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Senior Honors Projects

Guidelines for the Department of Modern Languages - Senior Honors Projects


The Modern Languages Senior Honors Project in a foreign language consists of a two-semester, six-credit, directed study in which the student works with a faculty member (or members) on a project of his or her choice. The study will be undertaken during the two semesters of the senior year. The student will research an important problem or topic, analyzing a body of literary or cultural texts. The study should demonstrate the student’s ability to use his or her foreign language, research, critical/analytical skills. The study should culminate in a significant final project/thesis, the length and nature of which will be determined by the student and his or her faculty advisor. The Modern Language department Honors Committee expects to see a unified, coherent essay, written in the foreign language and demonstrating intellectual rigor.

Abstract: Every Senior Honors Project should be accompanied by a 2-3 page statement, written in non-technical, standard English for a non-specialist reader, explaining what the student believes he/she has accomplished and why it is important.


  1. Completion of at least 4 courses in the major at the time of application.
  2. Overall GPA of 3.0.
  3. GPA of 3.25 or higher in the major.


  • The Proposal Process

During the junior year the student should:

  1. Begin thinking about the Senior Project;
  2. Identify a faculty advisor to direct the Senior Honors Project;
  3. Write a 3-4 page proposal in consultation with the advisor for the two-semester, six-credit independent study to be taken in each semester of the senior year; [Proposal guidelines are available from the departmental honors liaison]
  4. The proposal must be submitted to the department Honors Committee by March 25
  5. If the proposal is approved, a request for directed study (course 490) must be prepared by the student and his/her faculty advisor. The forms must be submitted by April 15 for the fall semester and November 15 for the spring semester.
  • Completing the Thesis

While taking the two semesters directed study the student will write his/ her senior thesis. The date for completing the thesis should be April 1 for those wishing to graduate in May, December 1for those wishing to graduate by December.

Upon satisfactory completion of the thesis, the department submits two copies with the appropriately signed cover sheet to the library for binding. If the student wishes to have personal copies bound, he/she may submit up to four copies to the library to be bound at a nominal cost. The student is also required to fill out the short online honors project description form on the college honors website.

Evaluation and Grading

The senior thesis is submitted to the faculty advisor for approval and possible revisions but responsibility for determining honors lies solely with the department Honors Committee upon recommendation of the faculty advisor. There will be an oral presentation to the Committee. Upon success the candidate will be awarded "Departmental Honors". However, the faculty advisor is responsible for assigning grades for the two independent study courses.

College Honors

Students are encouraged to do college honors along with departmental honors.

The courses required are the following:

  1. General Education Honors;
  2. Honors 351 (Colloquium) and Honors 365 (Seminar) during the junior year;
  3. Departmental honors (see above for requirements).

Students who complete all three components receive the additional designation of “College Honors” on their transcripts.

The Department of Modern Languages strongly recommends Honors 351 and Honors 365 to their Departmental honors candidates as a strong preparation for their senior projects, whether or not the candidates participated in General Education Honors. Participation in General Education Honors is not required in order to do honors in Foreign Languages.


December 9, April 15: Submission of final draft of project to College Honors Committee and to Faculty advisor and second reader.

December 16, April 22: Submission of review by faculty advisor and second reader to College Honors Committee.

Failure to meet these deadlines could result in the study not being considered for the McMahon Award at Cap and Gown and not having the College Honors designation included in the program for graduation.

Appeals Process

  1. Should a senior honors project be rejected by the Honors Committee, the student may appeal the decision.  The following are the steps of the appeals process:
  2. Within two weeks of the date of the Committee’s letter, the student should file a written request for reconsideration in the form of a brief letter to the Modern Language Department Chair;
  3. The Modern Language Chair notifies the Chair of Honors of the student’s request;
  4. Within five days of receiving the request, the Chair of Honors sets a meeting time convenient for the Department Chair, Committee members, the student, and the student’s advisor;
  5. All parties mentioned in #3 above meet for approximately 30 minutes of discussion, with the student opening discussion by replying to the letter from Honors and explaining his/her reasons for requesting reconsideration;
  6. At the conclusion of the discussion, the student and his/her advisor leave the room. The Committee and the Department Chair, after any necessary discussion, vote on whether the project should receive honors. A tie vote is resolved in favor of the student;
  7. The student and his/her advisor are notified immediately of the decision reached.

For further information, please contact:

Modern Language Departmental Honors liaison, Professor Géloin X 8707; Director of Honors, Professor Hall X 8671.​

Page last updated: April 14, 2016