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Honors Program

The Honors Program in Cinema and Media Arts offers excelling students the opportunity to undertake a high-level independent research and/or creative project during their senior year. Projects must be rigorous and demonstrate a student’s ability to sustain an argument, an aesthetic principle, or a narrative arc in a substantial form. For admission to the Honors Program, students must have and maintain until graduation a cumulative grade point average of 3.3 and a grade point average of 3.5 in courses counting toward the major. The student must submit an application to the program director outlining the thesis topic. In addition to completing the major requirements listed above, during the senior year the student is required to register for Cinema and Media Arts 4998 (3 credit hours) and 4999 (3 credit hours) in order to complete the thesis. An oral examination on the thesis and its area is to be completed during the final semester of undergraduate study.

 For admission to the CMA Honors Program, students must have and maintain an overall grade point average of at least 3.3 and an average of at least 3.5 in courses counting toward the CMA major. Students must also submit an application to the program director outlining the proposed thesis topic by August 24th. Send application to Prof. Jennifer Fay, Director of CMA: jennifer.m.fay@vanderbilt.edu

 The proposal must include:

  1. A 300-word explanation of the critical, aesthetic, or theoretical ideas the student plans to pursue. It should also explain and justify the form of the work as befitting an honors project, one that goes above and beyond coursework and reflects a two-semester, six-credit engagement with material.
  2. A bibliography and filmography of at least ten works that will inform the research for the project;
  3. The name of a CMA (or CMA-affiliated) faculty member who has agreed to serve as the honors thesis advisor and who, if contacted, can attest to the student’s work ethic and ability to carry out independent projects.

 Once accepted into the program, students must satisfy the following requirements:

  • CMA 4998: Honors Thesis (3 credit hours) in the fall semester. This is an independent study with the thesis advisor in research and creative methods related to the project.
  • CMA 4999: Honors Thesis (3 credit hours) in spring semester. Students will produce the final project working in consultation with the thesis advisor and committee.
  • Oral defense. In the last week of classes, honors students will defend the thesis project to a committee comprised of the CMA program director, the faculty advisor, and at least one other faculty member (for a total of three faculty members).