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Honors Program

Who is eligible for Departmental Honors?

All majors with a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher and a GPA of 3.7 or higher for courses in the major, who have completed at least 90 credits (Junior standing), but who have accrued no more than 120.

What are the benefits of the Slavic Departmental Honors Program?

  • Honors students work closely with an individual faculty mentor, who supervises a research project for one, two, or three quarters.
  • Successful honors students receive a Bachelor’s degree “With Honors in Slavic.”
  • Honors students have use of the Honors Computer Lab in Mary Gates Hall.
  • Honors students are eligible to apply for a number of scholarships, including the Bonderman Honors Travel Fellowship. For more information, please visit

How do I apply for admittance to Departmental Honors in the Slavic Department?

  • BY INVITATION: In the autumn quarter, Slavic Department faculty review the files of all eligible majors.
  • BY PETITION: Majors may petition for permission to enter the Departmental Honors Program.
  • Please see the Slavic Department Undergraduate Adviser for a Petition for Admission to Departmental Honors.
  • If accepted, all students will receive written invitations from the Chair.

I’m already in the University Honors Program. Do I also need to do Departmental Honors?

  • No. With the new curriculum that launched in 2010, students no longer need to complete Departmental Honors in order to get an Honors designation.

If you decide to complete departmental honors in the Slavic Department, you will need to see the Undergraduate Adviser to make the necessary exception in your degree audit to add honors requirements to your degree. This is essential in order for your honors work to be correctly recorded in your official transcript.

Honors Thesis

What is an honors thesis?

  • An honors thesis is an original, in-depth work of independent research that offers you the chance to analyze a subject of personal interest to you.
  • A thesis might be a lengthier discussion of a topic covered in one of your classes; or it might be something that has always intrigued you but which you’ve never been able to address in your studies. This is your chance to be creative, to study a subject in depth, and to compose a scholarly paper that adheres to high academic standards.
  • An honors thesis should be in English, approximately 30-50 pages in length, with proper bibliography and citations, double-spaced, in a 12pt font, with one-inch margins.
  • You should use either MLA or Chicago citation formats.
  • A PDF of citation and writing guides is available on the UW Library’s website:
  • It is recommended that you take a look at the honors theses on file in the Slavic Conference Room (Padelford A216) in order to get an idea of previous students’ work.

How do I choose a topic?

  • Students are encouraged to choose a thesis topic that is both interesting to them AND can be supervised by a Slavic Department faculty member.
  • The faculty thesis supervisor should have the appropriate research background to offer guidance on the proposed topic.
  • Any changes to the topic in the course of writing the thesis MUST be cleared with the thesis supervisor.

Can I expand a paper that I wrote for a Slavic Department class?

Yes, but the final honors thesis must reflect substantial revision and expansion of the original term paper, and both the original paper and the thesis must be turned in to the faculty thesis supervisor for comparison.

How do I choose a faculty adviser for my thesis?

  • For a list of faculty areas of expertise, please see the list at the end of these guidelines.
  • Please contact the Undergraduate Adviser for more detail.
  • Once you have a sense of your topic and the faculty member with whom you would like to work, you should approach the faculty member with a request for thesis supervision.
  • The student and the faculty member should complete the Thesis Proposal Form in the Autumn Quarter, and submit the form to the Undergraduate Adviser.
  • Students will be notified by email once their proposal has been accepted.
  • The form needs to be signed by the Slavic Department Chair, by the faculty thesis supervisor, the Director of Undergraduate Studies, and the student.

Researching and Writing Your Thesis: SLAV 498 (Senior Honors Thesis)

  • After being accepted to the Slavic Departmental Honors Program (typically during winter quarter of Junior or Senior year), you will be registered by the Slavic office staff for SLAV 498 (Senior Honors Thesis).
  • Students may register for a minimum of 3.0 credits and a maximum of 9.0 credits of SLAV 498.
  • Credits may be completed over the course of one, two, or three quarters.
  • Working on an independent study basis with your faculty thesis supervisor, you will develop a research plan and follow any guidelines set by your supervisor.
  • Work on an honors thesis will generally take place over two to three quarters, and the pace will vary according to arrangements made by you and your thesis supervisor.
  • See the “Timetable for Completing Your Honors Thesis” at the end of these guidelines.

Honors Thesis Presentation

  • When work on a final draft of the thesis is complete, and it has been reviewed by your thesis supervisor, you will make a 20-30 minute presentation of your research to an audience of Slavic faculty and students in the Slavic Conference Room (Padelford A216).
  • You may use PowerPoint or other visual and audio aids, but are not required to do so.
  • Your presentation will be followed by questions from the faculty and audience.
  • Students are encouraged to present at the Undergraduate Research Symposium in May.

Final Post-Presentation Editing of the Thesis

  • After the presentation, you will have one final opportunity to edit your thesis. This is not the time to make major changes, but to correct any errors or formatting problems that may have arisen. Once these final editing changes have been made, turn in your final draft to your thesis supervisor for a grade. Unless otherwise specified by your thesis supervisor, an emailed electronic copy is fine.
  • This final version of the thesis must be turned in no later than Friday of finals week in the quarter in which the thesis was completed. It may be due sooner, as per discussion with your faculty thesis supervisor.

Formatting and Binding the Thesis

  • Your thesis must include a title page, page numbers, notes, and bibliography. It should be printed, double-spaced, in a 12-point font, double-sided on quality paper, in black ink.
  • You must print out two hard copies of your thesis to be handed in to the Slavic Undergraduate Adviser.
  • These two copies must be turned in no later than Friday of finals week in the quarter in which the thesis was completed.
  • Your thesis will be professionally bound by the Slavic Department; one copy will be filed in the Slavic Conference Room, and the second will be returned to you.

Last steps

  • Students who successfully complete Honors requirements in their major graduate “With Honors in Slavic.”
  • Each spring the Slavic Department hosts a Convocation Ceremony for graduates and their families. We encourage all honors students to attend so that we may acknowledge your achievements.

Faculty Thesis Supervisors

Prof. José Alaníz

Courses taught: Russian literature 1917-present; Kafka; Pelevin; Disability in Russian Culture; Comics and Film; Nature(s); Bad Love; Buddhism: East and West; Death and Dying in Russian Culture; Post-Soviet Cinema; Superheroes; Survey of Russian Cinema; Film Genre: Horror as ‘Body Genre’; Fakes
Research areas: Death and dying; disability; comics; eco-criticism; cinema; post-Soviet culture.
Languages: Russian, Spanish, Italian, Czech
Personal interests: Drawing, film, Latin America, Japanese pop culture

Prof. Jim Augerot

Courses taught: Slavic linguistics, Russian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Old Church Slavonic
Research areas: Phonology and Morphology of Slavic languages
Languages: Russian, Bulgarian, OCS, Romanian
Personal interests: Skiing, dancing, gardening

Prof. Gordana Crnković

Courses taught: Literature, Film, and Culture of the Former Yugoslavia and Successor States, Eastern European Fiction, Post World War II European Novel, BCMS, Eastern European Film in Comparative Perspective
Research areas: Yugoslav and post-Yugoslav literature, English and American 20th century literature, cinema studies, cultural studies
Languages: BCMS, Slovenian, Macedonian, French, Spanish
Personal interests: Hiking

Prof. Galya Diment

Courses taught: Russian literature (all periods); Nabokov, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Pushkin, Turgenev; Russian Crime Fiction; Early Russian and Soviet Film; Eisenstein; Russians in Hollywood
Research areas: Nabokov, Russian and English Modernism; the art of autobiography, early Russian silent film, the culture of the Russian Pale of Settlement.
Personal interests: Visual arts (especially the Soviet Constructivists); music (Renaissance, Mozart, Shostakovich, klezmer), interpreting politics (both American and Russian).

Prof. Katarzyna Dziwirek

Courses taught: Ways of Meaning: Universal and Culture-Specific Aspects of Language; Ways of Feeling: Expression of Emotion Across Languages and Cultures; Issues in Bilingualism; Intro to the History of Slavic Languages; Polish language.
Research areas: Syntax, morphology, typology, semantics, pragmatics, bilingualism.
Languages: Polish, English, Russian
Personal interests: Reading.

Prof. Barbara Henry

Courses taught: Russian literature 1700-1917; Bulgakov; Babel’; Russian Folk Literature; Intro to Russian Culture and Civilization; East European Jewish Culture; Russian Drama and Theatre; Russian Comedy; Russian language.
Research areas: 19th and 20th century Russian literature and drama; Yiddish literature and drama; Russian-Jewish literature and culture
Languages: Russian, Yiddish, French, German
Personal interests: Visual art, classical and modern dance, medicine, classics, genealogy, Latin music

Prof. Sasha Senderovich

Courses taught: Russian Jewish Experience, Soviet and Russian Cinema
Research areas:
Languages: Russian, English
Personal interests: 

Prof. James West

Courses taught: Russian Literature 18th century to 20th century; Russian Art and Architecture; Russian Poetry; Russian National Identity; Russian Translation Theory and Practice, Russian language.
Research areas: Russian philosophy and its reflection in literature and the arts, esp. Romanticism and Symbolism; Russian national identity; Russian visual culture; Russian landscape; the formative effect on Russian culture of translation from European and Classical languages.
Languages: Russian, German, French, Latin, Greek, Buriat/Mongolian, Georgian.
Personal interests: Music (singer, flutist); biology (esp. botany, entomology, ornithology, ecology); photography (esp. biological); cooking, cycling and hiking.

Dr. Michael Biggins, Affiliate Faculty, Suzzallo Library

Courses taught: Elementary,Intermediate, and Advanced Slovene language; Advanced Russian translation sections, Russian translation.
Research areas: Slavic literary translation; 20th century Slovene literature.
Languages: Russian, Slovene, German, Polish, BCMS, Czech, Lithuanian, French, Norwegian
Personal interests: Classical music, hiking, the Tao of hedge trimming.

Dr. Claudia Jensen, Affiliate Faculty, Music History

Courses taught: Russian music (all periods)
Research areas: Early Russian music (to 1800), early Muscovite theatre
Languages: Russian

Timeline for Completion of Honors Thesis

Autumn Quarter

  • Begin application procedure for departmental honors
  • Consider which faculty member’s research interests best suit your thesis topic
  • Meet with faculty member to discuss preliminary research project
  • Obtain signatures on the Thesis Proposal Form by the fifth week of the autumn quarter
  • Submit Thesis Proposal Form, a writing sample, a one-paragraph discussion of the proposed topic, and a transcript (unofficial is fine) to the Slavic Department.

Winter Quarter

  • Week One: Meet with faculty supervisor to discuss thesis topic.
  • Week Two: Submit preliminary bibliography to faculty thesis supervisor. This should be a detailed survey of available published and unpublished materials — books, journals, theses, electronic resources and other media — relevant to your thesis topic.
  • Week Three: Submit revised bibliography to thesis supervisor.
  • Week Four: Submit preliminary literature review to thesis supervisor.
  • Week Five: Meet with thesis supervisor to discuss literature review, and begin work on draft of first chapter.
  • Week Six: Submit draft of first chapter to faculty supervisor. Do not leave the writing of your thesis until the last weeks of Spring Quarter! It is essential that you give your thesis supervisor at least one week to read your chapter and offer you detailed feedback on it.
  • Week Seven: Meet with thesis supervisor to discuss first draft of initial chapter.
  • Week Eight: Submit revised draft of first chapter to faculty thesis supervisor.
  • Weeks Nine and Ten: Begin work on draft of second chapter.

Spring Quarter

  • Week One: Submit draft of second chapter to thesis supervisor.
  • Week Two: Revise draft of second chapter.
  • Week Three: Submit revised draft of second chapter to thesis supervisor.
  • Week Four: Begin work on third chapter.
  • Week Five: Submit draft of third chapter to thesis supervisor.
  • Week Six: Revise draft of third chapter.
  • Week Seven: Begin work on any final chapter(s) and conclusion. Set date of thesis presentation with thesis supervisor. Confirm thesis title and date of presentation with Slavic Department office staff, so that they can reserve the conference room, announce, and advertise your presentation.
  • Week Eight: Submit draft of any final chapter(s) and conclusion to thesis supervisor. This is your last opportunity to RESERVE THE CONFERENCE ROOM FOR YOUR PRESENTATION.
  • Week Nine: Revise final draft of complete thesis.
  • Week Ten: Presentation of your finished thesis to faculty, students, and friends in the Slavic Conference Room (Padelford A216).
  • FINALS WEEK: Following the presentation, submit two final, corrected, hard copy versions of the thesis to the Slavic Department office staff. The deadline for final submission of the corrected, post-presentation printed copy is the Friday of finals week.

This timeline for writing and submitting an honors thesis should be amended only by the agreement of both student and faculty thesis supervisor. It may vary (as may the length of your thesis) depending on your graduation date, and how many credits you are enrolled for in the Senior Honors Seminar. Students should be aware that faculty, too, are extremely pressed for time in the final weeks of the quarter, and that every effort should be made to turn drafts in to thesis supervisors in good time.