Departmental Honors Program

A major in Spanish or Portuguese who after the first semester of the junior year has achieved a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 overall and 3.5 in the major is encouraged to apply for admission to the Departmental Honors Program. If your goal is to complete an honors thesis in the future, it is highly recommended that you take as many courses as you can with faculty members ( so that they are familiar with you by the time you are looking for a thesis advisor to work with. If you are interested in completing a project in Bilingualism/Second Language Acquisition, it is strongly recommended that by sophmore year, you get involved in a research project.  One way of doing this is through Aresty (


1.  Completion of at least twenty-four (24) credits in Spanish or Portuguese before beginning the Honors project.

2.  Completion upon graduation of all major requirements.

3.  Completion of Honors in Spanish or Portuguese credits 940:497 and 940:498 (these credits may not substitute any 400 level courses required in the major).



The Honors project, to be written in Spanish or Portuguese, should undertaken over two semesters, totaling six (6) credits. The distribution should be three (3) in each semester. The student receives a temporary grade for the Fall semester and a final grade for both semesters in the Spring when the project is completed. The cumulative average in the senior year must be maintained at the minimum levels needed to enter the Department Honors program, namely 3.25 overall and 3.5 in the major area.


Under special circumstances (for example, conflict with student teaching, study abroad, internship, etc.) the students may petition for a one-semester project. The one-semester option is the exception rather than the rule, and the student must petition the Undergraduate Director and thesis advisor in writing, explaining the extenuating circumstances.  In the one-semester option, only three (3) credits per semester would be counted toward the major.

PLEASE NOTE: Departmental Honors will be awarded to a student majoring in Spanish or Portuguese who completes the requirements for the SAS Interdisciplinary Honors Thesis, writes the thesis in Spanish or Portuguese, and maintains a 3.5 gpa in the major. The student may count three (3) credits received for the Interdisciplinary Honors Thesis or Project(01:090:495-496)toward completion of the major. 



The student is required to orally present the project in Spanish or Portuguese.  The student may present their work before an audience at a student conference (with the advisor in attendance).  Or, the student may do an oral defense before a committee assembled by the project director and the student. The committee is to be composed of her/his project director and one other faculty member.



The Department awards three (3) levels of distinction:

With highest honors
With high honors
With honors


1. The Department notifies the student of his/her eligibility for the Honors program. Any student meeting the minimum gpa requirements may also self-nominate.

2. Upon notification of eligibility, the student speaks with Undergraduate Director or other member of the faculty in order to determine interest/focus of the project.

3. The student approaches a faculty member of her/his choice to determine if said faculty member is willing to direct the student’s honors project.

4. In consultation with the project director, the student writes a proposal in Spanish or Portuguese which is submitted to the Project Director and Undergraduate Director for approval. This proposal should be delivered to the Project Director and Undergraduate Director by April 30 of the junior year.


5. Upon approval the student will receive a letter of acceptance into the Honors program and will then register for the appropriate courses (940:497 and 940:498). Students working on projects requiring Human Subject Certification and approval by the Institutional Review Board must consult with their Project Director about additional deadlines.


6. If a student registers for Honors credit but fails to make contact with the sponsoring faculty member in the first three weeks of the semester, the student will be de-registered from those credit hours.

7. The deadline for the completion of the Honors project is April 15.

8. Honors projects are approximately 50 pages in length.  Previous projects are available to students as examples of the type of work expected of them. Students must follow a standard format, either MLA, LSA or Chicago. Two copies of the defended, corrected thesis must be submitted to the Department in black thesis binders.


9.  Please note that all SAS students who are completing a department-based honors thesis or an SAS Interdisciplinary Honors Thesis will be designated as SAS Paul Robeson Scholars. SAS Paul Robeson Scholars will be eligible for extended library borrowing privileges and for nomination for consideration for a Henry Rutgers Thesis Award.


10.  A one (1) credit course, Introduction to the Thesis (01:090:391, 392), is available to guide students in researching  and writing an honors thesis.  This course is optional and may be taken before or during the process of completing the project. It is recommended that the student contact the instructor before registering because the course involves peer editing and there may not be others students writing in Spanish or Portuguese.


11.  Funding is available in support of research. All applications for research funds are submitted to the ArestyResearchCenter for Undergraduates (



Spring of junior year:

- Notification of eligibility in January

- Meet with potential director

- Proposal due May 8th

- Register for Fall honors credits (940:497) 

Fall of senior year:   

- If required, complete Human Subject Certification and submit proposal to the Institutional Review Board

- Meet with director

- Research and writing (940:497)

- Register for Spring honors credits (940:498)


Spring of senior year:   

- Meet with director

- Complete research and writing; Revisions (940:498)

- If participating in a student conference, prepare an abstract

- Defend/present the project

- Submit final copy of the project by April 15th