The Honors Program in Linguistics offers qualified majors the opportunity to undertake independent research during their senior year under the direction of a faculty member. In order to enter the Honors Program, a student must have a 3.0 grade average in all courses taken at Dartmouth College and an average of 3.3 for courses with the major. For a list of prior students' honors theses, see Past Honors Theses.

Honors Program in Linguistics

The program in Linguistics encourages all qualified majors in Linguistics to participate in the Honors Program during their senior year. The program consists of extensive independent research beyond the program's degree requirements (though up to two credits can be earned by participating), and typically concludes with the completion of an Honors Thesis. Majors who choose to participate in the Honors Program are provided with the opportunity to investigate theoretical issues and empirical phenomena at a level far more intensive than is possible in a typical undergraduate course.


The minimum requirement for admission to the Honors Program is a grade average of 3.3 for courses taken in the major and of 3.0 for all courses taken at the College.
Students who are ineligible for the Honors Program, or who cannot participate for other reasons, but do wish to pursue a topic in depth, should consult an adviser about the possibilities of doing research in the form of an independent study.

The Honors Thesis

An Honors Thesis is not a long term paper. Instead, it must reflect a command of the scholarly literature relevant to the thesis topic, proficiency in the tools and techniques of the relevant discipline, and evidence of a distinct point of view which is the result of the student's own reasoning process and dedicated research. The form of an Honor's Thesis is also important; it must be a carefully planned and well-written piece.

Working closely with a faculty member is a crucial part of the Honors Program. Before applying to the Honors Program in Linguistics, you must discuss the proposed project with an adviser and obtain the adviser's tentative approval regarding the feasibility of the project. Any student who is working with an adviser whose primary area of research and/or training is not linguistics is required to consult with Linguistics faculty member before submitting a thesis proposal.


In order to be accepted into the Honors Program a student must submit a proposal to the chair of the Program in Linguistics. This proposal (or prospectus) should present a succinct outline of the research project. It should:

  • Give a clear statement of purpose.
  • Define the parameters of the topic to be investigated.
  • Outline the procedures to be used in investigating the topic (e.g., the design of the experiments to be used, or the methodology employed to gather linguistic data).
  • Outline a realistic schedule for completion.
  • Include a bibliography which demonstrates an awareness of the relevant literature.
  • Include the name of a principal advisor who has agreed to serve and will be on campus for the two terms of the project.

The proposal will be reviewed by Linguistics as a plan for the future, not a finished project. The program may accept or reject the proposal, or accept it with modifications. Proposals will be rejected if the project is not clearly defined or seems difficult to implement or conclude. If the department accepts a proposal with modifications, there is no need for the student to resubmit it provided that he/she agrees to the modifications. The department will also assign a second reader for each project. This reader will serve as an additional source of advice and expertise and will share in the task of evaluating the student's final product.

Students should be aware that the department's acceptance of a proposal is not a guarantee that the completed project will earn honors.