Senior Thesis with Distinction

Senior Thesis with Distinction

We encourage all majors to write a thesis. You can earn one of two levels of  special recognition for your thesis: Distinction or High Distinction. A departmental committee will determine the level of distinction on the basis of the oral examination, the conduct of the research, and the quality of the written thesis. This committee will include your supervising professor and two other faculty members from the department.


Spanish Major: minimum 3.3 GPA overall, 3.4 in the major

Your grade point average must be sustained until graduation.

How to Apply

Students interested in this distinction should submit the application form to Professor Juan Vitulli (Undergraduate Coordinator). You must complete the application no later than the end of registration for the fall semester of your senior year. You must also approach the professor who will supervise your thesis work.

During your senior year, you will register in the FALL for Senior Research Seminar, conducted in the target language, and during this time you will choose your thesis topic and begin to develop the thesis. In the spring semester, you will register for the independent study course designated as Senior Thesis, and will complete your thesis under the direction of your supervising professor


The Senior Thesis is a written capstone project that is a requirement for this distinction for motivated seniors in the Spanish program. The Senior Thesis typically involves a significant research component, but the emphasis is still on original thought. Regardless of the nature of the project, the Senior Thesis might best be viewed as an extended essay. In formulating, researching, and writing the Thesis, students majoring in Spanish will work one-on-one with a Thesis director.

Your thesis will be a written document of approximately 40 pages in length. The thesis may be written in English or Spanish. You will defend your thesis (in Spanish) before the committee no later than the last day of the spring semester. The defense will be conducted orally and usually lasts approximately 45 minutes to an hour.

Students should begin thinking about a Thesis or Project in their third year at Notre Dame. Those who study in Spain or Latin America in the spring of their junior year may want to write to professors they might want to work with, indicating their potential thesis interests. Ideally, students will begin to research topics and prepare a reading list for the thesis during the summer before their senior year. The Department expects students to have three readers for their thesis, the advisor and two other readers. Typically, the advisor for the project will be a faculty member in Spanish, as will at least one of the secondary readers. Both advisor and student will agree on the amount of consultation required and deadlines for submitting drafts and completing readings. It is important that all parties have a clear sense of procedures and deadlines.

Students planning to write a Senior Thesis in Spanish must:

  • Submit the title and abstract of the project, along with the names and signatures of their advisor and readers by October 15th of the student’s senior year
  • Complete at least an outline and a bibliography for the project during the fall semester while taking the Senior Seminar; for many students the paper required for completion of the Senior Seminar will form part of the final thesis
  • The second semester of the senior year must be devoted to completing the writing or the project work, and a full draft of the thesis or project must be submitted to the advisor by March 15th
  • The final, complete version of the thesis or project must be submitted by April 15th. Students should submit one copy to each reader and one electronic and one hard copy to the Department.