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Spanish Honors Program

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese encourages Spanish majors to consider adding an honors option to their plan of studies. 

The Spanish honors program provides students with an exciting opportunity to develop an area of special interest in consultation with faculty members.

There are many reasons to opt for honors besides the intellectual challenge. An honors student is offered a foretaste of graduate school, while enhancing his/her academic standing as an undergraduate. The B.A. diploma will carry the citation “With Honors” or “With High Honors.” The honors distinction enhances chances for nomination for the Dean's Senior Scholar Award and is a solid recommendation for acceptance into the UMD Language House. These are just a few of the benefits which participation in honors offers.


Students must have an overall GPA of 3.0 and a GPA of 3.5 in the major and must be recommended by a member of the regular faculty to be accepted into the departmental honors program. To remain in the program, students must also maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 and a GPA of 3.5 in the major. Transfer students with equivalent academic standing at an accredited institution must also meet these eligibility requirements. Under exceptional circumstances, these acceptance requirements may be waived by the honors director. Students may drop the honors program without losing any credits acquired. It is strongly recommended that progress towards the honor option program begin by the junior year.

Program Requirements

  1. At least two upper-level courses must be taken either in the "H" version or as honors with permission of the instructor. 
  2. In addition to those courses regularly taken for the major, the honors student will enroll in SPAN479 (Honors Thesis), for a total of 6 credits, split over two semesters.
  3. Oral presentation of honors thesis in front of a departmental committee.


(1) Contact the departmental honors director (below) to communicate your intent to pursue the honors option after receiving the approval of a professor who will sponsor your candidacy.

Be sure to complete your honors advising form:

Prof. José M. Naharro-Calderón
Jiménez Hall 2102
(301) 405-6455 |

(2) Select two upper-level classes (ideally during different semesters) that you would like to apply towards your honors credits. This means that you must have a separate working agenda from the rest of class and engage in an individual research project. Then, take the following steps:

  • You must have the consent and approval of the professor teaching the class by submitting a written proposal of your research plan.
  • Download the Honors Option Contract Proposal

Fill in the information and sign it. Also have the professor with whom you are working sign the form.

Send the complete proposal to Dr. Traci Dula ( after the approval by the SPAP honors director.

(3) You will write a 35-50 page honors thesis during your senior year. These are the preparation steps:

  • Register for SPAN479, an independent honors thesis course during the last two semesters of your undergraduate career (total credits: 6).
  • Before entering your senior year, contact a faculty member with whom you have or hope to establish a mentor/mentee relationship. You will propose a topic of study in close consultation with the faculty member and begin to research your project.
  • You must turn in the final draft of your thesis during your last semester (December 1 or May 1). This will allow sufficient time for scheduling an oral presentation before the last day of classes.

Spanish Honors Thesis Examination

All honors examinations in Spanish must be open to all University of Maryland students and faculty as detailed below and shall be publicized through the director of SPAP honors. The honors thesis committee will consist of three tenured, tenure-track faculty and/or professional track faculty: the honors thesis advisor as director and two other faculty (one of them may be from outside SPAP). The honors thesis examination, to be held before the last day of classes, will consist of two parts:       

Part 1 will be a public presentation by the candidate on the main aspects of the research reported in the thesis. During Part 1, the public may consist of any University of Maryland students and faculty. Questions from the audience to the candidate will be permitted, and the chair of the honors thesis examining committee will have discretion to decide whether such questions are germane to the topic of the thesis and how much time will be allotted for the answers. Questions from non-UMD persons will not be permitted unless invited by the chair of the honors thesis examining committee.

Part 2 will be a formal examination of the candidate by the honors thesis examination committee. This part will be open only to the honors thesis examination committee, other members of the UMD faculty, SPAP graduate students as well as UMD and SPAP honors students. During Part 2, only members of the honors thesis examination committee will be permitted to ask questions. 

Attendance at the final discussion and vote will be limited to the members of the honors thesis examining committee. Grading will consist of either “honors” or "high honors.”