From Kafka to Soccer

A semester-long independent study or the two-semester honors thesis offers you the opportunity for you to pursue a research topic of your choosing.

For the honors thesis, you must have maintained a 3.5 average in the German major for courses at or above the 200 level from your sophomore year on; otherwise you must petition the department for an exception. Students who receive a grade of "A" or "A-" for the thesis graduate with honors in German.

If you think you are passionate enough about a topic, you should begin talking to the faculty member you would like to work with as early as possible. Independent studies and honors theses must be arranged to fit the schedule and existing responsibilities of the supervising faculty member, and you will have to negotiate this with that faculty member yourself. The length, typically from 30 to 80 pages, depending on the language, and whether independent study or honor thesis, the precise topic, the method of research, and, in the case of the honors thesis, the thesis committee: these are all matters you must discuss with your adviser.

No later than one week before the beginning of pre-registration, you must submit a two to three-page proposal with a working bibliography, and, for the honors thesis, readers for the thesis committee.

In recent years students have worked on a variety of topics:

  • Soccer and national identity
  • Bergen-Belsen and the development of international law
  • The nineteenth-century novella
  • Multilingualism and the successful multilingual polity in Switzerland
  • Kafka

Learn more about Honors/Independent Study and read the College's official guidelines.