HONORS PROJECTS IN THEATRE AND DANCE
Why would you want to do such a project?
Most importantly, it provides an opportunity for you to work closely with a faculty member to develop an original creative or scholarly project, to explore an idea with greater depth and rigor than is typically encountered in the undergraduate classroom. It allows and you to stretch yourself creatively and intellectually, and on a practical level, if you have a high GPA, successfully completing an honors project is the only way to receive high or highest honors for your degree within the College of Letters & Science (you may receive honors on GPA alone). Many of the most competitive applicants for graduate study have completed some form of honors project. Not only does this demonstrate a high level of accomplishment, it also provides more information for a faculty member to address in a letter of recommendation.
What does an Honors Project look like?
According to the catalog, “[t]he Honors Program in the College of Letters and Science permits students to pursue a program of study in their major at a level significantly beyond that defined by the normal curriculum. It represents an opportunity for the qualified student to experience aspects of the major that are representative of advanced study in the field.” It may be scholarly or creative, but it will have a written component either way. In Theatre and Dance, honors projects range from staged readings of original full length plays; to complete paper designs of productions; to research, design and delivery of workshops;to scholarly research essays on a range of topics, to directing shows with a specific research focus, or any other investigation of a relevant area of research or creative activity that is approved by the faculty. The project must be framed by a research question that you want to investigate, whether it is a physical exploration of a practice or an intellectual exploration of performance contexts, and it will include a written component. The project may be done in conjunction with production activity in the department, but simply completing production activity is not in and of itself an honors project. All projects involving production resources will need to be approved by both the faculty adviser and the chair of the department and will typically need to be planned and approved well in advance. Honors projects typically do not receive production resources. NOTE: In order to complete the honors degree in Theatre and Dance you will also need to complete an additional 8 units (typically 2 additional courses) of Theatre and Dance upper division electives selected with your thesis advisor that will support your preparation for, or supplement the work on, your project.
What should I do if I want to begin this process?
Your first step is to contact your faculty adviser or the faculty member with whom you want to pursue an honors project and begin talking about possibilities—the sooner, the better. Ideally, you should begin planning in the academic year prior to the start of the honors project, but minimally you should have a plan in place prior to the start of the first quarter of the required DRA 194HA course. However, you do not need to know exactly what you are going to do to start a conversation with the faculty. Even if you are just starting your degree, it is not too early to start thinking carefully about how you want to focus your studies.
Once you have faculty approval for your project you will sign up for DRA 194HA under a CRN for the faculty adviser for your project and DRA 194HB in the following quarter.You will receive an IP grade for the first quarter, and after completing DRA 194HB you will receive the same grade for both quarters. Though the exact nature of the project is determined in consultation with the faculty adviser, all honors projects have a written component. Successful completion makes you eligible for high or highest honors, which will be determined by the faculty based on both the quality of the project and your overall record; however, this is contingent on your GPA being sufficiently high to meet the minimum standards for the College of Letters and Science.