Application Process

Application Procedure

Students who wish to participate in the honors thesis program must follow these guidelines:

  1. Determine that you will have successfully completed five courses 30-level or above before the end of your junior year.
  2. Determine that you meet the minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.3 for all Dartmouth courses, and 3.5 in the major.
  3. Obtain a faculty advisor. (Check the department web page for information on faculty interests. Your thesis advisor may or may not be the same person as your Academic Advisor.)
  4. Fill out and print the application form and write a thesis proposal. Both need to be handed in to the department administrator by April 30. The application form and the proposal must be signed by your primary advisor.
  5. Ideally you will enroll in SPAN 90 or PORT 90 in the fall of your senior year, and SPAN 91 or PORT 91 in the winter.
  6. If you will be away on an FSP or LSA during spring term of your junior year, you are encouraged to complete your application by the end of winter term. Extensions will not be given on account of FSP or LSA participation.

Download the Application Form. Make sure to print it and submit three copies.

The Thesis Proposal

The honors thesis proposal should be between 3-5 pages in length, have a tentative title and chapter titles, chapter descriptions and provide a bibliography of at least fifteen entries. The proposal should answer the following questions:

  1. What is your research topic?
  2. What is the central question you will examine?
  3. Why is it important and interesting?
  4. What is your (preliminary) answer to the question or interpretation of the text?
  5. What are the competing answers/interpretations?
  6. What theoretical approaches and/or modes of analysis will guide your research?
  7. How will you structure and organize your thesis? (A thesis usually includes an introduction, three to five chapters of between 25-30 pages each, and a conclusion.)
  8. Will you need to travel as part of your research? How will you schedule this travel and how will you obtain funding for it (departmental funds, Dickey Center, Dean of Faculty Office, etc.)? Once your proposal is approved, you are encouraged to apply for departmental research funds by filling out the application form and including a detailed budget proposal.
  9. Enclose a preliminary bibliography (minimum 15 sources).
  10. The Spanish and Portuguese Department will also consider proposals for projects that are not primarily focused on literary analysis in Spanish or Portuguese, such as media projects, performance/theater, creative writing, and bilingual/English-language theses.

Criteria for Proposal Approval

Once the Spanish and Portuguese Department receives the proposals, the faculty will use the following criteria to approve the project:

  1. The proposal clearly articulates a compelling research/interpretive question.
  2. The student’s approach coherently addresses the nature of the project’s topic and central question.
  3. The proposal anticipates the structure of the thesis and how each section is relevant to the central question.
  4. The bibliography includes—in addition to the primary texts—carefully selected materials that cover historical, theoretical, critical, and, if appropriate, biographical areas of inquiry.

Students and advisors will be notified promptly if the proposal has been approved. If the department requests changes and/or clarifications, the student must submit the revised proposal no later than two days before the department’s last meeting of the spring term (consult with Jillene Syphus for the schedule. If a student’s proposal is not approved, the department will recommend that the project become an independent study.