Honors in Linguistics

The Department of Linguistics, in accordance with the requirements for Departmental Honors that was passed by the Faculty of Arts and Science in Spring, 2005, offers an Honors Degree in Linguistics. The requirement for graduation with Honors in Linguistics is an Honors Thesis of 40-50 pages in length, typically the culmination of a year’s work, and two courses designated as Honors courses.

Students who are excelling in the linguistics major are highly encouraged to develop an Honors’ project as early as the second semester of their sophomore year, even though students do not officially apply to the Honors Program until the second semester of their junior year. It is expected that students who pursue Honors work in the Department of Linguistics have sufficient study (i.e., high-level coursework) in an area of interest, which is usually not the case for joint majors in French/German/Italian & Linguistics.

Admission to the Honors Program requires an application in the second semester of the Junior year. It normally requires a GPA of 3.65 overall and in Linguistics, but this requirement can be waived by the CAS Director of College Honors in exceptional circumstances by petition from the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

The application must be made by April 15 to the Director of Undergraduate Studies. The application consists of the form and a one- to two-page description of the topic that the student wishes to investigate in the thesis. The student must identify a faculty member in Linguistics who has agreed to work with the student. The description of the thesis is written in consultation with the faculty advisor. The student will be notified by May 1 about acceptance into the Honors program.

The Honors Experience

The Honors program in Linguistics requires that students have a two-term (8-point total) experience that includes a capstone research project.  The capstone project, which typically culminates in a thesis, should reflect original research over two semesters. The two courses required for an honors experience can be drawn from the following:

a) undergraduate courses which are designated as satisfying the honors requirement (e.g., Research on Current Topics in Linguistics, an Advanced Seminar Topics on Current Topics; students are also encouraged to contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies (linguistics.dus@nyu.edu), program coordinators, or faculty members to inquire about courses that satisfy this requirement);

b) graduate courses;

c) an independent study that includes directed reading with a faculty and leads to a term paper or contributes to student's honors theses research.  (NB: at most, one independent study can be applied toward the requirement).

The Dean’s Undergraduate Research Fund (DURF) at NYU offers financial support to students interested in pursuing research. Freshman, Sophomores and Juniors are encouraged to apply for these grants to develop a linguistic interest or skill. Students should consider using the independent study option for completion (research and writing) of the Honors thesis. Once accepted into the Honors Program, it is expected that all students meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to create an individualized plan for completion.

The student must have a primary faculty advisor for the Honors Thesis, as well as a second reader who will be determined in consultation with the faculty advisor. The final thesis should be submitted to the faculty advisor no later than April 1. Honors also includes an oral component which can take the form of a discussion with the two advisors or an oral presentation of the results of one’s research.

There are three levels of grading for the Honors Thesis: honors, high honors, and highest honors. The grade and final manuscript is to be submitted to the Director of Undergraduate Studies by April 15.

Joint Honors

The Department of Linguistics offers Joint Honors in all programs for which it offers joint majors- Language and Mind, Anthropology and Linguistics, German and Linguistics, French and Linguistics, Spanish and Linguistics, and Italian and Linguistics.

For the requirements of Joint Honors in Anthropology and Linguistics, students should contact Dr. Renée Blake.

Students in the Language and Mind major should contact the Coordinators for the two departments for advising. The requirements for Language and Mind include the same procedure for Honors in Linguistics, except that students' proposals should identify faculty members from two departments in the Language and Mind major (Linguistics, Philosophy, and Psychology), and these two faculty members will be co-advisors.

Students interested in pursuing Joint Honors in Linguistics and French, German, Italian, or Spanish should consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies for Linguistics as well as the other department in the second semester of their junior year. Again, it is expected that students who pursue Honors work in the Department of Linguistics have sufficient study (i.e., high-level coursework) in an area of interest, which is usually not the case for joint majors in French/German/Italian/Spanish & Linguistics.