Honors Guidelines and Expectations

OVERVIEW OF THE PROGRAM

The faculty in the Department of Film and Media Studies invites hard-working film and media studies majors, passionate about the field, to apply to our Honors Program. Whatever the research area—film studies, media studies, film production, or photography—students must be committed to the thorough process of exploring the still and moving image in its many forms. Completing a thesis requires a significant commitment of time and energy. It is incumbent upon the student to independently complete the work of the honors project. Your advisor and the rest of the faculty are here to serve as resources and guides.

HONORS REQUIREMENTS

To graduate with Honors in Film and/or Media Studies, students must:

  • Have a 3.5 GPA overall and in their Film or Media Studies major
  • Enroll in FILM 490: Honors Methods Seminar (4 credits with a set class time and screening) in Fall semester
  • Enroll in FILM 495: Honors Thesis (variable credit; no set class time) in Spring semester
  • Complete a research or production-based thesis, due in early April 2020
  • Fulfill any other requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences Honors program

Most thesis projects in Film and/or Media Studies have been research-based. We also offer a production-based thesis for advanced filmmaking or photography students. We do not accept screenplays as honors theses.

Because the Honors Program is a full year, students graduating in the fall semester are not eligible.

FILM AND MEDIA STUDIES THESIS “TRACKS”

A. Research-based film studies or media studies written thesis

Students completing honors in this track create a substantial body of original work of at least 60 pages that investigates a singular concept or theme in film and media studies. The project is expected to engage extensively with existing research on their topic and make an original contribution to the scholarly discussion. The thesis should conform to the highest standards of correctness in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and usage and must include proper citations in either MLA or CMS format.

B. Film production thesis – culminating in a finished visual project, with support paper (see below for expectations).

Students who pursue a film production thesis project must have completed at least FILM 107: Introduction to Digital Video, and preferably have also taken at least two other film production courses.

Requirements for the film production thesis:

  • An original idea or concept that the student proposes to explore in visual form. If the work is to be adapted from previously written material, the student must have a strong vision as to how they will make it their own.
  • A detailed production schedule submitted before the end of the Fall semester that breaks down how the film production will be executed.
  • A finished visual project of at least 5 but no more than 20 minutes, with a public screening.

C. Photography thesis, culminating in a photography project with support paper (see below for expectations).

Students who choose to pursue a photography thesis project must have completed FILM 106 and FILM 206 and must get approval from Prof. Francisco to pursue this track. He is the only faculty member who can serve as your advisor. He will also outline the requirements for a project in this track.

Support Paper Requirements

The required support paper accompanying the film production and photography tracks provides the committee with an integrated synthesis of and reflection on the creative process. Readings, activity on set or in the darkroom, discussions, and reflection should reveal the artist’s thoughts, processes, and outcomes. Additionally, the paper should comprehensively apply and integrate information attained from course work in the program’s curriculum (history, theory, criticism, mediamaking).

Support papers are required to be at least 20-30 pages in length and should conform to the highest standards of correctness in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and usage and must include proper citations in either MLA or CMS format.

HOW TO APPLY FOR HONORS

To apply for the Honors program, you will need to submit a detailed proposal for your honors project via email to the Honors Coordinator, Dr. Tanine Allison (tanine.allison@gmail.com). The proposal is due on April 1st. The proposals will be evaluated by a committee of faculty, and the committee will select a group of students who will be officially invited to complete the Honors Program. You will be notified about whether your proposal was accepted by April 15th. As you apply, please make sure you have left room in your class schedule for the required fall and spring courses.

As you prepare your proposal, we recommend meeting with a Film and Media Studies professor (someone you might ask to be on your committee later) and/or the Film and Media Studies librarian, Dr. James Steffen, to help you conceptualize your project.

Please provide the following, preferably in a single PDF document.

  1. A preliminary title for your proposed honors thesis project
  2. A multiple-paragraph description of the proposed project.
    1. Be sure to clarify whether this is a research-based written thesis or a production-based thesis. In your description, please explain why you chose this project, what you hope to learn from completing it, how your project will contribute to the field of film and media studies, and how it will be an extension of your coursework thus far.
  3. A list of 2-3 faculty that you might like to have on your honors thesis committee. Please note if you have already discussed your project any of with them (not required).
  4. A list of any coursework that you have done that you feel has prepared you to complete this project. Please explain their usefulness or influence on your thesis project. (Production or studies courses as appropriate for your project.)
  5. Please add a sample of your work.
    1. For those writing research-based theses, please submit a paper completed for a class that is at least five pages long and is a good example of your writing. Research-based writing preferred.
    2. For those completing production theses, please send a link to a piece of creative work that you have completed. If it was created with other people (such as a Campus Movie Fest submission), please detail your role in its production.

ACCEPTED HONORS STUDENTS: EXPECTATIONS/PROCEDURES

After you have been accepted into the Honors Program, you are expected to participate in the honors program throughout your senior year. This will require you to meet the deadlines set by the department and the Emory College Honors program.

In addition to fulfilling all of the requirements for the film or media studies major, you are required to maintain a 3.5 GPA throughout your senior year.

Specific deadlines for thesis submission will be given to you separately. Here is a rough idea of what your senior year will look like:

Summer before senior year

Over the summer, after project approval, the student should research and explore the topic broadly through readings, viewings, and/or production/photography work. The professor of record for the honors thesis class may ask you to prepare homework that will be due at the beginning of the Fall semester.

Fall of senior year

You are required to be enrolled in FILM 490: Honors Research Methods. This is where you will begin to work on the planning and execution of your thesis project.

Students should be having regular meetings with their advisor while working on their thesis in FILM 490.

Students are required to attend the mandatory Emory College honors meetings that are scheduled throughout the Fall, usually in October. The program will e-mail you directly.

Spring of senior year

You are required to enroll in the FILM 495: Honors Thesis class in the Spring semester. This is not an official “class” with meetings but a way for you to receive credit for the work you are doing on your thesis. Depending on your registration status, you can choose to enroll in this class for anywhere from 1-4 credits. If you are writing a traditional honors thesis, then you may choose to enroll in this class as 495WR. If you are pursuing a film production or photography thesis, then this will be a 495. See Clare Sterling for more information.

In January, students must submit a roster of their honors committee to the Emory College Honors program. In addition to their thesis advisor, the student must also secure a second reader from among the Film and Media Studies faculty and a third “outside” reader from another program or department. Thesis committee members are required to be full-time faculty members at Emory College. Adjunct professors may provide input on your thesis but cannot be official members of your committee or determine your level of honors.

Usually, the honors student receives comments from the thesis advisor as they progress throughout the project and waits until prior to their defense to submit the whole project to other committee members.

The Thesis Defense

Once the submission deadlines draw closer, you should check in with your committee members about a date and time that will be convenient for them for your defense. Defenses are usually 60 minutes long.

When you have settled on a date and time, you should contact Maureen Downs or Clare Sterling to schedule a room on campus.

When the final draft of your thesis is ready for distribution, you should ask your committee members in what form they would like it – paper or electronic – and then deliver it to them in accordance with their specifications at least a week in advance of your defense.

Generally, the thesis defense abides by the following schedule but this format is ultimately up to you and your thesis advisor.

  1. Once the group has gathered, the student is asked to leave the room briefly so that the committee members can discuss their general thoughts about the thesis and decide how they would like to go about asking the student questions about their work.
  2. The student returns to the room and makes a brief (5-10 minute) presentation about their project. This can include a visual presentation but this is not required.
  3. Each committee member takes turns asking the student questions about their project. This often leads to a general discussion amongst the committee members.
  4. The student is asked to leave the room so that the committee members can discuss the student’s ability to discuss/defend their project. They will then decide whether the student has earned honors and the level of honors given.
  5. The student is asked back into the room and informed of the decision made by the committee. More often than not, committee members will ask students to make revisions to their thesis before they submit the final version to the repository. They should submit these changes first to their advisor who will then give the final approval to upload the work to the repository.
  6. You should bring the committee approval form to the defense for your committee to sign. You will receive this form from the Emory College honors office.

Students who successfully complete the honors program will participate in the Emory College Honors ceremony, which is held the Sunday before commencement.

CONTACTS

Honors Coordinator: Dr. Tanine Allison, tanine.allison@emory.edu (contact first with questions)

Director of Undergraduate Studies: Dr. Michele Schreiber, mjschre@emory.edu

Film and Media Studies Librarian: Dr. James Steffen, jsteffe@emory.edu

Undergraduate Program Administrator: Clare Sterling, emily.clare.sterling@emory.edu