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Honors Program

The Department of American Culture Honors Program provides an opportunity for concentrators in American Culture and Latina/o Studies to complete a comprehensive, original independent project under the guidance of a faculty member as the culmination of their undergraduate studies. Applicants must have declared a major in American Culture or Latina/o Studies. They do not need to have been participants in the LSA Honors Program and do not need to be planning academic careers in American Studies or Latina/o Studies.

Eligibility and Application

American Culture and Latina/o Studies majors with an overall grade‐point average of 3.5 or higher may apply to participate in the Junior Honors Writing Workshop (AMCULT 398).  Upon successful completion of that workshop, students may apply to become Honors majors.  The process and timeline is outlined below.  In some exceptional cases, late applications to the program may be considered.  


  1. In the first semester of the junior year, students must meet with the AC undergraduate Advisor to indicate their interest in an Honors major and gain permission to enroll in AMCULT 398, the Junior Honors Writing Workshop (3 credits).  The DEADLINE for these requests is the third Friday in October.
  2. In the second semester of the junior year, students must successfully complete AMCULT 398, which involves preparing a thesis prospectus and bibliography and identifying a supervising faculty advisor and a second reader.
  3. At the end of the second semester of the junior year, students will submit an application to be accepted into the Honors Concentration.  This consists of a cover sheet, a transcript, a prospectus, and a letter of agreement from a faculty advisor.  It should be submitted to the Undergraduate Assistant.  
  4. As part of their applications, students will also schedule advising meetings with the Associate Chair.  

Successful application depends on the intellectual merits, clarity, and feasibility of the prospectus, and will result in acceptance into the Honors concentration. THE DEADLINE for applications (and requests for meetings with the Associate Chair) is April 1. Decisions will be made and students notified by April 25.

Receiving a degree

Students who have successfully completed the Honors Major must complete an Honors Major Release with the AC academic advisor, must submit an Honors Thesis Card through the LSA Honors Program, and must apply for graduation online. They complete their final graduation audits at the LSA Honors Advising office rather than the Newnan Advising Center.

The Honors Thesis

The centerpiece of the Honors Major in American Culture or Latina/o Studies is the honors thesis, a substantive independent project.  The thesis may take a variety of forms, for example, a research project, a critical or interpretive project, or a creative or performance piece.  The typical length for a research-based thesis is 60-80 pages, consisting of 2-3 chapters, an introduction, and a conclusion.  Creative and community‐based projects should include a substantive introductory essay that sets forth the premises, aims, and cultural/intellectual contexts of the student's undertaking.  The appropriate length these accompanying essays is determined by the advisor.  

Once accepted to the Honors Major, students are expected to complete their theses in coordination with their thesis advisors.  

In both semesters of the senior year, Honors students will enroll in AMCULT 493* (3 credits per semester) to research and write their theses independently, under the supervision of their advisors. OR students may opt to take AMCULT 498 in the fall (with the understanding that the major writing assignment in 498 would be a portion of the thesis), and AMCULT 493 in the winter.  Students should consult with their faculty advisors over which model is more appropriate for them.  Students taking six credits of AMCULT 493 will not receive a grade for the fall portion of the class until the entire sequence is complete.

Submission of Thesis

Students should submit three copies of the written portion of the thesis to the Undergraduate Program Assistant on or before the last Friday in March.  The American Culture office closes at 5 PM.  This submission must include a cover sheet (providing the student's name, email, and telephone number, and thesis title) and a release form for archiving the thesis on the UM Library Website.

Evaluation and grading

Each thesis will be graded by two faculty readers: the primary advisor and a second reader assigned by the Department.  The two readers determine whether the thesis meets the standards of the American Culture or Latina /o Studies Honors Major and further determine whether the student will receive Honors (approximately equivalent to an A-), High Honors (equivalent to an A) or Highest Honors (equivalent to an A+).  These equivalent grades are recorded as the grade for AMCULT 493 (including the fall term).  Students whose theses do not meet the minimum standards for an Honors major receive grades (below an A-) in AMCULT 493 and graduate with a non-honors major.  

Presentation of the Thesis

Students will make a formal presentation of their work to the department, through a graduation ceremony or workshop.  The format of these presentations will depend on the number of students in the Honors cohort.

For Students Studying Abroad in the Junior Year

Students who plan to study abroad during winter term of their junior year may still be eligible for the Honors program, but before departing they should:

  1. Establish a relationship with a faculty member who is likely to be a thesis advisor and who agrees to supervise an independent study aimed at refining a topic, developing a reading list, and writing a polished prospectus for the thesis.

  2. Discuss plans with the American Culture Undergraduate Advisor, requesting permission to substitute AMCULT 389 (Independent Reading) for AMCULT 398.

Submit an application to the Honors Program (as above) and meet with the Associate Chair before leaving Ann Arbor for Winter study abroad.

Junior Honors Calendar

Third week of October (day after Fall Break)

Deadline for requests to enroll in AMCULT 398
Winter Term Successful completion of AMCULT 398
April 1 Deadline for application to Honors Program
Mid-April Meetings with Associate Chair
April 25 Honors Admissions announced

Senior Honors Calendar

Fall Term Students elect AMCULT 493 or AMCULT 498
Dec 15, Feb 1, Mar 1 Chapter draft due dates (recommended)
Mar 15 Recommended final thesis draft
Last Friday in March, 5 PM Completed thesis due
Commencement week Honors Presentation




Schedule an appointment with the undergraduate advisor.  Please note: American Culture does not typically offer advising over the summer months. If you need an appointment during this time, please e-mail