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If I want to write an honors thesis, when should I start thinking about it?

In your sophomore year.  No kidding.  An honors thesis should be the culmination of all your work over time.  You need to have taken the courses that would support advanced work in your chosen field.  If you have general ideas as to your topic, you can ideally do some preliminary work during your junior study abroad.  Be in contact with your intended advisor about possible ideas; topics rarely emerge in their first round.  You are required to submit a letter of intent to the IS director by May 1 of your junior year; this is to allow you to begin reading and narrowing the topic in the following summer. For more information, visit the Honors Program Policy Guidelines.

Is there funding for senior projects and honors theses?

Yes.  Thanks to the generosity of alumni David P. Hunt there are funds available to support research during January of the senior year.  This research normally takes place overseas, but you might use it to support archival work or interviews in a city such as  DC.  You must submit a proposal  by the third Friday in September. You may also apply for up to $500 from the Dean of Faculty’s special student projects fund to support independent research.   This, for example, might support a research trip to Washington  (crashing on recent alums couches) to generate material or conduct interviews for your project.