Programs / Undergraduate

Honors Thesis and Prizes

We envision the Honors Thesis as an intellectually challenging and rewarding experience that perfects four years of undergraduate studies with an original contribution in the field chosen by the student, one that can eventually bear fruits whatever path the student decides to take in the future. To write an Honors Thesis is not a requirement—it is a choice. LAIC professors will support students by helping them to shape their research topic, and provide them with constant advising during the research and redaction period.

Creating a thematic and finding an advisor in the Junior year

During their Junior year, students will take into consideration the possibility of writing an Honors Thesis in their Senior year. The Thesis thematic usually originates in a course taken at LAIC or in the Study Abroad Programs. Students should consult with the faculty members that are in dialogue with the desired theme of research in order to discuss their project and to determine the appropriate advisor. You can view the profile of LAIC professors in our faculty webpage.  Students can also schedule a meeting (or, if the student is studying abroad, a Skype conversation) with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to be advised about which faculty members to consult.

By May, 15th of their Junior year, students send a formal thesis proposal to the DUS. This includes: title and abstract; the name of the proposed advisor; and if they want to pursue some research during the summer, students may apply for partially supporting funds from the College or the department. In this case, a budget proposal is requested from the student.

By May 30th, the Honors Thesis committee discusses the proposals and informs the students of their decision.

Researching and writing the Honors thesis in the Senior year

“During their Senior year, senior students writing an Honors Thesis work under the direction of their adviser. They enroll in a “Supervised Independent Study” (SPAN 3998) with their advisor. The independent study will be considered completed only once the student has submitted the Honors thesis; it will then count as a 3 points course and will figure among elective courses for the purposes of the major.”

By April 15th of their Senior year, students complete and present their Honors Thesis for the honors and prizes. They submit it in three hard copies, respecting the formatting specifications provided below.

By May 1st the Honors Thesis committee informs the students of the outcome of their decision. Honors and prizes are assigned. The committee will provide publishing options to students whose work has resulted in a highly original scholarship piece.

An example of a LAIC Honors Thesis that turned into a peer-reviewed publication can be found here.

Honors Thesis and Senior Seminar

The Senior Seminar is a requirement for all LAIC Majors in their senior year. It is a thematic research course that is not specifically related to the thesis process and that requires a substantial essay on the theme of the seminar. Honors Thesis writers need to take the Senior Seminar in the Fall, in order to devote the Spring to the writing of their Honors thesis.

Formatting specifications

The Honors Thesis length should be between 40 and 50 pages. The main text should be double spaced; extended in-text quotations and all footnotes should be single spaced. Do not right justify the text. All pages should have one-inch margins all around and a header with the author’s last name and the page number. Use MLA-style format throughout.

Include a cover page with the following information centered on the page: the author’s full name, the title of the thesis, and the name of the advisor.

Three copies of the thesis should be forwarded to the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Seth Kimmel (, by April, 15.


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 Latin American and Iberian 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.


Last Updated 6 years ago