Arts and Sciences Honors Program
morrissey college of arts and sciences
The Arts and Sciences Honors Program, one of the oldest in the country, provides a select group of undergraduates with a grounding in the classics of Western thought through a rigorous curriculum. It is marked by small classes, discussion seminars and close interpersonal contact between students and instructors who also act as academic advisors.
The class of 2021 will be the last group of first-year students admitted to the Honors Program. For further information about this decision, please see this Fall 2017 letter to the Morrissey College community.
News and Events
Marie Pellissier, Advanced Independent
"When I was designing my senior thesis project, I wanted to think outside the box. A traditional Scholar of the College project in the history department is a very long paper which, no matter how well written, is limited to a very specific audience. I want to be a public historian, working in a museum or archive, and wanted to use my senior thesis project as an opportunity to explore ways of putting history on display. Knowing that the Internet is becoming more and more important to the academic world, and to the world of museums and public history, I decided to build a website and write a traditional paper.
My thesis, entitled More than A Kitchen-Aid: Women's Manuscript Cookbooks and Intellectual Culture in the Early Modern World, is a two-part exploration of manuscript cookbooks from the 17th and 18th century. In the paper, I argue that manuscript cookbooks were spaces in which women created and curated knowledge for themselves, drawing on networks of literate exchange to act as innovative and empirical thinkers. The companion website, entitled More Than A Kitchen-Aid: The Elizabeth Capell Cookbook, uses the Elizabeth Capell Cookbook manuscript from the Burns Library at Boston College as a case study of many of the themes from the paper. The website includes the digitized book, a transcription, and a variety of interpretive multimedia components, including a glossary, videos, and discussion of the provenance and history of the Capell manuscript."
The entire project can be found at https://mediakron.bc.edu/capellmanuscript
"Singularity". Tashrika Sharma '15 studies studio art and mathematics. Tashrika spent the summer of 2013 at the Harvard Graduate School of Design Career Discovery Program and will be in Austria on a Fulbright Research Fellowship in Vienna at Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien for the 2015-2016 academic year. The "Angewandte" is a European Center for STEM and art. Her thesis project is best described in her own words:
"My combined Research/ETA Fulbright grant allows me to continue my study of visual perceptions through knot theory and the study of knot theory through visual diagrams. A knot behaves like a closed string in space with some "knotted" region. Currently my thesis is about studying singularities in three-dimensional knot projections.
Imagine you are holding a quarter, and as you move the quarter around, there is a certain time when you are only looking at the boundary of the quarter. You are seeing the thickness of the quarter as a rectangle, but you are seeing none of the "roundness." You cannot use this perception of the quarter to identify that what you are looking at is indeed a quarter. When we are faced with this type of perception, we call this projection of the object onto our eyes as a singularity.
Our quarter's singularity is correlative to a singularity in a knot projection (what we see when we look at a three-dimensional knot in space)."
Honors recent graduates
Brian Stamm '13, Fulbright Year in Germany:
"My main project will hopefully be published sometime in the next year or two. We still need to do quite a bit of analysis on the data we've collected, and I'll be collaborating further with the lab even once I return to America. But for now, the title of our project could read something like: "A simultaneous EEG-fMRI study on neurofeedback training of the brain's attention networks." Our project uses EEG to measure the brain's electrical activity with high temporal resolution and functional MRI (fMRI) to provide a spatially accurate portrait of the brain. Neurofeedback is a form of operant conditioning in which a study participant can subconsciously learn to control his own brain's activity in specific isolated areas. The areas we have isolated are located in the frontal, temporal, and parietal lobes of the brain and are functionally relevant for attention. The goal is essentially to help a participant learn to become more attentive, and the applications could be relevant for disorders such as ADHD. This is one of several projects I have worked on since arriving in Germany, and the others, while smaller, will hopefully also be published in the near future."
Featured Great Book
The commedia of Dante Alighieri typically completes the first year Honors curriculum. As pilgrim in his own epic, Dante returns to an Ithaka of sorts. His Beatrice died in 1290 and his fictional self for 10 years to 1300 matched Odysseus's lengthy delay in returning home from Troy. The challenge of this text touches upon all of the key concerns of the hoped for outcomes of the Honors Program curriculum.
Arts and Culture
The Honors Program sponsors frequent outings to Boston-area arts events. Offers of free tickets are sent to students at their BC e-mail addresses. Students with ideas for such outings are invited to submit proposals to Professor Constas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recent Arts and Sciences Honors Program seniors and graduates
Victoria Mariconti, Poland
Cameron Givens, Germany
Tashrika Sharma, Austria
Alison Wawrzyniak, Germany English Teaching TA
Kim Crowley, France, TAPIF (sister program to Fulbright)
Kathryn Duerr, Germany English Teaching Assistantship
Sarah Gallagher, Germany ETA
Colleen Sinnott, Ecuador ETA
Sarah Slater, Brazil ETA
Brian Stamm, Germany, Research Fellowship
Kelsey Swift, Mexico, ETA
Kristen Canfield, Ryan Folio, Matthew Richey, Katherine Ruddy and Zachary Zimmerman
The majority of seniors in the Arts and Sciences Honors Program write senior theses, typically on topics in their majors.
Follow this link to O'Neill Library's repository and follow the simply instructions to make your thesis part of the Boston College archives.
Theses Archive in O'Neill Library
Use the Electronic Thesis Archive to sample senior thesis work and learn how to go about executing a thesis project.
View 2015 theses
Places for undergrads to publish their scholarly work
Agora - Journal for Undergraduate Scholarly Papers.
Al-Noor - The Boston College Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Journal.
Elements - The Undergraduate Research Journal of Boston College.
Lingua Frankly - Boston College Working Papers in Linguistics
Cocurricular and residential means to deepen honors participation
Polis is the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences Honors Program student group. Its mission is to facilitate the formation of an intellectual, social, and service-oriented community among MCAS Honors Program students and professors. It seeks to encourage dialogue between students, professors and professionals from the Boston community regarding current topics across a range of fields; support the academic pursuits of Honors Program Students and to recognize and publicize their advancements in their respective fields; facilitate interaction between the class years via mentor pairings and peer advising; organize community engagement and service activities with students from the Boston community; and act as a source of information and programming for the MCAS Honors Program.
Polis is pursuing Recognized Student Organization status during the 2015-16 academic year.
MCAS Honors Program students have the option of living in Honors House, one of many special interest housing options available to all undergraduates. Honors House provides the opportunity to live in an atmosphere that starts in the classroom and extends to the residence hall. Faculty lectures and cultural, academic and social programs are held in the Honors House residence halls and off-campus throughout the year. There are three Honors House residences: Medeiros (for first-year students); 66 Commonwealth Avenue (for sophomores) and Gabelli (for juniors). For more information visit http://www.bc.edu/offices/reslife/lifeinhalls/programs/specialinterest.html
The Last Lecture
Video from Front Row
Mary Joe Hughes, Professor of the Practice of the Humanities, offers this "last lecture" in which she discusses thoughts prompted by the recent death of her husband.
Please note: To view Adobe Acrobat® (PDF) formatted files you will need the free Adobe Acrobat file reader.