Columbia SPPO

Departmental Honors and Prizes

The Honors Program

Majors interested in competing for departmental honors should take the Senior Seminar in the fall of their senior year. Toward the end of the fall semester, the Director of Undergraduate Studies will ask seniors to produce a proposal for a senior thesis if they are inclined to undertake the exercise.-This should be a 3-5 pages essay clearly establishing a preliminary corpus and a theoretical frame-. After reviewing the proposals, the faculty will invite a small number of majors to compete for honors based on the strength of the proposal, the quality of the research paper produced in the Senior Seminar, and the overall academic record in the department.

In order to be considered for departmental honors, a student must maintain a GPA of at least 3.6 in major courses. An invitation to pursue the honors track is not a guarantee that honors will be awarded. Please keep in mind that, according to Columbia College rules, no more than 10% of the majors graduating in a department or program may be awarded departmental honors.

Students who accept the invitation to pursue the honors track will enroll in an independent-study course in the spring (Spanish W3998; "Supervised Individual Research") and will undertake a research project with a faculty member during their last semester at Columbia that will result in the drafting of the thesis. This faculty member does not need to be the professor from whom the student took the Senior Seminar. Students must identify as early as possible a faculty member who is willing to supervise their project and who will assign the final grade for the course. The independent study course taken in the spring will count toward the number of courses required to fulfill the major. Students may develop further and expand the paper produced in the Senior Seminar or a paper produced for another course, or undertake a new project in consultation with the faculty sponsor.

The honors project should be a research paper that addresses a substantive topic arrived at in consultation with the adviser. It should advance a significant argument and be informed by a well-articulated theoretical framework. It should be approximately 30-35 pages in length, include a bibliography of works cited, and be written in Spanish or Portuguese. Students who base their thesis on a previously written paper will be required to expand their text accordingly. They also must abide by the formatting specifications for the senior thesis.

Three hard copies of the thesis should be deposited in the mailbox of the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the department's main office (Casa Hispánica 101) by the announced deadline. Departmental honors will be granted to those students whose work is deemed deserving by a committee of faculty members that will be constituted for that purpose by the DUS.

For the 2013-14 academic year,the due date for senior thesis proposals will be December 1st, 2013. The completed thesis will be due on April 18th, 2014.Theses handed in after the deadline will not be considered for honors.

For more information, contact the department's Director of Undergraduate Studies.


The faculty also awards two prizes every year:

  • Susan Huntington Vernon Prize: Established in 1941 by a member of the noted family of New York Hispanophiles, it is given to the Columbia College senior major who has demonstrated excellence in the study of Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American languages and cultures.
  • Dr. Antonio G. Mier Prize: Awarded for excellence in Hispanic Studies to a major degree candidate in the School of General Studies at Columbia University.