During Fall of the junior year, prospective Honors participants should consult with one or more faculty members. Many thesis projects emerge from research begun while studying abroad, so these consultations are sometimes general in nature. Other students outline a clear research interest before going abroad, allowing them to craft a research proposal and/or complete an initial literature review before conducting fieldwork in Latin America.
Since thesis writers must eventually assemble a three-member faculty committee (at least two of whom must be LAS faculty), it is a good idea to consult with more than one professor early on. At this stage, students must identify a likely thesis advisor, but it is best to wait until the project has developed further before asking a professor to officially sign on, as most projects undergo major changes prior to completion of the research proposal.
Juniors must indicate their interest in pursuing an LAS Honors project by filing an “Intent to Pursue an Honors Project” by April 15, with the LAS Director.
We also recommend that students prepare for the Honors Program in the form of earlier independent studies or research projects, research designs, reviews of the literature in advanced courses, or data collection during study abroad in Latin America. Macalester College defines an Honors Project as a year-long independent research project. Thus, students should expect to work on their project during the summer months between the junior and senior year. This includes, but is not limited to reading broadly on the topic, improving methodological skills, staying in contact with the thesis advisor and Honors Coordinator, and preparing a final draft of the research proposal.