Honors Program

The Honors Program provides an opportunity for work of greater scope and depth than the Music Department’s standard course offerings. Honors projects typically take the form of independent work that is undertaken over at least two terms, and supervised by one or more members of the music faculty.

GUIDELINES FOR THE HONORS PROGRAM

The Honors Program provides an opportunity for work of greater scope and depth than the Music Department’s standard course offerings. Honors projects typically take the form of independent work that is undertaken over at least two terms, and supervised by one or more members of the music faculty.

To qualify for Honors, students must have a G.P.A. for Music courses of 3.3 or better, and a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.0 or better for all college courses at the time the Honors proposal is submitted to the faculty. Students applying to the Honors Program should have completed, or be in the process of completing, all performance and musicianship requirements for the Major.

Honors projects may take any of the following forms:

  • Written Honors thesis
  • Recital and supporting paper
  • Musical composition and supporting paper

A written Honors thesis should reflect original research and demonstrate analytical and research skills substantially beyond those required for a term paper. A paper submitted in support of a performance or a composition should be regarded as the equivalent of a term paper, with an analytical, historical, or interpretive focus related to the performance or composition. This paper should be of a quality sufficient to receive a grade of A or A- in a relevant upper-division music course in the department. Grading will be based on writing craft and style as well as content. Students should consult The Chicago Manual of Style, Writing about Music, Sources, and other reference works to ensure that their papers follow accepted style for punctuation, citation, bibliography, formatting, and use of music terminology.

Schedule for Honors Projects

Junior spring/Senior fall

Formulate a topic in consultation with your faculty advisor(s). If your project includes a recital or public colloquium, please ensure that you have a confirmed date in the Music Department calendar.

Senior fall

No later than October 14, submit an Honors proposal of 2-5 pages to the faculty. The proposal should outline the project, explain the topic or repertoire and the issues to be addressed, and include a preliminary bibliography. This proposal should identify the advisor(s) and second reader(s) of your written work, and indicate the date of the Honors recital or public colloquium presentation. In addition to the proposal, please submit one of the following:

• Students undertaking a thesis: two examples of written work that demonstrate your ability to write capably about music.

• Students undertaking a performance and supporting paper: an example of written work that demonstrates your ability to write capably about music, and a list of solo or chamber music performances in which you have been involved during your time at Dartmouth. Please indicate the number of terms in which you have been enrolled in college-level private music instruction.

• Students undertaking a composition: two compositions reflecting work completed during your time at Dartmouth. These works should demonstrate a significant level of craftsmanship and creativity.

The faculty will review honors proposals in late October and notify students whether they have been accepted into the Honors Program. Accepted students will be assigned an advisor, who in most cases will be the advisor named in the proposal.

Senior winter

Winter term will normally provide the principal working time for Honors projects, and students are expected to turn in drafts chapters of their thesis or supporting paper on a regular basis. No later than the end of winter term, all Honors candidates should meet with their advisors to review the status of work to date.

Senior spring

No later than April 1, Honors candidates must submit a completed first draft of their thesis, supporting paper, or musical composition. Failure to meet this deadline will disqualify the project from consideration for Honors. During April, students will finalize revisions to their work on the basis of comments from advisor(s) and other readers.

No later than May 1, Honors candidates must submit a revised draft of any written work, including musical compositions. Failure to meet this deadline will disqualify the project from consideration for Honors. During May, drafts of written work will be available for review by all Music Department faculty. Each project will be evaluated by at least two members of the faculty who were not involved in advising the project. Any faculty member may suggest or request modifications ranging from style editing to conceptual rethinking, and students will be expected to incorporate these modifications into the final draft of their work.

Honors candidates are expected to share the results of their work with faculty and colleagues in a public presentation.  Students who are primarily performers will typically fulfill this requirement by giving a recital. Composers and thesis authors should schedule a colloquium during April or May (two students may share a colloquium). Authors of written theses should present their project and answer questions about it; composers should present a live or recorded performance of their work (workshop versions of large-scale compositions are permissible) and be prepared to discuss it.

Honors recitals and colloquia must take place no later than May 25. Failure to meet this deadline will disqualify the project from consideration for Honors. Please keep in mind that May is heavily scheduled, and that your event should be arranged at a time that does not conflict with other recitals and colloquia, or with rehearsals and performances of Hopkins Center ensembles.

It is the responsibility of Honors candidates giving a recital as part of their project to ensure that their IIP instructor attends the recital and submits to the Music Department chair a written evaluation of the performance and preparation leading up to it. The evaluation form can be completed online or is available to download (pdf).