Honors Program in Modern Languages

interior photo of graduates in modern language program

The Departmental Honors Program in modern languages consists of a 6 credit, directed study in your senior year in which you work with a faculty member (or members) on a project of your choice. Your project will involve researching an important problem or topic or analyzing a body of literary or cultural texts. Your study should demonstrate your ability to use a foreign language, research and critical/analytical skills. It should culminate in a significant final project/thesis, the length and nature of which will be determined by you and your faculty advisor.

The Modern Language Department’s Honors Committee expects to see a unified, coherent project/thesis, written in a foreign language, demonstrating intellectual rigor. Every honors project should be accompanied by a two-to-three-page statement, written in nontechnical, standard English for a non-specialist reader, explaining what you believe you have accomplished and why it is important.

Program Details

Admission Requirements

  1. You must complete at least four courses in the major at the time of application.
  2. You must have an overall GPA of 3.0.
  3. You must have a GPA of 3.25 or higher in the major.

Honors Proposal

  1. During your junior year, you should begin thinking about your honors project.
  2. Identify a faculty advisor to supervise your project.
  3. Write a three-to-four-page proposal in consultation with your advisor during your two-semester, 6 credit independent study. (Proposal guidelines are available from the departmental honors liaison.)
  4. Your proposal must be submitted to the Honors Committee by March 25.
  5. If your proposal is approved, an Independent Study Application Form to enroll in MLAN 490: Directed Study must be prepared by you and your faculty advisor. Your form must be submitted by April 15 for the Fall Semester and Nov. 15 for the Spring Semester.

Completing the Honors Project

While taking two semesters of directed study, you will write your honors thesis. The thesis must be completed by April 1 if you wish to graduate in May and by Dec. 1 if you wish to graduate by December. Upon satisfactory completion of your thesis, the department will submit two copies of your thesis, with the appropriately signed cover sheet, to the library for binding. If you wish to have personal copies bound, you may submit up to four copies to the library to be bound at a nominal cost. You are also required to fill out the short online honors project description form on the College Honors website.

Evaluation and Grading

Your honors thesis should be submitted to your faculty advisor for approval and possible revisions; however, the responsibility for determining honors lies solely with the Honors Committee upon the recommendation of your faculty advisor. You will make an oral presentation before the Honors Committee, and with successful completion, be awarded "Honors in Modern Languages" on your transcript. However, your faculty advisor is responsible for assigning your grades for your independent study courses.

Appeals Process

Should your honors project be rejected by the Honors Committee, you may appeal the decision by taking the following steps:

  1. Within two weeks of the date of the committee’s letter, you must file a written request for reconsideration in the form of a brief letter to the chair of the Modern Languages Department.
  2. The department chair will notify the chair of the Honors Committee of your request.
  3. Within five days of receiving the request, the chair of the Honors Committee will set up a meeting convenient for the department chair, committee members, you and your faculty advisor.
  4. All parties mentioned will meet for approximately 30 minutes of discussion, with you opening the discussion by replying to the letter from the Honors Committee and explaining your reasons for requesting a reconsideration.
  5. At the conclusion of the discussion, you and your advisor will leave the room, and the committee and the department chair will, after discussion, vote on whether your project should receive honors. A tie vote is resolved in your favor.
  6. You and your advisor are notified immediately of the decision.