The MLL faculty views reading for honors as an option to be exercised by the exceptional student. Candidates for the Honors Project in MLL are required to have a minimum 3.33 GPA overall and a minimum 3.5 GPA in MLL courses. In evaluating honors candidacies, faculty will consider not only the major’s grades, but also the following: the initiative, forethought, and responsibility shown by the major in formulating the project; an eagerness to do work above and beyond that required for the regular capstone; and a demonstrated ability to pursue independent research and writing. MLL faculty members will normally identify students who have demonstrated exceptional promise in their research and language skills, and encourage them to develop an honors project. However, students who feel they meet the standards may also approach a faculty member about endorsing their intent to read for Honors.
Because honors is considered to be a departmental designation, the MLL chair is responsible for approvals and notifications. Students should copy their thesis director and the senior liaison in all correspondence with the MLL chair regarding honors.
Students interested in pursuing honors should read with particular attention the general description of departmental honors in The College curriculum section of the course catalog, as well as the timeline and other conditions listed below. For majors in all three tracks, the department leaves up to the discretion of the advisor and the student the nature of the honors project, which typically combines research with original analysis on a topic proposed by the student. Other configurations of the honors project may be considered, if the student can establish the value of the project and demonstrate sufficient preparation for undertaking it.
The honors thesis is typically written in the target language with a suggested length of 50–75 pages. Once complete, it must be defended in a formal discussion with an external examiner, the thesis director, and faculty readers. This honors defense follows an MLL departmental procedure overseen by the thesis director in order to ensure consistent standards. According to the scale of highest honors (A+), high honors (A), or honors (A-), the final grade determination thus reflects these standards across the eight disciplines of MLL.
With sufficient time (ideally, two weeks or more) before the defense, the honors director provides the external examiner and all faculty members of the MLL language discipline(s) in which the student has worked with a final version of the thesis. During the defense, the student should have the opportunity to describe the project’s scope and to explain the significance of its outcome(s). What follows is an open exchange on questions of substance and methods among the candidate, the outside examiner, the thesis director, and the faculty readers. On the basis of the written thesis and the discussion during the defense, the outside examiner determines the grade in consultation with participating faculty (and in the absence of the student). The student is then informed of the result.
Candidates for honors in MLL should adhere to the following timetable or risk being denied the opportunity to continue in honors.
Recent theses titles include: