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The Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program

The mission of the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program is to enhance education throughout Yeshiva College by providing an exceptionally broad, deep, rigorous education for our most talented students.

To fulfill those aims, we emphasize research, intensive writing, and sophisticated thinking: critical, analytic, quantitative, scientific, interdisciplinary, and creative.

Students who take honors courses commit themselves to hard work, a challenging search for understanding, and intellectual excellence.

Students who pursue the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program will experience especially rewarding interactions with faculty members through honors courses, individual mentoring, advanced work, and senior honors theses.

Upon graduation, honors students should feel confident that they can fulfill their potential through advanced training, lifelong learning, and leadership within their various communities.

For questions or further information on the Schottenstein Honors Program:

Dr. Eliezer Schnall, Director
schnall@yu.edu

Benjamin Stein, Program Coordinator
benjamin.stein@yu.edu

Program Information

The Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program is an invaluable educational experience. Students engage with ideas, texts, and course material which come to constitute a lasting intellectual foundation and framework. Honors students may work in almost any field of their choosing or continue graduate research at the highest levels. While pursuing our curriculum they have special opportunities to benefit from many cultural activities in New York: important theater productions on Broadway and elsewhere, concerts at the most important musical venues, visits to the top art and historical museums of New York, and special lectures by visiting scholars and artists. They also have the opportunity to participate in special honors summer courses taking place overseas in which they move forward in their programs and general education while getting to know interesting places and cultures from all around the world.

In the first year of the program, honors students participate in specially designated sections of the Yeshiva College Core Curriculum and of the First Year Writing course (FYWH). In these courses, students develop intellectual sophistication through intensive writing, research, and analysis.

Besides the first year courses, students choose at least four additional honors electives, usually in areas of the Core Curriculum (including BIB, JHI, and HEB).

Most students who are part of the program are supported by generous merit scholarships. Those scholarships last for at least four years, as long as students are enrolled and remain in good standing in the program. Simultaneously, each student must maintain a comparable level of excellence in Judaic Studies.

The culmination of the honors program is a senior honors thesis, in which a student, over the course of several semesters, develops an independent research project and works directly with a faculty mentor. Honors theses explore a broad range of topics in the sciences, humanities, social sciences, Judaic studies and the arts, and in recent years, several have been devoted to creative writing and musical performance. It is not uncommon for students to present the fruits of their research at both academic conferences and in published form in respected scholarly journals.

The culmination of the honors program is a senior honors thesis, in which a student, over the course of several semesters, develops an independent research project and works directly with a faculty mentor. Honors theses explore a broad range of topics in the sciences, humanities, social sciences, Judaic studies and the arts, and in recent years, several have been devoted to creative writing and musical performance. It is not uncommon for students to present the fruits of their research at both academic conferences and in published form in respected scholarly journals.

Overall, students must spend at least three full years and complete at least 94 credits in residence.

Recommendations written for an honors student from administrators and faculty members are virtually guaranteed to be exceptionally strong, and the students' diplomas specifically confirm their graduation both from the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program and Yeshiva College..

Faculty Honors Committee

The Honors Committee ensures the day-to-day success and determines the long-term direction of the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program.

  • Sumanta Goswami, Science (Chair)
  • Graciela Bazet-Broitman, Humanities
  • Barbara Blatner, Humanities
  • Daniel Kimmel, Social Science
  • Jess Olson, Jewish Studies

Student Honors Council

This council serves as the main liaison between Honors Program students and the Program Director.

  • Raziel Siegman, President
  • Benjamin Gottesman, Vice President
  • Ari Englander, Vice President
  • Jonathan Crane

Fall 2021 Honors Program Courses

The curricular component of the Honors Program is distributed between the general education and the major: six required honors courses, typically in Core Curriculum areas, and the completion of a thesis, typically in the major field of study. Of the six required courses, two are completed in the students' first year of residence: a first-year-only, honors section of a Core Curriculum class in the fall term and Honors First-Year Writing (FYWH) in the spring. For the remaining four courses, students may choose from the variety of Honors sections of Core Curriculum courses, including HEB, JHI and BIB, offered every term. Students qualified to enroll in graduate-level courses may count these, too. 

Non-Honors students interested in taking an Honors course should complete the requisite Permission for Honors Course form and obtain the signature of the course instructor and approval of the director of the Honors Program. Forms should then be submitted to the Yeshiva College Dean's Office for the director's approval. Students will be informed by e-mail of the status of their request in a timely manner. NOTE: Successful completion of this process does not guarantee enrollment in a course that is already closed. 

Fall 2021 REGISTRATION GUIDELINES FOR HONORS STUDENTS

Upper classmen: Should enroll in at least ONE honors course that will go towards fulfilling the requisite 6 honors courses.

Graduate courses, such as those at Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies or through the physics/econ departments count as honors courses (Physics courses for the Fall are listed below)

● Students should not plan to take more than TWO honors courses per term.

Students intending to graduate in January 2022: Should already have registered for thesis proposal this semester and should submit their proposal by the end of the semester. Please speak to the director to arrange registration for thesis coursework credits for Fall 2021 (HON 4981H).

Students intending to graduate in June 2022: Should be planning to write their thesis and must enroll in the 1 credit thesis proposal course for the Fall (HON 4977H).

Students intending to graduate in January 2023: Should be looking for potential thesis topics and finding a thesis mentor.

 

Honors Courses (please double check for any timetable changes):

 

Architecture of the Synagogue

ART 1650H-361

T 6:45-9:30pm

Instructor: Paul Glassman

CUOT;WRIN

Learn about the forms, materials, and structures of synagogues, the centers of Jewish communal life and worship, from their beginnings in the ancient world to the present.  We'll explore regional influences, links between liturgy and built form, and how the architectural choices made reveal the challenges and aspirations of Jewish communities at different times and in different places.  Whenever possible, we shall compare synagogues in appropriate respects to buildings of other traditions, as well as to secular buildings.  Frequent site visits to synagogues in New York will allow us to examine materials and forms first-hand.

 

EARLY JEWISH BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION

BIB 1200H-331

TR 3-4:15

Instructor: Moshe Bernstein

WRIN

This course is designated as Writing-Intensive, and fulfills the YC W-I requirement.    One of its emphases, therefore, will be the opportunity to develop your academic writing skills through written and re-written assignments of different sorts.

Course content:

A survey of the development of Jewish biblical interpretation from its earliest representation in the late books of the Bible through its varied manifestations during the Second Temple and rabbinic periods.  The course will introduce the major works as well as the significant methods and forms of interpretation originating in this period. 

Among the topics which may be discussed are: interpretation: the theoretical framework; biblical interpretation in the Bible; biblical text vs. biblical interpretation; Erez Yisrael vs. Diaspora biblical interpretation; rabbinic and non-rabbinic legal exegesis; biblical interpretation in the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha; biblical interpretation in the Dead Sea Scrolls; Josephus and Philo as biblical interpreters; commentary before the development of the commentary form; comparative issues in ancient and medieval biblical interpretation.

 

Stranger Things: The Art of the Unreal

ENG 1034H-241

MW 4:30-5:45

Instructor: David Lavinsky

INTC

In this interdisciplinary honors class, we will study how literature and other media construct fictional worlds, claimed actualities very different from those we collectively perceive and experience.   At least initially, then, the issues we confront will be epistemological in nature—that is, they will concern how art challenges or otherwise defines the limits of what we can know and understand; and yet we will also try to push beyond familiar theoretical frameworks (e.g., Plato, Freud) by examining modern philosophical accounts of literary aesthetics.  This work will guide us through a broad range of textual forms and discourses, from classical epic to contemporary film and television, all variously marked by the ramifying proximity of the alien and the familiar, by moments of estrangement and epistemic disruption.  To reference the shadowy parallel dimension from the popular television miniseries “Stranger Things,” episodes of which we will view, think of the course as a class trip to the Upside Down and its analogous settings, as afforded by engagements with classical poetry; medieval romance; Arthurian legend; fantasy literature; mystical and visionary writing; magical realism; abstract expressionism; and, by the end of the term, science fiction.  We will supplement this diverse assemblage of material with critical and theoretical readings intended for a broad student audience.  Requirements will include regular responses to an on-line discussion forum, short response papers, at least one critical essay, and a final paper/collaborative multimedia project, together with excursions to relevant NYC museums, archives, or historical sites.

 

The Roman Emperor in Theory and Practice

HIS 2831H

MW 3-4:15

Instructor: William Stenhouse

CUOT

“Cultures Over Time” (CUOT) courses allow students to explore the distinctiveness of the past and how it relates to the present through an investigation of values, traditions, modes of thinking, and modes of behavior of one or more cultures, beginning before 1900.This HIS course does that by examining various ways of understanding the figure of the ancient Roman emperor, by focusing on the first emperor Augustus and one of his successors, Nero. We will consider a range of textual and visual sources for the emperor, including poems, historical accounts, ruins, and coins, and place the emergence of the emperors within Rome’s political, religious, and cultural traditions. Assessment will be by tests and a range of short papers.

 

Maimonidies & his Enemies

JTP 1362H

TR 4:30-5:45

Instructor: Rabbi Dov Lerner

Perhaps the greatest Jewish mind of the medieval period, Maimonides fought on many fronts. He fought for both his life and his conception of the good and the right--leaving an inimitable literary legacy in his monumental works of codification, philosophy, and exegesis. We will explore the encounter of his ideas with the thought of those who most fought against them--both in his time and beyond.

 

Thought of R. Soloveitchik

JTP 1430H  

MW 3-4:15

Instructor: Shalom Carmy

Study of R. Soloveitchik's works, especially those readers are daunted from tackling on their own. These will be read against their background in history of Talmudic study, philosophy of science and philosophy of religion.

Emphasis on Halakhic Man, And You Shall seek from There (=ובקשתם משם), Halakhic Mind,  Lonely Man of FaithEmergence of Ethical Man, מה דודך מדוד. Several short papers on other writings. Depending on interest, discussion of the Rav's contributions to the development of the Brisker approach.

 

Sem: Kant's Moral Philosophy

PHI 4931H

TR 4:30-5:45

Instructor: Itamar Rosensweig

This seminar is an in-depth study of Kant's moral philosophy. We'll cover Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Moral as well as his Doctrine of Right. Kant is arguably the most important moral philosopher in the Western tradition. We'll study Kant's categorical imperative, his conception of good will; duty; moral worth; respect for the moral law; autonomy; and the different formulations of the categorical imperative--the formula of the universal law of nature; the formula of humanity; the formula of autonomy; and the kingdom of ends. We'll also cover aspects of Kant's political philosophy in the Doctrine of Right.

 

Populism: A Global Perspective

POL 2298H-341

TR 4:30-5:45

Instructor: Dinolis Panzarelli

COWC

This course explores the political genesis and impact of populism as a global phenomenon. The rise of authoritarian populism in different countries challenges the classic ideas and regions where populism was traditionally studied. In this class, we will cover a wide range of cases from Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela to the so-called populism of Vladimir Putin’s Russia and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey. Why so many countries have witnessed a rise in populism in recent years? What is populism? Is populism the ‘mirror of democracy’? Can Western liberal democracies survive the 'populist threat'? Using historical and contemporary cases we will try to address these issues using the most up to date authors like Carlos de la Torre, Francisco Panizza, John Judis, among others. The class will explore populism from a comparative political perspective. In the last session of the class experts on populism from different countries (Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Turkey, Russia and Hungary) will join us in order to compare different cases using contemporary examples.

 

Human Communication

PSY 1107H-331, CRN 14347

TR 3-4:15

Instructor: Bruno Galantucci

HBSI

This course familiarizes students with a set of diverse scientific perspectives on human communication. These perspectives cover psychological and social aspects of human communication, providing opportunities for students to acquire a critical appreciation of this multifaceted phenomenon.

The course covers a number of key topics such as (a) introductory notions about spoken language, signed language, and non-verbal communication; (b) referential communication; (c) the process of grounding; (d) egocentrism and miscommunication; (e) language as a social action. Considering the deep ramifications communication has for the human experience, this course provides valuable insights for students from a wide range of disciplines.

 Link to a brief video describing the course: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Z9MkinDsaY

 

FTOC: First year students must register for one of the following seminars:

 

France and its Others

ENG 1009H

F 10-12:30

Instructor: Rachel Mesch

CUOT

While the notion of a cultural “melting pot” is central to American society, French society has been structured around a distinctly French notion of universalism: the idea that there are core universal values that must supersede those of any minority subculture. Thus, although Americans regularly embrace multiple identifications--as African-Americans, or Jewish Americans, for example--in France that double alliance is largely experienced as a tension.

This class traces the roots of that tension by examining ways that otherness has inspired and troubled the French imagination through literary, historical and philosophical readings by major French writers from the 1500s to the present day. From Montaigne’s cannibals to the noble savages of Enlightenment texts, from Zola’s “J’accuse!” to the story of Babar, from the female other to the other as Jew to the other as Jewish female, we will explore the myriad ways through which France’s imagined others serve as manifestations of a cultural fascination with and anxiety about difference in its many forms. As we analyze the various intellectual conflicts that have arisen from the quest to understand what is deemed different, foreign, exotic or strange, we will also trace a struggle to define and circumscribe notions of French identity, selfhood and authority. Finally, at the semester’s end, we will use what we have synthesized from these thinkers to consider contemporary debates in French society about the place of religious and ethnic difference in the public sphere.

 

Aesthetic Revolutions

MUS 1018H

F 10-12:30

Instructor: Daniel Beliavsky

INTC

This exploratory course covers the pre-modern period of European history punctuated by Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique (1830), Wagner's opera Tristan und Isolde (1859), and Stravinsky’s ballet The Rite of Spring (1913). An era of significant revolutions in society, and thus in music and the arts, it is a period that forged modernism. By exploring this era’s remarkable music, philosophy, and art, students develop critical appreciation and reasoning skills. Students also learn how this era’s major interrelated disciplines built the foundations for 20th century artistic thought and practice, an area of study they may pursue further in Music and the World Wars, a course offered by the music department.

While addressing parallel developments in the sister arts (theater, ballet, literature, poetry, visual art, etc.), this course primarily concerns music in which tonal procedures, as practiced during much of the Common Practice Period in Western Europe, undergo great changes, both in terms of expansion and collapse. By the end of the course, students come to understand this era’s aesthetic revolutions and their significance to modernism.

Course methodology incorporates studies of the musicological-societal forces that shape this era with relevant analysis drawn from writings on music and cultural philosophy by Schopenhauer, Wagner, Nietzsche, Jankelevitch, Babbitt, Dahlhaus, McClary, and others. Class discussion will draw on readings on modernist rhetoric, video essays, and video/audio performances of music, including opera and ballet.

 

Ancient Egyptian Literature

NES 1020H

F 10-12:30

Instructor: Aaron Koller

INTC

We will be surveying 2000 years of literature from ancient Egypt, centering around three major interrelated questions: how much a traditional society can change, and in what ways, over the course of such a long time, the role of literature in negotiating change in a traditional society, and the relationship between an individual and the greater society within a hierarchical and highly structured society. 

Our study will consist mostly of closely reading the texts – stories, poems, instructions, magical spells, royal inscriptions, and other texts – with the historical and social contexts in mind. We will be introduced to some of the ways in which modern literary criticism can illuminate literature from so long ago, and also encounter the world of ancient Egypt through class trips to the Brooklyn Museum and/or the Metropolitan Museum, both of which have world-class Egyptian departments.

 

Requirements

Students Admitted to the Program

To remain in good standing, students must:

  • Take 6 Honors Courses, typically 1 per semester
  • Maintain GPA 3.5 or Higher
  • Complete Honors Thesis
  • Complete at least 94 on-campus credits

Current Yeshiva College Students Applying for Admissions

Students currently attending Yeshiva College who wish to apply to enter the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program must fill out an application form.

Criteria for admission:

  • A 3.7 GPA while at the college
  • Competent writing: the grade of A or A- in two courses in Composition or Literature
  • At least two strong recommendations from your college instructors.
  • In addition, it is advantageous to have achieved at least a 1400 on the SATs or a 32 on the ACTs.
  • Interest in completing the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program

Criteria for All Types of Honors Courses

As one goal of virtually all honors courses, regardless of field, the Honors Committee welcomes especially articulate communication and self-expression in person and in writing. In addition, to receive approval from the Committee, you must design your Honors Course to meet some of the following criteria:

  • Sophisticated, challenging thinking: critical, analytic, quantitative, scientific, interdisciplinary, and/or creative. 
  • Active employment of current discourse, methods, techniques, and theories in the relevant field or fields of inquiry. 
  • Critical investigation of primary as well as secondary sources. 
  • Independent learning with opportunities to exercise intellectual initiative. 
  • Pursuit of one or more research projects. 
  • Experiences that take advantage of the rich cultural, intellectual, institutional, and environmental resources of the New York area. 
  • Synthesis of discourse, knowledge, methods, theories and/or modes of thinking from two or more disciplines. 
  • Intensive writing and revision which facilitate growth as a thinker and as a writer, with publishable writing as an ultimate goal. 
  • Substantive participation by students in relevant professional activities such as a conference. 

The Senior Honors Thesis is the capstone project at the end of every Honors scholar’s Yeshiva College career. It is an opportunity to find mentorship from a favorite professor, investigate a pet interest with one-to-one guidance, and improve upon an academic resume. Thesis students will push their writing and analytical skills to their limits as they explore a question that matters to them in a meaningful, satisfying, and hopefully exciting way.  

A well-written and original thesis of high quality may substantially improve your chances for admission to the top graduate and professional programs around the country and abroad. Students who have completed theses have been successful in winning high academic honors: 50% of the valedictorians of Yeshiva College are graduates of the program, and honors students have garnered a disproportionate number of the graduation awards each year. They also have become very competitive in applying for the most prestigious fellowships: the winners of Rhodes, Goldwater, NSF Graduate Fellowships, and most of Wexner Fellowships have all been graduates of the program. These have been published as scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals, chapters of books, or even books in their own right in the humanities and/or Jewish Studies.

The process of writing a thesis involves the following steps (described below)

The Thesis Writing Process
Steps Timeframe
Finding a Mentor Spring semester 3rd year
Drafting the Proposal Summer after your third year
Submitting the Proposal September 4th year
From Proposal to Thesis October-April 4th year
Thesis Submission May 4th year

This calendar is tentative and the specific circumstances of a student (field of research, post graduate plans), etc might require to move forward or backwards those deadlines, so please read the document carefully. 

For more information, please contact the Honors Program at ychonors@yu.edu.

Finding a Mentor: Academic Matchmaking

Writing a thesis should grow organically out of your regular academic program.  Specifically, while you are taking classes or working in a lab, keep mental notes about ideas you would want to explore further or people whose work interests you.   As you think, consider who might mentor you through the process. To find a mentor, you can:

  1. Choose your mentor first, and find out what he or she is working on. Ask the potential mentor if you can join his or her research team by contributing to one aspect of his or her project. Working with the mentor, you can find a topic for your project that fits within the mentor’s research.
  2. Choose a topic, and then find a mentor willing to work with you. Consider the topics that interest you and will help you further your intellectual, academic, and career goals. Then find a professor who has both the expertise and the inclination to help you conduct the research that interests you.

It is quite acceptable to tell a professor that you are interested in doing research in his/her field of expertise, but that you do not have a specific project in mind. This will give him/her the opportunity to suggest several research possibilities for you to consider. You can begin researching who might be a suitable mentor here, via our faculty webpages.

The Honors Program can help you with ideas for professors whose interests match yours. If no appropriate professor is on the YC faculty, the Honors Program can help you find a professor at another college.

Drafting the Proposal: Getting Your Feet Wet

In its written form, the honors thesis proposal is the crucial first step for every student who aspires to complete this final requirement of the honors program. It sets forth in a concrete way the student’s commitment to write a thesis, the topic to be studied, and the faculty member who will serve as mentor. There is no “one form fits all” in the case of the honors thesis proposal nor is there a set length. However, every thesis proposal must have the following several elements:

  • Cover Sheet. This sheet should be filled out and signed by both the student and the mentor. The faculty mentor must indicate his/her approval of the proposal. You can find that document here.
  • A Working Title. While the title may be modified as time moves on, in its initial form, it should clearly indicate the topic and scope of the thesis.
  • The Thesis Statement. The thesis statement should discuss what it is the student wishes to accomplish in the thesis and/or the question(s) he wishes to answer. Depth of discussion is not the objective here, i.e. the proposal should, in summary fashion, go over previous scholarship, provide a sense of the methodology to be pursued, e.g. a thesis in the social sciences might employ a questionnaire if statistical analysis is the goal, and clarify how the thesis will contribute to the current state of research in any field of academic/intellectual endeavor.
  • Bibliography. Finally, the proposal should have a bibliography of primary and secondary sources appended which indicates that the student has investigated published books and articles relevant to the thesis topic. This bibliography should follow the citation format of the particular academic field of the thesis and thesis writers should familiarize themselves with such prior to submitting their proposal.

Submitting the Proposal and Other Paperwork: Conscientiousness Rewarded

Once your proposal is finished you will need to submit it to the Honors Program, along with any other relevant paperwork. Upon submission of the proposal, you will need the following paperwork:

  • Paperwork signup sheet
  • Finished proposal with expected bibliography

Once your proposal has been reviewed and accepted, the Honors director will sign you up for the remaining thesis courses. While HON 4978H must be worth 1 credit, you may choose how many HON 4980H is worth. You will usually take HON 4980H in your penultimate semester and 4981H in your final semester. These two courses should add up to a total of 4 credits. You may decide on the credit value for each class once your proposal is accepted.

This means that if you sign up HON 4980H for 2 credits in your penultimate semester, you will sign up HON 4981H for 2 credits in the final semester. If, on the other hand, you sign up HON 4980H for 1 credit in the penultimate semester, you will need to sign up HON 4981H for 3 credits in the final semester. Note that in some cases, it is possible to assign all 4 credits to HON 4981H in the final semester.

From Proposal to Thesis: Writing the Thesis

During the thesis writing process, you should meet regularly with your mentor. While there is no formal requirement, in general, a schedule of more regular meetings leads to steadier progress on the thesis. The mentor should also help you to determine deadlines for individual pieces of the project.

As part of the thesis writing process, you will also participate in a series of seminars with your fellow thesis writers and a professor who will help you with some of the general aspects of thesis writing. Topics for these seminar sessions include time management, organization, introduction and conclusion writing, research documentation, revision and editing, and oral presentation skills.

Please note while you write what past graders have said about the thesis. When asked about the qualities of a successful thesis, they answered that a thesis should be an original, compelling, sustained argument, written effectively, lucidly, correctly and interestingly.

Thesis Submission: The Home Stretch

Theses must begin with a cover page and follow formatting guidelines available here. A signed publication consent form must accompany your submission. 

Once we receive your thesis, the evaluation process starts. Your thesis will have two different readers, each one of which will submit a review, and a grade for the work. One of them will be your thesis mentor, while the other will be designated by the program in consultation with you and your mentor. They might suggest some minor modifications. The final grade will be assigned by the program and it is arrived at by averaging the grades submitted by the readers. In the very unusual case of a discrepancy between the grades proposed by the two readers by more than a full letter grade, the program might request the opinion of a third reader.

There is a graduation dinner/luncheon to celebrate the achievement of the graduating honors students. It takes place at the end of the year usually the day before commencement so that parents and family members can attend, and students have the opportunity to give a short presentation of the highlights of their research.

The final version of the thesis is bound and kept in the honors library and also is stored electronically in the Yeshiva University Library. Since the electronic version is accessible from outside the University, students have to give a consent for this publication.

See past theses in the Honors Library, and the YU Library, and follow the link to see last year’s Honors Dinner Program with titles of all the theses.

Important FAQs

  • Does the thesis have to on a topic related to my major?
    For many students, the answer is yes. But, it is not unusual for a student to choose a topic from an academic field in which he is minoring, or one connected to some other interest of his, for example Jewish studies.
  • May I choose a mentor who is not a member of the YU faculty?
    Although most students find a mentor within the YU community, over the years some have chosen to work with someone from, for example, Columbia, NYU, Bar- Ilan University, and the University of Pittsburgh. You will need to identify who your external mentor is and get approval from the honors program before beginning your thesis research and writing. The honors program will be in regular contact with the external mentor to make sure that the process goes smoothly and that we share the same expectations from the thesis. And, in many cases, it will designate an internal mentor as a liaison between the external mentor and the program.
  • May a collection of short stories, a novella, a portfolio of artwork, or the making of a film, for example, fulfill the requirements for completion of an honors thesis?
    Several recent thesis writers have submitted works of fiction, a photographic essay, or musical piece as part of the thesis, always under the mentorship of a faculty member, and as part of an academic project. We encourage these types of submissions, and can help explain the specific requirements.
  • May I begin my thesis work before the beginning of my fourth year on campus?
    By all means, we strongly encourage it. At the beginning of your third year on campus, you should start to think about possible topics and mentors.
  • By when must a thesis be submitted?
    Students should submit the thesis during the last week of classes, prior to reading week, in the semester in which they plan to graduate.
  • May I finish writing the thesis during the summer?
    If you are in no hurry to get your diploma in May, then you may continue your writing over the summer. If you wish to receive a September diploma, then your thesis should be completed and submitted by mid-August.

Join the Honors Program for our summer program, which includes two courses with a New York component followed by an opportunity to see a new part of the world.

Information on this summer's program to come soon. In the meantime, visit the Honors Blog for student posts from the 2015 trip to Italy, and the 2014 trip to St Petersburg, and see below for more details about last summer's courses. Prof. Gabriel Cwilich’s powerpoint presentation featuring photos from past trips can be viewed online.

Summer 2016 in Mexico

Hear a recording of the instructors presenting about their courses and the program in Mexico (recording hosted on Dropbox).

Mexico Poster  

WHEN & WHERE: Classes meet in NY from May 31 – June 17 before traveling to Mexico June 19 - July 1.
WHO: Courses were open to all YC, Stern, and Syms students, both Honors and non-Honors.

JHI 1485H Promised Lands: The Jewish Presence in Latin America
Dr Ronnie Perelis
This course explores Jewish immigration, settlement, cultural production and religious life from the earliest instances of European conquest and colonization of the Americas until the present day. The Americas are not just a geographic space, but they also function as a dreamscape –paradise, savage frontier, land of refuge, or an El Dorado.  The investigation into the colonial period will focus more heavily on aspects of Sephardic history such as crypto-Judaism, Inquisitorial persecution and the expansion of the western Sephardim to the New World.  As the course moves into the modern period, more emphasis will be placed on the experience of Eastern European Jewish immigrants and their descendants. Secondary sources will provide the wider historical context for the wide range of primary texts that will be at the center of the class discussion. We will give special attention to the rich history of Jews in Colonial Mexico as well as to the vibrant culture and society created by Mexican Jews in the 20th and 21st centuries. The texts we study will come alive on the streets and plazas of Mexico city as well as encounters with the Jewish community of the D.F. during the travel component of the course.  

Open to men and women

SPA 1101H  Elementary Spanish 1 
Dr. Graciela Broitman
This is the first session of a two-session elementary course designed to provide a solid foundation in Spanish in the four language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing, along with cultural awareness. In accordance with ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines, the primary objective of both sequences is to help the students to acquire and develop the necessary skills to communicate proficiently in Spanish and to function effectively within Spanish-speaking cultures in real-life situations.  The methodology used in the course will be primarily communicative, that is, actually using what we learn and presenting material in authentic contexts.  Elementary I will be a very intensive course that will cover the contents of a complete regular semester in twelve classes. The course will include some extracurricular activity in the city of New York.  

Open only to men

NOTE:  Students (both men and women) whose level of proficiency goes beyond Elementary Spanish and are interested in participating in the Summer Program should contact us to discuss alternative possibilities to this course.
 

Summer 2015 in Italy

Rome Pic

WHEN & WHERE: Classes met in NY from May 27 – June 12 before traveling to Italy June 14-28 to visit Rome, Naples, Pompeii, Herculaneum and many more sites.
WHO: Courses were open to all YC, Stern, and Syms students, both Honors and non-Honors.

JHI 1200H Classical Jewish History: The Jews from Rome
Dr. Joseph Angel and Dr. Steven Fine
Classical Jewish History covered generally the story of the Jews from the beginning of the Second Temple period until the end of the Talmudic period. This specific version of Classical Jewish history focused on the Jewish relationship with Rome, from Hasmonean times until the Middle Ages. In-depth study of the Jews under Rome took place in the city of Rome itself, which served as the laboratory for this exploration. Field trips were planned for the Roman cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Ostia.

CUOT 1020H Classicism: From Antiquity to the Age of Revolt
Dr. Marnin Young
Classicism was arguably the dominant artistic culture of Europe prior to the 20th century. This course tracked the history of the idea and practice of Classicism in the visual arts from the Roman emulation of Greek sculpture through its “rebirth” in the Renaissance and Neo-Classicism during the Enlightenment to its fossilization in the Academic reactions to the revolutionary upheavals of modernity. Following a three-week examination of the textual and artistic range of the Classical tradition, including visits to New York museums, the course will move to Rome, where it will undertake an intensive examination of the material residue of Classicism.

The introductory presentations by Dr. Marnin Young and Dr. Steven Fine are available online.  

Summer 2014 in St Petersburg

St Pete Pic

Courses

INTC 1015H  Literary Petersburg: The Mind in the City, In a City of the Mind  
Instructor: Dr Val Vinokur

NAWO 1005H Saint Petersburg in Science and Technology: From ATOM to KOCMOC
Instructors: Dr Fredy Zypman, Dr Gabriel Cwilich

If you have any additional questions about past summers or this upcoming one, please contact us at ychonors@yu.edu.  Stay tuned for information on how to apply.

All forms below are PDFs.

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