EALC Honors

Rewarding exemplary work

EALC awards Departmental Honors to majors as an acknowledgment of exemplary work in the major.  This notation will appear on the transcript, but not the diploma.  There are three categories of Departmental Honors: Distinction, High Distinction, Highest Distinction in East Asian Languages & Cultures.

EALC Departmental Honors

  • Student application required.
  • Prime and second majors are eligible.
  • Students seeking “High” or “Highest Distinction in EALC” must complete the requirements of the Department’s Latin Honors program (either track).
  • For all EALC Honors, students must participate actively in Department-run or recommended events, such as special lectures, conferences/symposia, workshops, or films.

Distinction in EALC:

  • Must have a within-major GPA of ≥ 3.65 at the time of graduation, and not have participated in the department’s Latin Honors program.

High Distinction in EALC:

  • Must have a within-major GPA of 3.65 to 3.85 at the time of graduation, and have participated in the department’s Latin Honors program.

Highest Distinction in EALC:

  • Must have within-major GPA of ≥ 3.86 at the time of graduation, and have participated in the department’s Latin Honors program.

Latin Honors

  • Three levels of Latin honors (cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude) are granted by the Washington University for undergraduate work that deserves special recognition. Latin Honors are awarded by the College of Arts & Sciences and are, therefore, attached to the degree, not to the major. These honors are printed on the diploma and on the transcript (with the degree information).
  • Student must apply by March 31 of the junior year.
  • Invitation to the Honors Program requires overall and within-major GPA ≥ 3.65.  Must maintain overall GPA ≥ 3.65 through either semester.
  • Level of Latin Honors received will depend upon GPA cut-offs at the College level.
  • Refer to the EALC Senior Honors Thesis Guidelines for details on applying to the department's Latin Honors.

College Honors

  • This designation is noted on a student’s transcript (in the “Milestones” section) and is automatically awarded to all Arts & Sciences students who graduate with an 8th-semester, overall GPA of 3.5 or higher and who have not participated in a department’s Latin Honors program. In other words, it is not possible for a student to receive both the “College Honors” designation and a (level of) Latin Honors.


Students can earn both College Honors and “Distinction in EALC,” subject to meeting the requirements of both designations.
Students can earn both Latin Honors and “High Distinction in EALC” or “Highest Distinction in EALC” subject to meeting the requirements of both designations.



Suggested Timeline

for completing an honors project in EALC

Spring semester of junior year

By March 31: choose topic, attain Thesis Advisor’s approval, submit Proposal for Admission to EALC Latin Honors Program form


Preliminary research and draft prospectus

Fall semester of senior year

By September 1: submit prospectus and by the day before Thanksgiving break: submit preliminary draft to advisor

Spring semester of senior year

By the first day of the spring semester: submit completed draft to Thesis Advisor; by February 1: receive feedback from Thesis Advisor; by March 1: submit final draft to committee members; Mid-March: hold oral defense; Late March: show revisions to advisor (and Readers, as necessary); April 15: submit final draft to Thesis Advisor and departmental office; end of spring semester: presentation in EALC Senior Symposium

Senior Honors

Qualified majors (students who have maintained a GPA of ≥ 3.65 through the sixth semester) are encouraged to apply for Senior Honors before the end of the junior year.  Majors must register for L81 486 Independent Work for Senior Honors (3 units) in the fall semester and L81 487 Independent Work for Senior Honors (3 units) in the spring semester. Honors work will be supervised by a three-member departmental Honors committee, which plans with each student special language work as needed and an independent Honors research paper. Each student must also have a primary honor's advisor who is responsible, in consultation with the other members of the committee, for assigning the final grades for 486 and 487.

Senior Honors Thesis Guidelines

Invitation to Senior Honors

Majors in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALC) who have maintained a GPA of 3.65 or higher are invited to work towards Senior Honors by writing an honor's thesis. The Proposal for Admission to the EALC Latin Honors Program form must be submitted by March 31 of the junior year.  Prior to writing the thesis the student must submit a clearly articulated research Prospectus to his/her Primary Honors Thesis Advisor and the EALC chair. After receiving departmental approval, the student must satisfactorily complete a Senior Honor's thesis in order to be recommended to the College Office for Honors.

Senior Honor's Thesis

The Senior Honor's thesis is a research project or critical translation that is significantly larger than the usual term paper. It is usually approximately fifty pages long. Examples are available in the departmental office. In writing the thesis, the candidate is expected to make use of both primary and secondary materials and to demonstrate critical and analytical skills. Use of some sources in the candidate's major or language of study is highly encouraged and may be required by the advisor. Proper citation of sources and clear and consistent stylistic format will also be expected.

Selection of Primary Thesis Advisor & of Topic

The student is responsible for designating a Primary Honors Thesis Advisor from among the EALC faculty. The student should identify the faculty member whose expertise most closely relates to the proposed thesis topic in his/her sixth semester. Students who plan to study abroad their Junior Year should consult with their academic advisor prior to their departure about preparing for Honors. The student must then ensure that the faculty member will be willing to work with him/her on the proposed topic. (Students should note that faculty members periodically take leaves-of-absence and may not be available during the semester when the student intends to complete the thesis.)

Student's and Advisor's Responsibilities

The responsibilities of the honors' candidate include: adhering to the agreed-upon research and writing plan; seeking out the thesis advisor for help when needed; meeting agreed-upon deadlines; and abiding by the guidelines outlined in the Statement of Student Academic Integrity in the course listings and in the college bulletin. Responsibilities of the primary thesis advisor include: setting up regular meetings with the candidate; helping the candidate design a research and writing plan; monitoring the candidate's progress through meetings and periodic drafts; offering feedback in a timely fashion.

The Prospectus

Once the Proposal for Admission to the EALC Honors Program has been approved, the student should begin to work with the Thesis Advisor to draft a prospectus. The summer months should be used to collect data and compile a bibliography under the supervision of the Thesis Advisor. To the extent possible, students should incorporate reference materials—both primary and secondary sources—in the focus language. The prospectus should outline the central goals of the study and describe the methods and procedures to be employed in meeting those goals, as well as a preliminary bibliography.

The prospectus should be submitted to the Thesis Advisor by September 1. Failure to meet this deadline date will result in removal from the Honors program.

When the prospectus has been approved by the Thesis Advisor, the student must then submit it to the two Readers for their approval. Consultation with the Readers may necessitate changes in the thesis prospectus.


The student should present the Thesis Advisor with a preliminary draft of the thesis by the day before Thanksgiving break. Naturally, this draft will still be in need of substantial revision, but it will give the Thesis Advisor the opportunity to provide guidance and advice. Students will continue to refine their arguments and approaches accordingly. If the student’s progress is satisfactory, a grade of CR (Pass) will be assigned for the fall Honors course.

By the beginning of the spring semester, the student should submit a complete draft to the Thesis Advisor. The Advisor will return the draft to the student in a timely fashion so that the student will have sufficient time to incorporate the Advisor’s comments.

By March 1 of the spring semester, candidates should, with the approval of the Thesis Advisor, submit the final draft of the thesis to the two Readers.

Planning the Defense

It is the student’s responsibility to arrange a date and time in mid-March when the Thesis Committee can meet for the oral defense. The student should make these arrangements no later than a month prior to the planned defense, and do so in consultation with the Thesis Advisor and the departmental office.

The Defense

The defense should take no more than one hour, and is intended primarily as an opportunity for assessment. The student will be asked to describe his/her project briefly, after which the Thesis Committee will ask questions, seek clarification, and if needed, make recommendations for revisions. On the basis of this assessment, the Committee will also determine whether or not the candidate should be recommended to the College Office for Latin Honors.


Based on the Committee’s responses at the defense, the student will be asked to revise the thesis accordingly. If the thesis does not meet the Committee’s standards for Honors, the student may request that the Honors Course be considered an Independent Study, and assessed accordingly.

Students whose theses pass the defense may be asked to do a number of revisions and submit a final draft to the Thesis Advisor. Depending on the degree of revisions required, it might be necessary to submit the revised draft to the whole Committee for approval. Therefore, it is very important that students allow for this possibility when completing their drafts and scheduling their defenses.

Submission of Theses

When a student has successfully incorporated the revisions recommended by the Committee and has secured the approval of the Thesis Advisor, a final draft should be submitted to the EALC office by April 15. The final draft should be bound, double-spaced, using standard font size (10-12 point) and standard margins.

With satisfactory completion of the thesis, the Thesis Advisor will then change the CR (Pass) grade to a letter grade for the fall Senior Honors course.

Students will present their Honors thesis at the EALC Senior Symposium at the end of the spring semester.


Students who successfully complete and defend the Honors Thesis will be recommended for Honors. Please note: the College determines the type of Honors the student will receive, based on the student's grade point average (cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude). Also, please note that transfer students must have earned at least 40 graded units within the five residential undergraduate schools of the University prior to the final semester, and that grades earned at other institutions do not figure in the calculation of minimum averages required for eligibility for Honors.