The German Studies Program strongly encourages qualified students to undertake an honors thesis in their final year, which consists of a substantial essay based on independent research under faculty supervision. Students should consider this option especially if they wish to apply to graduate school in the humanities, social sciences, and law.
Students are admitted to the honors program by faculty recommendation. To be eligible for the honors thesis, students must be in good academic standing, have advanced German reading and writing proficiency, and a GPA of at least 3.75.
Students are required to develop the topic of their honors thesis in close collaboration with faculty. The topic has to be related to the field of German Studies broadly conceived: German-speaking culture, literature, art, and music, as well as philosophy, history, and politics from the early modern period to the present. The thesis is a research thesis and must address a problem or question that is of current relevance in the candidate's chosen field of interest.
An honors thesis is normally 40-45 pages in length and written in English. It must be accompanied by an abstract in German of 3-5 pages. The thesis will be read by two examiners, and students also take part in a 30 minute thesis defense.
Students who have successfully completed an honors thesis in German Studies are eligible to apply for the annual Distinction in Research and Creative Work award. In order to be considered for the award the application must be supported by a letter of recommendation from a faculty member, i.e., usually the thesis advisor.