Honors Program

The UC Davis Department of Linguistics conducts an Honors Program for qualified undergraduate seniors.


The academic honors program offers a means through which students can demonstrate their intellectual capabilities applicable to teaching linguistics or advancement to graduate school. Undergraduate students majoring in linguistics may qualify for academic honors in their senior year. As part of a senior honors project, a linguistics student must conduct independent research, with the guidance of a faculty advisor, and produce a scholarly written paper. 
Completion of the Linguistics Honors Program is a prerequisite for awards of high honors or highest honors at graduation.

What participating students gain

The Linguistics Honors Program is intended to give highly motivated and dedicated students:
  1. an opportunity to engage in original research and analysis; 
  2. close contact with an individual faculty mentor; and
  3. opportunities to develop skills in the writing and oral presentation of anthropological ideas and data.
Students are encouraged to present their research at the UC Davis Undergraduate Research Center's annual Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities Conference, typically held during spring quarter.


  • Eligibility
  • Undergraduate students majoring in linguistics may qualify for academic honors in their senior year by completing at least 135 units with a minimum GPA of 3.5 in courses counted toward the major. Such students are eligible to take the requisite honors seminar.Each participating student complete a thesis or research project under the direction of a faculty member. The honors project has a minimum duration of two quarters and a minimum unit value of 6. All other requirements are determined by the academic unit in question.

    In the Department of Linguistics, students wishing to participate must follow this sequence:

    1. I. Eligible students seek out a thesis director ideally by the beginning of the fall quarter of the senior year (preferably earlier) to decide on a topic and to schedule regular meetings, usually once a week. Typically the student enrolls for 3 units of LIN 194H on a P/NP (pass/no pass) basis.
    2. II. The thesis plan, which may be relatively brief, is submitted to the faculty chair of the Department of Linguistics for approval.
    3. III.   By the end of the first quarter of LIN 194H study, the basic research should be largely completed and the student must gain the thesis director's approval of a fairly detailed plan of the thesis. If satisfactory progress is made, the grade of “P” is awarded.
    4. IV. The student enrolls for 3 units of LIN 194H in the following quarter. This quarter should be spent writing the thesis and submitting drafts to the thesis director, with completion set for the end of the quarter.
    5. V. The thesis is submitted to the thesis director no later than the last week of the quarter. The advisor evaluates the thesis and makes a recommendation to the other Department of Linguistics faculty members about whether it deserves either high honors or highest honors.

    A specific length is not prescribed for the thesis. Length may vary considerably, depending on the nature of the project. A thesis incorporating data from fieldwork which requires lengthy appendices and statistical analysis may be considerably longer than one that compares theoretical approaches to a problem. The student should consult with the advisor during the writing of the thesis to determine thesis length that is appropriate for the topic.