Frequently Asked Questions

. . . about the Hoopes Prize

 

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

Eligibility for Nomination
9. Does a project need to be a senior thesis in order 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. 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?
14. 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?
15. What role do summa ratings play in the Hoopes Prize?

Student Application Forms
16.  What is the project abstract and why is it needed? 
17. May a student revise his or her project in response to readers’ comments or other evaluations before submitting it for the Hoopes Prize? 
18. What is the required format for written work being submitted to the Hoopes Prize?
19. May the nominee submit his or her application before the nominator has submitted the Faculty Nomination Form?
20. May a nominee make a change to his or her application once it has been submitted?

Readers’ Comments
21. What are readers’ comments?
22. How does the Prize Office get the readers’ comments?
23. What happens if the readers’ comments will not be available until after the Hoopes deadlines?
24. If a student’s department does not produce readers’ comments, is the student’s project at a disadvantage?

Deadlines
25. Is a prize deadline dependent on the location of the person submitting materials for a prize?
26. Why are there two different deadlines?
27. How far in advance should nominators and nominees begin working on their Hoopes Prize applications?
28. What should nominators and nominees do if they encounter difficulties with the application?

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

Nominating a Project

1. Who is eligible to nominate a student project for a Hoopes Prize?
Any instructor who has directly supervised to completion an extraordinary undergraduate work submitted for credit in Harvard College during the current academic year may nominate that project. Note that, when an instructor submits a nomination for a project that he or she supervised, the instructor is also applying for a prize. If the project wins, both the instructor and their student will be prize winners. (See also FAQ 32.)


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


3. 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.


4. What happens if a project has more than one supervisor?
A supervisor is any instructor who has directly supervised to completion an extraordinary undergraduate work submitted for credit in Harvard College during the current academic year. If a project has two supervisors, the supervisors should decide who will nominate the project.

If the supervisors decide to co-nominate the project, both supervisors must submit the online Faculty Nomination Form. They must also either write individual project evaluations or co-author a project evaluation. No more than two supervisors may nominate a project. If a winning entry has two nominators, the nominator prize will be divided equally between them.

If only one Faculty Nomination Form is submitted by the prize deadline, the nomination will be processed as a single nomination and only the nominator who submitted the form will be awarded the nominator prize.

5. 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.


6. 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.


7. If a faculty member has told their department that a project he or she supervised should be nominated for a Hoopes Prize, does the faculty member need to do anything else in order for the project to be nominated?
Yes. In order to nominate a student project for a Hoopes Prize, a faculty member 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. (See FAQs 1, 2, and 3 for information regarding who is eligible to nominate a project for a Hoopes Prize.)


8. 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.

Eligibility for Nomination

9. Does a project need to be a senior thesis in order 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 2020, for example, would be eligible to be nominated for a Hoopes Prize in the spring of 2021.

 

13. 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 the current year’s Hoopes faculty nomination deadline for permission to submit the project to the following year’s competition.

 

14. 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.

 

15. 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

 

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 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.

 

18. 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, or a project with non-written components, should contact the Prize Office for further instructions as far in advance of the deadline as possible.

 

19. 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.

 

20. 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

 

21. 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 project evaluation during the prize selection process.

 

22. 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.

 

23. 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.

 

24. If a student’s department does not produce readers’ comments, is the student’s project at a disadvantage?
No. The Hoopes Prize selection committee understands that some departments do not produce readers’ comments. Nominated projects are not disadvantaged by their absence.

 

Deadlines

 

25. Is a prize deadline dependent on the location of the person submitting materials for a prize?

No. All application materials must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the day of the deadline. Prize Office deadlines are strictly observed.

 

26. 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.

 

27. How far in advance should nominators and nominees begin working on their Hoopes Prize applications?
The Hoopes Prize applications have many parts and strict deadlines. Nominators and nominees are advised to begin the application process as soon as possible. The Hoopes Prize deadlines are firm; no exceptions are made.

 

28. What should nominators and nominees do if they encounter difficulties with the application?
If a nominator or nominee encounters difficulty with any portion of the Hoopes Prize application, he or she should immediately email the Prize Office at prizes@fas.harvard.edu.

 

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. What should student winners do if they would like to add an acknowledgements page to their winning projects?
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@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. Why do the nominators of winning projects, in addition to the nominees, receive prizes?
The Hoopes Prize is a teaching prize in addition to being a prize that recognizes student work. Prizes are therefore given to both the winning nominators and nominees.

 

33. 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.)

 

34. Can the Prize Office pay out all or part of a prize winner’s award money to someone else?
No. Prize winnings can only be distributed to the person who won the prize.

 

35. 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.