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If you are qualified, you may be admitted to a program of advanced study in the beginning or middle of your junior year (or at the beginning of your senior year following participation in a junior year study-abroad program), leading to the degree of Bachelor of Arts with Honors in your Romance language of study.

Information true for all RLL honors majors can be found below. Information specific to each language can be found in the menu to the left.

Requirements for admission to any RLL honors major

  • Students meet the pre-acceptance requirements for the language(s) of study (found on the language specific information page)
  • Students must contact the current honors advisor for their language(s) of study toward the end of their junior year
  • Students must select a faculty advisor whose research interests are closely aligned with theirs to supervise their honor thesis
  • Students must complete the honors major application form (which includes the honor thesis proposal) for their language(s) of study (applications are found on the language specific information page)

French Honors Requirements

Italian Honors Requirements

Romance Languages Honors Requirements

Spanish Honors Requirements

For questions, write to or call 734-647-2230



Students are expected to present evidence of superior language skills and a serious interest in research involving the language(s) and culture(s) of study

Students will complete the normal major requirements along with their honors concentration work


  • Thesis length is determined by the requirements of the language(s) (information on thesis length is found on the language specific information page)
  • Students should determine faculty advisor expectations, including number of drafts and due dates for drafts, before starting their thesis project
  • In addition to their own research, students will be assigned readings relating to their topic of research by their faculty advisor
  • Students should expect to meet with their faculty advisor a minimum of 2x in fall term and 2-3x in winter term (NOTE: this is determined by the student's faculty advisor)
  • Final drafts of student theses should be completed and reviewed by late-February/ early-March during the student's final term
  • Upon completion of their thesis, students will have a 1-hour discussion of their thesis and their assigned readings with their faculty advisor and an additional faculty member (NOTE: students are welcome to invite family and friends to their thesis defense)

When to Apply

The deadline for applications (which includes the thesis proposal) is the third Monday in February of the year prior to the start of a student's senior year.

Applications are to be submitted to:

Dept Romance Languages and Literatures
Attn: Linda Burger
4108 Modern Languages Bldg
812 East Washington Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1275

Honors Advisors

French - Prof William Paulson

Italian - Prof Alison Cornish

Romance Languages & Literatures - Prof Juli Highfill

Spanish - Prof Enrique García Santo-Tomás

NOTE: Students should contact before contacting the Honors Advisor.

Finding a Faculty Advisor

Students are encouraged to select a faculty member whose research interests most closely matches their own to become their faculty advisor. Many students ask faculty that they have studied with previously. However, students should contact the honors advisor in their language of study, if they cannot find a suitable faculty member.

Faculty profiles, including faculty areas of research can be found in the faculty directory.

Conducting Research

Questions regarding research techniques and assistance should be directed to a student's faculty advisor.

Students are expected to conduct their research during the fall term of their senior year.

Library Research Guides

Language-specific research guides and contact information for RLL librarian liaisons can be found here.

Sample Thesis Schedule

January (winter term, junior year)

  • Students interested in the honor thesis program should contact the current honors advisor, as well as find a suitable faculty advisor

February (winter term, junior year)

  • Students apply to the program
  • Deadline for applications is the third Monday in February

September (fall term, senior year)

  • Students are to be enrolled in ROMLANG 498 for fall term
  • Students begin research for their thesis

October (fall term, senior year)

  • Students should meet at least 1x with their faculty advisor and determine where they are with their research

December (fall term, senior year)

  • Students should meet at least 1x with their faculty advisor to discuss their research

January (winter term, senior year)

  • Students should present the 1st draft of their thesis to their faculty advisor
  • Additional readings to be used for the thesis defense are selected and assigned by the faculty advisor

Early-February (winter term, senior year)

  • Students should present the 2nd draft of their thesis to their faculty advisor

Late-February (winter term, senior year)

  • Students should present the final draft of their thesis to their faculty advisor and schedule defense of their project

March (winter term, senior year)

  • Student defends their project before their faculty advisor and a second reader

April (winter term, senior year)

  • Students that have successfully completed their thesis and passed their defense will be acknowledged at the annual RLL Spring Reception for Graduating Majors. Information on the event will be sent to the student in advance

Honor Thesis Examples

Below are examples of the title page, table of contents, and bibliography expected for the honors thesis. Examples provided courtesy of Erin O'Keefe '10.)

sample title page

sample table of contents

sample bibliography