Departmental Honors

Lafayette encourages and recognizes superior academic work. Since 1926, students have had the special opportunity to explore a topic of interest to them and distinguish themselves by pursuing honors in a particular major or interdisciplinary program. An average of 63 students have graduated with honors each year over the last decade.

Students who do honors projects are guided by a faculty member with whom they begin conversations well before the senior year. In many cases, the student has previously worked with the faculty member on an EXCEL Scholars research project or completed an independent study. Once the thesis is written, the student defends it before a committee that includes his or her mentor, all or part of the departmental faculty members, and in some cases, a guest faculty member from another college.

To qualify for honors, students must have a cumulative average of 3.00 and an average of 3.20 in the honors department. As seniors, they take the fall and spring thesis courses. The transcripts of students who receive honors bear the legend “Honors in [department or program name] with Thesis.”

Why Pursue Honors?

Students cite many reasons for deciding to strive for honors, including:

  • preparation for graduate school
  • employ research skills on a topic of personal interest
  • techniques learned will be valuable for future plans
  • synthesize four years of knowledge
  • different learning experience than coursework
  • combine two or more academic interests
  • explore a topic in depth
  • an accomplishment that demonstrates high ability
  • an exciting challenge