Honors Program in Music, Theatre and Dance

music mask

The purpose of the Departmental Honors Program in music, theatre and dance is to encourage and assist qualified students to engage in independent research, scholarship, field work and/or performance, which is not normally a part of the academic program of studies and which will develop a dimension of the student's education not normally addressed by those studies. Completion of the honors program will be noted on the student's permanent academic record. 

Program Details


The Departmental Honors Committee shall consist of at least three members of the full-time department faculty. They shall be appointed to the committee by the chair of the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance. The members of the committee shall elect a chair of the committee from the membership of the committee. 


The honors committee shall meet as necessary to conduct all business pertaining to honors projects. Meetings may be called by the chair of the committee or by the chair of the department. The committee shall keep full and accurate minutes of all proceedings, and these minutes shall be made available to all full-time members of the department faculty. A copy of these minutes shall be forwarded to the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. 


All decisions of the Departmental Honors Committee shall be made by majority vote. Decisions of the committee shall be final in all matters pertaining to retention, dismissal and evaluation, unless the student wishes to appeal the decision. 

To qualify for admission to the Departmental Honors program, a student: 

  1. Must major in music or theatre. 
  2. Must have completed at least four 300-level courses in their major. 
  3. Must have earned an overall GPA of 3.0 and a GPA of 3.25 in their major, including any quality points accepted in transfer from other institutions. If the student expects to make performance a part of their honors project, the student must present evidence of superior performance abilities. 

A student who does not meet all of the above criteria may, at the option of the committee, be admitted to the program on probationary status. However, the student must satisfy all criteria for admission by the end of the first semester of the honors project or be dismissed from the program. 

  1. Students may apply for admission to the Departmental Honors Program any time after the end of their fourth semester (60 credit hours) and before the end of their sixth semester (90 credits). 
  2. Application shall be made by a personal letter to the chair of the department, who shall forward the letter to the chair of the honors committee. 
  3. The student's application must be supported by a faculty member in the appropriate discipline who agrees to serve as their honors advisor. 
  4. The application must include a description of the student's proposed honors project, a statement of the objectives of the project, the methodologies to be used, projected dates for completion of various steps in the project and the relationship between the project and the anticipated post-baccalaureate career and/or studies. 
  5. The application must be approved by the Departmental Honors Committee before the student embarks on the honors project. 
  1. It is expected that an honors project will represent an achievement meriting six semester hours of independent study credit. The honors project should deal with a subject that is not treated in regular music or theatre courses, or should treat in significantly greater depth a subject that is part of a regular course. The honors project should provide an important learning dimension not otherwise provided for in the regular curriculum. The honors project should be scholarly, with the potential for application to a candidate's post-baccalaureate career or studies. 

    The academic structure for all honors projects shall be the course 49X: Independent Study. An honors project shall earn three independent study credits per semester for two semesters for a total of six independent study credits. The candidate must submit an independent study proposal in the usual manner, meeting deadlines for such applications. The candidate shall enroll in 49X, normally for the seventh and eighth semesters (or at least two semesters) of their tenure at Rhode Island College. Exceptions to this time frame shall be made at the discretion of the honors committee. 
  2. The candidate will consult regularly with their faculty advisor on the progress of their independent study courses. 
  3. By November 1 of the semester of the project, the candidate shall meet with the honors committee to review their work to date. The student shall submit evidence that the project is being conducted according to plan; such evidence may include documents (bibliographies outlines, notes, etc.), performance or presentation, or other methods of presenting the project. The candidate should be prepared to discuss the project and answer questions from members of the committee. 

    If the candidate's project advisor is not a member of the committee, the advisor will be invited to be present and to make their recommendation regarding the progress of the project. The honors committee shall then determine whether the candidate shall be permitted to continue in the honors program. 

    If the committee's decision is positive, the student may continue in the Honors Program and file their proposal for 49X for the Spring Semester. 

    If the committee's decision is negative, the student is dismissed from the Honors Program. 
  4. By April 1 of the Spring Semester of the project, the entire honors project shall be evaluated by the Departmental Honors Committee in the presence of the honors candidate. If the project advisor is not a member of the committee, the advisor shall participate in the discussion and shall recommend a grade for the second half of the project. Deliberation of the committee may be done in a closed session. Final approval of the project shall require a majority vote of the honors committee. 

All honors projects shall include significant scholarship; a performance (i.e., recital) alone shall not be considered an honors project. 

The following list of project subjects is intended to suggest the types of subjects which the committee would consider worthy. It is expected that the candidate shall develop a subject to suit her/his own interests and educational goals. 

  • A lecture/recital of 45-60 minutes focused on a single topic, composer, style or intention. The performance of the musical literature may be by the candidate, assisting performers or both. 
  • A 35-50 page detailed analysis – historical, theoretical, harmonic, contextual, etc. – of a single significant musical or theatrical work. 
  • The development and implementation of a program of music instruction in a pre-school or day care facility, including a written report of the project. 
  • Performance and analysis of significant work(s) of the candidate's own composition or arranging. 
  1. The Departmental Honors Committee shall have the responsibility of evaluating all Honors Projects. 
  2. Upon the recommendation of the candidate's advisor, the committee shall determine if a candidate's project merits the designation of honors, and all decisions of the committee shall be final in all matters pertaining to evaluations of honors projects. 
  3. A grade for each semester of the project will be recommended by the candidate's advisor and will be assigned upon the approval of the honors committee. 

Policy on Failure to Perform Honors-Quality Work: 

If an honors candidate completes their honors project, but the honors committee judges the work to be of less than honors quality but still acceptable for independent study credit, the student shall receive credit for independent study. Such credit shall be counted as an elective. 

Policy on Dismissal: 

An honors candidate may be dismissed from the honors program if they fail to maintain the necessary GPA or if they fail to demonstrate adequate progress in the honors project (less than an A/B grade). The candidate shall be notified of dismissal from the honors program by letter from the chair of the honors committee, with copies to the chair of the department, to the assistant chair of the department and to the candidate's advisor. 

Appeal Process: 

A decision of the honors committee may be appealed to the department chair, who will investigate the student's complaint. If a satisfactory decision cannot be negotiated, the decision of the department chair may be appealed to the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. 

  • Recruitment of honors project candidates should begin in the Spring of the sophomore year or Fall of the junior year. 
  • Generally, honors projects take place over the course of three semesters. In the Spring/junior year, the student devises and submits a proposal and has the following two semesters to complete the project, (Fall/Spring senior year). Music education majors may choose to start the process one semester early in order to better accommodate student teaching. 
  • Proposals are submitted to the honors committee by April 1 (Spring/junior year) and either approved or rejected by mid-April. 
  • Once the project is approved, the student should register for a 3 credit independent study course with the selected faculty advisor (Fall/senior year). The faculty advisor will receive one teaching load credit hour. 
  • By November 1, the student shall submit their work to date to the Honors Committee and discuss the progress of the project. The committee will then decide if the student is allowed to continue working on the project. If the response is positive, the student will register for a 3 credit independent study course with the faculty advisor for the Spring/senior year. 
  • Final honors projects should be completed and submitted to the honors committee as early as possible in the Spring/senior year, but no later than April 1. 
  • The honors committee decides whether to grant honors by April 15. The faculty advisor may be present at the deliberations. 
  • If honors are granted, the department chair or chair of the honors committee informs the Records Office of the students who are graduating with honors. This will allow the honors distinction to appear in the graduation program, transcript and include the students in various graduation festivities. 
  • If honors are denied, the student has until the last day of classes to make the suggested corrections. However, it may be too late for the student’s name to appear as graduating with honors in the program, transcript, participate in festivities, etc. 
  • The chair of the honors committee gives the names of the students who were granted honors to the director of the College Honors Program.