About Honors Projects
In most cases, Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies (LACLaS) honors projects will involve the writing of a monographic essay on a research topic. However, given the interdisciplinary nature of the program, other specifications can be approved by the Overseeing Committee according to the modality of scholarly production that is appropriate to different disciplines.
Students interested in pursuing an honors project must have earned at least a B+ average in the courses taken for the major.
Meeting with a Faculty Advisor
LACLaS majors who aspire to write an honors thesis should first think about the potential topics and problems that they might tackle in their research. Students should meet with a potential faculty advisor and seek advice. Once the student has chosen a topic, they must articulate the focused problem or question(s) in writing, and compile a working bibliography on the topic selected before registering for the fall semester of the senior year.
Once the potential faculty advisor has approved this submission, the student can then register for a one-semester advanced independent study that may lead to an honors project.
An honors project will normally involve two semesters of independent study enrollment with a faculty advisor who will determine the course grade. By mutual agreement with the student, the advisor may assess the performance during the first semester as “Satisfactory” and assign a regular course grade for both semesters at the completion of the project.
The decision to award honors is made during the last semester of the project by a consultative committee consisting of at least three faculty members whose scholarly interests are related to the topic in question.
After receiving approval, a consultative committee comprised of three faculty members and the faculty advisor will be formed to help guide and evaluate the student's proposal.
- By the second week of the fall semester, this committee will assess the quality and feasibility of a proposal submitted by the student, including a statement of problem, preliminary bibliography, and research plan.
- By mid-October, the committee should have approved a substantial draft of one chapter and an outline of the project before the student can register for a second-semester independent study and be officially considered an honors candidate.
- By the last day of classes of the fall semester, the student should submit a polished draft of one or more chapters for comments from the consultative committee. At that time, the student and the committee will also agree on a timetable for the completion of the project during the following semester, which may include periodic meetings to discuss successive drafts of the project.
- A complete draft of the substantive chapters is due one month before the end of spring classes. The committee members will respond within two weeks with written comments and possible questions.
- The final thesis draft should be handed in the last day of classes, and the committee may suggest minor editorial changes no later than one week before the thesis is due in the library (generally one week before Commencement).
- During or briefly after the reading period of the spring semester, the candidate will present the analysis and conclusions in a colloquium and engage in discussion of the thesis with an audience of faculty and students. After the colloquium, the advisory committee will deliberate whether the project should be awarded honors. They may also suggest minor editorial changes for the finished essay.
A successful honors essay should demonstrate a critical revision of relevant scholarship on the topic and present a clearly articulated thesis that makes an original contribution to the field, sustains a convincing argument with appropriate evidence, reflects an understanding of broader problems within the discipline, and meets the scholarly standards of presentation (such as a table of contents, proper footnoting, bibliography, no typographical errors, etc.).