The Department of Spanish & Portuguese offers students who have demonstrated high academic excellence the opportunity to complete a department honors project during their senior year. Students are encouraged to conduct original independent research or creative work in any area related to Hispanic language, literatures, and cultures and to interdisciplinary studies that integrate the Hispanic world, for which the department and college have adequate resources and expertise.
Students are advised to begin their planning for the honors program as early as possible in their studies in order to meet the requirements of the program and to begin well-focused preliminary work by the second semester of their junior year.
The Study Abroad Factor
Because a major in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese requires a semester of study abroad, it is important to think about a potential Honors Project as early as the sophomore year. If you study abroad in the fall of your junior year, you will need to begin work immediately upon your return to campus in the spring, contacting an advisor and settling on a topic. If you study abroad in the spring of your junior year, you should be working via email with an advisor, laying the groundwork for your project and ensuring that you meet all deadlines during the latter part of your abroad term. Consider contacting an advisor before you go abroad.
Students must fulfill the following requirements for admission to the honors program in the Macalester College Department of Spanish & Portuguese:
An overall grade point average of at least 3.30 and a grade point average in Spanish & Portuguese coursework of at least 3.50.
Prior to graduation, honors program participants must have completed all requirements for a major in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese. Successful completion of the honors program may be substituted for the Senior Seminar, upon approval of the Department Chair.
Prior to beginning work on the honors project, the student will have completed SPAN 305 and 307 or 308 or 309, or their equivalents.
Application Procedure and Timetable
No Later than April 15 of the applicant’s junior year, the student must submit an honors project proposal to the project advisor nominated in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese. The proposal should include the following:
1.) A statement of the project thesis or outline of creative work. It is expected that students who plan to integrate study abroad experience with their research will submit this statement well before leaving for their semester abroad.
2.) Methods of research or thorough outline of creative production. This should include the following:
a.) The type of research or the nature of the creative work proposed.
b.) The location(s) of the proposed honors project research/creative activity.
c.) A detailed summary of work already completed toward the project.
3.) A statement of purpose that indicates the relevance of the project to the student’s academic development and/or personal career.
4.) A timetable for research and writing of the project.
5.) Nomination of a primary faculty advisor and other advisors (on or off campus).
6.) A bibliography that reflects familiarity with the tools of research necessary to complete the project.
No later than September 15 of the senior year the student must submit a progress report to the faculty advisor(s), including a revised bibliography.
No later than January 15 of the senior year the student must submit a five to ten page overview and summary of the project to the primary faculty advisor. The faculty advisor will distribute a copy of this work to the department faculty, as well as any other official advisors, who will consider the quality and the progress of the work and determine in a timely manner whether the project should be allowed to continue.
No later than April 15 of the senior year the student must submit full copies of the project to each faculty advisor. A presentation and defense of the project before members of the Department of Spanish & Portuguese will be scheduled for the following week. The faculty of the Department of Spanish & Portuguese will determine whether the project adequately meets the criteria for approval and will convey its decision to the candidate in a timely manner. If approved, a second presentation of the project will then be made to fellow students in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese and from other areas of interest.
Subject to Department approval, in May of the senior year honors will be awarded.
Some Points of Clarification
The final written product of the honors program in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese will usually consist of a research paper or creative work of about 70–100 pages in length and of professional quality. Although honors projects in the past have had a traditional typeface-on-paper look to them, the emergence of new digital technologies enables formats hitherto untested, and students should feel free to consider alternative forms of expression. Whatever the project, the student will be accountable to high academic standards of quality in all areas to be assessed.
Final projects may include literary scholarship, linguistic studies, pedagogical studies, and creative writing, which may include literary translation. Final projects may also be interdisciplinary in their approach. It is expected that the majority of final projects will be written in Spanish. Projects may be written in English with good cause, upon the approval of the primary advisor and the department faculty.
The student will work closely with the primary faculty advisor of the honors project, but final approval and the award of honors can be granted only by a majority vote of the full-time, permanent faculty in residence.