Close menu Resources for... William & Mary
W&M menu close William & Mary


General information on Department Honors and eligibility criteria are described in the Undergraduate Catalog under Requirements for Degrees. Department Honors and Honors in Linguistics are administered through the Charles Center.

Students interested in pursuing honors in linguistics generally begin the process during their junior year. Whether or not a student is considered for honors research depends on a number of factors, including a student's background, research interests, and staffing strengths and abilities. 

Click here for the Linguistics Honors Thesis Guidelines.

The following is an outline of the steps taken:

Junior year
  • Find a thesis advisor willing to work with you.
  • Work with the advisor to find a research topic:  the topic should be worthy of a year's research, but not overly broad.
  • Circulate the idea with other linguistics faculty for feedback.  The topic must be approved by the Charles Center in the spring of the junior year to enable enrollment in INTR 495 in the fall of your senior year.
  • Apply for any necessary funding.
Summer after Junior year
  • Do background reading, field work, or research.
Senior year
  • Enroll in INTR 495 in the fall and INTR 496 in the spring.
  • Find a regular time each semester to meet with your advisor.
  • Form your committee:  in addition to your advisor, you will normally have one other linguist and a faculty member from outside of English.
  • The Charles Center has an optional program in the Spring semester allowing you to present your findings to a general audience.
  • The bulk of the background research is generally completed during the first semester.
  • The bulk of the writing is generally completed by March.
  • The thesis is generally due two weeks before the last day of classes.
  • Find a date for your defense:  the defense usually lasts an hour or two and consists of you and your committee.  Plan to spend about half an hour presenting your ideas.  The committee then asks you questions about your thesis.  At the end of the defense, the committee evaluates the result (no honors, Honors) and signs your title page.  A copy of the title page goes to the Charles Center.
  • At the end of the year, your advisor determines your grade for both semesters of INTR 495-496.
  • Make any corrections required by the committee and file the thesis.

You might want to ask your advisor for copies of theses from previous years.