An honors thesis for the Spanish major is an opportunity for a student to focus on a topic in depth. Students who propose a thesis are often inspired by their experiences studying abroad and/or by their work on a research assignment in one of their courses. Thesis students work closely with their advisor beginning in the spring of their junior year to develop a topic and research plan. The subject matter must revolve around the culture, literature, language, and/or arts in Spain, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Hispanic Philippines, and/or the United States. The thesis is normally written in Spanish, but may be written in English, with Departmental approval, if the topic warrants it. A thesis is typically 80-150 pages in length, and may include a creative component. Students writing a thesis take two courses. During the fall, they enroll in SPAN 495 (Senior Seminar) and work on the thesis as their individual project. In the spring, all thesis students enroll in SPAN 499 (Thesis).
All prospective thesis writers must develop, in consultation with their Spanish major advisor, a three-page thesis proposal with a bibliography. This proposal must be submitted to the Department for approval by the first Monday in April of the student’s junior year. Prospective thesis students are encouraged to include the faculty member with whom they wish work in their proposal, although the thesis advisor is ultimately determined by the Department. All student-faculty consultations and departmental approval can be accomplished via email, if the student is studying abroad. The Department will review the proposal, and within two weeks the Chair will notify the student if the proposal has been approved and who the designated advisor will be. Advisors will be tenured and tenure-track members of the Department. Faculty and thesis writers will determine an individualized advising schedule, responding to the proposed project. Advisors are responsible for guiding the student’s interests and making content and stylistic suggestions throughout the process. Students are responsible for regular communication with their thesis advisor and keeping up with agreed-upon writing and research goals.
After the first semester, the thesis advisor will determine if the project is advancing properly. If so, the fall semester thesis work will be deemed satisfactory and the student will register for the spring thesis course (SPAN 499). If not, the student will receive a grade for SPAN 495, but may not enroll in SPAN 499. Final thesis manuscripts must be submitted to the Department no later than the first week of April. The thesis defense will take place during the third week of April when the student will be asked to elaborate on the development, content, and style of the thesis. The student’s advisor will serve as the defense moderator. Unless otherwise stipulated, the defense committee will be made up of tenured and tenure-track members of the Department.
As a result of the defense, a thesis might be judged fully satisfactory with no revisions requested; minor departmental revisions may be recommended; the student may be asked to make substantial revisions; or the thesis might be deemed unacceptable by departmental standards. Based on the committee’s evaluation and following the College honor system, the Department may recommend thesis students for summa cum laude, magna cum laude, or cum laude. Alternatively, the Department may deem the quality of a thesis to be insufficient for honors, in which case the student would receive rite. Latin honors are determined by the Department’s recommendation, the student’s grade point average standing in their class, and the approval of the full faculty of the College. The final version of the thesis is to be submitted to the Registrar, following College guidelines, during the last week of classes in May.