES Faculty member or someone on the current list of AES Adjunct Faculty. As a general rule, you should choose a professor with whom you have taken a class before—perhaps the course that inspired you to select your thesis topic. On the other hand, that specific instructor may not be available at the time you need to proceed with your project. In this case, you should identify another faculty member with some expertise in the field you wish to explore, and one with whom you feel comfortable working.

How do I go about writing an Honors thesis?

In most cases, the Honors thesis involves the completion of a 30+ page thesis. However, projects such as video productions, dramatic plays, or other suitable endeavors may be accepted upon the endorsement of the thesis adviser. As noted above, students must first identify a faculty person willing to act as sponsor, file the AES Honors Program Application, and then sign up for AES 496. The writing option requires the preparation of a manuscript at least 30-pages long, double-spaced, single sided, one inch all-round margins with a 11pt serif font (such as Arial or Times New Roman), including page numbers, an abstract and title page including your name and your adviser's name. A number of excellent manuals and other resources are available to help you with the details. One that is broadly recommended is How to Write a Better Thesis by David Evans and Paul Gruba. Your adviser should be able to make other suggestions.

How can I get more information?

Speak with Dalia Correa (B-509 Padelford Hall,, the AES Academic Adviser. She can answer your questions, or direct you to the Honors adviser or other relevant faculty as necessary.

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