Distinction is an award that recognizes outstanding work in the Gender and Sexuality Studies major. All senior majors with a GPA of 3.5 or higher (at the end of the interim semester, senior year) in the major are eligible to apply for distinction. For more information, please read the college statement of Distinction.

Project Criteria

Projects submitted for distinction must

  • expand on, or apply in a new way, coursework that is already evaluated and returned,

  • approach the subject matter from a feminist perspective, and

  • demonstrate substantial interdisciplinary understanding of the topic and relevant literature or models.

Project Forms

Projects submitted for distinction must expand on completed coursework and take one of the following forms:

  • a single, scholarly essay of substantial length (20-30 pages). Please submit the original essay with the revision.

  • a portfolio of course essays that have been expanded and revised in response to feedback, or a combination of scholarly, creative, and/or activist artifacts. Portfolios should be 20-30 pages or equivalent.

  • a digital project, which can be a scholarly piece or a creative project, equivalent to the work of a 20-30 essay or portfolio. The candidate must provide a link to the project in the personal reflection.

  • a creative project (creative writing, visual art, performance, or an event). If not a written project, submission must include documentation of the creative act, e.g., photographs, invitations and flyers, sample artwork.

All projects must be accompanied by

1) a two-page critical summary that situates the project in the overall experience of the major, and

2) a brief personal reflection that describes the project’s process, considers its strengths and limitations, and explains the revisions and expansion of the original documents and/or coursework.

Candidates should address any questions or concerns about these guidelines to their Distinction Advisor or Director of Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Project Evaluation

A two-person faculty committee, neither of whom is the distinction advisor, reviews each project. In cases of disagreement, the committee consults a third reader. The committee will inform the Director of Gender and Sexuality Studies of its decision by May 1. Then, a member of the review committee will inform the applicant of the outcome with an official email or letter. All distinction projects are considered for the Viola Rossing Prize.

Distinction Advisor

Distinction advisors provide feedback and guidance on developing the distinction project and preparing a summary and reflection. The advisor must be affiliated with Gender and Sexuality Studies. Before the student submits the distinction application, the advisor needs to document–in an email to the student– their willingness to serve in this capacity. Both students and advisors should review the Distinction Advisor Guidelines.

Important Dates

Fall semester: The Director of Gender and Sexuality Studies contacts majors who are currently eligible to apply for distinction. Please note that majors must maintain the GPA requirement until the end of interim.  Final distinction eligibility will be based on a GPA that includes fall and interim grades in courses in the major.

Fall semester or Interim: Currently eligible students notify the Director of Gender and Sexuality Studies of their intention to submit a distinction project. Students should also identify a potential advisor—a faculty member who agrees to meet periodically to discuss the project’s development. Because students pursuing distinction expand and refine existing work, students and advisors should meet early in the process and review project criteria and Distinction Advisor Guidelines.

February 15: Distinction Application is due.

April 15: Distinction projects are due. Candidates must share projects with the Director of Gender and Sexuality Studies via Google Drive file.

May 1: Reading committees notify applicants of distinction decisions.