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Honors Program

Participating in the Departmental Honors Program is a great way to delve more deeply into a topic that interests you, while developing skills and relationships that will last well beyond graduation.  Honors students work closely with an individual faculty mentor, who supervises a research project for one, two, or three quarters.  Not only do successful participants receive a Bachelor's degree "With Honors in Slavic," but they also have access to the Honors Computer Lab in Mary Gates Hall, and are eligible to apply for a number of Honors Program Scholarships.  We also encourage all honors students to attend the departmental convocation held at the end of every spring quarter, so that we may acknowledge your achievements.

Who is eligible for Departmental Honors?

Any student majoring in Russian Language, Literature, and Culture or Eastern European Languages, Literature, and Culture, and who meets the following requirements:

    • Has a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher
    • Has a GPA of 3.7 or higher for courses in the major
    • Has completed at least 90 credits (Junior standing)
    • Does not have more than 120 credits

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

There are two ways to be accepted into the Departmental Honors Program:

    • BY INVITATION: Every autumn quarter, Slavic Department faculty review the files of all eligible majors.
    • BY PETITION: Majors wishing to petition for permission to enter the Departmental Honors Program should consult with the undergraduate adviser and fill out the Petition for Admission to Departmental Honors Form. If accepted, students will receive a written invitation from the Chair.

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

The short answer is, it depends.  With the new curriculum that launched in 2010, students no longer need to complete Departmental Honors in order to get an Honors designation.  However, if you are interested in exploring in more depth a topic related to your major, we recommend you consider participating in the Departmental Honors Program.

I was accepted and want to participate in the Departmental Honors Program.  Now what?

Congratulations!  In addition to thinking about your thesis topic and the faculty member with whom you would like to work, you will need to see the undergraduate adviser to add the honors requirements to your degree audit. 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.  It could be a lengthier discussion of a topic covered in one of your classes, or something that has always intrigued you but which you have never been able to address in your studies. This is your chance to be creative and to compose a scholarly paper that adheres to high academic standards.

Your honors thesis should...

    • be in English
    • be approximately 30-50 pages in length (double-spaced, 12-point font, with one-inch margins)
    • have a proper bibliography and citations, using either MLA or Chicago-style formats

A PDF of citation and writing guides is available on the UW Library’s website to help you.  We also recommend that you take a look at the honors theses on file in the Slavic Conference Room (Padelford Hall A-216) to get an idea of previous students’ work.

How do I choose a topic?

We encourage you to choose a thesis topic that both interests you and can be supervised by a Slavic Department faculty member.  If you choose to expand a paper you wrote for a class in the Slavic Department, your honors thesis must reflect substantial revision and expansion of the original paper, and you will need to turn in both the original and the thesis to your faculty supervisor for comparison.

PLEASE NOTE: Any changes of topic in the course of writing your thesis MUST be cleared with your thesis supervisor.

How do I choose a faculty adviser for my thesis?

After determining your potential thesis topic, you should consult the list of faculty and their areas of expertise (below) to find someone who has the appropriate research background to offer you guidance on your proposed subject.  Once you identify a faculty member you believe is a good fit, reach out to him or her to explain your proposed topic, and request that he or she supervise your honors thesis. 

I know my topic, and my thesis supervisor accepted.  Now what?

During Autumn Quarter, you and your faculty thesis supervisor should complete the Thesis Proposal Form, and submit the form to the undergraduate adviser.  The form will need to be signed by you, your faculty thesis supervisor, the Slavic Department Chair, and the undergraduate adviser.  Once your proposal has been accepted by all parties, you will be notified by e-mail.  

Researching and Writing Your Thesis: SLAVIC 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 SLAVIC 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

Once you have completed a final draft of your thesis and it has been approved by your faculty supervisor, you will present your research to an audience of Slavic faculty and students.  You will prepare and give a 20-30 minute presentation, and then answer questions from the faculty and audience.  You are welcome to use PowerPoint or other visual and audio aids for your presentation, but are not required to do so.  We also encourage you to present at the Undergraduate Research Symposium, held every 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 rather to correct any errors or formatting problems that may have arisen. Once these last edits have been made, turn in your final draft to your thesis supervisor for a grade. Unless otherwise specified by your thesis supervisor, an e-mailed electronic copy is fine.

PLEASE NOTE: The final version of your thesis must be turned in no later than Friday of finals week in the quarter in which the thesis is completed, though 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, and be double-spaced in a 12-point font. After finishing the post-presentation editing of your thesis and submitting it to your faculty supervisor, you will also need to print two copies and give them to the undergraduate adviser, no later than Friday of finals week in the quarter in which you complete your thesis.  These copies should be double-sided, on quality paper, and in black ink.

After you turn in the two copies of your thesis, the Slavic Department will professionally bind them.  One copy will be given to you, and the other will be kept in our departmental conference room. 

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 quarter
        • Submit your Thesis Proposal Form, a writing sample, a one-paragraph discussion of the proposed topic, and a transcript (unofficial is fine) to the undergraduate adviser

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 you and your 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. Please 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 in drafts by the agreed-upon dates.

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