Graduation with Distinction

The Linguistics Program has a strong tradition of supervising students who elect to write an honors thesis. Faculty are able to offer expert supervision in a wide range of areas. You will benefit from intense one-to-one supervision from dedicated and experienced educators. You should approach faculty as supervisors in the Spring semester before your final year. The thesis is written as an ‘independent study’ class which is graded, and the final thesis is awarded a level of pass, distinction, higher distinction or highest distinction.  

All proposals must be submitted to the Linguistics office in 316 Languages or by email to Edna Andrews ( and Jenni Solis (


The program consists of two courses:

  • LINGUIST 493, Research Independent Study, taken in the fall semester of the senior year, is devoted to development of the honors thesis and includes close supervision of the writing stage of the project by a faculty member selected by you.  
  • LINGUIST 450S, Senior Seminar in Linguistics, which is the capstone course required for all LIN majors.

Please write to Edna Andrews ( and Jenni Solis ( in order to register for LIN 493.


An overall GPA of 3.3 and GPA of 3.5 in the major are required.


The process for admission to the Graduation with Distinction program is initiated by the submission of a research proposal to Edna Andrews ( and Jenni Solis ( by the end of the second semester of the junior year.

Expected Product

The central requirement is an honors thesis prepared by you under faculty supervision. The thesis generally consists of three to five chapters with an extensive bibliography.

Evaluation Procedure

Completion of the thesis, its evaluation, and its defense before a three-member faculty committee warrants Graduation with Distinction.

Levels of Distinction

The honors thesis committee will decide to grant distinction and at what level (Distinction, High Distinction, Highest Distinction) based on the quality of the completed work.


Successful Honor Thesis Projects Include:

  • Bilingual Advertising and Language Choice: Factors that Mediate Bilingual Consumer Response by Renee Weisz (2021)
  • Language and Language Policy in the Former USSR: Norms and Attitudes by Leland Ben (2021)
  • Borders of the Self in the Works of Ingmar Bergman and Andrei Tarkovsky by Anna Dombrovskaya (2021)
  • Transversing Speech Communities: comedians’ use of mock language as a discourse of resistance by Hannah Folks (2021)
  • Women in STEM by Meredith Manson (2020)
  • “Do /ay/ sound Southern?”: A preliminary analysis of the status of the /ay/ monophthong in native Charlottean speech by Katherine Brookshire Owensby (2020) 
  • Doctor-patient discourse in oncology, by Amanda Kahn (2020)
  • “You don’t gotta sell out to reach bigger audiences”: Instagram as a Space for Authenticity Performance and Sincerity by Alexus Wells (2019)
  • French-origin Core Borrowings in Kabiye-French Bilingual Speech: A Study in Number Borrowings by Natasha Derezinski-Choo (2019)
  • The Dynamics of Linguistic Humor Comprehension by Taela Dudley (2017)
  • English as Capital: Language Policy in China and Migration to the U.S. for ESL Study by Becky Chao (2016)
  • Critical Discourse Analysis of Daesh’s Propaganda in English and Arabic by Tara Mooney (2016)
  • Language as a Sign: Basque Language in Constructing a Basque Nationalist Identity by Elizabeth Janicki (2015)
  • Towards an Understanding of the Neural Organization of Language in the Brain by Garrett Berk (2015)
  • Listen here!: Parents’ use of prosodic highlighting in interactions with young infants by Emily Shroads (2015)
  • Gubarev’s The Kingdom of Crooked Mirrors as a Reflection of Soviet Society: Shifts in Nationalist Rhetoric and Perception of Gender Roles 1951-1956 by Maia Hutt (2014)
  • The Effects of Pre-and Perinatal Traumatic Brain Injuries on Narrative Discourse by Emily Hadden (2011)
  • Action and Reaction: Language Policy in the Baltic States in the Post-Soviet Era by Megan Sherrell (2011)
  • Holy Hands: An Investigation of Ritual Gesture Use by Black and White Baptist Preachers in Durham, NC by Jasmine Anderson (2010)
  • Filling the Emptiness of a Stunned Inner Silence: Survivors’ memoirs of Japanese internment Camps in Indonesia during WWII by Lindsay Emery (2010)
  • Vets and Ladies: A Socio-phonetic Analysis of a Community and Its Bowling Alley by Ben Bubnovich (2010)
  • Bilingualism and the Brain: Determining the Neural Regions of Language in Fluent Spanish-English Bilinguals by Erin Luxenberg (2006)