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Skidmore College
Art History

Honors Requirements

In addition to meeting the college grade-point average for the major, students wishing to qualify for honors must successfully complete an independent project that the art history faculty judge to be outstanding. The project, nominated by a member of the art history faculty, must be developed through at least one 3-credit iteration of AH 371, AH 372, or AH 399 A-D. Those credits may not count toward the requirements for the major. Examples of types of projects that could qualify include research papers, virtual or actual exhibitions, the design of educational programs, and more.

See Art History


Skidmore College criteria for Departmental Honors, from the Catalog

Departmental Honors will be awarded to any student who graduates from Skidmore after no fewer than three semesters and who meets the following conditions: unless otherwise specified by the department or program, a GPA of 3.500 or higher for all work in the major; the completion of any other academic criteria established by the department and described in the Catalog; a GPA of 3.000 or higher based on all work taken at Skidmore; a favorable recommendation by the department; and approval by the faculty upon recommendation by the Committee on Academic Standing.

Double majors must meet the above criteria for each of the majors. (The student may earn Departmental Honors in one, both, or neither major.)  These criteria also apply to interdepartmental and to self-determined majors. The 3.500 or higher GPA applies to the interdepartmental course work considered as a whole.

Departmental specifications for Honors in Art History

Criteria. Honors projects require rigorous, independent work over the course of one or two semesters. Most are undertaken during the senior year, during one or both semesters. Some begin earlier (for example, in a seminar [AH375] or other 300-level course) and then continue as independent work during the senior year.

A student wishing to qualify for Honors in Art History must successfully complete an independent project that is nominated by the project supervisor and judged by the Art History faculty to be outstanding. To be considered outstanding, projects must demonstrate (1) initiative, (2) focus, and (3) sustained commitment. Additionally, the Art History faculty must be able to examine substantive materials related to the project; this must include at least some written documentation and/or analysis.

Undertaking a prospective Honors project does not guarantee future nomination for Honors.

Format. Examples of types of projects that could qualify for Honors include research papers, virtual or actual exhibitions, the design of educational programs, and more. Examples of projects completed by recent graduates are available at  

Courses. Prospective Honors projects must be undertaken in at least one 300-level independent study (AH371, AH372) or internship (AH399) in Art History that carries at least three credits. This course may not count as one of the 12 required Art History courses taken to complete the major. Note that AH371 is a pre-requisite for AH372.

The project supervisor, in consultation with the student, is responsible for determining the appropriate courses and number of credits. Some projects may necessitate more than three credits. An internship (AH399) may require supplementary work done through an independent study (AH371, AH372).

Honors in Art History may be granted only to Art History majors. A project undertaken in a regular (non-independent) course in Art History or any other department/program may not be submitted for Honors in Art History, unless substantive additional work has been done through a least three credits of independent work in AH371, AH372, or AH399.

Supervision. A member of the Art History faculty must serve as supervisor and instructor of record for an Honors project, and is expected to play a substantive role in supporting the student’s progress.

Students interested in pursuing Honors projects are strongly encouraged to begin conversations with potential supervisors during the spring of junior year. Students studying abroad should initiate this conversation via email.  

The supervisor, in consultation with the student, may request another faculty member from any department or program to assist in developing the project or to serve as a second reader when the project is near completion. In addition, the student is encouraged to consult informally with any faculty or staff whose expertise is relevant to the project.

In all cases, the student and supervisor are expected to work together to establish clearly defined goals and expectations, evaluation criteria, a project schedule, and a means of maintaining regular communication. The student and supervisor should outline these parameters in writing, review them periodically, and adjust them if needed as the project develops. At the same time, students are expected to demonstrate a level of initiative, responsibility, and independence that may exceed what they are accustomed to in regular courses.
Projects are considered for Honors according to the following procedures.

  1. Preliminary approval.  To determine whether a project might qualify for Honors, the student is required to submit a proposal that briefly describes the nature and format of the project. Proposals must be submitted online, via the link provided below, by February 28th of the senior year (for May graduates) or October 10th of the senior year (for January graduates).

    The Art History faculty will evaluate proposals for potential appropriateness for nomination for Honors.  Sample proposals are available via the link provided below.

    The department Chair will notify the student of the faculty’s determination within two weeks. Approval of a preliminary proposal does not guarantee future nomination for Honors.

    If a proposal is not approved, the student may re-submit it within two weeks of receiving the Chair’s notification. Proposals may not be re-submitted more than once.

  2. Nomination.  The Art History supervisor is solely responsible for deciding whether to nominate a project for Honors. Nominations are due during the first week of May (for May graduates) or the first week of December (for January graduates). Exact deadlines are announced at the start of each semester by the department Chair.

    To nominate a project, the supervisor will email a nomination statement and the finalized project to the Art History faculty.  

    For a project to be eligible for nomination for the Whitman Family Prize in Art History or for an all-College prize such as the Palamountain Award, the Periclean Scholar Award, or a prize in another major, the student will likely need to have it in completed or almost final form by about April 1.

  3. Evaluation.  The Art History faculty will evaluate projects in terms of (1) initiative, (2) focus, and (3) sustained commitment. If a faculty member from outside the department has assisted in developing the project or has served as a second reader, the Art History supervisor may choose to solicit a statement from them.

    The student will be informed of the evaluators’ decision by the department Chair after their GPA and academic integrity record have been reviewed by the Committee on Academic Standing. If a project is not approved for Honors by the Art History faculty, the supervisor will provide the student with a summary of the faculty’s rationale.

    The supervisor is responsible for grading the project. Such grading is entirely separate from Honors evaluation. The supervisor is responsible for setting a deadline for final submission of the project for a course grade; this may be after the Honors nomination deadline.


Sample Honors Proposals

For current honors information, please see the College Catalog.