Frequently Asked Questions

. . . about the Hoopes Prize
 

Nominating a Project
1. Who is eligible to nominate a student project for a Hoopes Prize?
2. How does a faculty supervisor nominate a student project?
3. What happens if a project has more than one supervisor?  
4. May an instructor who supervised two superb student projects nominate both works?
5. I am a faculty member who has told my department that a project I supervised should be nominated for a Hoopes Prize. Do I need to do anything else?
6. May a student ask his or her faculty supervisor to nominate his or her project for a Hoopes Prize?
7. May anyone besides the direct supervisor of a project nominate it for a Hoopes Prize?
8. Can an instructor who directly supervised a student project but is no longer at Harvard nominate the project?

Eligibility for Nomination
9. Does a project have to be a senior thesis to be eligible for the Hoopes Prize?
10. Can creative writing entries such as a novel or a collection of poetry or short stories be nominated?
11. If a student project is not a written piece (for example, it is a film, performance, or gallery show), can it still be nominated?
12. Are the projects of November and March graduates eligible for the Hoopes Prize? 
13. Does the Hoopes Prize committee take other factors into account if a student’s project was not an outstanding success but he or she has many strengths? 
14. What role do summa ratings play in the Hoopes Prize? 

Student Application Forms
15. What is the required format for written work being submitted to the Hoopes Prize? 
16. What is the project abstract and why is it needed? 
17. May the nominee submit his or her application before the nominator has submitted the Faculty Nomination Form?
18. May a nominee make a change to his or her application once it has been submitted?

Readers’ Comments
19. What are readers’ comments?
20. How does the Prize Office get the readers’ comments?
21. What happens if the readers’ comments will not be available until after the Hoopes deadlines?
22. What if my department does not produce readers’ comments? Is my project at a disadvantage?
23. May a student revise his or her project in response to readers’ comments or other evaluations before submitting it for the Hoopes Prize?

Deadlines
24. Why are there two different deadlines?
25. I take a just-in-time approach to deadlines. Could this be a problem? 
26. I am having trouble with the online form. What should I do?
27. If a department’s thesis deadline for its students falls after the Hoopes faculty nomination deadline, can deserving projects still be nominated for the prize?
28. What if a nominator or a nominee is unavailable on a Hoopes Prize deadline day?

Winning the Hoopes Prize
29. When will the Hoopes Prize winners be announced?
30. I would like to add an acknowledgements page to my winning project. What should I do?
31. What happens to winning projects? 
32. Is there a Hoopes Prize celebration?
33. There is an open-access repository at Harvard. Are senior theses eligible to be deposited there? 
34. Why do the nominators of winning projects, in addition to the nominees, receive awards?
35. May a faculty member have his or her Hoopes payment deposited into a research account?
36. Can the Prize Office pay out all or part of my prize winnings to someone else?
 

 

Nominating a Project

1. Who is eligible to nominate a student project for a Hoopes Prize? 
Any instructor who directly supervised to completion an extraordinary undergraduate work submitted for credit in Harvard College during the current academic year may nominate that project.

2. How does a faculty supervisor nominate a student project? 
To nominate a student project, the faculty supervisor should follow the instructions found at the Instructions for Faculty Nominators page on the Prize Office’s website.

3. What happens if a project has more than one supervisor? 
If a project has two supervisors, the supervisors should decide who will nominate the project. If they decide to co-nominate the project, both nominators must submit the online Faculty Nomination Form. They also must either write individual project evaluations or co-author a statement. No more than two supervisors may nominate a project. If a winning entry has two nominators, the prize will be divided equally between them. Conversely, if only one of the supervisors submits a Faculty Nomination Form, only that supervisor will be eligible to win a Hoopes Prize.

If nomination forms from both co-nominators are not submitted by the prize deadline, the nomination will be processed as a single nomination; if the nominated project is selected by the prize committee, only the nominator who submitted the form will be awarded the prize.

4. May an instructor who supervised two superb student projects nominate both works? 
A faculty member ordinarily nominates just one student project in a given academic year. In the event that a faculty member has supervised more than one outstanding project and thinks two are deserving of a Hoopes Prize, he or she should contact the Prize Office as soon as possible for instructions about how to petition for an exception. Please note that if both projects receive a Hoopes Prize, the nominator is only eligible to receive one full prize. An instructor may nominate no more than two projects in one academic year.

5. I am a faculty member who has told my department that a project I supervised should be nominated for a Hoopes Prize. Do I need to do anything else?
Yes. In order to nominate a student project, the faculty supervisor needs to submit the online Faculty Nomination Form. Instructions can be found at the Instructions for Faculty Nominators page on the Prize Office’s website.

6. May a student ask his or her faculty supervisor to nominate his or her project for a Hoopes Prize? 
No. Nominations are made solely at the discretion of the instructors who directly supervised the projects.

7. May anyone besides the direct supervisor of a project nominate it for a Hoopes Prize?
No one—including departmental readers, DUSs, students' past instructors, and administrators—may nominate a project that they did not directly supervise to completion..

8. Can an instructor who directly supervised a student project but is no longer at Harvard nominate the project?
Yes. Instructors who directly supervised a student project to completion that they wish to nominate for a Hoopes Prize but are no longer at Harvard should contact the Prize Office as soon as possible for the necessary Hoopes Prize nomination documents.

Eligibility for Nomination

9. Does a project have to be a senior thesis to be eligible for the Hoopes Prize? 
No. While most projects nominated for the Hoopes Prize are senior theses, junior papers or similar projects that were written or produced under faculty supervision may also be nominated. The Hoopes Prize committee requests that only work of very high quality be nominated.

10. Can creative writing entries such as a novel or a collection of poetry or short stories be nominated? 
Yes. Creative writing entries are eligible for the prize.

11. If a student project is not a written piece (for example, it is a film, performance, or gallery show), can it still be nominated? 
Yes. Entries such as films, performances, or gallery shows are eligible for the prize. Please contact the Prize Office as far in advance of the deadline as possible for further information.

12. Are the projects of November and March graduates eligible for the Hoopes Prize?
Yes. The projects of November and March graduates are eligible to be nominated for the Hoopes Prize in the academic year in which they were submitted to their departments. The work of an undergraduate who received his or her degree in November 2019, for example, would be eligible to be nominated for a Hoopes Prize in the spring of 2020.

13. Does the Hoopes Prize committee take other factors into account if a student’s project was not an outstanding success but he or she has many strengths? 
No. The Hoopes Prize is a project-based prize. The committee members take into account only the merits of the project.

14. What role do summa ratings play in the Hoopes Prize?
The Hoopes Prize is awarded independent of summa ratings. Past winners have included senior theses that were not highly rated by their departments. Conversely, a summa rating does not guarantee a Hoopes Prize.

Student Application Forms

15. What is the required format for written work being submitted to the Hoopes Prize? 
Written submissions need to have at least one-inch margins on both the left- and the right-hand sides of each page for bookbinding purposes. Special attention should be paid to pages containing images, tables, and graphs to ensure that the margins are sufficient. A student submitting a non-written project should contact the Prize Office for further instructions as soon as he or she is informed that his or her project has been nominated.

16. What is the project abstract and why is it needed? 
Each nominee is asked to write a 150- to 200-word abstract of his or her project for the non-specialist reader. This abstract, which must be the student’s own work, should describe the goals of the project, contextualize it within the broader parameters of its discipline, and highlight its importance. Even if an abstract is already included in a project, the student must write a new abstract specifically for the Hoopes Prize.

17. May the nominee submit his or her application before the nominator has submitted the Faculty Nomination Form? 
Yes. Once a nominator has informed a student of his or her intention to nominate the student’s project, the nominee should begin the application process.

18. May a nominee make a change to his or her application once it has been submitted?  
No. Once an application has been submitted, no changes can be made to any part of it, including the abstract and the project. Nominees are advised to review their applications carefully before clicking “Submit.”

Readers’ Comments

19. What are readers’ comments? 
Readers’ comments are the official evaluations that senior-thesis graders submit to a student’s department. Though some departments do not use readers’ comments as part of their thesis evaluation process, if readers’ comments are required by the department, they are used in addition to the nominator’s evaluation during the prize selection process.

20. How does the Prize Office get the readers’ comments? 
The departments that produce readers’ comments as part of their thesis evaluation process send those comments directly to the Prize Office. Students should check with their departments if they are unsure how this part of the entry will be handled.

21. What happens if the readers’ comments will not be available until after the Hoopes deadlines? 
Readers’ comments are the only portion of a Hoopes Prize application that can be submitted after the deadlines. Departments should email the readers’ comments to the Prize Office as soon as they are available.

22. What if my department does not produce readers’ comments? Is my project at a disadvantage?
The Hoopes Prize selection committee understands that some departments do not produce readers’ comments. Nominated projects are not disadvantaged by their absence.

23. May a student revise his or her project in response to readers’ comments or other evaluations before submitting it for the Hoopes Prize? 
No. Projects should be submitted to the Hoopes Prize as they were submitted to the department. 

Deadlines

24. Why are there two different deadlines? 
The deadline for faculty nominations is two days earlier than the deadline for student submissions to give nominees time to complete their applications.

25. I take a just-in-time approach to deadlines. Could this be a problem? 
Yes. The Hoopes Prize application has many parts and strict deadlines. Nominators and nominees are advised to begin the application process as soon as possible. No exceptions to the deadlines are made for any reason.

26. I am having trouble with the online form. What should I do?
If you are having difficulty with any portion of the Hoopes Prize application, email the Prize Office immediately at prizes at fas.harvard.edu to let us know. We will do our best to help you meet the deadline.

27. If a department’s thesis deadline for its students falls after the Hoopes faculty nomination deadline, can deserving projects still be nominated for the prize? 
If a project cannot be nominated by the Hoopes faculty nomination deadline because of a department’s thesis deadline, a nominator may petition the Prize Office before this year’s Hoopes faculty nomination deadline for permission to submit the project to the following year’s competition.

28. What if a nominator or a nominee is unavailable on a Hoopes Prize deadline day?
The nominator and the nominee are responsible for ensuring that their parts of the Hoopes materials are complete and submitted to the Prize Office by their respective deadlines. Given that problems can arise, we suggest that nominators and nominees alike submit their materials as early as possible.

Winning the Hoopes Prize

29. When will the Hoopes Prize winners be announced? 
Hoopes Prize nominators and nominees will be notified of the prize committee’s decision via email before Commencement.

30. I would like to add an acknowledgements page to my winning project. What should I do? 
A student Hoopes Prize winner who wishes to add an acknowledgements page to his or her project may email the page as an attachment to the Prize Office at prizes at fas.harvard.edu within a week of being notified that the project has won. The acknowledgements page will be inserted behind the title page of the project and therefore will not disrupt the project’s table of contents or page numbering. Students should not resubmit their entire projects.

31. What happens to winning projects? 
A copy of each winning project is sent by the Prize Office to the University Archives for permanent storage. Written winning projects are also bound and displayed in Lamont Library for two academic years beginning with the fall term after the project has won. After the two-year period has passed, the Prize Office will mail the winners their projects.

32. Is there a Hoopes Prize celebration?
Yes. Winning nominators and nominees are invited by the Radcliffe Institute to attend a celebration in honor of the winners.

33. There is an open-access repository at Harvard. Are senior theses eligible to be deposited there?
Yes. Harvard’s Office for Scholarly Communication administers Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard (DASH), which is Harvard’s open-access repository for scholarly articles, theses, dissertations, and other writings. Harvard College senior theses are eligible to be deposited in DASH through the “FAS Theses and Dissertations” collection. DASH urges Hoopes winners to consider depositing their award-winning theses with them. Further information may be obtained from DASH.

34. Why do the nominators of winning projects, in addition to the nominees, receive awards? 
The Hoopes Prize is awarded for excellence in the work of undergraduates and in the art of teaching. Awards are therefore given to both the winning nominators and nominees.

35. May a faculty member have his or her Hoopes payment deposited into a research account? 
This practice is not allowed because Hoopes payments must be treated as income to the recipient and paid through payroll. (See also the “Taxes on Prize Winnings” section of the General Information page of the Prize Office website.)

36. Can the Prize Office pay out all or part of my prize winnings to someone else?
No. Prize winnings can only be distributed to the person who won the prize.