Department of Modern Languages


The Honors project is a capstone assignment for Honors students.  

The honors project involves a substantial writing project in Spanish/French. While the length of this project will vary with theme and method, the Honors project will normally be at least 7500-8000 words. The topic chosen by the student must be acceptable to the essay advisor.  Your advisor and committee determine the amount of credit the project merits.  Technically it can be from 2 to 6 credits in terms of the Honors College parameters.  However, the average is 2 to 3 credits.  The minimum is 2 credits.

This guide will present specific departmental guidelines for the Honors project in content, method and form.


A. Content.

  • The study of Hispanic/French/Francophone culture is served by language, linguistics, literature, philosophy, history, sociology, anthropology, and the fine arts. Important questions can be pursued from a number of perspectives. The project should be related to the intellectual growth of the students and their total academic experience. Since an important part of the Honors project involves coming to terms with significant questions of research, one should avoid the extremes of topics on which there is no body of research (or on which there is one exhaustive and authoritative work) or topics on which there is a vast body of work but which are no longer considered important by modern scholars. Students should seek out significant questions of ongoing interest that require one to come to terms with a body of current critical information and opinion. Often the best source of ideas is the courses and discussions that have already engaged your attention and interest. The topic chosen should be specific enough and sufficiently limited in scope as to be manageable. Feasibility also involves available bibliographical items to support your research.
  • The purpose of a research paper is to explore a topic from the perspective of a significant question about the topic and to answer that question. The question that you want to answer should be clearly formulated at the beginning of your research and should inform and be clarified by your reading and consultation with your advisor. The research should lead to the development of a thesis —an answer to the question; the main statement you want to make about the topic— and the thesis is advanced and supported by argument and documentation. All material introduced into this paper should support the thesis in some way.

B. Method.

  • A method is a systematic procedure, technique, or mode of inquiry followed in presenting material or proving a thesis. Failure to state and follow a method will result in frustration for both writer and reader of an Honors Project. Your adviser will work with you in establishing the most effective line of inquiry for your study.


You should plan to devote approximately the first half of the time you spend on your Honors Project to research and reading, which will provide you with the information you need to develop a thesis and the documentation to argue it successfully.

A. Compiling a bibliography.

  • The first stage in research is the compilation of a "working bibliography" of the primary and secondary sources that should be consulted in researching your topic. Our library has the most important bibliographical references for the study of Hispanic/French/Francophone language, literature, and culture.

B. Research ethics.

  • Be as thorough as you can in citing the source of an idea even if you are not quoting the source directly. All quotations should be in quotation marks and properly documented.

C. Form.

  • The Honors Project should be clear, self-consistent, and in conformity with the forms approved for scholarly writing. Except where otherwise noted, the department adopts the standards set forth in the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. Students should buy a copy of this work and become familiar with it, paying special attention to its recommendations regarding these standards.

D. Deadlines and Procedures for the completion of the Honors Project.

  • 1. A one page prospectus in which the student in collaboration with the project’s sponsor chosen by the student adopts a topic, states the methodology, theoretical approach, and includes a bibliography should be submitted to the Honors Advisor by the fourth week of their penultimate semester If the prospectus is approved by the Honors Advisor, they will assign two readers to the committee.
  • 2. The completed draft of the Essay should be submitted to the project sponsor by the the fourth week of the final semester; the student should also inform the Honors advisor that the draft has been submitted.
  • 3. The Final, revised essay which incorporates recommendations suggested by project’s sponsor should be submitted to the second readers by week ten of the student’s final semester.

Be sure to keep your readers informed of progress on your project throughout the fall semester, and not just on that day. Expect revisions based on your Readers' comments. Once you've incorporated changes from your Readers, your Sponsor needs to approve the final copy. It is your Sponsor who gives you the grade for the formal coursework.

If sufficient progress towards the final essay is not made by the end of the penultimate semester, the student’s project advisor may recommend delaying graduation.